Moving Containers

A new moving option: Shipping container moving is one of the hottest trends in moving

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Moving Container Price & Review Comparison

Moving container companies like PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT have revolutionized moving by creating an easy, convenient way to pack, store, and move your stuff - pretty much all at the same time!

Prices range dramatically depending on how many containers you need and which company is nearest you, from under $500 for a small, local move, to over $5,000 for large scale moves with multiple, large containers.

Companies PODS® Logo Logo 1-800-PACK-RAT® Logo Logo U-Box® Logo Go Mini's® Logo U-Pack® Logo Logo Door-To-Door® Logo SMARTBOX® Logo Zippy Shell® Logo
Reviews
(4.48 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(4.42 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(3.61 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(4.53 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(4.48 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(4.29 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(3.6 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(4.47 out of 5)
Read Reviews
Local Moves $666 avg. $716 avg. N/A $551 avg. N/A $1,733 avg. N/A N/A
Medium Distance $1,516 avg. $1,304 avg. N/A N/A $1,433 avg. N/A N/A N/A
Long Distance $3,339 avg. $3,550 avg. $2,743 avg. N/A $2,384 avg. $2,292 avg. $2,467 avg. N/A
Container Sizes 3 (16', 12', and 7') 3 (16', 12', and 8') 1 (95" x 56" x 83.5") 3 (12', 16', and 20') 1 (6'3” x 7' x 8'4”) N/A 1 (8' x 7' x 5') 2 (16' and 10')
Container Materials Steel Steel Plywood Steel Metal N/A Wood Steel
Provides Storage Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Locations 230+ in US, UK & Australia 60+ 2,400+ 60+ in US, Canada & Mexico 240+ Acquired by U-Haul 41+ metro areas
Read More Read More Read More Read More Read More Read More Read More Read More

How much do moving containers cost?

Prices range from just under $500 for a local move (with the largest container) to more than $5,000 for a long distance move (with two of the largest containers).

You must account for:

  • Size of the container(s)
  • Distance (driver, gas, pickup and delivery, insurance all included)
  • Storage (# of months you will keep the container)

Moving Container Companies

Moving container companies are also one of the most popular options for a Hybrid™ Move because of how much money you can save while still getting your stuff driven for you.

There are multiple portable storage container companies, but most of them work roughly the same; you reserve a date for the delivery of a shipping container (or more than one for larger homes), then you pack up your stuff into the container(s) - on your own or with hired help - at your own convenience. How much time you get to pack depends on the company you pick. Then, you lock up the container, hang onto the key, and call the container company to send a driver. The driver picks up the container, and drives your stuff to a storage facility or your spiffy new digs.

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PODS® Moving & Storage

After 4 million deliveries and 900,000 long distance moves, there's no question that PODS is the leader - and self-proclaimed founder - of the "you pack, they drive" moving options. The "Portable On-Demand Self-Storage" units, or just "PODS containers" for short, come in sizes 7, 12, or 16-feet long, and have a reputation for being durable. They're all composed of aluminum skin and steel frames, have a translucent top to let in light, and a lightweight steel, roll-up door that's designed to make them easy to open and close.

But PODS can potentially be among the most expensive ways to hack a portable storage move if you're hauling a larger home a long distance. The convenience factor, however, can definitely make it worth it, considering their very many locations. Plus, they have their operation nailed down compared to a lot of the competition, which is reflected in their customer reviews.

You really call the shots when it comes to scheduling your load and unload, with PODS generously billing you monthly, not daily. However, this becomes a challenge in the busy summer season, as you might have a difficult time getting access to the containers you need. Plan far in advance.

For more info, visit the PODS Moving101 profile page.

Pro

  • Website super simple to navigate, giant online presence

Con

  • Requires lengthy scheduling notice for best results

1-800-PACK-RAT® Moving + Portable Storage

The major differences between 1-800-PACK-RAT and PODS are the sizes of their containers (as well as maybe the sizes of the companies). 1-800-PACK-RAT offers a great selection of containers. Both also have about the same number of facilities, but PODS wins out by being geographically spread out more, which means you are more likely to have a facility near you. This matters because a delivery driver is more likely to drop off and pick up moving containers much more quickly, thus, lowering the cost.

But on the other hand, your stuff might be considerably more secure and protected with this option. 1-800-PACK-RAT's containers are made entirely of steel, which makes them among the toughest containers around. Not to mention the company's partnership with Lowe's® means you can snag discounts on all sorts of stuff you might need as you move into a new home.

For more info, visit the 1-800-PACK-RAT Moving101 profile page.

Pro

  • Quick and easy booking, fantastic customer service

Con

  • Delivery and pickup times are broadly assigned, not specific

ReloCubes® - U-Pack® Moving Container

ReloCubes® take a little bit of a different approach from the others in the portable storage containers category. These all-steel containers are brought to us by U-Pack® Moving, which is part of ABF® Freight Systems, Inc., a grandfather in the shipping industry. And unlike its competitors, ReloCubes come in just one size, they're generally only offered for long distance moves, and cannot be loaded or unloaded at the client's convenience compared to other companies. (You have just three (3) business days on either end for loading and unloading.)

The upside to this? You typically don't have the storage cost of your bill pre-baked into your quote, meaning U-Pack can sometimes be a better deal when it's available to you and you're not in a huge rush. And ABF has lots of experience - more than PODS or 1-800-PACK-RAT - hauling delicate stuff a lengthy distance.

For more info, visit the ReloCube U-Pack Moving101 profile page.

Pro

  • Knowledgeable and responsive customer service

Con

  • Limited scheduling window for packing and unloading containers

How does the moving container process work?

You go online to get an estimate. Depending on your quote, you might be prompted to call toll-free. Then you:

  • Schedule a delivery day for delivery, then sign the paperwork
  • Start loading your stuff into the container(s) at your convenience
  • Call to schedule pickup and delivery of the containers to their next destination
  • Unload!
  • Call to schedule pickup
  • Pay the bill monthly for as long as you have the containers

Door to Door Moving & Storage

UPDATE: Door to Door is now a part of U-Haul, and has ceased operations as "Door to Door Moving". A fixture of college dorm move-ins for over two decades, Door to Door boasts high customer satisfaction in their tightly clustered network of locations. They also claim great affordability, as the college students who are a major component of their demographic can attest. Like much of the competition, there are also delivery options for your moving container, as well as readily available (but offline) customer service agents.

Door to Door gains a lot of their financial affordability from the fact that they offer one-size-fits all option (56"x 93"x 77"), which is about the size of one bedroom. Not to mention the fact that the container is made of wood, and the company offers no insurance options, very much unlike the competition. But if you're in a (mostly) west coast location and have a small scale move in mind, check out their site to see their options.

For more info, visit the Door to Door Moving101 profile page.

Pro

  • Multiple delivery options offered

Con

  • Wood containers are less sturdy, cancellation process a headache

Go Mini's Moving & Portable Storage

If you're in an area that is serviced by any of their 200+ locations, Go Mini's can be an attractive option for the money you'll save. Like many of the more prolific storage container options on the market, Go Mini's offers delivery services and competitive storage pricing, but where this company vastly flexes their muscles is in unparalleled customer service. Because they deal in local moving, you are likely to be assigned a personal, friendly agent with lightning quick response times for any of your questions, which is the sure sign of a smaller, more nimble company. Go Mini's also lays claim to being the only company on the market that offers a 20-foot container, which fits about five to six rooms worth of stuff.

However, don't count on Go Mini's for long distance moves, as they yet do not offer long distance storage or deliveries. Upfront pricing is also a bit of an issue, as your grand total won't be shown to you until after your storage needs are completed. Check their site to see if Go Mini's is an option in your area.

For more info, visit the Go Mini's Moving101 profile page

Pro

  • Unparalleled customer service, lots of different container options

Con

  • Fewer long distance move options, total cost obscured until after move

U-Haul® U-Box® Moving Container

Branching out from their famous (and orange) parent company, "U-Box" is the latest among U-Haul's relocation offerings. This time, the company is aiming to stake a claim in the container industry, offering quick and affordable moving container options.

Positive features include a massive customer service presence, huge name recognition, and even live box tracking. In tandem with their online price estimator and the fact that they can deliver your container wherever you need it, U-Box can be an appealing option.

As with any large, corporate entity, however, there are issues. Unlike most of the competition, U-Box offers only a one-size-fits-all option for its containers (96" x 60" x 90"). The quality of this container is also a bit suspect, as they are made of plywood and come with a "weatherproof" cover, which depending on your location may not survive long stretches of storage. Plus, customer service is less than stellar, with potentially long wait periods between online and phone interactions, not to mention that all-too-familiar, cold reception to any issues you may encounter.

For more info, visit the U-Haul U-Box profile page

Pro

  • Flexible billing based on actual containers used, online tracking

Con

  • Costliest option for large homes, container quality not as good as the competition

What other stuff do I need to buy?

You can usually purchase moving supplies, including boxes, from the company's website. But you are limited and there are no supply rentals, which means you are on your own when it comes to getting hand trucks and furniture blankets. Try finding professionals who can provide necessary tools free of charge!

SMARTBOX® Moving Container

Like some other storage options, SMARTBOX is the closest thing you can get to a Full Service Move transportation experience, except with containers. How it all works is you pack your SMARTBOX, then someone drives your stuff locally or long distance to their new location, or to one of their temperature controlled storage units.

Afterwards, you pay for using SMARTBOX by the month, giving you flexibility. (This is provided you don't go over by even one day, or else it'll be a bill for two months.) If you're in the market for a way to store your things while you move, it's definitely worth checking out their rates if one of their 30+ locations are near you.

For more info, visit the SMARTBOX profile page

Pro

  • Smaller company gives you a more intimate, direct feel

Con

  • Billing is rigid and strictly tied to a monthly billing cycle

Zippy Shell® Moving Container

Zippy Shell wants to be your long-distance storage solution. With their distinctive cage-like containers, Zippy Shell has storage units around the country they safely transport your belongings to and from. Because Zippy Shell specializes in long-distance moving, they will be happy to refer you to their parent company, 1-800-PACK-RAT, for any local storage needs.

As Zippy Shell is built to offer quick solutions, check in with how they can fit into your moving timeline.

For more info, visit the Zippy Shell FAQ page.

Pro

  • Safe, unique packing of their containers and indoor storage units offer added safety to your items.

Con

  • Smaller loading/unloading windows and lack of local moving options make Zippy Shell a more narrow fit among all your moving options.

Container Size Guide

Small 7-8 ft.

Small 7-8 ft.
Studio Apt. 400-600 sq. ft.

Ideal For:

  • Fits: 1-2,500 lbs.
  • 100-375 cubic feet
  • 1-5 Furniture items
  • Up to 120 medium boxes

Not Ideal For:

  • King size bed
  • Pianos
  • Pool tables
  • Refridgerators
  • Gun safes
  • 2+ Bedroom homes
Medium 12 ft.

Medium 12 ft.
1-2 Bedrooms 600-1,200 sq. ft.

Ideal For:

  • Fits: 1 - 3,500 lbs.
  • 375-750 cubic feet
  • 1-10 Furniture items
  • Up to 225 medium boxes

Not Ideal For:

  • Grand / Baby grand pianos
  • 3+ Bedroom homes
Large 16 ft.

Large 16 ft.
2-3 Bedrooms 1,200-1,600 sq. ft.

Ideal For:

  • Fits: 3,500-6,000 lbs.
  • 750-1,000 cubic feet
  • 1-10 Furniture items
  • Up to 300 medium boxes

Not Ideal For:

  • 3+ Bedroom homes
Multiple 16 ft.+

Multiple 16 ft.+
3-4 Bedrooms 1,600-2,400+ sq. ft.

Ideal For:

  • Fits: 6,000 lbs.
  • 1,000+ cubic feet
  • 10+ Furniture items
  • 600+ Medium Boxes

Not Ideal For:

  • Small apartments

Is a Moving Container Right for Your Move?

Local Moves

Pros

  • Price-wise, compares nicely to renting a truck with labor-only movers
  • Someone else drives
  • Unparalleled loading and unloading flexibility, compared to other options

Cons

  • Expensive for larger moves, due to needing multiple containers
  • Not practical for larger moves (unless you need the storage time)
  • If you don't need the storage, you may still be paying for it

Moving containers are well suited to local moves, and locally are one of the best options for getting your items transported for you at a fraction of the cost of a Full Service move. As long as there is one outlet of the company in the area, then you should definitely consider moving containers as one of your moving options.

Long-Distance Moves

Pros

  • Someone else drives your things to your new home
  • Great value, compared to Full Service Movers
  • Flexibility of loading and unloading and storage allows for easier travel

Cons

  • Not always cost-effective for larger moves
  • Takes more planning than moving trucks
  • Subject to availability in your area

On the other hand, long-distance moves, especially of bigger places, become more complicated. They are best suited for when you still need flexibility. The price goes up because of the cost of the driver, fuel, etc. And the larger the home, the more containers you'll need. Still, if you don't want to drive a big rig across the country, this might be your best option.

Storage

Pros

  • Portable, and companies often provide facilities as well
  • Your things are put into storage straight from your front door
  • Accessibility unmatched

Cons

  • Parking still subject to city and neighborhood laws
  • Billing often rigid, charging you monthly regardless of time used
  • Quality of container subject to company used

Most of these companies offer storage either on your property (you keep the container locked up in your driveway, for example) or at one of the company's facilities. Some people use the storage containers to store their stuff while completing a renovation project or they use them in between moves. Some companies offer storage off site, too, at one of their warehouse facilities. Of course, you pay monthly for storage.

Versus Other Moving Options

Pros

  • Someone does the driving for you
  • Gives you larger windows for loading and unloading
  • Pairs great with local movers for good value

Cons

  • Price can jump quickly with multiple containers
  • Security often left in your hands
  • May not be available in your area

Historically, moving containers are the newest additions to the moving industry. Other options include:

  • Rental moving trucks
  • Space on a freight truck
  • Full Service move
  • Doing it all yourself

Moving containers are best suited to those who are moving and need storage. If that's you, then this could be a really convenient and affordable way to move. On the other hand, you'll pay more than you would with a rental truck for a long distance move of a larger home, but then again, you don't have to drive.

If you need to store your stuff for long periods of time (especially if you can and prefer storing it on your own property), these are really a fantastic option. Otherwise, take a look at quotes for freight trailer space rental, or Full Service movers for comparable value.

How does moving container insurance work?

Unlike with rental trucks, the cost of insurance for the vehicle hauling your stuff is baked into the price. However, you still need insurance for your items! Most homeowners insurance will cover this. But if you are without homeowners insurance, consider options provided by your moving container company. Some companies, including PODS, actually require clients to have coverage for both the containers and the contents. In that case, you can opt for one or both kinds of coverage that the moving container company offers.

Paired With Movers

Pros

  • Like having a Full Service Move, minus a lot of the cost
  • Greatly experienced with packing containers tightly and safely
  • Can easily schedule, given flexible loading and unloading windows

Cons

  • An added cost makes the process less thrifty
  • Subject to local availability
  • Will need to schedule two different crews, if moving long-distance

Truly, you can hack a Full Service move at a fraction of the cost if you book a moving container and hire professionals to help you load and unload its contents. Aside from organizing and scheduling the move, all you would have to do is pack up boxes and disassemble and reassemble furniture, if you choose to not include that cost in your mover quote.

Professionals from the storage company drive the container to and from your destination, while the movers you hire do the heavy lifting before and after the transport.

Are There Any Downsides with Moving Containers?

Moving containers can be quite costly for long distance moves, especially for larger homes.

Parking is also a big issue for some. Cities, such as New York City, require a live load/unload, which means that certain locations do not permit overnight parking of the container. So, you have to allow the driver to wait for you while you load or unload the truck. Each company has its own rules of live load/unloads. Another option is to rent a truck and shuttle your belongings to a portable storage container warehouse where you can unload them into a container, but at that point, much of the convenience has been lost. Check with the local city hall for details on parking containers in your town (both where you're living now and to where you are moving).

You need to stick to your timeline. Sure, it's convenient to be able to load and unload whenever you'd like. But you will be charged monthly. Unless you need the extra time for some reason, you should try to finish up the move within one month to ensure paying the least amount possible.

Make sure to speak up for discounts. Many of the companies offer seasonal specials or price breaks for military. But some of them don't advertise these options, so ask and ye shall receive (when applicable).

Recent Moving Container Customer Reviews

David K

Moosic, PA
Wrote a review on 9/30/2020
PODS Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

PODS has been very flexible throughout the move. PODS were on time and picked up immediately the following day. Calls from the team were polite and very helpful. I would definitely use this service again from a conveinence and ease perspective.

Distance: 150 mi
Cost: $3,100
Per. Mile: $20.67
SqFt. Moved: 2,200

Susan W

Pittsford, NY
Wrote a review on 9/15/2020
PODS Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Pods staff was very pleasant and helpful in explaining the service. They man who moved the pod on and off our property was very nice, right on time. Watching him work the podzilla was fascinating.

Distance: 1 mi
Cost: $250
Per. Mile: $250
SqFt. Moved: 1,200

Sharon N

Albuquerque, NM
Wrote a review on 9/10/2020
PODS Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Continue to appreciate and value PODS. Some PODS are getting old and should be retired. PODS does not rent furniture pads anymore. Some PODS pick up full do a bit more tipping of unit than I like to see.

Distance: 1,500 mi
Cost: $8,500
Per. Mile: $5.67
SqFt. Moved: 2,300

Danny S

American Canyon, CA
Wrote a review on 8/8/2020
1-800-Pack-Rat Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Arrived on time,placed containers in agreed locations.We needed more than the original 2 containers ordered,they got them to us as soon as possible. However do not overload the containers,anything more than 6k pounds will not be picked up. I had to order another container to offload 2k of automotive equipment into for a total of 4 containers. If you have a small house or apt. I would recommend them,if you have a larger house and a lot of automotive items in you garage(s)I would recommend going with a large moving and storage company.

Distance: 3,000 mi
Cost: $20,000
Per. Mile: $6.67
SqFt. Moved: 1,100

Patrick M

Raleigh, NC
Wrote a review on 8/1/2020
PODS Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

PODs made the process very easy. Their operator was personable and helpful when we called to make our reservation. Both drivers (drop off and pick up) were on-time and were able to fit my container into a tight spot on the street. Overall a great experience!

Distance: 1,200 mi
Cost: $1,500
Per. Mile: $1.25
SqFt. Moved: 750

Sondra M

Mesa, AZ
Wrote a review on 6/21/2020
1-800-Pack-Rat Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Can't get ahold of them on the phone. We have waited up to an hour to talk to a representative. And, we need to know an estimate of the time they will deliver. Otherwise you can wait from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. for your container. Frustrated the whole time....

Distance: 6 mi
Cost: $1,100
Per. Mile: $183
SqFt. Moved: 2,250

Rebecca S

Williamsburg, VA
Wrote a review on 6/13/2020
1-800-Pack-Rat Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Pack Rat was outstanding. The staff is professional, hardworking, friendly, trustworthy. Price was very fair. Nothing was broken in any of the containers and we shipped 19,000 pounds of breakables. All promises kept. I would highly recommend. I’d give them an A+.

Distance: 1,508 mi
Cost: $4,800
Per. Mile: $3.18
SqFt. Moved: 2,900

Nancy W

Waycross, GA
Wrote a review on 5/23/2020
1-800-Pack-Rat Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

The container was delivered and picked up without a hitch. Driver was very nice. I was hoping he would be the one to come back and pick it up! Thanks!

Distance: 75 mi
Cost: $840
Per. Mile: $11.20
SqFt. Moved: 1,200

Debra B

Basye, VA
Wrote a review on 5/7/2020
ABF ReloCube Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Did a great job moving our furnishings from AL to VA. No damage and they were within the time period they quoted. Provided a very cost effective option. Great value for the cost.

Distance: 900 mi
Cost: $2,300
Per. Mile: $2.56
SqFt. Moved: 2,300

Michael K

League City, TX
Wrote a review on 7/9/2019
ABF ReloCube Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

I've used this company before. We used a large trailer. They drop it off, you fill it, they pick it up and take it to your new location. Its important to pack you own stuff well so that it does not get damaged on the trip. We wrapped our furniture in blankets as well as shrink wrap. Boxes need to be sturdy, especially if on the bottom of the pile. By doing some or all of the packing or loading yourself, you spend less on the move. The large trailer comes with a ramp, so be ready to work with that as you load or unload. The trailer floor is about 4 feet off the ground. We hired loaders for most of the heavy lifting, but also did some of the work ourselves. When you learn which phone numbers to use for what, you can get all your questions answered and handle the details.

Distance: 928 mi
Cost: $3,703
Per. Mile: $3.99
SqFt. Moved: 2,800

Lyn C

Lawrence, MA
Wrote a review on 5/16/2019
ABF ReloCube Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Upack was the right choice for my move. The container was clean and easily accessible. Customer service answered all my questions and was one of the primary reasons I choose Upack and would use them again.

Distance: 1,100 mi
Cost: $1,800
Per. Mile: $1.64
SqFt. Moved: 1,850

Kimberly M

Beaumont, TX
Wrote a review on 3/28/2019
ABF ReloCube Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Excellent job! Everyone has been very professional and kind. UPACK/ABF got all of my my belongs from Ohio to Texas in one piece and no drama.!! No surprise, you paid what you were quoted and that was that. Thank you so much!! Would definitely use them again if the need arises.

Distance: 1,500 mi
Cost: $1,600
Per. Mile: $1.07
SqFt. Moved: 1,500

Caroline A

Tacoma, WA
Wrote a review on 7/20/2018
Uhaul U-Box Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

After PODS never showed up to deliver our moving crates, we contacted UHaul to see if they could help us with our move across country which was to take place the next morning. From that moment on, the move was smooth and stress free. They delivered our crates to our new home on the day they promised and even arrived earlier than their anticipated window. They did have to postpone the pick up of the crates when we were finished unloading them but it wasn’t a big deal as we had more than enough time to unload our belongings. UHaul really saved us when PODS become a huge disappointment. We could have avoided a lot of stress had we chosen them to begin with!

Distance: 2,900 mi
Cost: $3,500
Per. Mile: $1.21
SqFt. Moved: 1,000

Jeria B

Bellwood, IL
Wrote a review on 9/11/2014
Door To Door Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

The individual who delivered my container was courteous, caring, professional and skilled. I can say the same for the person who helped me with my rental. I would (will) use them again.

Distance: 1 mi
Cost: $167
Per. Mile: $167
SqFt. Moved: 200

Siddharth P

Berkeley, CA
Wrote a review on 6/27/2014
Door To Door Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Door to Door has been good (although I don't take delivery of the containers for a month or two). One wrinkle was that they had a breakdown of the hydraulic system on their truck when dropping off empties, and were backed up/delayed by about 3-4 hrs. They were a bit tardy on calling me, but offered to refund the $100 or so delivery cost as an apology (still waiting on this, but expect it will come soon.)

Distance: 400 mi
Cost: $1,700
Per. Mile: $4.25
SqFt. Moved: 700

PODS® and the PODS® logo are the registered trademarks of PODS Enterprises, Inc. (PEI). U-Pack® is the registered trademark of Moving Solutions, Inc. ReloCube® is a registered trademark of ABF, Freight System, Inc.

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