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
Reviews
(4.47 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(4.44 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(3.57 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(4.49 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(4.46 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(4.28 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(3.43 out of 5)
Read Reviews
Local Moves $656 avg. $726 avg. N/A $566 avg. N/A $1,733 avg. N/A
Medium Distance $1,516 avg. $1,236 avg. N/A N/A $1,553 avg. N/A N/A
Long Distance $3,294 avg. $3,507 avg. $2,798 avg. N/A $2,367 avg. $2,292 avg. $2,800 avg.
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’)
Container Materials Steel Steel Plywood Steel Metal N/A Wood
Provides Storage Yes Yes Yes Yes No 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

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

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

Meghan B
San Francisco, CA
Wrote a review on 7/22/2019
ABF ReloCube Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

The cube was dropped off the day we were expecting it. We were able to load all of our things (although it was a bit tight) into the cube. The cube was meant to be picked up on a Monday so that it could make it to SF on time, however they pushed back the pick-up date until Wednesday. We were nervous about it arriving on time (as we had city permits secured for a specific date), but it arrived the morning we were expecting it. No trouble getting the permits or the pod where we needed it to be. It was perfect for our relocation from NY to CA! Would definitely use this company again!!

Distance: 2,763 mi
Cost: $2,600
Per. Mile: $0.94
SqFt. Moved: 750
Gina G
Albuquerque, NM
Wrote a review on 7/22/2019
PODS Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Alittle late on the drop off and forgot the pick up in one state but dropped early and picked up on time in another state. Luckily we had time for the missteps.

Distance: 450 mi
Cost: $2,600
Per. Mile: $5.78
SqFt. Moved: 1,000
Kathleen W
Madison, WI
Wrote a review on 7/22/2019
PODS Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Everything went according to plan. Good communication with drivers and customer reps. This involved a move from one state to another so could not get a 12 ft. POD; had to get a 16 ft. which was more space than needed.

Distance: 925 mi
Cost: $2,900
Per. Mile: $3.14
SqFt. Moved: 800
Pasquale C
Whiteland, IN
Wrote a review on 7/16/2019
PODS Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Very ingenious solution to the moving industry. Everything was met on time and as stated. Perhaps if they added some packing and wrapping of furniture as an add-on - many people would choose that and still be thousands below tradition moving companies.

Distance: 800 mi
Cost: $3,400
Per. Mile: $4.25
SqFt. Moved: 2,000
Duncan O
Arnold, MD
Wrote a review on 7/15/2019
1-800-Pack-Rat Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

As an aside, recommend Pack Rat. They deliver where we are moving to in west Tennessee. PODs would only deliver to Memphis, where we would need to rent a truck, unpack the container, load the truck, drive 1 1/2 hours, unload the truck, etc. Will ask for them for the 4th / final container. Also, Pack Rat has a much better system of loading / unloading containers than PODs. I say that having observed our new next door neighbor's PODs deliveries and as a retired Navy ship / amphibious officer with just a tad of cargo handling / loading.

Distance: 860 mi
Cost: $3,000
Per. Mile: $3.49
SqFt. Moved: 3,000
Joe B
South Portland, ME
Wrote a review on 7/12/2019
PODS Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Right from the on-time delivery of the POD to the placement for unpacking, PODs did exactly what I was expecting. I would use them again. The only negative is the delivery point in Maine is Portland. That location is about 4 hours from my home. I strongly recommend PODs establish a site in Bangor, Maine. That would’ve been only 1-1/4 hour drive time.

Distance: 1,575 mi
Cost: $2,500
Per. Mile: $1.59
SqFt. Moved: 1,200
Linda D
Rescue, CA
Wrote a review on 6/8/2019
1-800-Pack-Rat Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Stored my husbands woodworking tools about 6k pounds and a large Maple workbench for 4 years with PackRat and just had it delivered to our permanent address. Everything in the container was in excellent condition and looked just like when we was packed it.

Distance: 100 mi
Cost: $1,300
Per. Mile: $13.00
SqFt. Moved: 2,200
Dan F
Folsom, CA
Wrote a review on 6/8/2019
1-800-Pack-Rat Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Good. Showed up on time and quickly delivered the container. The container itself had a warped front door that made it difficult to close all the way.

Distance: 20 mi
Cost: $500
Per. Mile: $25.00
SqFt. Moved: 750
Tripp H
Cypress, TX
Wrote a review on 5/28/2019
1-800-Pack-Rat Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Driver arrived when he said he would. He was very courteous and discussed the plan of where the containers would sit (I had ordered 2) before he got started. Once the plan was settled then he went to work quickly to get them set in place, and was out of there quickly. I would definitely use them again.

Distance: 40 mi
Cost: $700
Per. Mile: $17.50
SqFt. Moved: 2,800
Glenda W
Sebring, FL
Wrote a review on 2/7/2019
ABF ReloCube Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Very pleased with this company. The cube was in good condition. Their service during booking, pick-up and drop off was excellent. I would highly recommend the company. I would use them again.

Distance: 1,100 mi
Cost: $1,141
Per. Mile: $1.04
SqFt. Moved: 1,000
Kim B
Ventura, CA
Wrote a review on 12/12/2018
ABF ReloCube Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

They didn't make the window for delivering the cube, 8-12; arrived about 12:45. If you are hiring helpers, plan for the day after delivery, especially since it gets dark early this time of year. Other than that, their customer service has been excellent and I recommend them.

Distance: 1,250 mi
Cost: $1,437
Per. Mile: $1.15
SqFt. Moved: 1,000
David G
Cary, NC
Wrote a review on 12/9/2018
ABF ReloCube Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Upack did a great job, arrived when they said they would arrive and were very prompt and communicated well. The drivers were friendly and helpful. There was no damage to my belongings. I would definitely use them in the future.

Distance: 750 mi
Cost: $2,250
Per. Mile: $3.00
SqFt. Moved: 3,200
Thomas L
Denton, TX
Wrote a review on 12/15/2017
Uhaul U-Box Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

the boxes arrived on time at our house. they were clean, and each box contained 2 dozen furiture pads. After we loaded them, they came back and picked them up right on schedule. They promptly shipped them to Texas and stored them until we were ready to move in. they delivered the boxes on schedule, and came back later the same day to collect the empty boxes. The drivers were all very nice and pleasant Here in TexaS, NITA WAS especially nice to work with.

Distance: 1,200 mi
Cost: $2,500
Per. Mile: $2.08
SqFt. Moved: 1,850
Tommy H
Albuquerque, NM
Wrote a review on 6/21/2017
Uhaul U-Box Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Pods were dropped off by a great gal that was patient with the obstacles she encountered. The help desk was flexible with my needs and made the process seamless. The moving part so far has been the least amount of stress.. Thank you for that!! Tommy Hinchman

Distance: 1,440 mi
Cost: $3,800
Per. Mile: $2.64
SqFt. Moved: 1,000
Denise A
Woburn, MA
Wrote a review on 7/10/2015
Door To Door Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

After having one pod service fall through... a bit last minute.. I called Door to Door pod service. Mike was awesome on the phone and explained everything. They dropped the pods early in the time window exactly where I needed them to. Mike's estimation of how many pods I needed was right on. The pods were clean inside, affordable and secure. I was also able to purchase furniture blankets at a reasonable rate that were nicely wrapped inside the pod. Denise, in customer service, was fantastic in her assist of a small glitch on my end. They all helped to make moving my stuff into storage a bit easier. Thanks Door to Door.

Distance: 15 mi
Cost: $320
Per. Mile: $21.33
SqFt. Moved: 630
Scott W
San Francisco, CA
Wrote a review on 6/25/2014
Door To Door Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Did everything expected of them in a reasonable fashion. They missed their window for drop-off by 2 hours and communication at times was a little less than perfect, but overall, they moved everything from point a to point b safely and cheaply. have recommended them to others and will continue to.

Distance: 3,000 mi
Cost: $2,000
Per. Mile: $0.67
SqFt. Moved: 850
Dawne P
Marietta, GA
Wrote a review on 6/3/2014
Go Minis Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

We loaded up two 20-foot GoMinis and put them in storage for a month. I think the biggest difficulty was that we didn't tie everything back quite as well as we should have, and one door was difficult to open when we started unloading. I didn't really interact with the delivery/pick-up guys, but the phone people were great. For loading AND unloading, the containers were placed perfectly in my driveways, exactly the way I wanted them.

Distance: 11 mi
Cost: $1,000
Per. Mile: $90.91
SqFt. Moved: 5,000

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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