Moving Containers

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

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

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.

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.

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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Moving Container Price & Review Comparison

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
(4.45 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(3.51 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(4.49 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(4.46 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(4.27 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(3.43 out of 5)
Read Reviews
Local Moves $660 avg. $728 avg. N/A $566 avg. N/A $1,733 avg. N/A
Medium Moves $1,519 avg. $1,247 avg. N/A N/A $1,553 avg. N/A N/A
Long Distance $3,270 avg. $3,488 avg. $2,760 avg. N/A $2,348 avg. $2,317 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)

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

Pat H
Weatherford, TX
Wrote a review on 6/30/2019
PODS Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Economical way to move, my only gripe is the PODS were unloaded on June 28th but can not be picked up until July 3rd thereby blocking our drive way for that period of time.

Distance: 1,150 mi
Cost: $6,000
Per. Mile: $5.22
SqFt. Moved: 2,900
Bob J
Denton, TX
Wrote a review on 6/28/2019
1-800-Pack-Rat Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

They were always on time. Almost everything arrived in great shape. I would strongly recommend them to others. I would definitely use them again if I had another move.

Distance: 700 mi
Cost: $5,000
Per. Mile: $7.14
SqFt. Moved: 3,000
Connie R
Sun City Center, FL
Wrote a review on 6/24/2019
PODS Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Our PODS experience was all very positive, from the service rep who scheduled our move to the excellent communication throughout the process and the efficiency of the POD delivery and pickup services. The POD was the perfect size and in good condition. Our possessions were in the POD for three weeks and arrived safely. We used the packets to help absorb moisture which we highly recommend for a move during the rainy season. We would use them again.

Distance: 850 mi
Cost: $2,500
Per. Mile: $2.94
SqFt. Moved: 1,500
Mary K
Harbeson, DE
Wrote a review on 6/21/2019
PODS Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

PODS communicated very well. They kept me up to date regarding status of different parts of the move. The whole process was very convenient and affordable.

Distance: 100 mi
Cost: $1,500
Per. Mile: $15.00
SqFt. Moved: 4,000
Nadine C
New Smyrna Beach, FL
Wrote a review on 6/21/2019
PODS Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

My POD was delivered on time and picked up for transport on time. I was impressed. When our POD got to our new location, everything was exactly how we packed it. Very little shifting. You do have to pack your container correctly. Watch their on how to pack the container. It worked.

Distance: 1,850 mi
Cost: $3,500
Per. Mile: $1.89
SqFt. Moved: 1,750
David A
Seattle, WA
Wrote a review on 6/1/2019
1-800-Pack-Rat Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Container arrived as scheduled and was placed in the proper location. Container was clean and ready to be used. Only negative was that the driver forgot the dozen of moving blankets I paid for. (it's been refunded but had to go to Uhaul to purchase blankets).

Distance: 1,000 mi
Cost: $2,200
Per. Mile: $2.20
SqFt. Moved: 1,200
Kim H
Fort Worth, TX
Wrote a review on 4/24/2019
ABF ReloCube Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

I had some bad information when getting quotes- the woman I had spoken to recommended waiting to place my reservation so it would be cheaper. It ended up costing us more than anticipated. Otherwise, it was a hassle-free experience. Some of the folks that I spoke with related to freight were kind of cranky, but the guy who dropped off the cube was super nice. Much cheaper than any other moving service we checked on, cube was as advertised.

Distance: 1,250 mi
Cost: $1,850
Per. Mile: $1.48
SqFt. Moved: 1,025
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
Marc S
Dayton, TN
Wrote a review on 11/26/2018
1-800-Pack-Rat Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Very happy with Packrat. The drivers at both ends were friendly. I did call several times, left my number, and with a very short period of time, every single call was returned. If Packrat fits your move, I recommend them. They have been an awesome company to work with.

Distance: 2,100 mi
Cost: $6,800
Per. Mile: $3.24
SqFt. Moved: 4,674
Beth M
Saline, MI
Wrote a review on 11/16/2018
1-800-Pack-Rat Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

My belongings made it safely. I chose this company because of the type of container they have. The storage cost was not consistent every month and was not the same as my contract so a phone call had to be to figure out the issue. The blanket rental was quite costly. They were friendly when on the phone. My belongings made it safely and in good order.

Distance: 350 mi
Cost: $1,778
Per. Mile: $5.08
SqFt. Moved: 1,200
Lonnie C
Shady Cove, OR
Wrote a review on 10/5/2017
ABF ReloCube Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

ABF drivers were friendly and flexible on both ends. When I called in the morning to tell them the container would be ready for pick up in the afternoon, they came and took it that day.

Distance: 462 mi
Cost: $1,900
Per. Mile: $4.11
SqFt. Moved: 2,100
Pamela M
Colorado Springs, CO
Wrote a review on 7/26/2017
ABF ReloCube Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

They arrived with the cube about an hour after requested time, however, the service from beginning to end was courteous, and very helpful. The size of the cube was perfect for my move.

Distance: 1,700 mi
Cost: $3,000
Per. Mile: $1.76
SqFt. Moved: 700
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
Joe E
Sugar Grove, IL
Wrote a review on 6/15/2017
Uhaul U-Box Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

I was serviced out of Montgomery IL location. The GM was very responsive and helpful, and my driver, Odonna, was amazing. The Uboxes themselves are ok. I ordered 8 Uboxes for a 4 bedroom house. But two of the doors wouldn't close after loading, likely due to weight in the Ubox taking the door off square. It was able to be closed once the forklift came to pick up. I needed to put my household goods in storage before moving into a new place, so this was the most economical option compared to other containers I researched.

Distance: 900 mi
Cost: $5,300
Per. Mile: $5.89
SqFt. Moved: 2,500
Tom H
Venice, FL
Wrote a review on 6/30/2016
Door To Door Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Aside from a one day delay in picking up the loaded pod and a one day delay in picking up the emptied pod, everything went well and it even arrived ahead of schedule.

Distance: 2,500 mi
Cost: $2,300
Per. Mile: $0.92
SqFt. Moved: 500
Megan M
Washington, DC
Wrote a review on 1/8/2016
Door To Door Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

It was a little difficult to work around the company's M-F container delivery window. But, in both pick-up and drop-off instances the delivery drivers were friendly and very quick.

Distance: 3,000 mi
Cost: $2,600
Per. Mile: $0.87
SqFt. Moved: 900
Dawn J
San Francisco, CA
Wrote a review on 7/20/2014
Door To Door Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Considerate customer service. There were some confusing logistics around where to set the containers on city streets, but otherwise a seamless exchange.

Distance: 3,000 mi
Cost: $2,000
Per. Mile: $0.67
SqFt. Moved: 1,000
Ashley M
Kennesaw, GA
Wrote a review on 7/4/2014
SMARTBOX Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Great price, great service! My delivery guy, James, was amazing and very helpful, as was the local owner, Ned. I only ordered 2 boxes for this move, but would have been more successful with 3. 2 was not enough for a 2 bedroom. I haven't had my boxes delivered yet, as they are still en route, but I have every confidence the remainder of the process will go as well as the first half. Highly recommend!

Distance: 3,000 mi
Cost: $2,800
Per. Mile: $0.93
SqFt. Moved: 1,200
Jeanne P
Three Rivers, MI
Wrote a review on 6/1/2014
Go Minis Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

The "GoMini" was delivered on time. Tore up the lawn, but this was the first time the "movers" had seen a "Mini" in a back yard (abutting a 20 acre meadow). Thus, we will deal with that when we have to.

Distance: 20 mi
Cost: $140
Per. Mile: $7.00
SqFt. Moved: 1,250

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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