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
(4.47 out of 5)
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(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.


  • Website super simple to navigate, giant online presence


  • 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.


  • Quick and easy booking, fantastic customer service


  • 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.


  • Knowledgeable and responsive customer service


  • 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.


  • Multiple delivery options offered


  • 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


  • Unparalleled customer service, lots of different container options


  • 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


  • Flexible billing based on actual containers used, online tracking


  • 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


  • Smaller company gives you a more intimate, direct feel


  • 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


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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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.



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


  • 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


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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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

Joseph M
San Jose, CA
Wrote a review on 7/31/2019
PODS Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Delivery was on time. It's worth sticking around to watch the pod being unloaded! It comes in a big "mover" crane mounted on the back of the truck. The driver moves the pod up and down in the crane, which can also move along the ground like a truck! My driver controlled it like a surgeon, putting it exactly where it needed to be. Later, I found out that my pod was too small. That's mostly my fault; I can't throw away *anything*. Just be aware that a "big" space is smaller than it seems.

Distance: 1 mi
Cost: $500
Per. Mile: $500
SqFt. Moved: 1,500
Jim T
El Sobrante, CA
Wrote a review on 7/26/2019
PODS Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

PODS came earlier than the time the time window that they notified. I had to quickly have people move their cars out of the garage. This was a close call.

Distance: 1 mi
Cost: $1,000
Per. Mile: $1,000
SqFt. Moved: 2,400
Misha W
San Leandro, CA
Wrote a review on 7/13/2019
PODS Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Derek delivered the first container within the window and confirmed the location before dismounting it. Ming was fabulously meticulous. He measured everything, confirmed positioning, was friendly, professional and a great representative for PODS. He delivered the second POD.

Distance: 1,800 mi
Cost: $7,700
Per. Mile: $4.28
SqFt. Moved: 2,700
Cindy C
Cantonment, FL
Wrote a review on 7/13/2019
1-800-Pack-Rat Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Rat Pack stayed in touch with us throughout the process even though our delivery was delayed due to unforeseen mechanical problems with the trucks on the delivery end. The local transport of Rat Pack, was also professional with the updates to when delivery could be made. Things happen that are out of your control, but the honesty the company provided was reassuring and I could not express my gratitude enough for keeping me informed.

Distance: 2,200 mi
Cost: $6,200
Per. Mile: $2.82
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
Colt C
Mankato, MN
Wrote a review on 6/25/2019
ABF ReloCube Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

ABF was prompt on the delivery of the unit both at the origin location and the destination location. Both locations were also in constant contact during their respective legs of the journey. While some items did get damaged in transit that is no fault of ABF and is a reminder that if your items are not secured properly then you never know what can happen. I would gladly use their service again for a long distance move as the container was well constructed and they do not force you to pay storage fees if you do not need them.

Distance: 620 mi
Cost: $1,400
Per. Mile: $2.26
SqFt. Moved: 600
Warren P
Venice, FL
Wrote a review on 6/13/2019
ABF ReloCube Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

ABF was absolutely outstanding. ABF clearly communicated pickup and delivery instructions oh, and they also updated me on the progress of my shipment. What's also great is the drivers are unionized, these guys are professionals.

Distance: 1,200 mi
Cost: $3,600
Per. Mile: $3.00
SqFt. Moved: 1,200
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
Mary P
Parker, CO
Wrote a review on 5/11/2019
1-800-Pack-Rat Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

This company provided excellent service. There was a slight difficulty in contacting them through the 800 number. The weight for customer service was too long, 30 minutes.

Distance: 1,200 mi
Cost: $1,840
Per. Mile: $1.53
SqFt. Moved: 1,350
Michael O
Sherman Oaks, CA
Wrote a review on 4/6/2019
Go Minis Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

We are using their smaller 12 foot container to store furniture and belongings prior to showing the house. The driver arrived on-time and was very professional and careful in the placement of the unit. The unit itself appears almost new, it is sturdy and has great capacity. When full they will pick it up, store it on their site for future delivery. I will update the review when we receive it at our new home. (local move)

Distance: 10 mi
Cost: $627
Per. Mile: $62.70
SqFt. Moved: 2,800
Elizabeth C
Portland, OR
Wrote a review on 12/31/2018
1-800-Pack-Rat Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Pack Rat did a good job of scheduling delivery of our container and picking it up once full. The customer service agents were nice and the drivers were great! The only reason I cannot give them an "Excellent" rating is unfortunately getting our full container delivered to our new location was a nightmare. 1.) They failed to mention that "10 days" really meant "10 business days" (weekends not included). 2.) They didn't advise us that the holidays would cause a delay to the delivery of our container. 3.) I called to request they expedite delivery and they never called back to provide an update. I sent several emails and never received a reply. After several attempts, I finally reached an agent that said my delivery wasn't even scheduled yet, which was surprising as we provided the date a few times. This all resulted in my family moving into an empty home and having to wait over a week to get our things. While it was an adventure "camping" in our new home, it was disappointing given how great the rest of the service was for our long distance move.

Distance: 680 mi
Cost: $1,800
Per. Mile: $2.65
SqFt. Moved: 900
Tamanna H
Nashville, TN
Wrote a review on 9/10/2018
ABF ReloCube Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

UPack is wonderful! I used the Relocube container for the first time. I was so nervous that my items would be damaged within the container during transport across state lines. I was pleasantly surprised to see everything intact and in great condition. Nothing had been damaged. Of course I had all delicate furniture pieces covered & protected first. But nothing got damaged during transport. I am so relieved.

Distance: 409 mi
Cost: $1,600
Per. Mile: $3.91
SqFt. Moved: 1,000
Karen D
Pittsfield, MA
Wrote a review on 4/5/2018
ABF ReloCube Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Have used this company many times in moves from East to West and West to East. They make moving simple and fast and my items always arrive safe and I damaged. Customer Service is outstanding from initial contact through drop off, pickup, and delivery. Just so easy to work with them. Used other rentals and moving companies but absolutely nothing compares to ABF Relocubes for cost, efficiency and ease.

Distance: 1,987 mi
Cost: $1,867
Per. Mile: $0.94
SqFt. Moved: 892
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
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
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

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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