What Is the Average Cost of Moving Containers?

At a glance

You already know moving containers can save you a lot of money. But how much do they cost?

The average cost of moving containers is about $3,000 and is largely determined by how far you’re moving and how big your home is. If all you’re doing is taking your chair and a few belongings 100 miles, you can get the job done for about $800.

But if you’ve got four kids who each have their own rooms and are moving across the county? Yikes! It could cost as much as $6,000.

U-Pack has the lowest prices overall, but each container company has the lowest price for specific types of moves.

Read on to see which company has the lowest average cost for each kind of move.

Methodology

We collected 120 quotes from our best moving container companies and looked at two main variables:

  • Home size (1–5 rooms)
  • Distance (100–2,050 miles)

We ended up with the average costs—and found ways to help save you money.

Average cost of moving containers by home size

# of bedroomsAverage cost
1$2,000
2$2,570
3$3,220
5$4,500
# of bedrooms
1
2
3
5
Average cost
$2,000
$2,570
$3,220
$4,500

Data current as of 5/4/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.

While this article breaks down averages by home size and distance, you can learn more about our findings designed to save you up to hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on your container move:

Price tag

HOW MUCH TO MOVE WITH A CONTAINER?

HOW MUCH TO MOVE WITH A CONTAINER?

The average cost to move using moving containers is about $3,000. Our research finds that U-Pack has the best overall prices, while PODS is best for short distances and 1-800-PACK-RAT is best for midsize homes.

Key takeaways

Your move could be more or less than the average

The average cost of shipping a container is about $3,000 per move. However, because prices vary widely by home size, move distance, and container company, your move could cost more or less than the average.

Each company is the cheapest for something

Not every move is the same. You could be moving a 1-bedroom apartment or 5-bedroom home over 100 miles or all the way across the country. Our research identifies when each company has the lowest cost for moving containers:

  • U-Pack has the lowest overall prices.
  • PODS has the lowest prices for short distances.
  • 1-800-PACK-RAT has the lowest prices for midsize homes.
  • U-Box has the lowest prices for long distances.

The price goes up as home size increases

The average cost of a moving container goes up as home size increases. The more rooms in your home, the higher your price:

Average cost of moving containers by home size

# of bedroomsAverage cost
1$2,000
2$2,570
3$3,220
5$4,500
# of bedrooms
1
2
3
5
Average cost
$2,000
$2,570
$3,220
$4,500

Data current as of 5/4/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.

What’s the average cost of moving containers per mile?

The average cost of moving containers is about $2.50 per mile.

Shorter moves are less expensive overall, but they have a much higher per-mile cost. A move of 1,750 miles drops to as low as $1.60 per mile, while moving 100 miles is more than 10 times higher with a cost of $16.50 per mile.

We looked at six approximate distances in our research:

  1. 100 miles
  2. 475 miles
  3. 1025 miles
  4. 1750 miles
  5. 1850 miles
  6. 2050 miles

Moving container transport cost (100 miles)

The average cost per mile for a move of 100 miles is about $16.50. PODS is the least expensive company we found with a price that is almost $600 below the average.

Average moving container transport cost (100 miles)

Average costAmount above or below average
Average$1,720NA
1-800-PACK-RAT$2,020$300 higher
PODS$1,160$560 lower
SMARTBOX$1,980$260 higher
U-Box$1,770$50 higher
U-PackNot offeredNA
Average
1-800-PACK-RAT
PODS
SMARTBOX
U-Box
U-Pack
Average cost Amount above or below average
$1,720 NA
$2,020 $300 higher
$1,160 $560 lower
$1,980 $260 higher
$1,770 $50 higher
Not offered NA

Data current as of 5/4/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.

Moving container transport cost (475 miles)

The average cost per mile for a move of 475 miles is about $5.60. U-Pack is the least expensive company we found with a price that is nearly $700 below the average.

Average moving container transport cost (475 miles)

Average costAmount above or below average
Average$2,580NA
1-800-PACK-RAT$2,770$190 higher
PODS$2,930$350 higher
SMARTBOX$2,530$50 lower
U-Box$2,730$150 higher
U-Pack$1,920$660 lower
Average
1-800-PACK-RAT
PODS
SMARTBOX
U-Box
U-Pack
Average cost Amount above or below average
$2,580 NA
$2,770 $190 higher
$2,930 $350 higher
$2,530 $50 lower
$2,730 $150 higher
$1,920 $660 lower

Data current as of 5/4/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.

Moving container transport cost (1,025 miles)

The average cost per mile for a move of 1,025 miles is about $3.10. U-Pack is the least expensive company we found with a price that is $600 below the average.

Average moving container transport cost (1,025 miles)

Average costAmount above or below average
Average$3,210NA
1-800-PACK-RAT$3,470$260 higher
PODS$3,830$620 higher
SMARTBOX$2,990$220 lower
U-Box$3,090$120 lower
U-Pack$2,610$600 lower
Average
1-800-PACK-RAT
PODS
SMARTBOX
U-Box
U-Pack
Average cost Amount above or below average
$3,210 NA
$3,470 $260 higher
$3,830 $620 higher
$2,990 $220 lower
$3,090 $120 lower
$2,610 $600 lower

Data current as of 5/4/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.

Moving container transport cost (1,750 miles)

The average cost per mile for a move of 1,750 miles is about $1.60. U-Pack is the least expensive company we found with a price that is nearly $900 below the average.

Average moving container transport cost (1,750 miles)

Average costAmount above or below average
Average$2,800NA
1-800-PACK-RAT$3,290$490 higher
PODS$2,870$70 higher
SMARTBOX$3,200$400 higher
U-Box$2,830$30 higher
U-Pack$1,930$870 lower
Average
1-800-PACK-RAT
PODS
SMARTBOX
U-Box
U-Pack
Average cost Amount above or below average
$2,800 NA
$3,290 $490 higher
$2,870 $70 higher
$3,200 $400 higher
$2,830 $30 higher
$1,930 $870 lower

Data current as of 5/4/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.

Moving container transport cost (1,850 miles)

The average cost per mile for a move of 1,850 miles is about $2.10. U-Box is the least expensive company we found with a price that is $850 below the average.

Average moving container transport cost (1,850 miles)

Average costAmount above or below average
Average$3,910NA
1-800-PACK-RAT$4,580$670 higher
PODS$4,570$660 higher
SMARTBOX$3,910Same as average
U-Box$3,060$850 lower
U-Pack$3,420$490 lower
Average
1-800-PACK-RAT
PODS
SMARTBOX
U-Box
U-Pack
Average cost Amount above or below average
$3,910 NA
$4,580 $670 higher
$4,570 $660 higher
$3,910 Same as average
$3,060 $850 lower
$3,420 $490 lower

Data current as of 5/4/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.

Moving container transport cost (2,050 miles)

The average cost per mile for a move of 2,050 miles is about $1.70. U-Pack is the least expensive company we found with a price that is $300 below the average.

Average moving container transport cost (2,050 miles)

Average costAmount above or below average
Average$3,500NA
1-800-PACK-RAT$3,590$90 higher
PODS$3,610$110 higher
SMARTBOX$3,510$10 higher
U-Box$3,590$90 higher
U-Pack$3,190$310 lower
Average
1-800-PACK-RAT
PODS
SMARTBOX
U-Box
U-Pack
Average cost Amount above or below average
$3,500 NA
$3,590 $90 higher
$3,610 $110 higher
$3,510 $10 higher
$3,590 $90 higher
$3,190 $310 lower

Data current as of 5/4/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.

What’s the average cost of moving containers per bedroom?

The average cost of moving containers is about $1,090 per bedroom.

Smaller moves are less expensive overall, but they have a much higher per-room cost. A 5-bedroom home drops to as low as $900 per room, while a 1-bedroom apartment rises to an average of $2,000.

We looked at four home sizes in our research:

  1. One-room apartment
  2. Two-room home
  3. Three-room home
  4. Five-room home

Moving container transport cost (one bedroom)

The average cost for a 1-bedroom apartment is approximately $2,000. U-Pack is the least expensive company we found with a price that is $700 lower than the average.

Average moving container transport cost (one bedroom)

Average costAmount above or below average
Average$2,000NA
1-800-PACK-RAT$2,870$870 higher
PODS$1,960$40 lower
SMARTBOX$2,110$110 higher
U-Box$1,680$320 lower
U-Pack$1,280$720 lower
Average
1-800-PACK-RAT
PODS
SMARTBOX
U-Box
U-Pack
Average cost Amount above or below average
$2,000 NA
$2,870 $870 higher
$1,960 $40 lower
$2,110 $110 higher
$1,680 $320 lower
$1,280 $720 lower

Data current as of 5/4/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.

Moving container transport cost (two bedrooms)

The average cost per room for a 2-bedroom home is approximately $1,290. U-Pack is the least expensive company we found with a price that is almost $400 lower than the average.

Average moving container transport cost (two bedrooms)

Average costAmount above or below average
Average$2,570NA
1-800-PACK-RAT$2,870$300 higher
PODS$2,660$90 lower
SMARTBOX$2,740$170 higher
U-Box$2,340$230 lower
U-Pack$2,180$390 lower
Average
1-800-PACK-RAT
PODS
SMARTBOX
U-Box
U-Pack
Average cost Amount above or below average
$2,570 NA
$2,870 $300 higher
$2,660 $90 lower
$2,740 $170 higher
$2,340 $230 lower
$2,180 $390 lower

Data current as of 5/4/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.

Moving container transport cost (three bedrooms)

The average cost per room for a 3-bedroom home is approximately $1,070. 1-800-PACK-RAT is the least expensive company we found with a price that is $350 lower than the average.

Average moving container transport cost (three bedrooms)

Average costAmount above or below average
Average$3,220NA
1-800-PACK-RAT$2,870$350 lower
PODS$2,970$250 lower
SMARTBOX$4,200$980 higher
U-Box$2,940$280 lower
U-Pack$3,090$130 lower
Average
1-800-PACK-RAT
PODS
SMARTBOX
U-Box
U-Pack
Average cost Amount above or below average
$3,220 NA
$2,870 $350 lower
$2,970 $250 lower
$4,200 $980 higher
$2,940 $280 lower
$3,090 $130 lower

Data current as of 5/4/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.

Moving container transport cost (five bedrooms)

The average cost per room for a 5-bedroom home is approximately $900. U-Pack is the least expensive company we found with a price that is $600 lower than the average.

Average moving container transport cost (five bedrooms)

Average costAmount above or below average
Average$4,500NA
1-800-PACK-RAT$4,520$20 higher
PODS$5,060$560 higher
SMARTBOXUnable to obtain quotesNA
U-Box$4,420$80 lower
U-Pack$3,890$610 lower
Average
1-800-PACK-RAT
PODS
SMARTBOX
U-Box
U-Pack
Average cost Amount above or below average
$4,500 NA
$4,520 $20 higher
$5,060 $560 higher
Unable to obtain quotes NA
$4,420 $80 lower
$3,890 $610 lower

Data current as of 5/4/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.

Average cost of a shipping container FAQ

How much does it cost to move with containers?

The average cost of moving containers is approximately $3,000 per move. Costs vary depending on factors such as home size, distance, and company. The least expensive moving container company is U-Pack (with an average cost of $2,610 per move).

How much is a storage container?

The cost for a storage container varies depending on the construction material of your moving container. Wooden containers are the least expensive (and least sturdy), while steel containers are the most expensive (and most reliable).

What goes into the cost for moving containers?

Moving container cost is influenced by several factors:

  • Size of your home
  • Distance of your move
  • Container construction materials
  • Storage time
  • Moving company

How do I find low-cost moving containers?

You can find low-cost moving containers by reading Move.org’s list of the cheapest moving container companies. Each company has the lowest prices for specific types of moves.

Average cost of moving containers by home size

Average costBest for
U-Pack$2,610Lowest overall prices
U-Box$2,840Long-distance moves
PODS$3,160Short-distance moves
1-800-PACK-RAT$3,290Midsize homes
U-Pack
U-Box
PODS
1-800-PACK-RAT
Average cost Best for
$2,610 Lowest overall prices
$2,840 Long-distance moves
$3,160 Short-distance moves
$3,290 Midsize homes

Data current as of 5/4/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.

How much does a PODS container cost?

The average cost of a PODS container move is approximately $3,160. Our research shows the PODS container is least expensive for 1-bedroom homes at a distance of 100 miles. This move costs only $820, while the average cost for the same move from our best container companies is $1,280.

Can I use a moving container as portable storage?

Yes, a moving container also doubles as a portable storage container. For example, you can use the container for storage if you’re renovating your house or doing a major home remodel.

A container company will typically charge automatically for portable storage. The notable exception is U-Pack, which only charges for temporary storage if you want it.

What affects container home delivery?

A moving container company can deliver a container to your home if it meets this criteria:

  • You have an accessible driveway or curbside parking.
  • Your city permits it.
  • Your HOA allows it.

Can I get help loading my moving container?

Yes, hourly moving labor companies can help you load and unload your moving container—even if you’re using it for temporary storage of your household goods. Check out our list of the best moving labor companies to learn more about hiring a part-time mover.

About Kurt Manwaring

Kurt Manwaring
Kurt Manwaring brings nearly a decade’s worth of research experience as a business consultant to the Move.org team. He specializes in taking complicated issues (like moving) and presenting them in a way that everyone can understand. His writing has been featured in hundreds of publications, including USA Today, Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Heavy, Slate, and Yahoo! Lifestyle. He would love to hear about your moving experiences and questions at kurt@move.org.