What Is the Average Cost of Moving Containers?

Kurt Manwaring
Researcher & Writer
Read More
Published on January 07, 2021
6 min read

At a glance

The average cost of a moving container is about $3,000—although prices vary depending on how far you’re traveling and how much stuff you have. Even the time of year makes a difference. We looked at the best moving container companies to see which ones are most affordable in certain situations.

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How much do moving containers cost?

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 bedrooms
Average cost

1

$2,000

2

$2,570

3

$3,220

5

$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?

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.


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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 bedrooms
Average cost

1

$2,000

2

$2,570

3

$3,220

5

$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 cost
Amount above or below average

Average

$1,720

NA

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-Pack

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 cost
Amount above or below average

Average

$2,580

NA

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

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 cost
Amount above or below average

Average

$3,210

NA

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

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 cost
Amount above or below average

Average

$2,800

NA

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

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 cost
Amount above or below average

Average

$3,910

NA

1-800-PACK-RAT

$4,580

$670 higher

PODS

$4,570

$660 higher

SMARTBOX

$3,910

Same as average

U-Box

$3,060

$850 lower

U-Pack

$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 cost
Amount above or below average

Average

$3,500

NA

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

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 cost
Amount above or below average

Average

$2,000

NA

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

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 cost
Amount above or below average

Average

$2,570

NA

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

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 cost
Amount above or below average

Average

$3,220

NA

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

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 cost
Amount above or below average

Average

$4,500

NA

1-800-PACK-RAT

$4,520

$20 higher

PODS

$5,060

$560 higher

SMARTBOX

Unable to obtain quotes

NA

U-Box

$4,420

$80 lower

U-Pack

$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 cost
Best for

U-Pack

$2,610

Lowest overall prices

U-Box

$2,840

Long-distance moves

PODS

$3,160

Short-distance moves

1-800-PACK-RAT

$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.


Kurt Manwaring
Written by
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.