Our top pick: PODS is the best moving container company. It deals with increased COVID-19 moving demand better than any other company and boasts 10% discounts, strong containers, and multiple storage options.
2022’s Best Moving and Storage Container Companies
- : Best overall
- : Strong containers
- : Low prices
- : Excellent reviews
- : Nationwide availability
Compare moving container companies
Data as of 3/7/2022. 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 should you look for in a moving container company?
Here are the most important things to look for when picking a moving container company:
- Availability. Most companies aren’t available nationwide. Make sure you find one with moving services in your origin and destination cities.
- Price. Low prices aren’t just good for your pocketbook. They can also indicate whether a company can keep up with the increased COVID-19 moving demand.
- Container sizes. Multiple sizes mean multiple options—and potential savings. Look for a container company that has more than one size or charges only for the space taken up by your belongings.
- Customer reviews. Few things matter more than what other customers say. Companies like U-Pack that get rave reviews mean that you’re more likely to have a positive moving experience.
- Storage options. The best moving container companies let you store your containers either at your home or their company storage warehouses.
- Container quality. Your options range from steel to plywood. Candidly, they all keep your items pretty secure. But there’s something to be said for seeing your belongings safely tucked away inside a 1-800-PACK-RAT or PODS heavy-duty container.
PODS is the best moving container company in the nation. No company has done a better job meeting demand during COVID-19. Plus, PODS keeps its rates reasonable while offering top-notch containers and on-site and at-home storage. The company also has a Move.org discount worth about $400 for the average move. The only real drawback is understanding the costs. PODS has so many separate billing charges that it’s hard to keep them straight.
Why we recommend PODS
It’s a COVID-19 rockstar
PODS performed at a high rate during COVID-19. As moving demand skyrocketed to record levels, PODS kept pace without breaking a sweat. Our analysis of industry-wide trends show that PODS didn’t struggle with increased demand nearly as much as most of its competitors. On the contrary, PODS seems to have thrived despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.
The container company has gotten more affordable at the same time. Three years ago, PODS pricing was about 5% above the industry average, and now, it’s about 2% below. That may not sound like much, but it equates to an overall price reduction of around $270.
We haven’t seen any other company that performed as well during COVID-19. That’s good news for your moving experience—and your pocket book.
10% Move.org discount
PODS offers all Move.org readers a 10% discount. That’s a savings of nearly $400 based on the average moving cost. You can use that money for everything from shipping your car to hiring people to help pack. Heck, you don’t even have to be responsible. You can celebrate your move-in by eating at a fancy restaurant or getting extra fast internet. The point is, PODS gives you money to play with.
And this isn’t a Move.org sales pitch. We don’t make anything extra from the discount. It’s something PODS does to set itself apart from the competition.
Get your online PODS discount for Move.org readers—or call 866-229-4120 and ask for promo code "MOVEORG."
Positive customer reviews
PODS moving container customers tend to give the company higher marks than its competitors. We analyzed 16,000-plus reviews and found that PODS has an average rating of 3.1 out of 5 stars—about 0.2 stars higher than average. That might sound like splitting hairs, but this industry is known for terrible reviews. Batting average is an accomplishment. Anything after that is gravy.
These are some of the positive customer review trends we noticed:
- Fast service. PODS movers seem to get things done quickly. Most customers aren’t waiting around all day for moving containers to arrive.
- Friendly reps. Customers often shout out the company’s telephone reps. PODS takes an “s” or two out of the typical stressssssful moving experience review.
- Low prices. Many customers mentioned how low PODS prices were for long-distance moves. We see that proof in our pricing analysis, too. For example, PODS is about $540 cheaper than the industry average for moves over 2,000 miles.
Want to save upwards of $400?
1-800-PACK-RAT barely missed out on our top spot. It boasts the most robust moving containers in the industry and lets you choose from multiple sizes. Plus, 1-800-PACK-RAT price matches with PODS. You even get free 24/7 surveillance if you use a 1-800-PACK-RAT storage facility. On the downside, it’s available in only 30 states and tends to score below average with customers.
Why we recommend 1-800-PACK-RAT
1-800-PACK-RAT leads the pack (sorry, bad pun) for container strength. Only two companies use steel in their containers: PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT. But while PODS has steel frames, 1-800-PACK-RAT has all-steel moving containers. Both are suitable for nearly any job. But you get that “extra safe” feeling with 1-800-PACK-RAT. It has the best containers on the market, bar none.
We’ve never talked with a moving container company that’s more proactive about saving you money than 1-800-PACK-RAT. Virtually every rep we spoke to asked if we had quotes from other companies and then offered to match the price.
The discount typically applies only to PODS. However, we also spoke with 1-800-PACK-RAT reps, who said they’d try to lower our price if we already had a quote from another company. What’s remarkable is that we never asked 1-800-PACK-RAT reps if they would price match. They brought it up on their own every time.
Shopping for a mover can be complicated—but not with 1-800-PACK-RAT. When you get quotes from other container companies, you often feel like the fast-typing Kermit the Frog gif as you try to keep up with the reps. It’s much different with 1-800-PACK-RAT. The process is so easy that it feels like cheating. You provide a few basic details, and then the rep gives you an easy-to-understand quote. The entire process often takes less than five minutes.
We’ve made hundreds of these calls, and no company leaves us feeling as stress-free as 1-800-PACK-RAT.
Move.org Tests Out 1-800-PACK-RAT
Wondering how 1-800-PACK-RAT really performs? Move.org put 1-800-PACK-RAT's moving services to the test when our team member Adam moved from Park City, Utah, to San Clemente, California. He captured every element of the move in this video, including getting a moving quote, parking the container, testing out how much stuff fit inside (and how to secure it), and getting the container delivered to his new home. Our verdict? 1-800-PACK-RAT delivers.
Zippy Shell—Low prices
Zippy Shell has the lowest moving container prices in the nation. It also has a sizable 15-foot steel container and lets you choose between at-home and facility storage options. With availability in only 28 states, Zippy Shell can be tough to find in your area. But its low prices and high-quality container are significant enough to warrant a third-place rank on our list of the best moving container companies. Zippy Shell is tough to beat if you can find a nearby location.
What to know about Zippy Shell
Zippy Shell has the industry’s lowest moving container prices. Frankly, that surprises us. Zippy Shell has only one container size (its website incorrectly advertises two).1 Not only is it big (15-feet long), but it’s also tough as nails (steel construction). Common sense says that it should be more expensive than smaller containers made of cheaper materials you find at other companies. But it’s cheaper.
And the numbers don’t lie. We looked at nearly 140 quotes and found that Zippy Shell can save you an average of around $390. The only exception is if you have a small living space like a one-bedroom apartment. That costs about $250 more than other companies. But every other home size highlights what Zippy Shell brings to the table: the best portable storage prices in the United States.
Zippy Shell moving container prices
Data as of 3/7/2022. 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.
Flexible storage options
Zippy Shell makes it easy to use your moving container for portable storage. The company offers two standout storage features:
- At-home storage. You can keep Zippy Shell containers on-site at your home for as long as you need. (Monthly storage fees vary by location.) The indefinite option is a big win if you have a big remodel in the works or your new home isn’t move-in ready.
- Facility storage. Zippy Shell has company storage facilities scattered across 100 different cities. While the limited availability is a drawback (some companies serve thousands of municipalities), it’s nice to have a built-in storage unit in your back pocket. Zippy Shell charges a monthly facility storage fee that includes temperature controls to keep belongings, like paperwork and antiques, safe in extreme temperatures.
Zippy Shell would score higher in our rankings if it were more widely available. The company has locations in only 28 states—less than any company on this list. Zippy Shell ranks highly because of its low prices and ability to meet COVID-19 moving demand. However, a moving service is only helpful if there’s one in your neighborhood. And in this case, your options are limited to about half the country.
Zippy Shell availability by region
|West||CA, CO, ID, NV, OR, UT, WA|
|Midwest||IL, IA, MI, MN, OH, WI|
|Northeast||MD, MA, NJ, NY, PA|
|Southeast||AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, NC, TN, VA|
Zippy Shell location information as of 3/30/22.
Looking for the lowest moving container prices?
U-Pack stakes its claim to fame on two important qualities: excellent reviews and nationwide availability. No other moving container company has such an impressive one-two punch. U-Pack also offers a $25 discount for online orders and has an extra insurance option if you care about damage protection. The drawbacks are significant, though. U-Pack doesn’t come cheap, can’t do long-distance moves, and isn’t an option for at-home portable storage longer than three days.
What to know about U-Pack
Excellent customer reviews
No moving container company gets better customer review scores than U-Pack. We crunched the numbers for more than 16,000 reviews across nearly a dozen sites. U-Pack leads the competition by almost a full star. That’s saying something for an industry where customers are conservative with kudos.
Customers often praise U-Pack for fast service, professional movers, and low costs. Regarding that last point, affordable rates used to be a U-Pack selling point. However, things have changed. After struggling to meet increased COVID-19 moving demand, U-Pack has gone from being 2020’s most-affordable option to this year’s most expensive. It’s a hard pill to swallow.
Still, history counts. We may not reward U-Pack for raising its rates 70% in three years. But we do factor in years of positive customer reviews. All indications are that the moving container company continues to provide a high-quality service liked by customers. It’s just more expensive than it used to be.
You can find U-Pack everywhere in the United States. By comparison, the average company not named U-Pack is available in only 35 states. That means there’s a 30% chance that other companies can’t even get you where you need to go. In other words, this is a big deal.
U-Pack’s only real competition here is U-Haul’s U-Box container. However, while U-Haul cracks our top five (primarily because of availability), it’s like night and day compared to U-Pack. While U-Haul is known for bad customer service and hidden fees, U-Pack has excellent reviews and transparent pricing. Both companies are nationally available, but only one (U-Pack) provides high-quality service.
U-Pack has struggled to keep pace with all of the ups and downs associated with the global pandemic. These aren’t small hiccups, either. U-Pack dropped from first to fourth place in our rankings based on a few red flags:
- High prices. The difference between U-Pack’s 2020 and 2022 pricing is extreme. U-Pack went from the least to most expensive moving container company during those three years. Its average price is now almost $800 more than the competition.
- Longer waits. U-Pack could deliver your ReloCubes within four to six days before COVID-19. Now, it takes nearly twice as long (8 to 10 days).
- More trailers. Technically, the company has only one container size: a U-Pack ReloCube measuring six by seven by eight feet. When we analyzed quotes in 2020, virtually all of them were for U-Pack ReloCubes. Now, two-thirds of U-Pack moves (16 of 24 quotes) use trailers instead of ReloCubes. There’s no decline in quality, and the trailers often cost less than ReloCubes. But U-Pack isn’t (or wasn’t) a trailer delivery company. Its shining star was the ReloCube, and now it’s missing in action.
- Website issues. U-Pack’s website needs a good dose of TLC. The company still advertises a “100% satisfaction guarantee” that refunds all your transportation fees if it doesn’t deliver your belongings within a two-hour window on the promised date.2 The guarantee would be a huge selling point, but U-Pack no longer offers it. We’re concerned that it’s still advertised online.
U-Pack isn’t the only mover to experience growing pains during the pandemic. Every company on this list has had some stumbles. U-Pack has just struggled more than most. Impressively, U-Pack’s customer service is so incredible that the company still lands a spot on our Top 5 list.
U-Pack has the industry’s best customer reviews
U-Haul U-Box—Nationwide availability
U-Haul U-Box’s greatest strength is its nationwide availability. You can find it virtually anywhere. It also provides local moves and long-distance moves and has excellent rates for cross-country trips. The drawbacks are significant, though. U-Haul has only one small container size and charges a hidden $99 fee for each one. Plus, its customer service is rock-bottom. We recommend U-Haul only if you can’t find another affordable option near you.
What to know about U-Haul U-Box
You can find U-Haul U-Box virtually anywhere. The company has so many locations that it can’t pinpoint the exact number (our best guess is north of 20,000). Availability is U-Haul’s greatest strength.
Plus, you can use U-Box containers for international moves. U-Haul can send your container everywhere in North America—and services almost every port in the world. We’d recommend higher-quality Still, U-Haul U-Box is an international moving option if you can’t afford the bells and whistles of a full-service move.
To recap: U-Box containers are available in all 50 states, everywhere in North America, and can even go to international ports. It’s easy to see why we value U-Haul’s availability.
Check SV with Charles. This is a potential high-profit VS piece we could write for his U-Haul strategy.
U-Haul U-Box has low prices. U-Box containers aren’t the most affordable container (that honor belongs to Zippy Shell), but you can still save a chunk of change. We analyzed more than 140 quotes and found that U-Haul can save you around $170 on the average move. That’s money you can put towards shipping a car or hiring moving labor.
Just watch out for hidden fees. U-Haul charges a $99 fee for every U-Box container that isn’t on your initial invoice. Plus, the U-Haul U-Box is tiny, so chances are high that you will need more containers than you anticipate. For example, a three-bedroom home requires around four shipping containers (PODS can do it with one). That means the average U-Haul U-Box move racks up nearly $300 in fees that aren’t on your first bill.
Terrible customer service
U-Haul has terrible customer service. We don’t use that word lightly, but poor customer service doesn’t do it justice. We’ve talked to countless U-Haul reps over the years and can’t recall a single good experience. Wait times are long. Agents consistently give inaccurate information. Supervisors aren’t any more accurate but require an extra 30-minute hold time. It isn’t good.
But it’s also nothing you probably don’t know. The trade-offs for U-Haul aren’t secret: nationwide availability and low prices in exchange for rock-bottom customer service.
Note: We aren’t grading U-Haul U-Box customer service based on our firsthand experiences. Our analysis of more than 16,000 moving container customer reviews found that U-Haul scores nearly a full star lower than the industry average.
Ship your belongings almost everywhere in the world.
PODS is our top-rated moving container company. Its low prices get even lower when applying a 10% Move.org discount. The company has flexible at-home and facility storage options. PODS has even managed to keep up with increased COVID-19 moving demand when other companies fell behind. Plus, you can find its steel-framed containers in almost every state. No other company offers so much for so little.
Looking for low prices and high quality?
Moving container FAQ
What is the best moving company?
How much do moving containers cost?
Moving containers cost approximately $3,870 for the average move. Prices vary depending on home size and distance. For example, it costs more to move a three-bedroom home across the country than to ship a studio apartment from one side of San Diego to the other.
What are other companies like PODS?
Several companies like PODS sell portable storage containers, including U-Pack, 1-800-PACK-RAT, Zippy Shell, and SMARTBOX. You can often store the containers at your home or a company storage facility.
What is the cheapest way to move long-distance?
The cheapest way to move long-distance is to use moving containers. The best moving container companies like PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT often save you money over rental trucks because you don’t pay for expenses like travel and lodging.
Is PODS better than a moving company?
It depends on your needs. PODS is better than a company like International Van Lines from a cost perspective. However, the lower price tag means that you have to do loading and unloading work in place of professional movers.
How much does PODS cost?
PODS costs about $3,810 for the average move. Prices range from approximately $850 to move a one-room apartment 100 miles to $7,790 to transport a five-bedroom home across the country.
Where can I find small moving storage containers?
You can find small moving storage containers by contacting PODS, U-Pack, or U-Haul. Small containers often hold up to one room’s worth of belongings.
Where to find small moving containers
Data as of 2/1/2022. All measurements are approximate.
What are the best U-Box alternatives?
How much does it cost to rent a moving container?
The average cost to rent a moving container is approximately $3,870. Prices vary depending on things like container size, time of year, and the distance of your move. The cheapest moving container companies can often save you hundreds of dollars compared to the industry average.
What are the best cube companies?
The best moving cube companies are PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT. PODS has lower initial prices and double the service area, while 1-800-PACK-RAT offers price matching and has all-steel containers.
What is portable storage?
Portable storage is a moving industry term that refers to moving containers (or moving cubes). Rather than storing belongings in a storage unit, a portable storage company brings a storage container to your home.
What companies have portable storage containers?
Many companies have portable storage containers, including PODS, 1-800-PACK-RAT, Zippy Shell, and U-Haul. Costs vary depending on how far you transport the storage containers and how big your home is.
What are the best moving truck companies?
The best moving truck companies are Penske Truck Rental, Budget Truck Rental, and U-Haul, according to Move.org. Penske is the best rental truck company because of its low prices, reliable rental trucks, and long-distance moving expertise.
Is PODS cheaper than U-Haul?
PODS is sometimes cheaper than U-Haul. The container company can generally beat U-Box container prices for a local move, while U-Haul has lower rates for coast-to-coast moves.
What are the dimensions of a PODS container?
PODS has three moving containers that range in length from approximately 6 to 15 feet. The weight limit for a PODS container varies from about 4,200 to 5,200 pounds.
PODS container dimensions
|Small||6 ft. 6 in. x 6 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.||5,200 lbs|
|Medium||11 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.||4,700 lbs|
|Large||15 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.||4,200 lbs|
Data as of 2/1/22. PODS container sizes are estimates.
What can you put in a portable moving container?
You can put most household goods in a portable moving container. Most container companies prohibit items such as hazardous materials, flammable liquids, and weapons.
How do I get a moving quote for long-distance moves?
You can get a moving quote for long-distance moves by contacting a moving container company and providing basic details about your shipment. The moving company will then give you an estimated quote.
What should I not pack in my moving container?
You shouldn’t pack anything in your moving container that is priceless, hazardous, dangerous, perishable, or alive (similar rules also apply to storage units). A sample list of prohibited items includes things like food, animals, and machinery:
- Financial documents
- Fur or clothing with fur linings
- Valuable jewelry
What is Moving Place?
Moving Place is a company specializing in long-distance moves. Moving Place provides a truck, driver, fuel, and transportation, while you take care of loading and unloading.
Move.org follows a six-step process to identify the nation’s best moving container companies:
- Compare quotes. We obtained and analyzed nearly 300 quotes from 7 of the nation’s largest moving container companies over 3 years.
- Mystery shopping. We do a top-to-bottom analysis of each company’s website and even call posing as customers. It helps us get a feel for what real-life customers experience.
- Analyze reviews. We read dozens of reviews for each company to see what most impresses (and turns off) customers. We also conducted a meta-analysis of more than 16,000 reviews to calculate an industry customer review average.
- Pay real-life customers for honest feedback. Move.org routinely gives away $500 moving grants in exchange for candid feedback about using moving container companies.
- Site visits. We invite industry experts and company executives to visit our headquarters in Salt Lake City, UT. We grill them on everything from pricing and customer reviews to insurance coverage and the latest industry trends.
- Annual review. Every year, we repeat the process to ensure that our list of the best moving container companies stays current. That means our top recommendations and industry prices may change each year.