We tracked down the best moving container companies to help you find the best fit for your situation. Our overall winner is U-Pack. Its low costs, wide availability, and top-notch customer service are tough to beat.
2021’s Best Moving and Storage Container Companies
U-Pack’s prices are so low that it puts about $400 back in your pocket compared to other moving container companies. You’ve heard the saying: “More money, more problems.” Well, now you can find out if it’s true.
But it doesn’t stop there. U-Pack also has a pay-for-what-you-use policy that allows you to order extra containers—but only pay if you use them. It also scores top-shelf customer reviews and has instant online quotes to make your life easier (who wants to wait on hold these days?). On the downside, U-Pack doesn’t let you store the U-Pack ReloCube at your home (a problem if you’re hoping to unload the container over several days)—and it offers only long-distance moves.
What sets U-Pack apart?
U-Pack has the lowest prices
No moving container company has better prices than U-Pack. We compared U-Pack quotes to hundreds of estimates from other moving container companies. We looked at small homes and big ones, short distances and cross-country trips, and quite a bit in between. What did we find? On average, U-Pack’s prices are about 15% cheaper than competitors.
Moving a tiny apartment? U-Pack is $820 less expensive than other companies. Got a five-bedroom brownstone that people say looks like ritzy suburb homes in holiday movies where everybody gathers together? Look for U-Pack to save you $720 over the competition. It’s tough to beat prices this low.
Average U-Pack moving container prices
Data as of 8/10/20. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.
U-Pack has a pay-for-what-you-use policy
U-Pack makes it easy to plan for a big move without paying through the nose. Moving container companies often charge per container, so the more stuff you have, the more it costs. But U-Pack does things differently. It charges by the number of containers you fill up rather than how many you order. So if you’re not sure how many containers you need, err on the safe side and get an extra one. If you don’t use it, you don’t have to pay for it.
Looking for the very best?
1-800-PACK-RAT—Tons of deals
1-800-PACK-RAT offers more discounts and price matching deals than any other moving container company. Its high-quality containers mean a lofty price tag—but only to start with. Thanks to loads of discounts, 1-800-PACK-RAT’s prices often drop below average for moving containers. And that’s saying something for a moving company with the strongest containers on the market.
1-800-PACK-RAT even offers local and long-distance delivery (some companies do only one or the other). The biggest drawback is that 1-800-PACK-RAT’s bills can be confusing (it breaks your invoice into so many different fees that you can leave feeling like you’re not 100% sure what your final price is).
What sets 1-800-PACK-RAT apart?
1-800-PACK-RAT is serious about discounts
1-800-PACK-RAT makes up for initial high prices with discounts and price matching. Virtually every time we called 1-800-PACK-RAT, friendly reps offered to meet or beat PODS’s price (it doesn’t have the same deal for companies like U-Box with flimsy containers). That equates to an instant 5% savings if 1-800-PACK-RAT is willing to price match.
And the price cuts keep coming. 1-800-PACK-RAT has tons of moving container discounts for everyone from college students to medical professionals:
- Best price guarantee
- Local moves
- First responders
- Medical professionals
- Military members
- Senior citizens
Most of 1-800-PACK-RAT’s discounts save you an extra 10%—bringing the company in line with other low-cost players like U-Pack and U-Box. That’s even more impressive when you consider the next selling point for 1-800-PACK-RAT: strong moving containers.
1-800-PACK-RAT has the strongest moving containers
1-800-PACK-RAT is the best of the best when it comes to container quality. Moving container construction ranges from low-quality wood to generic metal to steel. The second best container company (PODS) makes its containers with a steel frame. But 1-800-PACK-RAT takes things to a whole new level. Not only does 1-800-PACK-RAT have a steel frame, but it also has steel walls and doors. The company doesn’t say whether its containers could withstand a missile strike—but if anyone stood a chance, it would be 1-800-PACK-RAT. No company has stronger moving containers.
Looking for excellent container quality?
At Move.org, we offer financial assistance to individuals and families who are moving in exchange for details about their experience. Their candid reviews help us provide unique, real-life perspectives about the moving process.
Visit our Moving Grant hub to find out which companies we’ve worked with and to apply for funding for your next move!
PODS—Great customer service
PODS goes out of its way to give you a top-notch customer experience. Its customer service reps get the highest marks in the business, and PODS has three container sizes to give you more flexibility. PODS is also available in nearly every state and offers both local and long-distance service. On the downside, it doesn’t include taxes in your estimate, and you have to call for a quote for moves over 50 miles. But with customer service this fantastic, that’s less of a drawback than it might be with other companies.
What sets PODS apart?
PODS has excellent customer service
None of our top moving container companies get better customer reviews than PODS. We did the math, and PODS’s average customer review score of 3.8 out of 5 stars is a half star higher than the industry average. People love its consistently professional drivers and on-time delivery. And they often praise PODS’s customer service reps. To see if the praise was legit, we repeatedly called PODS posing as customers. Time after time, we came away impressed with how easy it was to get accurate answers to our questions.
Get your online PODS discount for Move.org readers—or call 866-229-4120 and ask for promo code "MOVEORG."
How much does a PODS move cost?
A PODS move costs about $3,160. PODS’s initial prices are slightly high, but the moving container company erases that problem with a huge discount. All Move.org readers qualify for a 10% discount. Since it can cost thousands of dollars to move, those savings add fast. When you compare PODS to the industry average for small or midsize homes, the average price savings is over $300.
The size of your home also impacts the cost of your PODS move. For example, a one-room apartment costs approximately $1,760 while a five-room home sets you back about $4,550. In each case, PODS costs less than the industry average.
PODS moving container prices (after discount)
Amount below industry average
Data as of 8/10/2020. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.
Take advantage of a 10% discount for Move.org readers
Lower the cost of your move by asking around for free packing supplies and moving boxes. We’ve got some tips to get you started.
Zippy Shell—Flexible delivery
Zippy Shell has one of the coolest containers we’ve seen. The company’s cagelike construction lets you tie down your belongings every few inches, so things don’t fall during transport. Zippy Shell even offers to stagger your containers’ delivery in case you don’t need them all. So what’s not to love? Unfortunately, Zippy Shell is available in only 28 states—and it doesn’t include container rental fees in your quotes ($159 per month).
What sets Zippy Shell apart?
Zippy Shell has flexible delivery
Zippy Shell helps you save money by staggering the delivery of your moving containers. Since you pay per container, costs can add up if you order more than you need. While most companies deliver the number of containers you request—and charge you for them—Zippy Shell brings you only the containers you need.
If you think you need three containers but might be able to get the job done with two, Zippy Shell can split up your delivery. By bringing you two containers on one day but scheduling a third container for another day, you can cancel the next scheduled delivery if it turns out you don’t need it. And since a single Zippy Shell container can cost well over a thousand dollars, you’re looking at a boatload of savings.
Zippy Shell containers are unique (in a good way)
Zippy Shell containers have something we haven’t seen before: steel-cage construction. Why’s that important? It has to do with how safe your stuff is. During transport, things can move around inside the container and get damaged. Your belongings can even jam the doors from the inside so you can’t open the container. Zippy Shell solves that problem with steel bars spaced every three or four inches. All you have to do is loop a tie-down or rope around your stuff and connect it to the caged bar. Problem solved.
And in the rare instance that something still comes loose, Zippy Shell has barn style doors that open outward (instead of up and down like a garage)—so jamming is never a problem. Bottom line: your stuff stays safe.
Want a company that keeps your stuff safe?
SMARTBOX takes the mystery out of shopping for a moving container. While many companies surprise you with hidden fees or don’t include taxes, SMARTBOX gives you a single final price from the beginning. SMARTBOX also has discounts for college students and includes weatherproof covers for its containers. But there are some disadvantages. In addition to high prices, SMARTBOX gets low marks from customers who have a hard time reaching its telephone representatives, and isn’t widely available.
What sets SMARTBOX apart?
SMARTBOX has straightforward pricing
SMARTBOX offers something rare in the moving container industry: straightforward prices. While many other companies tack on hidden fees, divide your final bill into multiple payments, or leave you guessing about how much taxes cost and when you’ll pay them, SMARTBOX makes it easy. You just pay a single and straightforward bill (taxes included). That’s it. If only every company made it this simple.
SMARTBOX has deals for college students
College is expensive—and SMARTBOX has special moving container deals to make sure arriving on campus doesn’t cost too much. That even applies to college faculty and staff. SMARTBOX has a $20 off coupon for just about everybody spending time at school:
- Dormitory students
- Faculty and staff
- Individual students
- International students
- Off-campus students
- Sororities / Fraternities
- Study abroad students
Take advantage of SMARTBOX’s straightforward pricing
Other moving container companies to consider
At Move.org, it's our goal to look at every moving container company from a researched-based, user-focused lens. We've looked at everything from container construction to customer satisfaction. Though we are confident in our choices for the top 5 moving container companies, there are others to choose from like Go Mini's and U-Box.
Moving container FAQ
How much do moving containers cost?
The average cost of moving containers is approximately $3,000. Costs vary depending on the size of your home, how far you travel, and what time of year it is.
How much do moving containers cost for long distances?
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. Moving containers can often be stored at your home or a company storage facility.
How much does PODS cost?
The average cost to move with PODS is approximately $3,160 (or $2,840 if you request a 10% Move.org discount).
Are there moving companies that allow you to pack your own stuff?
Yes, there are moving companies that allow you to pack on your own. Both rental truck companies and moving container companies are cheaper alternatives to full-service moving companies because you pack your own stuff.
Where can I find small shipping containers for moving?
Small shipping container sizes
Smallest container size
6 ft. 6 in. x 6 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.
6 ft. 3 in. x 7 ft. x 8 ft. 4 in.
7 ft. 11 in. x 4 ft. 8 in. x 6 ft. 11 in.
Data as of 10/23/2020. 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 $3,000. Costs 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 moving cube companies?
The best moving cube companies are U-Pack, 1-800-PACK-RAT, and PODS, according to Move.org. Each company has its own strength. For example, U-Pack has low costs, while 1-800-PACK-RAT has strong containers, and PODS has excellent customer service.
What is portable storage?
Portable storage is a moving industry term that refers to moving containers (or moving cubes). Rather than store your belongings in a storage unit, a portable storage company brings a storage container to your home.
What companies have storage containers?
Many companies have storage containers, including PODS, U-Pack, 1-800-PACK-RAT, Zippy Shell, and SMARTBOX. Costs vary depending on how far you’re transporting the storage containers and how big your home is.
What are the best moving truck companies?
Is PODS cheaper than U-Haul?
PODS is often cheaper than U-Haul for long-distance moves. While U-Haul's initial quotes seem lower, they often include additional fees—and don't factor in the food and lodging you need to drive cross-country.
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
6 ft. 6 in. x 6 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.
11 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.
15 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.
Data as of 9/2/2020. PODS container sizes are estimates. Customers are responsible for assessing the container capacity for their belongings.1
What can you put in a portable moving container?
You can put most household goods in a portable moving container. Most companies prohibit items such as hazardous materials, flammable liquids, and weapons.
What’s the cheapest moving container company for local moves?
PODS is the cheapest moving container company for local moves. Its average cost of $1,160 for a 100-mile move is about $560 less expensive than the industry average of $1,720. Add in PODS’s 10% discount for Move.org readers, and you’re looking at even more savings.
How much is a SMARTBOX container?
A SMARTBOX container is approximately $3,020. Costs range from about $1,450 to move a small apartment across town to around $5,010 to move a three-bedroom home across the country. SMARTBOX also has discounts for college discounts.
Does PODS do long-distance moves?
Yes, PODS does long-distance moves. Its average cost to transport a portable storage container more than 50 miles is approximately $3,160.
Every moving container company offers something unique. 1-800-PACK-RAT has the strongest containers, while PODS has top-notch customer service. Zippy Shell has the most flexile delivery, whereas SMARTBOX has discounts for college students. But in the end, no moving container company has more to offer than U-Pack. Its combination of low costs, excellent customer reviews, and availability in all 50 states is unbeatable.
1. PODS, “Frequently Asked Questions: Containers and Storage, How Many PODS Containers Should I Order,” 2020. Accessed April 23, 2021.