Cheapest Moving Container Companies

Move.org analyzed more than 300 quotes over 3 years to find the nation’s lowest moving container prices.
Best overall prices
zippyshell
Zippy Shell
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
$$
  • Icon Pros  Light
    1 container size
  • Icon Pros  Light
    28-state availability
  • Icon Cons  Light
    No online quotes
Low local moving prices
pods
PODS
4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4
$$$
  • Icon Pros  Light
    3 container sizes
  • Icon Pros  Light
    46-state availability
  • Icon Cons  Light
    No online quotes
  • 🔥 10% discount
Price matching
1800packrat
1-800-PACK-RAT
4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1
$$$
  • Icon Pros  Light
    3 container sizes
  • Icon Pros  Light
    30-state availability
  • Icon Cons  Light
    No online quotes
Low small home prices
uhaul
U-Haul U-Box
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8
$$$
  • Icon Pros  Light
    1 container size
  • Icon Pros  Light
    50-state availability
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Online quotes
Kurt Manwaring
Researcher & Writer
Read More
May 11, 2022
8 min read

Our top pick: Zippy Shell is the best moving container company for low prices. It can save you upwards of $400 for most moves.


Pricing that works for you

1-800-PACK-RAT offers competitive pricing for your container move—and if you find a lower price from a comparable competitor, they’ll match it.

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Compare cheap moving container companies

Company
Avg. moving container price
Discounts available
Instant online quotes
Details
$3480
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
$3700
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
$3810
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
$3850
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo

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.


Zippy Shell—Low prices overall

Low prices overall
zippyshell
Zippy Shell
Our Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5

Zippy Shell has the lowest moving container prices in the United States. Our analysis of more than 140 quotes shows that the container company saves the average customer around $400. Zippy Shell’s container has a strong steel frame to keep your belongings safe. The company also provides at-home and facility storage options if your items arrive before your home is ready. The biggest drawback is availability: Zippy Shell has locations in only 28 out of 50 states.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Low prices
Pro Bullet Lightweight containers
Pro Bullet Temperature-controlled storage
Pro Bullet Flexible storage options
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Only one container size
Con Bullet Limited availability (28 states)

What to know about Zippy Shell

Low prices

Zippy Shell has the nation’s lowest moving container prices and can save you nearly $400 for the average move. The savings get even better if you compare Zippy Shell’s prices company to company. For example, Zippy Shell moving containers cost $1,000 less than U-Pack ReloCubes.

It’s even more affordable than U-Haul U-Box, and that’s due to remarkably consistent year-over-year prices. While U-Haul moving container prices have gone up 30% since 2020, Zippy Shell’s rates have increased less than 10%. The result is that no company has better overall rates.

Zippy Shell is this year’s pick for the cheapest moving container company almost any way you slice it.

Looking for the lowest moving container prices?

Lightweight moving containers

Zippy Shell uses a lightweight steel-framed moving container. That makes it lighter than industry leaders like PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT and yet more durable than companies like U-Haul and U-Pack. It’s one reason Zippy Shell prices are so low.

Since weight affects gas mileage, the savings add up the farther you travel. For example, while Zippy Shell can save you about $240 for a move of 100 miles, it trims over $600 from your final cost for cross-country trips.

Zippy Shell moving container prices by distance
Distance
Price
Amount above or below industry average
Learn more
100 miles
$1500
$240 ↓
450 miles
$2310
$320 ↓
1,050 miles
$4060
$240 ↓
2,050 miles
$3940
$630 ↓

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.

The biggest drawback of Zippy Shell’s lightweight container is quantity. Zippy Shell has only one container: a large 15-foot-long moving cube. Zippy Shell costs more than the competition for small living spaces like studio apartments. But for every other home size, it’s typically hundreds of dollars below average.


PODS—Low local moving prices

Low local moving prices
pods
PODS
Our Rating
4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6

PODS can save you hundreds of dollars for local moves. That’s a big deal, considering the quality PODS brings to the table. Zippy Shell may be our pick for the cheapest moving container company, but PODS gets the nod for nearly everything else. It’s available nearly everywhere in the country, has three container sizes, and scores well with customers. Just be aware that it has confusing prices (the typical bill has around a dozen line items).

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Nationwide availability
Pro Bullet Multiple sizes
Pro Bullet Flexible storage options
Pro Bullet Positive customer reviews
Pro Bullet 10% Move.org discount
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Confusing prices

Why we recommend PODS

Low local moving prices

No company saves you more for local moves than PODS. The moving container company trims nearly $400 off your bill for moves of around 100 miles. That makes PODS even more affordable than Zippy Shell if you aren’t leaving the state. And an extra $400 comes in handy for things like hiring moving labor or purchasing moving boxes.

10% Move.org discount

PODS container pricing is even lower than it seems, thanks to a special 10% discount for Move.org readers. That adds up to around $400 off the typical move. It makes PODS even more affordable for local moves and trims the costs of long-distance moves. For example, after applying a 10% Move.org discount, PODS cross-country trips drop to $900 below average.

The only catch is that you must request the moving company discount by calling 1-866-229-4120 and asking for promo code “MOVEORG.”

Take advantage of a 10% discount.


1-800-PACK-RAT—Price matching

Price matching
1800packrat
1-800-PACK-RAT
Our Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5

1-800-PACK-RAT’s below-average prices get even better if you ask for price matching. The moving company will almost always match PODS’s price (its closest competitor), meaning you can save hundreds of dollars on the average move. Plus, those prices come with the industry’s strongest moving container and 24/7 surveillance for on-site storage. There are a couple of hiccups, though. PODS is available in only about half the country and tends to score below average with customers.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Steel containers
Pro Bullet Price matching
Pro Bullet No-hassle orders
Pro Bullet 24/7 storage surveillance
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Below-average customer reviews
Con Bullet Limited availability (30 states)

Why we recommend 1-800-PACK-RAT

Price matching

1-800-PACK-RAT is known for having the industry’s strongest moving containers. However, it also quietly beats the competition with a price matching feature. Every company brings something unique to the table, and this is 1-800-PACK-RAT’s biggest pricing strength. It will almost always match prices with other companies.

Any company? Essentially. 1-800-PACK-RAT emphasizes that its price-matching applies mainly to PODS (both companies have robust containers). However, our experience suggests 1-800-PACK-RAT typically offers to beat any price—or is already low enough that it doesn’t need to.

Low pricing trends

1-800-PACK-RAT can usually beat competitor pricing because its costs have stayed fairly consistent. No company has kept prices lower than Zippy Shell. But 1-800-PACK-RAT doesn’t fall too far behind. While the average company raised its prices 30% from 2020 to 2022, 1-800-PACK-RAT went up half as much.

Okay, so let’s cut the math. What do “low pricing trends” mean for your pocketbook? Our analysis of more than 300 quotes over three years boils it down to a savings of around $350.

Not only does that cut your costs, but it also suggests 1-800-PACK-RAT is trending toward even more affordable prices in the future. Add in the price matching feature we mentioned above, and chances are 1-800-PACK-RAT can keep your cost as low as any other company.

1-800-PACK-RAT gets more affordable every year.


U-Haul U-Box—Low small home prices

Low small home prices
uhaul
U-Haul U-Box
Our Rating
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9

U-Haul U-Box isn’t as affordable as it once was, but it can still save you money if you have a small apartment. How much? Our research suggests the U-Box container is about $390 cheaper for one-room apartments. Add in local and long-distance moving services plus nationwide availability, and U-Haul brings a lot to the table. However, there are some legitimate red flags. For example, U-Haul has notoriously bad customer service. The moving company also offers only one container size—and charges a $99 hidden fee for each one.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Low prices for small homes
Pro Bullet Online quotes
Pro Bullet Nationwide availability
Pro Bullet Local and long-distance options
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Terrible customer service
Con Bullet Only one container size
Con Bullet Hidden delivery fee

What to know about U-Haul U-Box

Low prices to move an apartment

U-Haul U-Box can save you around $390 if you have a small home like a one-bedroom apartment. The company used to be one of the cheapest all-around picks. However, its rates have increased at twice the national average (30% in 3 years). But even with the inflated prices, U-Haul beats everyone when it comes to small homes.

Moving container prices for a one-room apartment
Moving container company
Average cost
Learn more
$2240
$2560
$2760
$2950

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.

Online quotes

One of U-Haul’s best pricing features is its online quote option. While every other moving company on this list requires a phone call to get a quote, U-Haul U-Box caters to the busy customer. You can typically get an online quote in less than two minutes.

But there’s a catch. U-Haul charges a $99 hidden fee for every U-Box container—and they add up fast. For example, you typically need around four U-Box moving containers to move a three-bedroom home. That means your actual bill will be about $100 higher than what U-Haul tells you.

We strongly caution against companies that hide fees on their invoices. But if you decide it’s worth the risk, you won’t find a more convenient option than U-Haul’s online quote system.

Don’t want to wait on hold?


Recap

Zippy Shell is our pick for the cheapest moving container company. Its prices are nearly $400 below average. While a company like PODS has lower prices for small apartments, Zippy Shell has the lowest initial rates for every other home size. It even beats U-Haul—an industry leader for low prices in past years. Just as impressive, you don’t have to sacrifice quality. Zippy Shell’s moving container has a steel frame and floor to keep your belongings safe.

Looking for an affordable moving container?


Moving container FAQ

How much do moving containers cost for long-distance moves?

Moving containers cost about $4,500 for moves of more than 1,000 miles. Zippy Shell has the most affordable cross-country movers, with prices 10% below average.

Exclamation
We can help you choose a container

There’s more to moving than getting your belongings from A to B. If setting up insurance, internet, utilities, or home security services while planning your move makes you hyperventilate, we’ve got an answer for you!

Move.org offers a free, all-in-one solution that provides you with a personal concierge who will assist you in setting up all those services (and more!). From finding the best mover in your area to forwarding your mail to your new address, our moving concierge removes the hassle of self setup and helps you save money.

How much does PODS cost for a local move?

The average PODS cost for a local move less than 100 miles is about $1,370—or about $400 less than other portable moving container companies.

How much do storage units cost?

Storage units cost between $100 to $300 per month. Self-storage prices vary depending on things like size, climate control options, and availability.

What are the best cross-country movers?

The best cross-country movers are International Van Lines and American Van Lines. Both professional movers specialize in long-distance moves and background-check their workers.

What portable storage company has the best customer service?

U-Pack gets better customer reviews than any other portable storage company. The moving service often receives praise for fast service and professional movers.

What companies are like PODS?

1-800-PACK-RAT is most similar to PODS. The mover has comparable prices, moving containers, and portable storage.

What do PODS cost?

PODS cost around $3,800 for the average move. The company’s portable storage prices vary depending on your home size and move distance.

How much weight can you put in a U-Box?

You can put up to 2,000 pounds worth of belongings in U-Box moving containers. The U-Haul U-Box also doubles as a storage container you can keep on your property.

What is the biggest PODS size you can rent?

The biggest PODS moving containers are 16-feet long and can typically hold three-to-four rooms’ worth of belongings. PODS costs less than the industry average and offers a 10% discount for Move.org readers.


Methodology

Move.org follows a six-step process to identify the nation’s best moving container companies:

  1. Compare quotes. We obtained and analyzed nearly 300 quotes from 7 of the nation’s largest moving container companies over 3 years.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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, Martha Stewart Living, Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Heavy, Slate, and Yahoo! Lifestyle. He brings a BS in sociology and an MPA (masters of public administration) to the Move team. He would love to hear about your moving experiences and questions at kurt@move.org.