Cheapest Moving Pod and Container Companies

Best overall prices
upack
U-Pack
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
  • $2,610 average price*
  • Online quotes
Best for long-distance
uhaul
U-Haul
3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3
  • $2,840 average price*
  • Online quotes
Best for short-distance
pods
PODS
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2
  • $3,160 average price*
  • No online quotes
Best for midsize homes
1800packrat
1-800-PACK-RAT
4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4
  • $3,290 average price*
  • No online quotes

Data current as of 5/4/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change
*Includes moves of 104, 463, 1,033, 1,760, 1,846, and 2,060 miles, and house sizes of one, two, three, and five rooms.

Kurt Manwaring
Researcher & Writer
Read More
Published on March 01, 2021
7 min read

Moving containers are one of the cheapest ways to move and one of the most convenient, since you don’t have to worry about driving a moving truck.

We collected 120 quotes from five of the biggest names in the business and compared everything from home size to distance to geography. After crunching the numbers 40 different ways, we pinned down which companies save you the most money in which circumstances.

The award for the lowest prices goes to the U-Pack ReloCube. Its average cost of $2,610 (across move distances and home sizes) is almost $400 less than the average cost of all the companies we reviewed.

If the U-Pack ReloCube were available nationally in multiple sizes and made of sturdier materials, it would be our clear winner. But since that’s not the case, we show you how to pick the best moving container service for your situation.

Money
Want to know about more than cost?

While this review focuses on pricing, you can learn more about features, customer service, and more in Move.org’s Best Moving Container Companies.


The cheapest moving container companies


U-Pack—Best overall prices

Best overall prices
upack
U-Pack
Our Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5

U-Pack has the lowest overall prices of any company on our list. While there are some significant drawbacks (including limited availability, low-quality materials, and small containers), you can’t ignore U-Pack’s rock-bottom prices if your budget is your top priority.

U-Pack ReloCube costs

U-Pack
Our top container companies

Average cost

$2,610

$3,000

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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Lowest overall prices
Pro Bullet Pay-for-what-you-use policy
Pro Bullet No mandatory storage fees
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No moves under 150 miles
Con Bullet Small containers
Con Bullet Low-quality construction

What sets U-Pack apart?

You can’t beat U-Pack’s ReloCube prices

The price for U-Pack ReloCubes is consistently among the lowest we’ve seen. We asked for 120 quotes to compare prices, and U-Pack was the cheapest 70% of the time.

There were only two times U-Pack wasn’t one of the two cheapest options:

  1. Moves under 150 miles (U-Pack doesn’t offer local services)
  2. Moves for a three-bedroom home

In every other instance, U-Pack consistently beat the competition with a cost about $140 below the average.

U-Pack ReloCube average cost per room

COMPANY
Our top container companies

Average cost

$950

$1,090

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.

U-Pack has a pay-for-what-you-use policy

One of the trickiest parts of the moving container business is understanding how sizing works (we break it down here). Because each company offers moving container sizes, it can be tough to know how many you need and how to compare prices.

U-Pack eliminates the guesswork by making you pay for only the ReloCubes you use. So if you order three ReloCubes but use only two, you pay for only two.

If you prefer going to the dentist over calculating square footage, U-Pack’s flexible usage policy gives you much-needed relief.

There is one drawback: ReloCubes come in only one size—small. Although you can squeeze in any standard mattress, many couches, tables, and bookshelves won’t fit.

Which means if you have an 8-foot bookshelf, you either need to sell it or find another moving container company.

Bullhorn
Who does U-Pack call for help?

U-Pack doesn’t offer local moves or large moving containers, but it’ll refer customers in these situations to PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT.

Learn more about U-Pack in our U-Pack Review.


U-Box—Best prices for long distances

Best prices for long distances
uhaul
U-Haul
Our Rating
3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3

U-Haul’s U-Box is the second-cheapest moving container company on our list. U-Box took our top spot for long-distance moves of approximately 1,850 miles.

U-Haul U-Box costs

U-Box
Our top container companies

Average cost

$2,840

$3,000

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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Low costs
Pro Bullet Nationwide availability
Pro Bullet Online quotes
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Extra fees
Con Bullet Flimsy construction

What sets U-Box apart?

U-Box has low overall costs

U-Haul is known for low moving truck rental prices, but it makes a pretty good dent in moving container rates too: U-Box has a per-room cost that’s nearly $60 lower than the average of the companies we reviewed.

The price advantage is even more noticeable if you look at only house or apartment sizes of 1–3 rooms. For a one-room apartment, you can save more than $300 by choosing U-Box.

U-Box average cost by home size

U-Box
Savings (amount below average)

One room

$1,680

$320

Two rooms

$2,340

$230

Three rooms

$2,940

$260

Five rooms

$4,420

$80

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.

U-Box has the best prices for long-distance moves

In our research, we didn’t find a company with lower prices for moves of about 1,850 miles than U-Box.

U-Box costs for moves of 1,850 miles

U-Box
Nearest-priced competitor
Our top container companies

Average cost

$3,060

$3,420

$3,910

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.

U-Box quotes don’t include mandatory fees

U-Box has low rates and a painless online quote system (you never have to call the company to get your total), but the price you’ll actually pay is higher than what you see up front.

Sometimes by a lot.

The main culprit here appears to be what U-Haul calls a delivery fee—a $99 per-container cost that isn’t part of your quote. Since the U-Box is notoriously small, those costs can add up if you have a lot of stuff to pack.

U-Box delivery fees

# of U-Boxes
Extra delivery fee

One room

2

$200

Two rooms

3

$300

Three rooms

4

$400

Five rooms

7

$690

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.

If you’re moving a five-bedroom home, your final price will be about $700 more than your initial estimate.

That means if you’re using your government stimulus check to move during the COVID-19 outbreak, more than 50% will go toward fees that aren’t even part of your quote.

We included U-Box’s extra fees in our price comparisons because it’s part of total cost, but it’s important to realize the company doesn’t give you these numbers up front.

Heads Up
Shopping tip: Ask about taxes

Moving container companies often don’t include taxes in their quotes. Be sure to check your invoice (for online quotes) or ask your rep (for phone calls) to make sure your quote includes estimated taxes.

U-Boxes are flimsier than other containers

One reason U-Box has such affordable rates is that its moving containers are made out of plywood, a far cry short of companies like PODS (steel frames and wood containers) and 1-800-PACK-RAT (all-steel containers).

This limits how much weight each U-Box container can hold, meaning you often have to use more containers than you would with most other companies.

And as we’ve shown, each extra container sets you back a hundred bucks. Make sure you factor that in when doing your own price shopping.

Learn more about U-Box in our U-Box Review.


PODS—Best prices for short distances

Best prices for short distances
pods
PODS
Our Rating
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2

PODS has the lowest prices we can find for short-distance moves. No other company can match PODS for moves of less than 150 miles, and only U-Pack (with limited availability, smaller moving containers, and poorer quality) has a better price for moves under 500 miles. PODS is our pick for short-distance moves.

PODS costs

PODS
Our top container companies

Average cost

$3,160

$3,000

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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Low prices for moves under 500 miles
Pro Bullet National availability
Pro Bullet Sturdy containers
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No online quotes
Con Bullet 12-foot containers not available for long-distance moves
Con Bullet Taxes not always included in quotes

What sets PODS apart?

PODS has the lowest prices for short-distances moves

It doesn’t matter how big your home or apartment is. PODS crushes the competition for all sizes:

  • Small (one-room apartments)
  • Medium (two- to three-room homes)
  • Large (five-room homes)

We compared PODS prices for 24 moves to its competitors on our list of the best moving container companies. PODS beats the average by more than $500!

PODS prices for moves under 150 miles

PODS
Nearest-priced competitor

Small apartment

$820

$1,080

Medium home

$940

$1,620

Large home

$1,940

$2,760

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.

PODS has the second-lowest prices for moves under 500 miles

Despite the high costs associated with its sturdier container materials, PODS is still one of your best options for moves under 500 miles. The only company with better prices is U-Pack, and it has notable drawbacks like inferior materials, only one container size, and no moves under 150 miles.

PODS’ cost per room for moves of less than 500 miles is nearly $60 cheaper than the average of all the companies we reviewed.

Learn more about PODS in our PODS Review.


1-800-PACK-RAT—Best value for midsize homes

Best value for midsize homes
1800packrat
1-800-PACK-RAT
Our Rating
4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4

1-800-PACK-RAT has low prices for big moves and a whole host of discounts. So while it’s more expensive than its competitors, its prices are actually much lower than they seem at first glance.

1-800-PACK-RAT costs

1-800-PACK-RAT
Our top container companies

Average cost

$3,290

$3,000

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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Discounts offered
Pro Bullet Price matching with PODS
Pro Bullet National availability
Pro Bullet Sturdiest containers
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet High pre-discount prices
Con Bullet No online quotes

What sets 1-800-PACK-RAT apart?

1-800-PACK-RAT prices are lower than they seem

1-800-PACK-RAT may be our most expensive overall moving container company on the surface, but when you dig a little deeper, it’s actually a good value in many situations.

Why? Two reasons:

  1. 1-800-PACK-RAT recommends its largest (and most expensive) container for almost every move. This makes 1-800-PACK-RAT far more costly than other companies for small moves and inflates its average price.
  2. Move.org uses pre-discount prices for comparisons. So even though the company hands out discounts and price-matching like beads at a Mardi Gras parade, those savings aren’t figured into our price comparisons.

1-800-PACK-RAT has below-average prices for big moves

1-800-PACK-RAT has higher-than-average prices for small homes because it almost always recommends its largest (and most expensive) container. But when you look at larger home sizes—anything above three rooms—for moves of 1,000 miles or more, 1-800-PACK-RAT beats the average by about $40.

Not bad when you consider 1-800-PACK-RAT uses premium all-steel moving containers.

1-800-PACK-RAT costs for 3+ rooms

1-800-PACK-RAT
Our top container companies

Average cost

$4,210

$4,250

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.

1-800-PACK-RAT has the most discounts

No company more aggressively offered discounts during our research than 1-800-PACK-RAT. Its customer service reps cheerfully walked us through ways to save money, including move-specific discounts such as transportation savings and free container rentals.

1-800-PACK-RAT tells customers it will try to meet or beat PODS’ price—the one moving container company it considers a true competitor (they both have similar materials and national availability).

So if you don’t like your 1-800-PACK-RAT quote, ask if it will match your PODS quote. You could end up with better quality containers and a cheaper rate.

Learn more about 1-800-PACK-RAT in our 1-800-PACK-RAT Review.


Recapping our four cheapest moving container companies

Other budget-friendly options

Our pricing research isn’t limited to just moving containers. See if these resources can help you save even more money:

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.

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