Pods vs. SMARTBOX: Compare Moving Containers

PODS not only wins in a head-to-head competition with SMARTBOX, but also is one of the overall best moving container companies. Period. PODS has almost everything you could ask for in a moving container company: low prices, high quality, outstanding customer reviews—and much more.

  • Our pick


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    • Low prices
    • 180+ locations
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  • Straightforward pricing


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    • Average prices
    • 50+ locations
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Winner: PODS

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PODS vs. SMARTBOX pricing

In general, PODS has lower prices than SMARTBOX. We gathered nearly 50 quotes from both companies to see how they compared across several home sizes and distances. We calculated an average cost and found that PODS was almost $200 cheaper than SMARTBOX, thanks to a 10% discount for Move.org readers.

PODS vs. SMARTBOX moving prices

PODS (after discount)SMARTBOX
Average cost$2,840$3,020
Discounts✔ Yes✔ Yes
Taxes included in quotesNo✔ Yes
Average cost
Taxes included in quotes
PODS (after discount) SMARTBOX
$2,840 $3,020
✔ Yes ✔ Yes
No ✔ Yes

Data as of 9/15/2020. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.

PODS vs. SMARTBOX pricing transparency

PODS has lower prices than SMARTBOX, but it also has confusing bills. You pay for your low rates with an invoice with tons of fees due at different times. And you have to guess how much taxes cost since PODS doesn’t include tax estimates.

This is one area where SMARTBOX outshines PODS. There’s no hair-pulling while trying to make heads or tails of several different bills. You get a single invoice, pay it all at once, and even know how much tax costs. That’s the kind of simplicity we can get behind.

PODS vs. SMARTBOX price comparison by distance

PODS and SMARTBOX both have low prices for certain distances, but there’s no rhyme or reason as to why. PODS typically has lower rates for short moves, while it goes back and forth with SMARTBOX for longer distances. It’s always good to get quotes from both companies to see what works best in your situation.

PODS vs. SMARTBOX cost by mileage

PODS (after discount)SMARTBOX
100 miles$1,050$1,980
450 miles$2,640$2,530
1,050 miles$3,450$2,990
1,750 miles$2,590$3,200
1,850 miles$4,110$3,910
2,050 miles$3,250$3,510
100 miles
450 miles
1,050 miles
1,750 miles
1,850 miles
2,050 miles
PODS (after discount) SMARTBOX
$1,050 $1,980
$2,640 $2,530
$3,450 $2,990
$2,590 $3,200
$4,110 $3,910
$3,250 $3,510

Data as of 9/15/2020. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across three distances.

PODS vs. SMARTBOX price comparison by home size

PODS is generally more affordable than SMARTBOX regardless of the home size. In our research, PODS had lower costs for moves involving one, two, and three rooms. It was also the only company to give us quotes for large homes (five rooms). To put PODS’s estimates for large home sizes in context, its cost of $4,550 for a five-bedroom home is about $60 lower than the industry average.

PODS vs. SMARTBOX cost by home size

PODS (after discount)SMARTBOX
1 room$1,760$2,110
2 rooms$2,390$2,740
3 rooms$2,670$4,200
5 rooms$4,550NA
1 room
2 rooms
3 rooms
5 rooms
PODS (after discount) SMARTBOX
$1,760 $2,110
$2,390 $2,740
$2,670 $4,200
$4,550 NA

Data as of 9/15/2020. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across three distances.

PODS vs. SMARTBOX discounts

PODS and SMARTBOX both have moving container discounts, but you can save a lot more money with PODS. While SMARTBOX trims $20 off its delivery costs for college students, faculty, and staff, PODS offers a 10% discount for Move.org readers that saves the average customer more than $300.

PODS vs. SMARTBOX discounts savings

CompanyDiscount descriptionAverage savings
PODS10% off for Move.org readers$320
SMARTBOX$20 off for college students$20
Discount description Average savings
10% off for Move.org readers $320
$20 off for college students $20

Data as of 10/27/2020.

A price comparison between PODS and SMARTBOX comes down to one thing: which company is the most affordable? The math shows that PODS wins this one hands down.

Winner: PODS

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PODS vs. SMARTBOX availability

PODS is one of the most widely available storage container companies in the country. With locations in nearly every state, it has three times as many facilities as SMARTBOX. PODS is such a recognizable name in the business that you’ll often hear moving containers referred to as “moving pods.”

PODS vs. SMARTBOX locations

# of states4423
# of locations18451
# of states
# of locations
44 23
184 51

Data as of 10/27/2020.

It’s tough to move if you can’t find a moving company near you. That’s what makes PODS an easy call.

Winner: PODS

PODS vs. SMARTBOX customer experience

PODS and SMARTBOX are as different as night and day when it comes to customer experience. PODS routinely pulls out the best customer reviews in the business, while SMARTBOX has some of the lowest ratings we’ve come across. PODS gets an average customer review score of 3.8 (a half star higher than the industry average) while SMARTBOX comes in nearly a full star lower than PODS at 2.9 out of 5 stars.

The differences boil down to a couple of issues:

  1. Availability. It’s easy to get a hold of PODS to place an order or ask a question—not so much with SMARTBOX. The lack of available customer service reps is one of the most common complaints in SMARTBOX reviews.
  2. Quality. PODS and SMARTBOX both score big with customers for delivering a quality service, but PODS’s ratings are off the charts. Positive SMARTBOX reviews often mention a generally smooth process during the actual move. PODS gets much more specific praise. Customers repeatedly call out the company’s on-time delivery and professional drivers.

This would be tough to call if both companies had similar customer reviews, but that’s not what we’re dealing with. According to the customers, this comes down to one of the best-reviewed companies (PODS) versus one of the lowest-rated options (SMARTBOX).

Winner: PODS

PODS vs. SMARTBOX container quality

PODS containers have better quality materials than SMARTBOX. The quality of construction matters because it can affect how much weight your containers can hold and how well they can weather the storm—literally. PODS makes its containers with a steel frame, and its walls use weather- and impact-resistant paneling. SMARTBOX performs better than low-quality options (like U-Haul’s U-Box), but its wood boxes and canvas paneling still leave something to be desired.

If Robin Hood used your moving containers for target practice, his arrow would bounce off the PODS container—but pierce the canvas of the SMARTBOX container and get stuck in its wood. While the scenario is a bit unlikely, we still prefer the idea of an indestructible container.

Winner: PODS

PODS vs. SMARTBOX container sizes

PODS has three container sizes, but SMARTBOX has only one. While you can order up to five SMARTBOX containers without running into any problems (you have to get special permission for larger orders), PODS gives you flexibility right off the bat. Thanks to its three sizes, you can choose the best option for your particular move. It’s also less cluttered. You need five SMARTBOX containers to move a three-room home; PODS gets the job done with one.

PODS container sizes compared to SMARTBOX

Container sizePODSSMARTBOX
Small 6 ft. 6 in. x 6 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.7 ft. 8 in. x 4 ft. 8 in. x 6 ft. 6 in.
Medium11 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.NA
Large15 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.NA
Container size
6 ft. 6 in. x 6 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in. 7 ft. 8 in. x 4 ft. 8 in. x 6 ft. 6 in.
11 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in. NA
15 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in. NA

Data as of 10/27/2020. Container sizes are estimates. Customers are responsible for assessing the container capacity for their belongings.

You don’t always want to supersize your fast food order, but it’s nice to at least have the choice. Same thing with moving containers: PODS gives you options—SMARTBOX doesn’t.

Winner: PODS

PODS vs. SMARTBOX services

PODS has a slight edge over SMARTBOX when it comes to services. Both companies provide local and long-distance moves and allow you to store moving containers at your home or a company warehouse. But there’s a difference when it comes to home size.

While PODS can handle everything from a small apartment to a big home, SMARTBOX gave us quotes for only small and midsize homes. We struck out each time we tried to get SMARTBOX estimates for a large home.

PODS vs. SMARTBOX services comparison

# of container sizes31
Container materialSteelWood
# of locations18452
All home sizes✔ YesNo
Local and long-distance moves✔ Yes✔ Yes
Storage options✔ Yes✔ Yes
# of container sizes
Container material
# of locations
All home sizes
Local and long-distance moves
Storage options
3 1
Steel Wood
184 52
✔ Yes No
✔ Yes ✔ Yes
✔ Yes ✔ Yes

Both PODS and SMARTBOX can meet most of your needs, but only PODS can help customers with large homes.

Winner: PODS

PODS vs. SMARTBOX coverage options

PODS has more insurance coverage options than SMARTBOX. While both companies let you choose how much coverage you want, SMARTBOX offers coverage for only long-distance moves—and only while your stuff is in transit. Once a SMARTBOX container reaches your home or a company storage facility, you have to fend for yourself. On the other hand, PODS offers insurance in transit, at a company warehouse, or your home.

Oh yeah, and PODS has a max coverage amount of $300,000 compared to a $70,000 max with SMARTBOX. You may not have a Picasso lithograph worth a quarter of a million dollars that you need to put in storage, but PODS has you covered (pun intended) if you do.

PODS vs. SMARTBOX insurance coverage

Max coverage amount$300,000$70,000
Local coverage✔ YesNo
Long-distance coverage✔ Yes✔ Yes
Storage coverage✔ YesNo
Max coverage amount
Local coverage
Long-distance coverage
Storage coverage
$300,000 $70,000
✔ Yes No
✔ Yes ✔ Yes
✔ Yes No

Data as of 10/27/20. Prices and availability may vary and are subject to change. Individuals should review their rental contract—including addendums—for a complete description of the policy’s terms, conditions, and exclusions.

PODS has tons of insurance, whether your stuff is at home, a storage facility, or on the road. SMARTBOX has a much smaller amount of coverage, and you can’t get it if you’re moving locally or want to protect your stuff while it’s in storage. This one’s easy.

Winner: PODS




Move.org does more than break down the best container companies. We also help you choose between DSL and cable internet service at your new home.

Our pick: PODS

PODS is a great company. It’s that simple. PODS has lower costs than SMARTBOX (not to mention better prices than many of our best moving container companies) and gets outstanding customer reviews. You can also find a PODS facility in nearly every state, while SMARTBOX is available in less than half of the country. PODS has three sizes of steel containers to choose from, but SMARTBOX has only one, wood option. And so on.

We evaluated both companies in nearly a dozen different ways, and PODS came out on top almost every time (although SMARTBOX has more straightforward pricing). We agree with customers: PODS is an excellent moving container company.

Winner: PODS

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Other moving container picks

PODS is an exceptional company, but some of the others aren’t too bad either:

Moving container FAQ

What is a portable moving container?

A portable moving container is a storage container that you can move from one place to another. It functions as both a moving truck (minus the wheels) and a portable storage unit.

What do customers say in SMARTBOX reviews?

Customers often leave SMARTBOX reviews saying it’s hard to reach company reps on the phone. The frustration is evident in SMARTBOX’s relatively low customer review score of 2.9 out of 5 stars.

How much are SMARTBOX portable storage containers?

SMARTBOX portable storage containers cost about $3,020 for the average move. Costs range from approximately $1,450 to $5,540 depending on your home’s size and the distance of your move.

What are the best container companies?

The best container companies are U-Pack, 1-800-PACK-RAT, and PODS, according to Move.org. These companies stand out because of their low costs, wide availability, and high quality.

What are the best storage unit companies?

The best storage unit companies are Extra Space Storage, CubeSmart, Public Storage, and U-Haul. Learn why Move.org ranks these storage unit companies above the rest of the competition.

Is PODS a storage company?

Yes, PODS is a storage company—and a moving company. PODS specializes in portable storage containers you can move from one place to another and store at your home or a PODS warehouse.

What is a good portable storage company for a local move?

PODS is a good portable storage company for a local move. It has the lowest prices for moves under 500 miles and has locations in nearly all 50 states.

Does PODS have multiple containers?

Yes, PODS has multiple containers. The company has three sizes of containers ranging from approximately 7 to 16 feet in length. However, the medium-size container is available for local moves only.

PODS container sizes
SizeDimensionsNo. of roomsAvailability
Small6 ft. 6 in. x 6 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.1Local and long-distance
Medium11 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.2–3Local only
Large15 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.3–4Local and long-distance
Dimensions No. of rooms Availability
6 ft. 6 in. x 6 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in. 1 Local and long-distance
11 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in. 2–3 Local only
15 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in. 3–4 Local and long-distance

Data as of 9/2/2020. Container sizes are estimates. Customers are responsible for assessing the container capacity for their belongings.1


About Kurt Manwaring

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.