PODS vs. U-Box: Which Container is Right for You

PODS and U-Box are both big names in the container industry, but which one wins in a head-to-head competition? PODS is a better moving container company than U-Box. While U-Box (operated by U-Haul) has wider availability, PODS wins in every other category. It has more discounts, more container options, and more insurance—all while giving customers the same low price as U-Box.

  • Our pick

    PODS

    4.2
    Read Review
    • Low final prices
    • Top-notch containers
    • Top-notch containers
    Get at Quote
  • Best availability

    U-Box

    3.3
    Read Review
    • Low initial prices
    • 20,000 locations
    Get a Quote

Winner: PODS

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PODS vs. U-Box pricing

PODS and U-Box have virtually identical final prices. While U-Box has lower initial quotes, PODS has a 10% discount for Move.org readers  that levels the playing field. We compared 48 quotes across four home sizes and six distances ranging from local moves to cross-country trips. The result? The average post-discount price for a typical move with PODS and U-Box is approximately $2,840—or about 5% below the industry average.

PODS vs. U-Box price comparison

PODS (after discount)U-Box
Average cost$2,840$2,840
Discounts✔ YesNo
Taxes included in quoteNoNo
Average cost
Discounts
Taxes included in quote
PODS (after discount) U-Box
$2,840 $2,840
✔ Yes No
No No

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 four distances.

Move.org is serious about research. The more work we do behind the scenes, the more benefit you get when researching your move. We asked PODS and U-Box for nearly 50 moving quotes. Each company gave us estimates for four home sizes and six distances (neither company includes taxes). As a result, we’re able to make specific recommendations for a wide variety of moves.

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SAVE 10% ON YOUR MOVING CONTAINER

SAVE 10% ON YOUR MOVING CONTAINER

Get your online PODS discount for Move.org readers—or call 866-229-4120 and ask for promo code “MOVEORG.”

PODS vs. U-Box price comparison by distance

PODS has two moving container discounts that can save you hundreds of dollars (U-Box doesn’t have any deals):

  1. Move.org readers: PODS gives a 10% discount for Move.org readers. That adds up to more than $500 savings for a cross-country move and wipes out U-Box’s overall price advantage.
  2. Long-term storage: PODS offers free delivery and pickup with the purchase of three months of storage. Depending on how much stuff you have, that adds up to hundreds of dollars you can use for other moving expenses like packing supplies, hourly labor, or a housewarming party.

When you apply PODS’s 10% discount for Move.org readers, the average cost for both PODS and U-Box is approximately $2,840. Each company has its advantages, but their overall prices are dead even.

 

Winner: Tie

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SELF-STORAGE VS. PORTABLE STORAGE

SELF-STORAGE VS. PORTABLE STORAGE

Self-storage is when you keep your belongings in a storage unit. Portable storage means you can store your belongings in a moving container at your home or the warehouse of a company like PODS or U-Box.

PODS vs. U-Box availability

It’s way easier to find a U-Box than a PODS moving container. While PODS has 184 facilities spread throughout most of the country, U-Box boasts 20,000 locations in all 50 states (U-Box is a U-Haul product—a moving company that seems like it’s on almost every street corner).

PODS vs. U-Box locations

PODS1-800-PACK-RAT
# of states4450
# of locations184 20,000
# of states
# of locations
PODS 1-800-PACK-RAT
44 50
184 20,000

Data as of 9/22/2020.

There’s no question which company has the advantage here. U-Box has more locations in a single state than PODS has in the entire country.

 

Winner: U-Box

PODS vs. U-Box customer experience

PODS and U-Box are polar opposites when it comes to customer experience. PODS has the highest customer rating of our top moving container companies (3.8 out of 5 stars), while U-Box has the lowest score of any company we’ve seen (2.8 stars).

Why such a big difference? It’s not diplomatic, but U-Box customer service is shoddy. Company reps often give incorrect answers to basic questions and are skittish about explaining hidden fees (like a pricey $99-per-container delivery charge). Waiting for a supervisor can take upwards of an hour. And you’re never sure how much your move will cost. When it’s all over, you’re often confused and frustrated.

By contrast, it’s easy to get straight answers from PODS reps. These folks are some of the best in the business. They’re quick to provide answers to your questions, and the company shies away from U-Box-like hidden fees. Not to mention PODS customers rave about the company’s on-time delivery and professional drivers.

Would you rather have friendly customer service reps who give you straightforward answers—or confusing voices on the phone that treat basic questions (like final prices) as if they’re the toughest categories in the history of Jeopardy? We’ll take “Easy Answers” for $100, Alex.

 

Winner: PODS

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WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN MOVING WITH PODS

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN MOVING WITH PODS

We paid a family to move using PODS in exchange for their candid feedback, and found customers love the fact that PODS doesn’t have hidden fees.

PODS vs. U-Box container quality

Customers looking for sturdy container quality will like what PODS has to offer. PODS uses steel construction (much stronger than U-Box’s plywood) and even provides impact-resistant wall paneling for extra protection. On the other hand, the U-Box container uses the flimsiest construction materials on the market. Although its plastic cover offers surprisingly good protection in a rainstorm, PODS has better quality to begin with.

This comes down to a company with Superman-like containers (PODS) vs. a company that makes containers out of cheap materials (U-Box). It’s not hard to pick the champion.

 

Winner: PODS

PODS vs. U-Box container sizes

PODS has three container sizes to choose from, while U-Box has only one. Container options matter because not every home size is the same. If you need to move a large home, PODS can get the job done with two large containers (U-Box needs seven of its standard-sized containers).

PODS container sizes compared to U-Box

Container sizePODSU-Box
Small 6 ft. 6 in. x 6 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in7 ft. 11 in. x 4 ft. 8 in. x 6 ft. 11 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
Small
Medium
Large
PODS U-Box
6 ft. 6 in. x 6 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in 7 ft. 11 in. x 4 ft. 8 in. x 6 ft. 11 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 9/2/2020. Container sizes are estimates. Customers are responsible for assessing the container capacity for their belongings.

The U-Box container has its advantages, though. For example, if you’re moving a modest one-room apartment, the small and poorly-constructed U-Box container can save you money. But if you’re looking for flexibility, PODS gives you options. U-Box doesn’t.

 

Winner: PODS

PODS vs. U-Box services

PODS and U-Box offer mostly similar services. Both companies transport moving containers and provide portable storage at your home or a company facility. You can also purchase insurance coverage through each of them (PODS has more options, but U-Box is cheaper).

PODS vs. U-Box services comparison

PODSU-Box
Coverage nameContents ProtectionSafestor Mobile
Warehouse storage coverage✔ Yes✔ Yes
At-home storage coverage✔ YesNo
Protection coverage range$5,000 – $300,000$1,000 – $20,000
Monthly cost range $34.95 – $469.95$12.00 – $40.00
Deductible $100$100
Coverage name
Warehouse storage coverage
At-home storage coverage
Protection coverage range
Monthly cost range
Deductible
PODS U-Box
Contents Protection Safestor Mobile
✔ Yes ✔ Yes
✔ Yes No
$5,000 – $300,000 $1,000 – $20,000
$34.95 – $469.95 $12.00 – $40.00
$100 $100

Data as of 10/20/20. 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.

U-Box has lower prices, but PODS has more options—and more coverage. That alone is enough to make it a better option, but PODS is also the only of the two companies to provide coverage if you store your moving container at your home. And if you purchase insurance coverage, you kind of want your stuff to be . . . covered.

 

Winner: PODS

Our pick: PODS

PODS is better than U-Box in nearly every way (though they tie for pricing). If you’re looking at containers, PODS has three steel construction sizes, while U-Box has a single plywood option. If you care about insurance, PODS is the only company with at-home storage coverage. PODS also has the highest customer reviews in the industry, while U-Box has the lowest.

The only drawback is that PODS has fewer locations. If you can’t find a nearby PODS facility, U-Box is a solid alternative—or you can check with one of our best moving container companies.

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Other moving container picks

PODS is better than U-Box—but it’s not your only option:

Moving container FAQ

Can you use a moving container as a storage container?

Yes, you can use a moving container as a storage container. Companies like PODS and U-Box have a portable storage option that lets you store your moving container at your home or one of their storage facilities. The PODS storage container has steel construction while the U-Box container uses plywood.

Is PODS a good moving company?

Yes, PODS is a good moving company. It specializes in moving containers and has some of the highest-quality containers on the market. It also has low final prices thanks to a special 10% discount for Move.org readers.

Does PODS offer long-distance moves?

Yes, PODS offers long-distance moves. The average cost for a move between 1,000 and 2,000 miles is approximately $3,720. PODS also offers a 10% discount for Move.org readers that lowers the average cost for a long-distance move to about $3,350.

What is the best container company?

The best container company is U-Pack, according to Move.org. Other top picks include PODS, 1-800-PACK-RAT, and ZippyShell.

Does U-Box have a moving truck option?

Yes, U-Box has a moving truck option. U-Box is a U-Haul product, so you can also purchase one of its many rental trucks for a local move or a long-distance move.

What is the best storage unit company?

The best storage unit company is Extra Space Storage, according to Move.org. Extra Space Storage has low storage unit prices and includes perks like pest control, video surveillance, and on-site managers.

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.