Is U-Haul Cheaper than Using PODS?

We compared dozens of quotes from U-Haul and PODS to figure out which is cheaper. U-Haul might be the cheaper option in most cases, but spending a little extra money on PODs might make the moving experience easier in the long run.

Cheaper
uhaul
U-Haul
Average 1-way rental: $1,945.68
  • pro
    You pack, load, and drive
  • pro
    Help-for-hire available for extra cost
  • con
    Terrible customer reviews
More flexible
pods
PODS
Average rental: $3,810
  • pro
    Flexible packing, loading, and delivery dates
  • pro
    Safer for you and your belongings
  • con
    More expensive way to move
Asha Kennedy
Aug 12, 2022
bullet6 min read

Even though it may be $1000–$2000 cheaper to rent a U-Haul moving truck instead of a PODS moving and storage container, cost doesn’t always make (or break) a move. Sometimes the timeline flexibility and storage ability moving containers provide is more important than overall cost.

DIY moving with a rental truck comes with a lot of extra work and personal safety risks that you may be able to avoid by using a moving container company like PODS. That’s why we’d definitely recommend a moving container if you can afford it.

Keep reading to get more cost and service comparisons.


U-Haul vs. PODS at a glance

Quick service comparison

ServiceU-HaulPODS
Delivery service
bullet
bullet
Moving coverage included
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Packing serviceCosts extra*Costs extra*
Loading serviceCosts extra*Costs extra*

*Both U-Haul and PODS work with a network of moving labor professionals to supply these services for an extra cost.

Want pricing for a move with PODS?

Technically, both moving container and truck rental companies are DIY moving options, but renting a truck means you’ll be doing the transporting along with all the packing and loading. And considering it takes the average person about 2-3 hours per bedroom to pack and load, picking up the rental truck yourself, driving it cross-country, and returning it will add even more time-intensive stress to your plate. (Not to mention the dozens of other moving tasks you’ll have to plan for, like setting up utilities and forwarding your mail.)

That said, U-Haul can coordinate packing and loading services at an additional cost. (Actually, if you need help, both companies will send you moving labor professionals to assist with packing and loading, but these services will usually tack hundreds of dollars onto your final bill.) To save the most money on your DIY move, you’ll have to do the hard stuff yourself…or maybe lure some unsuspecting family members with pizza.

On the other hand, when you choose PODS, you can take all the time you need to pack and load your moving container without worrying about having to drive a big ol’ moving truck across hundreds of miles. The pros will safely transport your container from A to B so you can fly (or drive your own car) and take a breath while you wait for your things to arrive.

Who benefits most from moving containers?

Moving containers may be a particularly great option for you if:

  • You like the flexibility of door-to-door delivery. Using a moving container company like PODS will allow you to have a container delivered to your doorstep on your That way you can pack and load without feeling like you’re on the clock.
  • You need temporary storage. PODS will pick up your container and store it at one of its facilities until you’re ready to have it delivered to your new home. So if you’re in between homes and can’t move all your things at once, this might be the perfect solution.
  • You’re nervous about transporting your own things. Loading, driving, and parking a moving truck is not easy for everyone, and can actually be quite dangerous if you don’t have experience. Using PODS will allow the pros to handle the logistics while you focus on getting your family to your new home.

We understand the need for a tighter budget, but if you’re more interested in a secure and convenient option, using PODS may be worth the extra investment. And as an added bonus, PODS offers Move.org’s readers 10% off their moves, which is pretty great considering it saves the average customer $400!

Quick pricing comparison

Average pricesU-HaulPODS
100-mile move$350$1340
1,000-mile move$2,907$3840

Average truck rental costs were based on up-front rental costs for two truck sizes plus the costs for gas for the rental truck and one personal vehicle, moving coverage costs, and food and hotel costs for two people.

We calculated prices for PODS services by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.

Want to know more about PODS’ door-to-door flexibility?

If you’re moving within 1,000 miles, you probably won’t pay more than $3,000 for your U-Haul truck rental, and you’ll probably find them much lower than that. Using a container moving company, however, will almost always cost you at least $1,000, even for short distances.

That said, the prices for truck rentals and moving containers will change significantly depending on how far you’re moving, how much you’re moving, and the time of the year. Remember: the only way to know exactly how much your move will cost is to get an online quote or in-home estimate. It’s best to get at least three quotes to compare.

Additional truck rental costs

In addition to the price of your rental truck, you’ll want to consider these extra fees into your budget if you’re planning on renting a U-Haul for your upcoming move:

Moving coverage

When booking your truck rental, we strongly suggest purchasing protection coverage for the truck, yourself, and your stuff in case you get in a traffic accident or unintentionally round a corner too quickly and break something held in the cargo.

U-Haul offers a few different protection options, but the cheapest one, Safemove®,1 was usually somewhere between $50 and $90 across the quotes we gathered.

In contrast, PODS provides its own versions of this transit protection, each at different levels2. PODS offers coverage for the container only or the container and your belongings, and its policy covers between $5000 and $300,000 of damage. You’ll only be responsible for a deductible of $100 per claim no matter which level of coverage.

Fuel costs

Truck size
Miles per gallon3
Trip distance
Cost of gas
10 feet12500 miles$176
26 feet10500 miles$211
10 feet121,000 miles$351
26 feet101,000 miles$421

Data as of August 1, 2022. Cost of gas is based on the average price of $4.21.4

It’s important to remember you’ll need fuel for your moving truck and your personal vehicle, if you have one. In fact, we suggest you have someone drive a backup vehicle either way in case the moving truck has mechanical issues and you need help.

And assuming that gas costs $4.21 per gallon and your car gets the national average of 25 miles per gallon,5 you’ll pay about $170 to drive it 1,000 miles and $85 to drive it 500 miles.

PODS costs

PODS offers its customers a choice between three different-sized moving containers so they can accommodate your moving needs whether you’re moving from a studio or a five-bedroom home:

Container size
Weight limit
No. of rooms
Availability
8 ft.5,200 lbs.1 Local and long-distance
12 ft.4,700 lbs.2–3Local only
16 ft.4,200 lbs.3–4Local and long-distance

Data as of 4/19/22. PODS container sizes are estimates. Customers are responsible for assessing the container capacity for their belongings.

Distance
100 miles
1,000 miles
2,000 miles
1 room$850$3,280$2,710
2 rooms$1,340$3,840$3,450
3 rooms$1,340$3,840$3,450
5 rooms$1,940$7,260$6,520

Data as of March 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.

Want to see how much a move with PODS would cost you?

DIY moves’ travel costs

DIY moves will come with some additional costs, whether you drive the truck yourself or use moving containers. Here are a few that we think you should consider:

Cost of food

When planning a moving road trip, it’s easy to forget to budget for one of the most important things during your trip: food.

The cost of food averages about $40 per adult per day during a road trip.6 It’s generally unsafe to drive more than 500 miles in a day,7 so if a 500-mile trip takes you one day, and a 1,000-mile trip takes you two days, you’ll want to budget about $80 for food during the 500-mile trip and $160 for the 1,000-mile trip.

To cut down on these costs, you might consider packing your own meals to try and avoid stopping at fast food joints along the way.

Hotel and Airbnb fees

For longer trips exceeding 500 miles, we’d suggest planning to spend at least one night in a hotel or rental. Considering the average price for a single night in a hotel room is $180 (and much higher in fancier hotels or in big cities)8, you might find a better price on Airbnb or Vrbo.


Conclusion

Road trips aren’t cheap, but you’ll still save the most money renting a U-Haul for your move than almost any other option. That said, cheaper cost doesn’t always outweigh convenience and flexibility offered by container moves—especially for busy families. And with PODS, you may find the extra cost is worth the stress relief.

Get a quick estimate for your PODS move today!

Recommended resources

Sources

  1. U-Haul Truck Rental, “Get the Protection You Need for Your Move!” Accessed August 1, 2022.
  2. PODS, “Contents Protection Coverage Overview.” Accessed August 1, 2022.
  3. U-Haul Truck Rental, “U-Haul Truck Rentals.” Accessed August 1, 2022.
  4. AAA, “Gas Prices.” Updated April 27, 2021. Accessed August 1, 2022.Business Insider,
  5. The 5 Most and Least Fuel-efficient Cars on the Road Today,” December 2019. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  6. Living on the Cheap, “9 Ways to Take a Bite Out of Road Trip Food Costs.” Accessed August 1, 2022.
  7. The Road Trip Expert, “How Far Can You Drive Safely in a Day,” August 2019. Accessed August 1, 2021.
  8. Business Travel News, “Demand Drives U.S. Hotels,” March 2018. Accessed August 1, 2022.
Asha Kennedy
Written by
Asha Kennedy
Asha Kennedy is a researcher and content writer who brings almost 5 years of experience working directly with multiple carriers as a Move Coordinator, including Mayflower, United, and Allied International. During her career, she has successfully partnered with diverse clientele to coordinate Military, International, Interstate and Corporate relocations—and uses this experience to create meaningful and educational content for future movers! Asha graduated from Hampton University with honors in English. Asha enjoys being in nature, reading books, and learning new things.