2019 Best Moving Container Companies

Moving containers help you get your goods out of the house without having to drive big awkward trucks. And you can take a few days to chill and triple-check your packing list.

Whether you just need to get your stuff out of the house quickly or want professional movers to handle everything during a move, a moving container can help you knock stress out of the mix.

These protective storage containers get dropped off at your place, and you get to take your time packing before it is picked up by the provider and transported to the new location. We picked the three best moving container companies and evaluated each brand’s scope of services, ease-of-use, and price.

Compare the best moving container companies

PODSU-Pack1-800-PACK-RAT
Local and long-distance movesYesLong distance onlyYes
Multiple container sizesYesNo*Yes
Weatherproof containersYesYesYes
Storage included30 daysPaid only30 days
Insurance optionsYesYesYes
Weight limit4,200–5,200 lbs.2,500 lbs.4,000–6,000 lbs.
Learn moreLearn moreLearn more

*U-Pack has one container size but also offers trailers.

How much do moving containers cost?

To know for sure you’ll have to call for a quote. But on average you’re looking between $300 for a small, local move, and on up to $3,500+ for a long distance move.

While moving containers aren’t exactly cheap, they are one of the most convenient ways to give yourself more control over the time and organization of your move.

PODS—Best overall

PODS handles everything you need with a move, if you need them to.

We like that PODS metal, weatherproof containers are available to most people in the US for both local and national moves. You can keep the container at your current or new residence or at a local PODS facility until you’re ready to move it, which lets you organize your move without rushing.

PODS offers multiple sizes of containers, meaning you won’t have to try to pack two rooms into a one-room container, or order an extra one for just a little bit more stuff. You’ll get a 30-day reservation for loading and unloading at your speed—great for those of us who forget how many knickknacks we’ve accumulated.

Pros

  • Multiple storage container sizes
  • Available in most states
  • Secure storage centers

Cons

  • Must pay for all PODS containers ordered, even if unused
  • A bit spendy

What you get with PODS

PODS provides a storage container that stays where you need it to be, for as long as you need it to be (or rather, how long you want to pay for it).

PODS moving container options

7-foot12-foot*16-foot
WeatherproofYesYesYes
Dimensions7 x 7 x 8 ft.12 x 8 x 8 ft.16 x 8 x 8 ft.
Weight limit5,200 lbs.4,700 lbs.4,200 lbs.
# of rooms it holds1 room2–3 rooms3–4 rooms

*Available for local moves only.

The containers are waterproof and include a clear polymer roof so you can still see inside the pod without a light (during the day at least). And they have steel roll-up doors, which means you can fit it into tighter spaces—a big pro if you’re in a city apartment complex or next to a neighbor who has lasers installed to keep track of property lines.

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PODS require little more than a parking space

Even though PODS containers fit in a standard parking spot, you need at least 12-feet of clearance for the truck to deliver it. In contrast, U-Pack is delivered by a 40-foot truck that will need to park nearby, but then uses a forklift so it doesn’t need more than a parking space.

Make sure you understand PODS and U-Pack’s advice on parking containers so you don’t cause some damage to your neighbor’s beloved Suzuki. We hope the delivery driver looks, but one must not assume.

PODS  included features:

  • Tie-downs
  • Steel locking latches
  • Your own padlock and key
  • Insurance options: Container only or Content protection (up to $10,000)
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Need bubble wrap and stuff to help pack?

You can get all your moving supplies through PODS, but PODS doesn’t provide packing or loading services. PODS will recommend and coordinate local services to do that work if needed.

What we like about PODS

Because PODS handles just about everything, it’s one of our favorite options for most people. A few of our favorite things about PODS include:

  • Different container sizes: Try the 7-foot PODS container to pack up your single-life studio, or opt for the 16-foot container if you’ve been passed down generations’ worth of furniture.
  • Storage: It may be weeks or months between when your old lease ends and your new lease begins—and if that’s the case, you can use a PODS storage location so you don’t have to worry about your antique Polly Pocket collection while you’re between houses.
  • Availability: PODS gives an easy experience to more people moving to more locations than our other picks—chances are, they have you covered.

PODS mover experience

You can request a quote on PODS website, but they’ll want you to call and talk through your options anyway. We wish we could just plug in some general info online to get a ballpark estimate right away, but that’s just not the case. If you want a more detailed breakdown, you should scope our PODS review.

We like that PODS connects you with professional packers and movers if you want. And you can buy moving supplies directly from PODS, although compared to our local moving supply store, we found them to be a bit more expensive.

Overall, PODS can relieve the stress that comes with packing. Storing, and moving your stuff, and while it will cost you more money than picking up a rental truck, it will save your sanity.

U-Pack—Best for long-distance moves

Don’t mind packing and unloading, but don’t want to drive your stuff around? U-Pack lives up to its name and keeps moving simple for you.

U-Pack works great for long-distance moves when you’re on a budget. It’s a good middle ground between renting a truck to do everything yourself and hiring a moving company to take care of everything. Plus, you can drive your car while they take care of the more stressful truck driving.

Pros

  • No deposit required
  • Pay for what you use
  • Three free days to load, three free days to unload
  • Available nationally (and in Canada and Puerto Rico)

Cons

  • Only one container size (but they do have a trailer option)
  • No local moves

What you get with U-Pack

You can get either an empty moving trailer or moving containers called Relocubes delivered to your home. And you only pay for the containers you use (or the space in the truck you use). U-Pack is roughly the same price as PODS, and like PODS, you don’t have to put down a security deposit. If you need to bail on your move, it’s chill.

U-Pack moving container options

ReloCubeMoving trailers
WeatherproofYesYes
Dimensions6 ft. 3 in. x 7 ft. x 8 ft. 4 in.28 x 8 x 9 ft.
Weight limits2,500 lbs.22,500 lbs.
# of rooms it holds1 room4+ rooms

*Available for local moves only.

U-Pack is great if you’re ready to move long-distance within three days, but if you want to take your sweet time over a few weeks or you’re just moving locally, go with PODS.

U-Pack included features:

  • Liability coverage up to $60,000 per trailer or $7,500 per ReloCube
  • Carrier negligence liability ($0.10 per pound at no charge)
  • “Pay for what you use” pricing

What we like about U-Pack

  • Online estimate: You’ll get a clear and transparent online estimate without having to call. The list is itemized based on transportation, loading, and unloading, which isn’t as detailed as we’d like, but at least you know how much these services add to your total.
  • No deposit required: Do you need two containers? Maybe, maybe not. With U-Pack, you don’t have to pay to reserve your moving containers, which can help your wallet if you have sick Tetris skills.
  • Pay for what you use: You can reserve as many Relocubes as you think you need, plus you won’t have to worry about paying for any that you don’t end up using.
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Need more room to include everything AND the kitchen sink?

U-Pack’s pay-for-what-you-use policy also applies to its moving trailer. For a four-bedroom home, this option won’t leave you wondering if you underprepared or overpaid.

1-800-PACK-RAT—Best containers

For those looking for the most protective containers (and barn-style doors), 1-800-PACK-RAT provides all-steel protection.

Our favorite thing about 1-800-PACK-RAT is that the containers are not just steel-framed but steel-walled too. That means it’s more weather-resistant and more likely to deter any would-be thieves or pesky raccoons.

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Barn-style doors vs. roller doors

1-800-PACK-RAT’s barn-style doors might not work for the tightest of spaces, but it will give you extra room to stack your stuff all the way up to the ceiling—a pack rat’s dream.

PODS and U-Pack’s roller doors, on the other hand, take up that space. But they do make a cool sound as they slide up and down, so there’s that.

You also get 30 days of storage included in your quote, so take your time, baby. Even if you don’t think you need storage up front, you may realize that the 80-inch antique sofa with attached legs won’t squeeze into your new place no matter how much you grease up your door frame.

Pros

  • Online tools for local moves
  • $10,000 in moving protection
  • Steel-constructed containers

Cons

  • Not available in Alaska, Hawaii, Vermont, or Idaho
  • Charges a $500 deposit five days before drop-off

What you get with 1-800-PACK-RAT

We like that 1-800-PACK-RAT offers a free lock and $10,000 in content protection as part of the deal. PODS requires you to buy a lock or pay extra for insurance, and we need that money to throw a raging house party (how else do you meet your neighbors?).

1-800-PACK-RAT moving container options

8-foot12-foot16-foot
WeatherproofYesYesYes
DimensionsRoughly 8 x 8 ft.Roughly 12 x 12 ft.Roughly 16 x 16 ft.
Weight limit4,000 lbs.6,000 lbs.6,000 lbs.
# of rooms it holds1–2 rooms2–3 rooms3–4 rooms

1-800-PACK-RAT included features:

  • No-cut security lock
  • $10,000 in contents protection with long-distance moves
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Deposits are a thing

Unlike PODS and U-Pack, 1-800-PACK-RAT charges $500 of your total fee before the container is delivered. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re committed to your move, but you may cause you to delay buying extra sets of AirPods and Gucci chains for a week.

What we like about 1-800-PACK-RAT

  • Local or long distance: Whether you’re just moving to the fancy side of town in-state, or moving from Seattle all the way back to Oklahoma to save some cash, 1-800-PACK-RAT hits most, but not all moves within the continental. Sorry Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii, and Vermont, you’ll need to check out PODS or U-Pack.
  • 30 days of storage included: Say you have a few weeks between leases, or you’re taking a sick trip to Italy for two weeks, 1-800-PACK-RAT can hold onto your stuff without bothering with a third-party.
  • Discounts: 1-800-PACK-RAT offers discounts when you call to move—and we really like saving money . . . a lot.

Recap

Getting a moving container will take some stress out of your life by giving you temporary and long-term storage while eliminating the need to drive a big truck.

Moving containers free you up from stressful driving and the costs that come with it. You’ll have time to ease into and out of your move and can even store your stuff at your house or a nearby facility to make your move as convenient as possible.

  • Best overall: PODS stands out for its variety of containers and how you can store your stuff at a PODS location instead of at your place—which frees you up from move-in timelines.
  • Best customer experience: U-Pack doesn’t do local moves, but for long hauls its “pay what you use” method won’t have you up in the night worrying about extra costs.
  • Best containers: 1-800-PACK-RAT is the only company with all-steel containers, meaning your stuff is better protected from the elements and thieves.

What’s your experience with moving containers? Let us know what’s on your mind in the comments below.