U-Pack vs. PODS Review 2020

PODS offers a simple solution for local moves, but U-Pack’s flexible payment options may be better for long-distance trips.
Best for Most
Multiple container sizes
Local and long-distance moves
Best for Long Distance
Pay-for-what-you-use policy
Nationwide availability

When it comes to moving, a moving container is the perfect combination of do-it-yourself affordability and do-it-for-me practicality. But not all moving container companies are the same.

Here we’ll break down the differences between two of the best: U-Pack and PODS.

U-Pack is a newer company that’s popular for its flexible pricing, but it doesn’t do local moves. PODS is a moving container industry pioneer that offers competitive prices and handles both local and long-distance moves.

Now let’s dive into the details—yeehaw!

U-Pack vs. PODS containers

So many choices: giant metal box A or giant metal box B?

How different could two shipping containers really be? You might be surprised.

First off, U-Pack offers fewer container sizes than PODS. U-Pack has only one moving container, the ReloCube, which is about the size of a walk-in closet. The other option for U-Pack customers is a trailer, about the size of an 18-wheeler, which U-Pack will drive for you and deliver to your home.

Since there’s no medium-sized container, many people end up ordering multiple ReloCubes. Thankfully, the company will charge you for only the containers you actually end up using.

U-Pack container options
Dimensions6.25 x 7 x 8.33 ft. 28 x 8 x 9 ft.
Weight limit2,500 lbs.22,500 lbs.
Door styleBarn styleBarn style
# of rooms it holds14+
Get a QuoteGet a QuoteGet a Quote

PODS has three different sizes to choose from. The smallest container is comparable to U-Pack’s ReloCube. The two larger containers are similar in size to some of those U-Haul and Budget trucks that you see driving around town.

You can order a combination of different containers with PODS. But be aware that you’ll have to pay for every container you order, whether you use it or not. And no, you’re not imagining things: the weight limit does go down as you increase the size of the container (we don’t know why).

PODS container options
Details7-foot container12-foot container*16-foot container
Dimensions6.25 x 7 x 8.33 ft. 28 x 8 x 9 ft.16 x 8 x 8 ft.
Weight limit2,500 lbs.22,500 lbs.4,200 lbs.
Door styleBarn styleBarn styleRoll top
# of rooms it holds14+3–4
Get a QuoteGet a QuoteGet a QuoteGet a Quote

*Only available for local moves

One final difference between U-Pack and PODS containers is the door. PODS has roll top doors, which can make it hard to stack items up to the ceiling. U-Pack has swinging “barn-style” doors.

U-Pack vs. PODS services

Sure, U-Pack the PODS, but what will these companies do for you?

U-Pack and PODS have plenty in common when it comes to services: both drop off a box at your house for you to pack up. And both will ship and store the box for you. But there are some key differences between the companies.

U-Pack vs. PODS moving services
Local movesNoYes
Long-distance movesYesYes
Available in all 50 statesYesNo
Loading and unloading time3 days (each)30 days
Storage includedPaid only30 days
Insurance optionsYesYes
Pay only for what you useYesNo
Instant quotes YesNo
DetailsGet a QuoteGet a Quote

U-Pack vs. PODS availability

Looking to move across the country for grad school or a new job? Both U-Pack and PODS can help you out—unless you’re moving to one of the following states, where PODS hasn’t set up shop yet:

  • Alaska
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Looking to move into a new apartment across town? Well, you can count U-Pack out. The company doesn’t do local moves.

U-Pack vs. PODS packing and unpacking

So you’ve got a giant metal container in front of your house. What’s next? You could turn it into your super secret clubhouse. You could make a life-sized diorama of your favorite historical event. Or you could pack it with all of your stuff.

Let’s just assume you’re going with that last idea.

If you’ve got a container from U-Pack, you’ll only have three days to pack your stuff and three more days to unpack it at your destination. That may be plenty for some, but it’s less time than PODS (and 1-800-Pack-Rat and U-Haul’s U-Box) offers.

PODS will give you 30 days to pack and unpack. That way you can casually load a few boxes each evening and then make your friends help you with the couch when they come over for the barbecue.

Both companies have some form of “live loading.” This means a driver will bring by your container(s) for a few hours and you’ll load while they wait. Your stuff ships immediately, and you don’t have to worry about nosy neighbors (“Oh that thing? It’s just my new . . . mailbox.”).

U-Pack vs. PODS storage

Got a gap of time between moving out and moving in? You can just throw your container in storage. No extra moving labor—heck to the yeah!

Since PODS containers are rented by the month, you won’t have to pay extra for storage—as long as it’s within your original 30-day time window. U-Pack also offers storage, but you’ll have to pay extra for it.

U-Pack vs. PODS insurance

Moving containers are like books: it’s the stuff on the inside that really counts. And in this case, that stuff is everything you own. So you might want to get some insurance.

With U-Pack, you’ll automatically get catastrophic coverage—for when your ReloCube is hit by lightning, falls off a cliff, or is smashed by a Transformer during a Michael Bay movie. You can also pay extra to upgrade to carrier negligence coverage.

U-Pack insurance options

  • Catastrophic: $7,500/ReloCube or $60,000/trailer maximum payout
  • Carrier negligence: 10¢/lb. for all items in container (pay to upgrade)

PODS has two similar insurance options, but neither one comes standard.

PODS insurance options

  • Container only: Covers any damage to a container while it’s on your property.
  • Content protection: Covers any damage to the container or items in your container. Can choose from $5,000 up to $300,000 of coverage.

U-Pack vs. PODS pricing

PODS offers cheap prices for those on a budget. But U-Pack has more flexibility for those whose plans might change.

U-Pack and PODS can both save you money, especially compared to full-service moving companies. But before you can figure out how much you can save, you’ll have to get a quote.

What it takes to get a quote

With U-Pack, you can get an online quote in seconds. No phone call required—phew! You can save all that time and energy for something more important, like catching a Mewtwo in Pokémon GO.

U-Pack Quote Example

With PODS, things aren’t so simple. Although the company’s website makes it seem like it will give you an online quote, after you input your information, it will take you to a page that says, “We’ve got your quote! Please call.” Ugh. Fine. We’ll call.

PODS quote example

When we called to follow up on our quote with PODS, a pleasant representative picked up right away. He did give us a quote, but not before applying a little sales pressure. Needless to say, we prefer U-Pack’s instant quotes.

Which is cheaper, U-Pack or PODS?

Before we go on, we should mention that quotes vary based on many factors—location, timing, house size, insurance, etc.—so it’s hard to say one company is always cheaper than the other.

But we can say that when we got a quote for moving a four-bedroom house from Chicago to Dallas, PODS was a few hundred dollars cheaper. However, there are some important differences between these quotes.

Our sample quote from U-Pack
ServiceCost included
Distance of move978 miles (Chicago to Dallas)
Date of moveJune 2019
Move size4-bedroom house (1 U-Pack trailer)
Quote for container and move$3,848
DetailsGet a Quote
Our sample quote from PODS
ServiceCost included
Distance of move978 miles (Chicago to Dallas)
Date of moveJune 2019
Move size4-bedroom house (1 16-ft. container)
Quote for container and move$3,230+*
DetailsGet a Quote

*PODS did not give us an exact number, but said about $3,230 “plus tax.”

U-Pack’s quote includes more packing space. The representative from PODS warned us that a four-bedroom house is often a tight fit in a single, 16-foot container. To get another container from PODS would almost double the cost of the move!

It’s also worth remembering that U-Pack’s basic quote includes catastrophic liability coverage, while PODS does not. But PODS’ basic quote includes 30 days of storage, while U-Pack’s does not.

U-Pack vs. PODS payment options

One feature that we really love from U-Pack is its flexible payment options. Not only do you not pay for containers you don’t use, but you also don’t have to pay anything at all until your containers are delivered.

With PODS, you’ll likely have three different payments to make, two of them before your containers are even shipped! *Sad trombone*

Recap: U-Pack vs. PODS

U-Pack offers flexible services and payments, but for local moves and the cheapest price, PODS may be a better choice.

If you’re choosing between U-Pack and PODS, you can’t really go wrong. But you can go more right. For those who are making local moves, PODS is the obvious choice. For those who want flexibility with long-distance moves, U-Pack is the way to go.

  • Containers: U-Pack has fewer choices but charges only for what you use. PODS has more container sizes, but you have to pay for every container that’s dropped off.
  • Services: PODS gives you more time to pack and a little bit of free storage time if you need it. But U-Pack hooks you up with free insurance.
  • Pricing: We love U-Pack’s instant quote tool and payment options, but your final bill might end up being cheaper with PODS.

We’ve done tons of research to bring you this U-Pack vs. PODS review, but the rest is up to you. Get a quote from PODS and U-Pack to figure out which can offer you the best rate on your move.

And if you have experience with these companies, please leave us a comment below!