moving & storage containers

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The Best Moving Containers & Storage Companies

orange moving container

Looking for a cost-efficient way to move? Consider renting a shipping container from one of the many shipping container moving companies available. Moving containers and storage options, such as those offered by PODS, U-Haul and other companies, are quickly becoming the most popular way to move household belongings from point A to point B. The reason? For one, it’s much cheaper to rent a moving container than to hire a professional moving company. Second, these portable moving containers give customers more flexibility with their moving timeline. And three, customers automatically have a place where they can store furnishings before, after and during their move.

While we know there are numerous moving containers and storage options to choose from, we recommend considering these nine listed below. All of these shipping container moving companies offer quality services. They have also received stellar moving container company reviews. To find the best moving container company for your next move, keep reading.

  1. ABF U-PackU-Pack’s ReloCube weatherproof containers feature durable steel framing and aluminum side panels. The advantage of choosing U-Pack over other moving container and storage companies is that U-Pack will allow you to reserve as many ReloCubes as you want but will only charge you for the ReloCubes you end up utilizing. That means if you order three containers, but end up filling just two, you’ll only be charged for the two ReloCube moving containers that were used. In addition, U-Pack does not require a deposit ahead of time.Container Sizes: U-Pack’s ReloCube container is capable of holding up to 2,500 pounds and comes in one size. The inside measures approximately 70” x 82” x 93” and can adequately hold one room’s worth of furniture and boxes. To see how many ReloCubes your move may require, use U-Pack’s Moving Space Estimator tool.
  2. COWs (Containers on Wheels)COWs moving containers are made of steel and sit atop small wheels, which make them exceptionally mobile. Most COWs locations offer customers several services including: a DIY option where customers load and unload the container themselves; a hybrid option where customers can opt for labor assistance for heavier items; and a full service option where customers can opt to have the company load and unload all belongings.Container Sizes: The majority of COWs locations offer both 8 ft. and 16 ft. moving and storage containers. COWs’ moving containers and storage are available for daily, weekly and monthly rentals.
  3. Go Mini’s
    Customers in need of flexibility will appreciate Go Mini’s customer-friendly moving container rental policy. The shipping container company allows customers to rent Go Mini’s containers on a weekly basis. Each Go Mini’s moving containers are made of steel, and come with padded wheels and multiple tie-down points. Those in need of storage have the option to store the container at their own home, at an outdoor Go Mini’s facility or at an indoor Go Mini’s facility.Container Sizes: Go Mini’s containers come in three sizes, including a 12 ft. container ideal for small apartment moves; a 16 ft. container ideal for moving three to four rooms; and a 20 ft. container ideal for moving five to six rooms.
  4. 1-800-PACK-RAT1-800-PACK-RAT is certainly one of the best moving container companies out there. The company’s shipping containers are made of weatherproof steel. Each container also features embedded metal skids, which provide six inches of clearance off the ground to ensure that your valuable furniture and items remain dry at all times. Customers can choose to store their containers on their own property or at a nearby 1-800-PACK-RAT secure storage facility.Container Sizes: 1-800-PACK-RAT moving containers come in three sizes: an 8 ft. container capable of holding around 1.5 rooms of furniture; a 12 ft. container capable of holding two to three rooms; and a 16 ft. container capable of holding three to four rooms of furnishings.
  5. PODS
    Perhaps the most well-known of the shipping container companies, PODS offers steel-framed and weather-resistant moving containers. Each PODS shipping container offers ramp-free loading, and is equipped with tie-downs, steel locking latches, and a lock and key. Customers can either store the PODS container on their own property or at a PODS storage location.Container Sizes: PODS moving and storage containers come in three sizes: a 7 ft. moving container capable of handling a small apartment move; a 12 ft. moving container capable of handling a two to three room move; and a 16 ft. moving container capable of handling a three to four room move.
  6. SMARTBOX
    Convenient and easy to use, SMARTBOX moving containers are a popular choice for those moving and looking for storage. Each SMARTBOX moving container is constructed out of wood and covered with a waterproof canvas. This covering protects the box (and its contents) from rain, extreme temperatures and humidity. The shipping container company also allows customers to rent as many SMARTBOX containers as they need. Customers won’t be charged for any leftover, unused containers.Container Sizes: All SMARTBOX moving containers come in one size measuring 7′ x 5′ x 8′. These moving containers are capable of handling studio apartment or small, one-bedroom apartment moves. Keep in mind, you may to need to rent multiple SMARTBOX moving containers for larger moves.
  7. U-HaulU-Haul U-Boxes are made of heavy-duty plywood and come outfitted with a removable weatherproof covering. The moving container company is a popular choice because of its many delivery and storage options, including: The Superior Convenience Option, The Low-Cost, Do-It-Yourself Option, and The Most Cost-Effective Option. Those storing their U-Box at one of U-Haul’s storage facilities will also be granted 24-hour access to their unit.Container Sizes: Each U-Haul U-Box measures 96″ x 60″ x 90″ (or 257 cubic feet). The moving containers are capable of holding up to 2,000 pounds – or the contents of about a room and a half of household furnishings.
  8. United and Mayflower
    Each United and Mayflower moving container is made of weatherproof steel framing. United and Mayflower Container Services offers customers two loading options: a full-service Do-It-Yourself Plus option and a Do-It-Yourself option. Those who need extra help can opt for the full-service option where United and Mayflower services will send expert packers to help you on moving day. The company also allows customers to pack and unpack the container at their own pace. Portable storage containers can be kept at the customer’s home or at a United and Mayflower secure storage facility.Container Sizes: United and Mayflower moving containers are approximately 16 ft. long, 8 ft. wide and 8 ft. high. According to the website, each container is capable of holding the contents of a typical 1,500 square foot home.
  9. ZippyShellZippy Shell is a particularly good choice for those living or moving to an urban environment. The moving and storage container company offers “street legal” containers with license plates and wheels, making it easy to park these containers in street parking spots. Zippy Shell gives customers three days to load and unload their container.Container Sizes: Zippy Shell containers come in two sizes. The smaller container measures 10 ft. long, 7 ft. wide and 7 ft. high, and is capable of holding one to two rooms of household items. Zippy Shell’s largest container measures 15 ft. long, 7 ft. wide and 7 ft. high, and holds two to three rooms of furniture.

The 5 best moving container companies

U-Pack—Best overall

U-Pack’s prices are so low that it puts about $400 back in your pocket compared to other moving container companies. You’ve heard the saying: “More money, more problems.” Well, now you can find out if it’s true.

But it doesn’t stop there. U-Pack also has a pay-for-what-you-use policy that allows you to order extra containers—but only pay if you use them. It also scores top-shelf customer reviews and has instant online quotes to make your life easier (who wants to wait on hold these days?). On the downside, U-Pack doesn’t let you store the U-Pack ReloCube at your home (a problem if you’re hoping to unload the container over several days)—and it offers only long-distance moves.Pro HeadingPROSPro BulletLow pricesPro BulletInstant online quotesPro BulletPay-for-what-you-use policyPro BulletExcellent customer reviewsCon HeadingCONSCon BulletLong-distance service onlyCon BulletStorage availability at off-site location only

What sets U-Pack apart?

U-Pack has the lowest prices

No moving container company has better prices than U-Pack. We compared U-Pack quotes to hundreds of estimates from other moving container companies. We looked at small homes and big ones, short distances and cross-country trips, and quite a bit in between. What did we find? On average, U-Pack’s prices are about 15% cheaper than competitors.

Moving a tiny apartment? U-Pack is $820 less expensive than other companies. Got a five-bedroom brownstone that people say looks like ritzy suburb homes in holiday movies where everybody gathers together? Look for U-Pack to save you $720 over the competition. It’s tough to beat prices this low.

Average U-Pack moving container prices

U-PackIndustry average
$2,610$3,000

Data as of 8/10/20. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing moving costs for four home sizes across six distances.

What do customers think of U-Pack?

We paid a real-life customer to move with U-Pack in exchange for her candid feedback. She awarded the company 4.5 out of 5 stars and loved its low prices and fast delivery.

U-Pack has a pay-for-what-you-use policy

U-Pack makes it easy to plan for a big move without paying through the nose. Moving container companies often charge per container, so the more stuff you have, the more it costs. But U-Pack does things differently. It charges by the number of containers you fill up rather than how many you order. So if you’re not sure how many containers you need, err on the safe side and get an extra one. If you don’t use it, you don’t have to pay for it.

Looking for the very best?Get a Quote

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Need some help moving?

Consider renting an hourly mover through a moving labor company like HireAHelperDolly.com, or TaskRabbit.

1-800-PACK-RAT—Tons of deals

Our Rating

4.4 out of 5 stars

4.4Visit WebsiteCall 800-722-5728

1-800-PACK-RAT offers more discounts and price matching deals than any other moving container company. Its high-quality containers mean a lofty price tag—but only to start with. Thanks to loads of discounts, 1-800-PACK-RAT’s prices often drop below average for moving containers. And that’s saying something for a moving company with the strongest containers on the market.

1-800-PACK-RAT even offers local and long-distance delivery (some companies do only one or the other). The biggest drawback is that 1-800-PACK-RAT’s bills can be confusing (it breaks your invoice into so many different fees that you can leave feeling like you’re not 100% sure what your final price is).Pro HeadingPROSPro BulletHigh-quality containersPro BulletLocal and long-distance delivery
Pro BulletTons of discounts
Pro BulletPrice matching with PODS
Con HeadingCONSCon BulletHigh pre-discount prices
Con BulletConfusing payment structure

What sets 1-800-PACK-RAT apart?

1-800-PACK-RAT is serious about discounts

1-800-PACK-RAT makes up for initial high prices with discounts and price matching. Virtually every time we called 1-800-PACK-RAT, friendly reps offered to meet or beat PODS’s price (it doesn’t have the same deal for companies like U-Box with flimsy containers). That equates to an instant 5% savings if 1-800-PACK-RAT is willing to price match.

And the price cuts keep coming. 1-800-PACK-RAT has tons of moving container discounts for everyone from college students to medical professionals:

  • Best price guarantee
  • Local moves
  • First responders
  • Medical professionals
  • Military members
  • Senior citizens
  • Teachers

Most of 1-800-PACK-RAT’s discounts save you an extra 10%—bringing the company in line with other low-cost players like U-Pack and U-Box. That’s even more impressive when you consider the next selling point for 1-800-PACK-RAT: strong moving containers.Sign up for our moving guide!

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1-800-PACK-RAT has the strongest moving containers

1-800-PACK-RAT is the best of the best when it comes to container quality. Moving container construction ranges from low-quality wood to generic metal to steel. The second best container company (PODS) makes its containers with a steel frame. But 1-800-PACK-RAT takes things to a whole new level. Not only does 1-800-PACK-RAT have a steel frame, but it also has steel walls and doors. The company doesn’t say whether its containers could withstand a missile strike—but if anyone stood a chance, it would be 1-800-PACK-RAT. No company has stronger moving containers.

Looking for excellent container quality?Get a Quote

Read Our Review

Move.org Moving Grants: The 411

At Move.org, we offer financial assistance to individuals and families who are moving in exchange for details about their experience. Their candid reviews help us provide unique, real-life perspectives about the moving process.

Visit our Moving Grant hub to find out which companies we’ve worked with and to apply for funding for your next move!

PODS—Great customer service

Our Rating

4.2 out of 5 stars

4.2Visit WebsiteCall 866-229-4120

PODS goes out of its way to give you a top-notch customer experience. Its customer service reps get the highest marks in the business, and PODS has three container sizes to give you more flexibility. PODS is also available in nearly every state and offers both local and long-distance service. On the downside, it doesn’t include taxes in your estimate, and you have to call for a quote for moves over 50 miles. But with customer service this fantastic, that’s less of a drawback than it might be with other companies.Pro HeadingPROSPro BulletPositive customer reviewsPro BulletLow post-discount pricesPro BulletHigh container qualityPro BulletMultiple container sizesPro BulletLocal and long-distance servicesPro BulletWide availabilityCon HeadingCONSCon BulletNo instant online quotes for moves over 50 miles
Con BulletTaxes not included in estimates

What sets PODS apart?

PODS has excellent customer service

None of our top moving container companies get better customer reviews than PODS. We did the math, and PODS’s average customer review score of 3.8 out of 5 stars is a half star higher than the industry average. People love its consistently professional drivers and on-time delivery. And they often praise PODS’s customer service reps. To see if the praise was legit, we repeatedly called PODS posing as customers. Time after time, we came away impressed with how easy it was to get accurate answers to our questions.

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.”

How much does a PODS move cost?

A PODS move costs about $3,160. PODS’s initial prices are slightly high, but the moving container company erases that problem with a huge discount. All Move.org readers qualify for a 10% discount. Since it can cost thousands of dollars to move, those savings add fast. When you compare PODS to the industry average for small or midsize homes, the average price savings is over $300.

The size of your home also impacts the cost of your PODS move. For example, a one-room apartment costs approximately $1,760 while a five-room home sets you back about $4,550. In each case, PODS costs less than the industry average.

PODS moving container prices (after discount)

Home sizePODSAmount below industry average
1-room apartment$1,760$340 ↓
2-room house$2,390$190 ↓
3-room house$2,670$460 ↓
5-room house$4,550$60 ↓

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 six distances.

Take advantage of a 10% discount for Move.org readersGet a Quote

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Free moving boxes

Lower the cost of your move by asking around for free packing supplies and moving boxes. We’ve got some tips to get you started.

Zippy Shell—Flexible delivery

Our Rating

4.2 out of 5 stars

4.2Visit WebsiteCall 866-229-4120

Zippy Shell has one of the coolest containers we’ve seen. The company’s cagelike construction lets you tie down your belongings every few inches, so things don’t fall during transport. Zippy Shell even offers to stagger your containers’ delivery in case you don’t need them all. So what’s not to love? Unfortunately, Zippy Shell is available in only 28 states—and it doesn’t include container rental fees in your quotes ($159 per month).Pro HeadingPROSPro BulletFlexible delivery optionPro BulletSteel cage containersPro BulletLocal and long-distance serviceCon HeadingCONSCon BulletLimited availability (28 states)Con BulletRental fees not included in quote

What sets Zippy Shell apart?

Zippy Shell has flexible delivery

Zippy Shell helps you save money by staggering the delivery of your moving containers. Since you pay per container, costs can add up if you order more than you need. While most companies deliver the number of containers you request—and charge you for them—Zippy Shell brings you only the containers you need.

If you think you need three containers but might be able to get the job done with two, Zippy Shell can split up your delivery. By bringing you two containers on one day but scheduling a third container for another day, you can cancel the next scheduled delivery if it turns out you don’t need it. And since a single Zippy Shell container can cost well over a thousand dollars, you’re looking at a boatload of savings.

Zippy Shell containers are unique (in a good way)

Zippy Shell containers have something we haven’t seen before: steel-cage construction. Why’s that important? It has to do with how safe your stuff is. During transport, things can move around inside the container and get damaged. Your belongings can even jam the doors from the inside so you can’t open the container. Zippy Shell solves that problem with steel bars spaced every three or four inches. All you have to do is loop a tie-down or rope around your stuff and connect it to the caged bar. Problem solved.

And in the rare instance that something still comes loose, Zippy Shell has barn style doors that open outward (instead of up and down like a garage)—so jamming is never a problem. Bottom line: your stuff stays safe.

Want a company that keeps your stuff safe?Visit Website

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SMARTBOX—Straightforward pricing

Our Rating

3.9 out of 5 stars

3.9Visit WebsiteCall 877-627-8269

SMARTBOX takes the mystery out of shopping for a moving container. While many companies surprise you with hidden fees or don’t include taxes, SMARTBOX gives you a single final price from the beginning. SMARTBOX also has discounts for college students and includes weatherproof covers for its containers. But there are some disadvantages. In addition to high prices, SMARTBOX gets low marks from customers who have a hard time reaching its telephone representatives, and isn’t widely available.Pro HeadingPROSPro BulletStraightforward pricingPro BulletCollege student discountsPro BulletWeatherproof coversPro BulletPay-for-what-you-use policy
Con HeadingCONSCon BulletHigh pricesCon BulletPoor customer reviewsCon BulletLimited availability

What sets SMARTBOX apart?

SMARTBOX has straightforward pricing

SMARTBOX offers something rare in the moving container industry: straightforward prices. While many other companies tack on hidden fees, divide your final bill into multiple payments, or leave you guessing about how much taxes cost and when you’ll pay them, SMARTBOX makes it easy. You just pay a single and straightforward bill (taxes included). That’s it. If only every company made it this simple.

SMARTBOX has deals for college students

College is expensive—and SMARTBOX has special moving container deals to make sure arriving on campus doesn’t cost too much. That even applies to college faculty and staff. SMARTBOX has a $20 off coupon for just about everybody spending time at school:

  • Dormitory students
  • Faculty and staff
  • Individual students
  • International students
  • Off-campus students
  • Sororities / Fraternities
  • Study abroad students

Take advantage of SMARTBOX’s straightforward pricingGet a Quote

Read Our Review

Other moving container companies to consider

At Move.org, it’s our goal to look at every moving container company from a researched-based, user-focused lens. We’ve looked at everything from container construction to customer satisfaction. Though we are confident in our choices for the top 5 moving container companies, there are others to choose from like Go Mini’s and U-Box.

Moving container FAQ

How much do moving containers cost?

The average cost of moving containers is approximately $3,000. Costs vary depending on the size of your home, how far you travel, and what time of year it is.

How much do moving containers cost for long distances?

The average cost of moving containers for long distances of over 1,000 miles is approximately $3,390. Costs range from about $2,780 (U-Pack) to $3,730 (1-800-PACK-RAT).

What are other companies like PODS?

Several companies like PODS sell portable storage containers, including U-Pack1-800-PACK-RATZippy Shell, and SMARTBOX. Moving containers can often be stored at your home or a company storage facility.

How much does PODS cost?

The average cost to move with PODS is approximately $3,160 (or $2,840 if you request a 10% Move.org discount).

Are there moving companies that allow you to pack your own stuff?

Yes, there are moving companies that allow you to pack on your own. Both rental truck companies and moving container companies are cheaper alternatives to full-service moving companies because you pack your own stuff.

Where can I find small moving storage containers?

You can find small moving storage containers by contacting PODSU-Pack, or U-Haul. Small containers often hold up to one room’s worth of belongings.

Small shipping container sizes

CompanySmallest container size
PODS6 ft. 6 in. x 6 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.
U-Pack6 ft. 3 in. x 7 ft. x 8 ft. 4 in.
U-Box7 ft. 11 in. x 4 ft. 8 in. x 6 ft. 11 in.

Data as of 10/23/2020. All measurements are approximate.

What are the best U-Box alternatives?

The best U-Box alternatives are U-Pack (low costs), 1-800-PACK-RAT (high-quality containers), and PODS (excellent customer service).

How much does it cost to rent a moving container?

The average cost to rent a moving container is approximately $3,000. Costs vary depending on things like container size, time of year, and the distance of your move. The cheapest moving container companies can often save you hundreds of dollars compared to the industry average.

What are the best moving cube companies?

The best moving cube companies are U-Pack1-800-PACK-RAT, and PODS, according to Move.org. Each company has its own strength. For example, U-Pack has low costs, while 1-800-PACK-RAT has strong containers, and PODS has excellent customer service.

What is portable storage?

Portable storage is a moving industry term that refers to moving containers (or moving cubes). Rather than store your belongings in a storage unit, a portable storage company brings a storage container to your home.

What companies have portable storage containers?

Many companies have portable storage containers, including PODSU-Pack1-800-PACK-RATZippy Shell, and SMARTBOXCosts vary depending on how far you’re transporting the storage containers and how big your home is.

What are the best moving truck companies?

The best moving truck companies are Penske Truck RentalBudget Truck Rental, and U-Haul, according to Move.org.

Is PODS cheaper than U-Haul?

PODS is often cheaper than U-Haul for long-distance moves. While U-Haul’s initial quotes seem lower, they often include additional fees—and don’t factor in the food and lodging you need to drive cross-country.

What are the dimensions of a PODS container?

PODS has three moving containers that range in length from approximately 6 to 15 feet. The weight limit for a PODS container varies from about 4,200 to 5,200 pounds.

PODS container dimensions

Container sizeContainer dimensionsWeight limit
Small6 ft. 6 in. x 6 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.5,200 lbs
Medium11 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.4,700 lbs
Large15 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.4,200 lbs

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

What can you put in a portable moving container?

You can put most household goods in a portable moving container. Most companies prohibit items such as hazardous materials, flammable liquids, and weapons.

What’s the cheapest moving container company for local moves?

PODS is the cheapest moving container company for local moves. Its average cost of $1,160 for a 100-mile move is about $560 less expensive than the industry average of $1,720. Add in PODS’s 10% discount for Move.org readers, and you’re looking at even more savings.

How much is a SMARTBOX container?

A SMARTBOX container is approximately $3,020. Costs range from about $1,450 to move a small apartment across town to around $5,010 to move a three-bedroom home across the country. SMARTBOX also has discounts for college discounts.

Does PODS do long-distance moves?

Yes, PODS does long-distance moves. Its average cost to transport a portable storage container more than 50 miles is approximately $3,160.

What is a portable storage unit?

A portable storage unit is a portable container that you can use for temporary storage or to move your belongings. Container options vary by storage company. For example, PODS has three steel-framed sizes, while U-Haul has a single plywood storage box.

Can I use a moving storage container for long-distance moves?

Yes, you can use moving storage containers for long-distance moves. The container cost is typically more affordable than a moving service with professional movers. However, a rental truck is often cheaper for smaller moves.

How much is a moving storage container rental?

A moving storage container rental costs approximately $3,000. Mobile storage costs vary depending on storage needs and whether you hire professional movers to handle loading and unloading. Long-distance moves also cost more than smaller moves.

How do I get a moving quote for long-distance moves?

You can get a moving quote for long-distance moves by contacting a moving container company and

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