portable storage containers

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The 8 Best Portable Container

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Ready to move? If you’d like to find a happy medium between hiring full service movers and doing everything yourself, we recommend renting a portable moving container. These cubes are both durable and affordable. Once they’re dropped off at your doorstep, you simply load them up with all of your boxes. The moving container company will then pick up the cube from your home and deliver it to its destination. Those in need of temporary storage before, after or during a move will also find moving containers to be especially handy. These portable cubes double as storage to make your next move as seamless as possible.

So which moving container is the best? Below, we’ve listed the top eight moving containers in the U.S. ranked by their overall ease, availability, affordability and durability. If you’re thinking of renting a moving container for your next relocation, consider these eight excellent options. Best of luck and happy moving!

RankCompanySizeMoving ServicesNational Coverage
1PODS7 foot, 12 foot, 16 footLocal & Long DistanceNationwide
2ABF U-Pack6’3″x7’x8’4″Long DistanceNationwide
31-800-PACK-RAT8 foot, 12, foot, 16 footLocal & Long DistanceNationwide
4SMARTBOX8’x5’x7′Local & Long DistanceLimited Coverage
5U-Haul U-Boxes8’x5’x7’6″Local, Long Distance, InternationalNationwide
6Go Mini’s12 foot, 16 foot, 20 footLocal, Limited Long DistanceLimited Coverage
7Zippy Shell10 foot, 15 footLocal & Long DistanceLimited Coverage
8COWs8 foot, 16 footLocal & Long DistanceLimited Coverage
  1. PODS Moving ContainersWhy it earns first place: The PODS portable moving container earns our first place spot thanks to its quality construction and ample availability.Container details: Without a doubt, PODS moving containers are the most popular and widely available portable storage cubes in the U.S. They also tend to be more expensive. HireAHelper’s price comparison states that the average cost of a long distance move using a PODS moving container is a pricey $3,253. Customers willing to pay up for the name brand moving container will receive one that is made of weather-resistant steel. This means rain or shine, your belongings will be kept safe from weather-related damage. PODS portable containers also feature tie-down hooks to keep items in place while the container is on the road. In addition, every PODS customer receives a lock and key for added security. Customers have the option to store their PODS container on either their personal property or at a PODS storage location. Since customers are charged by the day, they’re able to load and pack on their own schedule. Once finished loading, a PODS representative will pick up and deliver the container to its destination. Customers can receive a quote online or by phone.POD’s Containers7 Foot12 Foot16 FootSize7′ x 7′ x 8′12′ x 8′ x 8′16′ x 8′ x 8′Container materialMetalMetalMetalInterior packing space392 cubic feet768 cubic feet1024 cubic feetPopular usesMoving 1 room of furniture or a studio apartmentMoving 2 to 3 rooms of furniture or a mid-size apartmentMoving 3 to 4 rooms of furniture or a large homeMoving availabilityLong distance moves (local moves only available in select locations)Local moves onlyLocal and long distance movesStorageStorage options availableStorage options availableStorage options availablePros
    • Moving containers come in a variety of sizes.
    • Customers can load and pack on their own schedule.
    • Available for both local and long distance moves.
    • Moving containers are made of weatherproof materials.
    • Convenient self-storage options available.
    • Website is informative and user-friendly.
    • Customers have their own lock and key for extra security.
    • PODS is available nationwide.
    • Provides a moving space estimator.
    Cons
    • PODS tends to be more expensive than other container options.
    • Quotes take longer to receive.
    • Customers must pay for all PODS containers ordered, regardless of whether or not they are all used.
    Who should choose PODS moving containers?PODS is a good option for customers who a) prefer a specific size moving container versus a one size fits all; b) are in need of a flexible moving timeline, as the company allows more than three days to load and unload the container; and c) are looking for temporary storage options during a move.
  2. ABF U-Pack Relocube Moving ContainersWhy it earns second place: U-Pack’s ReloCubes score high for their durable, weatherproof materials. However, the company’s lack of availability for local moves and tight loading timeline prevents ReloCubes from earning the number one spot.Container details: With numerous service centers located throughout the U.S., U-Pack’s ReloCubes are a convenient and cost-efficient way to move. Each weatherproof ReloCube is made of metal and can hold up to one room of furniture and boxes. Since ReloCubes sit directly on the ground and are capable of fitting into a parking space, customers won’t have any trouble loading and unloading belongings. Inside each ReloCube, customers will also find plenty of tie-down points to keep items safe and secure while in transit. According to HireAHelper’s price comparison, the average cost of a long distance move using ReloCubes is $2,330, based on a per container/per 30-day period basis. Customers are allowed to reserve as many ReloCubes as they want and will only have to pay for the ones they end up using, making payment particularly flexible. Customers can receive a quote online or by phone.ReloCube Containers6 FootSize6’3” x 7′ x 8’4”Weight limit2,500 poundsContainer materialMetalInterior packing space305 cubic feetPopular usesMoving 1 room of furniture or a small apartmentMoving availabilityLong distance moves onlyStorage optionsStorage options availablePros
    • Payment is particularly flexible. Customers can reserve as many ReloCubes as they wish but will only be charged for the number of moving containers they end up using. Customers won’t be billed for any unused moving containers.
    • No upfront deposit required when reserving a ReloCube.
    • Moving containers are made of weatherproof materials.
    • Convenient storage options available.
    • Easy-to-use website and customer-friendly.
    • Provides a moving space estimator.
    • U-Pack is available nationwide.
    Cons
    • Not available for local moves.
    • Only offers one size ReloCube.
    • Customers only have 3 days to load and unload the container.
    Who should choose ABF U-Pack?U-Pack ReloCubes caters to those moving long-distance in need of a weatherproof, portable storage option. Customers who appreciate the payment flexibility will also find U-Pack to be a particularly good choice. However, those embarking on a local move will need to look at other moving container options.
  3. 1-800-PACK-RAT Moving ContainersWhy it earns third place: Despite their high prices, 1-800-PACK-RAT moving containers win big points for their ample availability, durability and many sizing options.Container details: 1-800-PACK-RAT is one of the most well-known and widely used moving container options available. The steel-framed walls and doors make these durable containers particularly resistant to water damage. 1-800-PACK-RAT moving containers come outfitted with barn-style doors, which provide additional packing space for customers. Ground-level loading and unloading also allows for easier packing and unpacking of the moving container. In addition, customers will appreciate the moving container’s many size options as well as the flexible 30-day packing timeline available. According to HireAHelper’s price comparison, the average cost of a long distance move using a 1-800-PACK-RAT moving container is $3,468, making it slightly more expensive than PODS and U-Pack. Customers can receive a quote online or by phone.PACK-RAT Containers8 Foot12 Foot16 FootSize8.5′ x 7.2′ x 7.8′12′ x 7.75′ x 7.5′16′ x 7.75′ x 7.5′Weight limit4,000 pounds6,000 pounds6,000 poundsContainer materialMetalMetalMetalInterior packing space404 cubic feet620 cubic feet830 cubic feetPopular usesMoving 1.5 rooms of furniture or a studio apartmentMoving 2 to 3 rooms of furniture or a small apartmentMoving 3 to 4 rooms of furniture or a large homeMoving availabilityLocal and long distance movesLocal and long distance movesLocal and long distance movesStorage optionsStorage options availableStorage options availableStorage options availablePros
    • Claims to be the most weatherproof moving container on the market.
    • Offers multiple sizes for rent.
    • Available for both local and long distance moves.
    • Provides a moving space estimator.
    • Containers are outfitted with barn-style doors to provide greater security and more packing space.
    • Convenient self-storage options available.
    • Provides a free lock and a complimentary $10,000 in contents protection for long distance moves.
    • Customers are given 30 days to pack and load their container.
    Cons
    • 1-800-PACK-RAT doesn’t have as many locations as PODS or U-Pack. In fact, several U.S. states only have one location, so customers must check availability before reserving a container.
    • Tends to be more expensive than competitors.
    Who should choose 1-800-PACK-RAT moving containers?1-800-PACK-RAT is a good choice for those in need of a flexible moving timeline as well as an extremely durable, weatherproof moving container. Customers looking for a wide-range of size options will also be happy with 1-800-PACK-RAT’s many container offerings.
  4. SMARTBOX Moving ContainersWhy it earns fourth place: SMARTBOX’s moving containers offer customers a convenient, easy-to-use option for both moving and storage. However, the company is only available in 44 U.S. metro areas, making it imperative that customers check availability before choosing a SMARTBOX moving container for a move.Container details: Available for both local and long distance moves, SMARTBOX is an excellent moving container option. However, unlike many other moving containers, SMARTBOX cubes are not made of metal. Instead, each SMARTBOX container is constructed of wood and comes with a waterproof vinyl cover to help protect contents from water damage. According to SMARTBOX, these wood-constructed containers do provide protection against extreme temperatures. Each container is capable of holding up to 3,000 pounds – roughly a room and a half of belongings. Ground level loading and unloading also make it easy to pack and unpack the moving container. Customers can order up to eight containers at once but will only be charged for the number of containers used. They can also move on their own schedule. This flexibility in both the timeline and price is a big win for customers. Customers can receive a quote online or by phone.SMARTBOX Containers8 FootSize8′ x 5′ x 7′Weight limit3,000 poundsContainer materialWoodInterior packing space230 cubic feetPopular usesMoving 1.5 rooms of furniture or a small apartmentMoving availabilityLocal and long distance movesStorage optionsStorage options availablePros
    • Offers college student and military discounts.
    • Provides a price match guarantee.
    • Available for both local and long distance moves.
    • Convenient self-storage options available
    • Customers only pay for the space they use.
    • Website provides a moving space estimator.
    • 30 days of storage is included in the price.
    • No fuel surcharges.
    • Provides up to 8 SMARTBOX units for a single trip.
    Cons
    • Only provides one size moving container.
    • Due to its small size, most customers will need to order more than one SMARTBOX moving container when moving.
    • Not available in all areas of the country.
    • Not made of weatherproof materials.
    Who should choose SMARTBOX moving containers?Given its small size, SMARTBOX is ideal for smaller moves, such as a college dorm room move or a studio apartment move. College students and military personnel will also find convenient moving and storage discounts.
  5. U-Haul U-Boxes Moving ContainersWhy it earns fifth place: With U-Haul’s budget-friendly moving plans, flexible delivery options and numerous locations, U-Boxes are an excellent moving container option. However, customers looking for weatherproof containers may want to look elsewhere.Container details: Constructed of heavy-duty plywood, U-Haul’s U-Box containers aren’t as weatherproof as many of its metal container competitors. However, those looking for an easy-to-coordinate, budget-friendly moving solution will find it with U-Haul U-Boxes. Each U-Box is capable of holding up to 2,000 pounds, which is equivalent to roughly a room and a half of belongings. According to U-Haul, a King size mattress will fit inside of a U-Box standing up. These containers come outfitted with a large door for easy access and stand 6 inches off the ground to keep contents dry. According to HireAHelper’s price comparison, the average cost of a long distance move using U-Hauls U-Boxes is a fairly affordable $2,837. The moving container company also allows customers to load belongings onto the U-Box on their own timeline, giving them more flexibility when it comes to their moving schedule.  Customers can receive a quote online or by phone.U-Haul Containers7 FootSize7.9′ x 4.6′ x 6.9′Weight limit2,000 poundsContainer materialWoodInterior packing space257 cubic feetPopular usesMoving 1 room of furniture or a college dormMoving availabilityLocal, long distance and international movesStorage optionsStorage options availablePros
    • Offers multiple delivery options for all budgets.
    • Convenient self-storage options available.
    • Available for local, long distance and international moves.
    • Easy-to-find rates on U-Haul’s website.
    • Provides an online space estimator.
    • Available nationwide at easy-to-find locations.
    • Customers are given a flexible timeline for packing and unpacking.
    • Customers will be credited for any unused U-Box containers.
    • Provides multiple insurance options for purchase.
    Cons
    • Moving containers are not made of weatherproof materials.
    • U-Box containers only come in one size.
    Who should choose U-Haul U-Box containers?U-Haul U-Box containers are ideal for customers looking to save money by doing more of the heavy lifting. Those moving can opt for a DIY option, where they pick up the container and bring it to the house themselves, or a cost effective option, where they bring items to the U-Haul location and load the U-Box at the service center.
  6. Go Mini’s Moving ContainersWhy it earns sixth place: Go Mini’s moving containers durability and affordability earn it a spot on our top moving container list. However, locations are limited, so customers should check to see if there is a Go Mini’s near them before booking this moving container option.Container details: Go Mini’s containers are constructed of weatherproof steel and come outfitted with padded wheels to help protect customer driveways. Interior features include railings for hangers and tie-downs as well as pressure-treated flooring to prevent moisture accumulation. Go Mini’s containers are also vented to prevent humidity from affecting the contents inside. Outside features include locking roll-up doors or swing doors to ensure that all belongings are safe and secure. Unlike other moving container companies, which require customers to rent by the month, Go Mini’s lets customers rent containers by the week. The company’s rental flexibility and customer service make it a good choice for those embarking on a local move. However, given the limited number of locations, customers should be aware that long distance moves are location dependent. HireAHelper reports that the average cost of a local move using Go Mini’s is $495 – quite a bit cheaper than its competitors. Customers can receive a quote online or by phone.Go Mini’s Containers12 Foot16 Foot20 FootSize12′ x 8′ x 8′16′ x 8′ x 8′20′ x 8′ x 8′Container materialMetalMetalMetalPopular usesMoving 2 to 3 rooms of furniture or a small apartmentMoving 3 to 4 rooms of furniture or a large apartmentMoving 5 to 6 rooms of furniture or a larger homeMoving availabilityLocal moves (limited long distance moves)Local moves (limited long distance moves)Local moves (limited long distance moves)Storage optionsStorage options availableStorage options availableStorage options availablePros
    • Each location is locally owned, so customers receive top-notch customer service.
    • Offers large moving container options with more storage space than competitors.
    • Provides online space estimator.
    • Moving containers are made of weatherproof materials.
    • Local moves tend to be less expensive than other moving container options.
    • Go Mini’s claims to have more tie-down points than competitors.
    • Allows weekly rentals as opposed to month-to-month.
    Cons
    • Lacks a large presence in the U.S.
    • Less long distance moving options due to lack of locations.
    Who should choose Go Mini’s moving containers?Go Mini’s is a budget-friendly option for those in need of a large, weatherproof moving container for their next local move. Given that the company is still growing and locations are limited, customers will need to check whether or not Go Mini’s serves their area before booking a moving container. If Go Mini’s does serve their area, then this customer-friendly option may be a good (and less expensive) alternative to other well-known moving container brands.
  7. Zippy Shell Moving ContainersWhy it earns seventh place: City residents with limited parking options will find Zippy Shell’s street legal containers to be especially convenient. However, given the company’s tight loading timeline, this option may not always be the most practical.Container details: Outfitted with a license plate and wheels, Zippy Shell’s street legal containers are perfect for city dwellers who lack a driveway. The company’s metal, cage-like moving containers are delivered inside of a weatherproof trailer (or “shell”) for extra protection. This design allows air to flow freely through the container, helping to preserve customer belongings for a longer period of time. These openings also make it easy to tie and secure items inside. Each Zippy Shell moving container sits low to the ground for easy loading and is capable of holding up to 4,500 pounds of belongings. Given Zippy Shell’s multiple sizes and helpful customer service, these portable containers are an excellent moving option. Customers can receive a quote online or by phone.Zippy Shell Containers10 Foot15 FootSize10′ x 7′ x 7′15′ x 7′ x 7′Weight limit4,500 pounds4,500 poundsContainer materialMetalMetalPopular usesMoving 1 to 2 rooms of furniture or a small apartmentMoving 2 to 3 rooms of furniture or a mid-size apartmentMoving availabilityLocal and long distance movesLocal and long distance movesStorage optionsStorage options availableStorage options availablePros
    • Offers 30 days of free storage with every long distance move.
    • Street legal containers can be parked in a parking spot.
    • Available for local and long distance moves.
    • Cage-like construction allows for more air-flow.
    • Provides loading and unloading assistance option.
    • Full-service storage options available.
    • Offers multiple size containers.
    Cons
    • Customers are only given 3 days to load the container.
    • Customers must pay a delivery fee, if they choose to have the container delivered to their home.
    • Tends to be slightly more expensive than traditional moving containers.
    Who should choose Zippy Shell moving containers?Those without a car and/or moving in a city will find Zippy Shell’s moving container and storage options to be especially convenient.
  8. COWs Moving ContainersWhy it earns eighth place: Weatherproof materials and customer-friendly moving options earn this moving container high marks. However, given the limited number of COWs locations, customers will need to check their proximity to a service center before booking a moving container.Container details: Short for “container on wheels,” COWs offers steel-constructed mobile moving and storage containers to customers throughout the U.S. These containers come with wheels attached for easy maneuvering in and out of the driveway. This allows customers to move the container wherever they see fit. Doors on the COWs container open outwards, making the loading and unloading process easier for those who dislike garage-style or barn-style doors. COWs also boasts several different levels of service including: a DIY option where customers load and unload the container themselves; a hybrid option where customers opt for labor assistance only for heavier items; and a full service option where customers opt to have the company load and unload all belongings. Customers can receive a quote online or by phone.COWs Containers8 Foot16 FootSize8′ x 6’8” x 7’4”16′ x 6’8” x 7’4”Container materialMetalMetalPopular usesMoving 1.5 rooms of furniture or a small apartmentMoving 3 to 4 rooms of furniture or a large apartmentMoving availabilityLocal and long distance movesLocal and long distance movesStorage optionsStorage options availableStorage options availablePros
    • Provides convenient mobile storage.
    • Comes in a variety of sizes.
    • Offers several levels of service include a DIY option, a Hybrid option and a Full Service option.
    • Provides durable, weatherproof containers.
    • Available for local and long distance moves.
    Cons
    • Website is a difficult to navigate and only includes a limited amount of information about the containers.
    • Customer service may vary depending on franchise location.
    • Limited number of locations.
    Who should choose COWs moving containers?Those looking for labor assistance should consider choosing COWs mobile moving containers. The company makes it easy to book moving day labor through their site and offers portable storage options for those in need of temporary or long-term storage.

Need a portable moving container for your next move?

If moving with one of these portable containers is the right choice for your upcoming move, we can help. By submitting the location, size and date of your move into Moving.com’s Free Moving Container Quotes Tool, you’ll instantly receive quotes from various moving container companies near you. This tool makes it easy to compare quotes and offerings from available moving container companies so that you can make the right decision for your DIY move. Best of luck and happy moving!

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