Cheapest Moving Container Companies

With prices on the rise, finding low-cost moving options is more important than ever.

That said, hiring full-service movers isn’t cheap, and setting out on a DIY cross-country move between New York and LA isn’t for everyone.

Thankfully, for those who’d rather leave the driving to professionals but want to save money by packing, loading, and unloading themselves, there’s an alternative – moving containers.

On the downside, some container companies only offer long-distance moving services and figuring out which services best fit your needs can be tricky.

In this post, we’ll help make the process easier by rating the overall value the industry’s top players bring to the table.

But before jumping in, take a moment to check out these helpful pre-move resources –

  • Best interstate movers – If full-service movers make the most sense for your upcoming relocation, be warned that shady players are everywhere. With so much at stake, hiring a top-rated long-distance mover with verified customer reviews is imperative
  • Moving cost calculator – Just enter your move dates, origin and destination cities, and the estimated size of your move and the magic algorithms will do the rest
  • Comprehensive moving checklist – Don’t let overlooked details turn your move into an epic hassle

Factors that affect portable moving container pricing

Before getting container moving quotes, it’s wise to consider the following variables that affect cost –

  • Each company’s base price structure
  • The distance between your old and new homes
  • The number of containers you use
  • What time of year you’re moving
  • Whether or not you’ll need storage and/or other additional services
  • If promotions and discounts are available

ABF U-Pack is tops for all-around value

U-Pack is among the largest and most established moving container companies in the United States, and their equipment options include Relocube containers and 28-foot freight trailers.

U-Pack pricing at a glance

Distance / home size 1 bedroom 2 or 3 bedrooms More than 3 bedrooms
Local Unavailable Unavailable Unavailable
Under 250 miles $1,000 – $1,450 $1,100 – $1,700 $1,250 – $1,950
More than 250 miles $1,500 – $2,600 $2,450 – $3,900 $3,550 – $6,650

Remember, these are just “average cost” figures based on a relatively small sample size.

The only way to get accurate quotes for your move is by contacting each of the companies on this list.

U-Pack equipment options

Stats/mode of transportation Relocube moving containers Freight trailers
Approximate internal dimensions 5’10” x 6’1″ x 7’9″ 27′ x 8′ x 9′
Volume (cubic feet) 305 1,800
Weight limit 2,500 pounds 22,000 pounds
Container material Metal Metal
Popular use Partial and apartment moves with limited parking Large apartment and multi-bedroom single-family homes with ample parking
Coverage area Nationwide (no local moves) Nationwide (no local moves)
Storage Yes Yes

What makes U-Pack such a good value?

U-Pack pricing is especially competitive on moves between 100 and 250 miles, and customers have three days to load and three more to unload whether they’re using containers or a trailer.

Other benefits include –

  • Extensive national coverage area includes many remote towns
  • Quick delivery times
  • No deposit required
  • Short and long-term storage is available
  • Customers can track their shipments online

Possible deal breakers

  • U-Pack doesn’t offer local moving services
  • Long-distance move prices are typically on the high side
  • Parking for freight trailers can be an issue
  • Due to their deck height, freight trailers are more difficult to load than containers
  • Spring suspensions on freight trailers can damage fragile items

The U-Pack value verdict

Featuring accurate pricing, multiple equipment options, and responsive customer service representatives, online reviewers generally agree that U-Pack is a premium provider of moving container services.

Likewise, the company offers Relocube service to Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, and Puerto Rico, and on trailer moves, customers only pay for the space they use.

In short, U-Pack definitely deserves consideration when planning an upcoming move.

PODS is hard to beat on long-distance moves

Since PODS was founded in 1998, the company has become a leader in the moving container industry.

On the other hand, name recognition often means premium prices, but PODS experience and services speak for themselves.

PODS pricing at a glance

Distance / home size 1 bedroom 2 or 3 bedrooms More than 3 bedrooms
Local move $225 – $450 $350 – $650 $330 – $830
Less than 250 miles $470 – $825 $770 – $2,000 $930 – $2,150
More than 250 miles $2,110 – $4,110 $3,100 – $4,960 $5,560 – $7,700

PODS container options

Stats / container size 7-foot 12-foot 16-foot
Approximate internal dimensions 6’6″ x 6′ x 7’6″ 11’6″ x 7′ x 7’6″ 15’6″ x 7’ x 7’6″
Volume (cubic feet) 390 749 830
Weight limit 5,200 pounds 4,700 pounds 4,200 pounds
Container material Metal Metal Metal
Popular use Partial and small apartment moves Local moving and storage Large apartments and single-family homes
Coverage area Long-distance only Local moves only Local and long-distance moves
Storage Yes Yes Yes

What makes PODS such a good value?

With three container sizes and 30 days of storage built into each quote, PODS are great options on local and long-distance moves.

Additional pros include –

  • Flexible short and long-term storage options
  • 30 days of free storage included
  • Containers can be stored at your place or one of the PODS’ facilities
  • Multiple insurance options are available
  • Extensive national coverage area
  • Customers can add labor for loading and unloading
  • Online shipment tracking
  • Easy online quotes and booking for local moves
  • Military discounts

Possible deal breakers

  • No online quotes for long-distance moves
  • In some cases, PODS pricing is higher than the industry average
  • Their containers go fast, so early booking is a must
  • Larger containers have lower weight limits than smaller ones

The PODS value verdict

Featuring flexible storage options, accurate quotes, and nationwide coverage with relatively few deal breakers, it’s no wonder PODS are so popular.

Hands down, if you’ve decided on moving containers and are getting three or four quotes, PODS should be one of them.

1-800-PACK-RAT shines in multiple areas

1-800-PACK-RAT has been providing local and long-distance moving container services for over 15 years.

Along the way, they’ve garnered a loyal following by offering competitive prices and great customer service.

1-800-PACK-RAT pricing at a glance

Distance / home size 1 bedroom 2 or 3 bedrooms More than 3 bedrooms
Local move $180 – $550 $225 – $650 $350 – $820
Less than 250 miles $500- $975 $710 – $1,960 $1,100 – $3,500
More than 250 miles $1,250 – $3,825 $2,420 – $4,650 $5,125 – $6,925

1-800-PACK-RAT equipment options

Stats / Container sizes 8-foot 12-foot 16-foot
Approximate internal dimensions 8’3″ x 7’3″ x 6’10” 11’10” x 6’11” x 7’7″ 15’10” x 6’11” x 7’7″
Volume (cubic feet) 404 620 830
Weight limit 4,000 pounds 6,000 pounds 6,000 pounds
Container material Metal Metal Metal
Popular use Studio apartment and college student moves Large apartments and moderately furnished homes Larger single-family homes
Coverage area Local and long-distance moves Local moves only Local and long-distance moves
Storage Yes Yes Yes

What makes 1-800-PACK-RAT such a good value?

Though it might not sound like such a huge deal, the barn-style doors on 1-800-PACK-RAT’s containers increase usable space and make loading and unloading much easier.

Other features and services include –

  • Multiple container sizes for both local and long-distance moves
  • Convenient barn-style doors make moving easy
  • $10,000 of insurance is included, and more can be purchased
  • Free lock provided for container door
  • 30 days of storage included in the base price
  • 16-foot containers are larger than some competitors
  • Higher weight limits by the container size
  • Price matching may be available

Possible deal breakers

  • Fewer locations than other companies
  • Storage fees can’t be prorated
  • Big fuel surcharges on long-distance moves
  • You’ll need to speak with a representative to get a long-distance move quote

The 1-800-PACK-RAT value verdict

To recap, 1-800-PACK-RAT moving and storage container sizes appeal to a wide range of customers, barn-style doors make the moving process easier, and each quote includes 30 days of storage.

Translation – the company is a serious contender in the moving container space, and one worth checking out before setting on your next relocation adventure.

Zippy Shell is a favorite with young professionals on the move

They are changing the way people move between cities with their revolutionary lightweight metal cage moving containers.

Zippy Shell pricing at a glance

Distance / home size 1 bedroom 2 or 3 bedrooms More than 3 bedrooms
Local move $205 – $265 $335 – $675 $355 – $755
Less than 250 miles $560 – $975 $750 – $1,660 $1,160 – $3,180
More than 250 miles $1,830 – $3,955 $2,855 – $4,560 $5,250 – $7,100

Zippy Shell equipment options

Stats / Container sizes 10-foot 15-foot
Approximate internal dimensions 9’7” x 6’4” x 6’4” 15’7″ x 6’4″ x 6’4″
Volume (cubic feet) 385 625
Weight limit 4,500 pounds 4,500 pounds
Container material Metal cage Metal cage
Popular use Partial and small apartment moves Large apartments and single-family homes
Coverage area Local and long-distance moves Local and long-distance moves
Storage Yes Yes

What makes Zippy Shell such a good value?

Zippy Shell’s slightly smaller container dimensions make them great options when parking is limited.

In addition –

  • Reasonably priced loading and unloading labor can be added
  • If necessary, customers have three days to load and three to unload
  • Guaranteed and expedited delivery options are available
  • Street legal containers are perfect for city-to-city moves
  • Innovative cage-style containers promote airflow
  • Available for both local and long-distance moves
  • Multiple insurance options

Possible deal breakers

  • Containers are slightly smaller than competitors
  • Some of the information on the company’s website is outdated and/or inaccurate

The Zippy Shell value verdict

When moving between major metropolitan areas like Chicago and New York, Zippy Shell is hard to beat.

Since their containers are about the same size as the average car, they can be safely placed in standard parking spaces, which eliminates the effort and cost of securing special permits.

We also like the fact that their containers are more open to airflow, which is great when moving sensitive items in hot and humid climates.

In the end, we highly recommend including Zippy Shell on your list of prospective moving container companies, especially if there’s a city-to-city relocation in your future.

Moving Place is making waves in the moving container space

On long-distance moves, Moving Place has some of the most competitive pricing around, and their customer service consistently scores high marks as well.

Moving Place pricing at a glance

Move type/home size 1 bedroom 2 or 3 bedrooms More than 3 bedrooms
Local move Unavailable Unavailable Unavailable
Less than 250 miles $1,130 – $1,330 $1,250 – $1,740 $1,425 – $2,155
More than 250 miles $1,055 – $2,555 $1,925 – $3,225 $2,950 – $4,755

Moving Place equipment options

Stats / trailer sizes Freight trailer Full-size commercial moving trailer
Approximate internal dimensions 27′ x 8′ x 9′ 50′ x 8′ x 9′
Volume (cubic feet) 1,800 3,800
Weight limit 22,000 pounds 44,000 pounds
Container material Metal Metal
Popular use Single-family homes Single-family homes plus a vehicle
Coverage area Long-distance moves only Long-distance moves only
Storage Yes No

What makes Moving Place such a good value?

If you’re moving over 500 miles and want super pricing, look no further than Moving Place.

In addition, unlike their competitors, the company offers full-size moving vans.

Other services and features include –

  • Best price on freight trailers
  • Customers can reserve a trailer for dedicated use
  • Fast and predictable delivery times
  • Three days to load and unload trailers
  • Top-notch customer service
  • With Moving Space you can ship a vehicle with your household goods

Possible deal breakers

  • No online quotes (not a huge deal)
  • No local moving options

The Moving Space value verdict

MoveBuddha customers consistently give Moving Place high marks when it comes to professional customer service and rock-bottom pricing.

However, their biggest value proposition may be that they offer full-size moving vans similar to the ones van lines use.

There’s no better option if you need lots of space, and trailers are equipped with moving pads, straps, and dollies.

Where the rubber meets the road, they’re definitely a standout on cross-country interstate moves.

Last-minute moving and storage container tips

On moves where multiple containers are used, individual units may be delivered to your new home at different times on the same day.

Remember, as long as they’re delivered between normal business hours on the agreed-upon date, the company has technically fulfilled its obligations.

It’s also worth noting that though most container companies give customers three days to load and unload if you get done in a day or two they may be able to pick up your unit early if you let them know in advance.

And lastly, when moving during the peak summer months it’s a good idea to reserve your container and move date at least a month in advance to avoid a frustrating “sold out” situation.

Frequently asked questions (faqs)

Are portable storage containers weatherproof?

Yes, unless they’re damaged, moving and storage containers will protect your items from the elements and pesky critters.

What are the best storage options with portable containers?

Not all moving containers can be used for storage, so if you won’t be able to move into your new home or apartment immediately, ask the companies you’re considering if storage is available.

What’s the best way to get free quotes for moving containers?

Most companies offer online quotes for local moves, though on long-distance moves you’ll probably need to pick up the phone and speak with a representative to get an estimate. And remember, moving quotes should always be free.

Do moving container companies require deposits and other upfront costs?

Some companies do require deposits when reserving equipment and booking move dates, but some offer “pay-as-you-go” pricing that keeps payments small and manageable.


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