What Size Moving Container Do You Need?

Now that you’ve decided on moving containers as your moving solution, your next question should be what size containers you need.

Moving Containers are an affordable alternative to hiring professional movers… If you do it right.

Underestimating the number space that you’ll need in a moving container can leave you scrambling on moving day to move some of your belongings.

On the other hand, overestimating the space you need will mean your moving costs can be double what they have to be!

As well as using our moving cost calculator to get a good idea of what your move should cost, use this guide to know what size moving pod you’re going to need.

After that, choose from one of the best moving container companies for an incident-free move.

Here’s what we’ll get into:

Moving Container Sizes

Some companies only offer one size container, which requires ordering several containers. Others offer a range of sizes. While PODS is the popular choice, you may want to look at PODS competitors.

PODS U-Box U-Pack Zippy Shell Pack Rat Moving Place Smartbox Portable
Number of Container Sizes Available 3 1 1 Officially, 2. But in practice, just 1* 2 You only pay for the space that you order on the truck 1
Container Sizes 7, 12 and 16 foot 8 foot 5’10” “Relocube” 27’ trailers(only pay for the space you use) 10-foot* 15-foot 12 and 16 foot shipments as small as 4ft and as large as a full tractor-trailer 8 foot
Cubic Footage Available 390-1,008 cf 280 cf 305-1,800 cf 385-625 cf 404-830 cf The trucks are 8.5ft wide and 9ft tall inside, offering large volume and flexibility 280 cf

*Availability of ZippyShell’s 10-foot container is limited to certain areas. So, you can probably only get the 15-foot option for most regions.

Moving Container Material vs Size

While moving container companies offer different container sizes, the material the containers are made of also matters. Containers can be made of steel, steel and aluminum, plastic, or construction-grade wood.

Container construction material can impact weight capacity.

Let’s say you have an 8′ x 7′ x 7′ moving container made of wood. It can handle up to 2,500 pounds of goods, while the same sized container made from steel and aluminum can accommodate up to 5,000 pounds.

Storage containers made from all steel can carry even heavier loads.

Moving with PODS

PODS Moving Services     4.0 out of 5.0 stars

POD’s three moving container sizes give options for every type of move, big or small. They are steel construction with an aluminum skin. Take a closer look at PODS pricing.

7-Foot Moving Container

For small volume moves, the 7-foot container serves the equivalent of a 10-foot rental truck. Select the 7-foot container for studio apartment moves or college dorm moves.

PODS also recommends the 7-foot container for estate moves, moving items to a second home, or temporary move to storage during a remodeling project.

With 385 cubic feet of packing space, the 7-foot PODS container is a good choice for smaller moves.

12-Foot Moving Container

The 12-foot portable container is a better size option for a 3-bedroom home. With 689 cubic feet of packing space you can easily move a large apartment or small home with two to three bedrooms or relocate an office.

16-foot Moving Container

A large home would choose the 16-foot container for their move. Easily pack a house of three or four rooms into this moving container with 757 cubic feet of packing space. Single family homes and larger offices can use the 16-foot portable container to move without requiring additional containers, whether long distance or local.

See our full PODS review.


Moving with U-Box

U-Haul U-Box     3.5 out of 5.0 stars

The DIY kings, U-haul, offer a moving container called U-Box.

The standard size U-Box fits about one room and a half of furniture and household items. So, you may need to order several moving containers for a bigger move. U-Box containers are made of pest-resistant plywood.

See our full U-Haul U-Box review.


Moving with U-Pack

U-Pack     4.0 out of 5.0 stars

If you go with U-Pack, their standard size 5’10” deep x 6’10” wide x 7’9″ high ReloCube moving container may require you to order more containers for bigger moves. For small moves, one container will be enough. Their 2,500 lb. capacity makes them ideal for moving a studio apartment. The Relocube is a metal, weatherproof container.

See our full U-Pack review.


Moving with Zippy Shell

Zippy Shell     3.5 out of 5.0 stars

While the 10-foot container is limited by region, the 15-foot container is readily available for easy moving anywhere. At 7 feet high, 7 feet wide and 15 feet long with 105 square feet of space, the 15-footer can comfortably hold 2-3 furnished rooms of furniture and boxes. A small house or apartment move is doable. Zippy Shell containers are also made of metal.

See our full Zippy Shell Review.


Moving with Pack Rat

1-800-Pack-Rat     3.5 out of 5.0 stars

Pack Rat offers steel moving containers and feature embedded skids for ground clearance, so your belonging stay dry in all weather. Pack Rat offers two sizes of moving container, 12-foot and 16-foot.

12-Foot Moving Container

The 12-foot container holds about one to two rooms of furniture and belongings. Perfect for a dorm, studio or one-bedroom apartment move.

16-foot Moving Container

For larger moves, the 16-foot container holds between three and four bedrooms of furniture and belongings. One 16-foot container would work perfectly for a single-family home move. Compared to other moving container companies, you wouldn’t require more than one container in your driveway to get the job done.

See our full 1-800-Pack-Rat Review.


Moving with Moving Place

Moving Place isn’t quite a moving container company. Rather than leaving a container on your driveway, they provide designated space on a moving truck. Your belongings are protected by a bulkhead wall while they professional driver delivers your goods curbside at your new location.

Because they don’t use moving containers, the sizing is more flexible. They can accommodate anything from a studio apartment with just a few items to a 53-foot tractor trailer to move a multi-room mansion.


Moving with Smartbox Portable

Smartbox Portable offers only one size moving container. The container measures 8 feet long by 7 feet tall by 5 feet wide. It can hold up to 3,000 pounds and will be delivered anywhere locally or long distance. The moving container can also be easily stored in one of their storage facilities. Smartbox containers are made of wood.

Compare Smartbox with PODS.

How Many Pods Do You Need?

If you decide to go with a moving container company that offers a single size container, then you will need to decide on the number of containers necessary for your move.

Underestimate and you are stuck with more stuff than moving container. Overestimate and you are paying for moving empty space.

Here is an easy guide for gauging how many moving containers you need to order.

Move Size # of Containers
1-bedroom apartment 1
2-3-bedroom house 2
3-4-bedroom house 3
5+ bedroom house 4

Before you choose your moving container company, calculate all the factors that will impact cost. The distance of your move, the size of your move and the seasonality of your move all matter when you get the quote.

Use the moving cost calculator to get a free quote for your moving container move.

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