PODS Competitors & Alternative Moving Container Companies

PODS are the best moving containers, but every portable storage company has different size containers, services options, and, most importantly, different pricing. So shopping around for an alternate to PODS is generally a wise decision.

The best PODS competitors include U-Pack — thanks to a large national coverage area and competitive pricing —, 1-800-Pack-Rat because of their easier to load barn-style doors, and Zippy Shell’s street-legal containers that are ideal for city moves. There’s also MovingPlace, which offers better options for last-minute moves and U-Haul U-Box which offers more affordable pricing for small moves.

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While PODS is one of the biggest and best moving container companies out there, you should always compare them to other major storage container competitors. Not to worry, here we’ll walk you through the top five PODS competitors — U-Pack, Zippy Shell, 1-800-Pack-Rat, and U-Haul U-Box — including everything you need to know to compare the companies.

PODS Competitors: A breakdown of costs and services

U-Pack PODS 1-800-PACK RAT Zippy Shell Moving Place
Container sizes 28-foot freight trailers and ReloCube containers 8, 12, and 16-foot containers 8, 12, and 16-foot containers 10 and 15-foot containers (the 10-footers aren’t available everywhere) 28-foot and 53-foot trailers
Container material and design Enclosed, metal Enclosed, metal Enclosed, metal Metal cage Enclosed, metal
Storage availability Yes, but only at a company facility Yes, at your place or theirs Yes, at your place or theirs Yes, but only with 15-foot containers at a company facility Temporary storage for three months, but only at a company facility
Average local move cost* Not available for local moves $200 – $800  $150 – $790 $190 – $750 Not available for local moves
Average long-distance move cost* $900 – $6,600 $450 – $7,600 $910 – $6,900 $500 – $7,000 $1,100 – $4,700
Why it’s better Larger national coverage area (all 50 states), competitive pricing Unlimited loading/unloading time and coverage in 45 states Barn-style doors are easier to load Metal cage-style containers are better for items that need airflow No advance notice needed so you can plan a last-minute move

*These local and long-distance cost figures were calculated using data from moves of various sizes and distances. Scroll down to the “how much do moving containers cost?” section for more detailed pricing information.

In this post, we’ll look at everything you need to know about the top PODs competitors to help you get the services you want for a price you can afford.

Pressed for time? Skip to the section you’re interested in:

How does PODS costs stack up?

PODs costs are generally competitive, but some moving container companies are better choices for certain kinds of moves than others. To make comparison easy, we collected data for each of the following companies across various move types.

Just keep in mind that they’re only averages. With so many factors affecting moving costs, it’s always a good idea to request personalized quotes from the companies you’re considering. Think of these figures as a starting point, but remember that your costs may differ from what’s listed here.

Estimated container costs on local moves

PODS U-Box U-Pack Zippy Shell Pack Rat
1 bedroom $200 – $400 $150 – $600 Not available for local moves $190 – $240 $150 – $500
2-3 bedrooms $300 – $650 $300 – $700 Not available for local moves $300 – $630 $200 – $630
4-5 bedrooms $300 – $800 $300 – $800 Not available for local moves $350 – $750 $340 – $790

Experiencing information overload?  If so, check out this head-to-head comparison between PODS, 1-800-PACK-RAT, and U-Pack.

Estimated costs for container moves under 250 miles

PODS U-Box U-Pack Zippy Shell Pack Rat
1 bedroom $450 – $800 $450 – $1,000 $900 – $1,300 $500 – $920 $465 – $910
2-3 bedrooms $750 – $1,900 $700 – $2,000 $1,100 – $1,700 $730 – $1,600 $660 – $1,900
4-5 bedrooms $900 – $2,100 $800 – $3,000 $1,200 – $1,900 $1,100 – $3,100 $1,000 – $3,400

Estimated costs for cross-country container moves

PODS U-Box U-Pack Zippy Shell Pack Rat
1 bedroom $2,000 – $4,000 $1,200 – $3,500 $1,500 – $2,500 $1,800 – $3,900 $1,200 – $3,800
2-3 bedrooms $3,000 – $4,900 $2,500 – $4,500 $2,400 – $3,900 $2,800 – $4,500 $2,400 – $4,600
4-5 bedrooms $5,500 – $7,600 $4,000 – $7,000 $3,500 – $6,600 $5,200 – $7,000 $5,100 – $6,900

Price is important, but you’ll also want to consider services, coverage area, availability, reputation, and experience when choosing a moving container company. It’s also possible that you might qualify for certain discounts that could make your move more affordable. For instance, PODS offers new customers 10% off their initial delivery and 10% off first month’s rental for local moves. And for long-distance moves, they offer 10% off initial delivery, 10% off first month’s rental, and 10% off long-distance transport. Check out our moving estimate calculator for a better idea on pricing.

Alternatives to PODs

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moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.45 / 5
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  • Price matching
  • 10% discount
  • Local/long dist.
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moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.2 / 5
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  • Park on street
  • Labor available
  • Small moves
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moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 3.95 / 5
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  • Online pricing
  • Small containers
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moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.8 / 5
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  • Unlimited storage
  • 3 container sizes
  • 10% discount
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Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a more in-depth look at the following reputable, nationwide PODS competitors:

ABF U-Pack: Long-distance moves with seriously competitive pricing

U-Pack is one of the best PODs competitors. They’re hard to beat when it comes to competitive prices and a large national coverage area, but PODS may be a better choice if you’re moving locally or need more than three days to load and unload.

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Here’s how PODS and U-Pack match up in the following key areas:

U-Pack PODS
Cost $$ $$$
Types of moves Only long-distance moves Local and long-distance moves
Coverage area All 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada About 45 U.S. states
Interior space 28-foot freight trailers have about 1,944 cubic feet of interior volume, and you only pay for the space you use (not the space you reserve) PODS’ 16’ containers have 857 cubic feet of interior space (if one 16-footer isn’t big enough, you’ll have to pay for a second container)
Loading/unloading time Three business days Unlimited
Parking Trailers require around 40′ of parking space. Urban areas can be a challenge Containers are smaller and can fit in the driveway/on the street
Insurance included Yes No

One big difference between these top-notch companies is that PODS offers local and long-distance moving services, while U-Pack only handles long-distance moves. On the other hand, PODS “only” covers about 45 U.S. states compared to all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada for U-Pack.

Both companies offer multiple container sizes, but PODS customers get unlimited loading and unloading time, while U-Pack customers are generally limited to three days for each.

It’s also worth noting that U-Pack’s quotes include basic insurance, but PODS’ quotes do not.

Read our comprehensive U-Pack review here or check out our look at U-Pack vs. U-Haul U-Box for more in-depth comparisons.

Janna’s experience with U-Pack

Janna recently participated in our Better Moves Project by sharing her experience with U-Pack on her move from San Antonio, Texas, to New York City.

Janna got three other quotes but selected U-Pack because the company came through with the cheapest price for the services she needed. Janna experienced minor delays and container parking issues in New York, but U-Pack communicated effectively, provided accurate and transparent pricing, and got her items where they needed to be safely and efficiently.

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Janna's Move with U-Pack
“For moving across the country, I think uPack is great. You save money by loading and unloading on your own. My items weren’t delivered on time though. They were supposed to arrive between 3/4-3/8 but they arrived to the storage center on 3/10. I’d still recommend them because of their good communication and good quote (cheaper than PODS). Moving across the country on your own is stressful. I’m so relieved it’s over now and that everything went pretty smoothly!” – Janna
From
NY
To
CA
Cost
$4,730.52
Size
5 bdrms
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1-800-PACK-RAT: container moves designed to fit your budget

1-800-PACK-RAT and PODS offer similar pricing and identical container sizes, but there are a few subtle differences worth considering.

Here’s how 1-800-PACK-RAT and PODS compare:

1-800-PACK-RAT PODS
Cost $$$ $$$
Types of moves Local and long-distance moves Local and long-distance moves
Coverage area About 30 U.S. states About 45 U.S. states
Largest container Their largest option is a 16’ container (you’ll need to pay for a second container if you need more space, but you can use a smaller 8′ or 12′ unit) Their largest option is a 16’ container (you’ll need to pay for a second container if you need more space, but you can use a smaller 8′ or 12′ unit)
Loading/unloading time Unlimited Unlimited
Interior space 16-foot containers have about 830 cubic feet of interior space 16-foot containers have 857 cubic feet of interior space
Door style Barn-style Roll-up

Both 1-800-PACK-RAT and PODS offer similar pricing, identical container sizes (8′, 12′, and 16′), and unlimited loading and unloading time.

However, 1-800-PACK-RAT’s containers have barn-style doors that open outward, whereas PODS doors open up and back into the container. Loading and unloading are generally easier with barn-style doors, but door type isn’t usually an issue unless you plan on packing your container from floor to ceiling.

Before choosing one of these two companies, keep in mind that PODS has a larger national coverage area and is usually a better option for long-distance moves than some of their PODs competitors.

Batool’s experience with 1-800-PACK-RAT

container packed with household items

In February of 2022, Batool moved from Woodland, California, to Austin, Texas, for a new job. After considering full-service movers and moving containers, she decided that 1-800-Pack-Rat offered the best mix of price and services.

Batool experienced a few minor service issues, but when it was all said and done, 1-800-PACK-RAT delivered her items on time and on budget. Batool would consider using 1-800-PACK-RAT again, but she’d also shop around for a cheaper PODs competitor.

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Batool's Move with 1-800-Pack-Rat
I chose 1-800-PACK-RATs because they were the most budget friendly and they were offering exactly what I needed. While I was making a packing list and trying not to PANIC, the customer service agents were great t answering my questions. Moving day was very professional and everything went smoothly.” – Batool
From
CA
To
TX
Cost
$4,398.48
Size
1 bdrm
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Zippy Shell: tons of add-ons at bare-bones prices

Danielle and her fiance considered various truck rental and moving container companies before relocating from Virginia to Florida in the summer of 2022.

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89% of users select this mover

Then after a week-long search for the perfect mover, Zippy Shell came through with the lowest estimate and best pre-move customer service. danielle headshot

Customers like Danielle generally love Zippy Shell’s super competitive pricing and street-legal containers, but PODS may be a better option on some long-distance moves.

There were a few minor glitches on Danielle’s move, but Zippy Shell picked up and delivered her household goods on time, on budget, and without loss or damage.

Needless to say, she’d consider using Zippy Shell again on a future move.

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Danielle's Move with Zippy Shell
“I would recommend Zippy Shell because they were reasonably priced and had great customer service. The prices out there currently are outrageous. We got what we could afford and our stuff arrived unharmed and within the quoted timeframe.” – Danielle
From
VA
To
FL
Cost
$2,730
Size
3 bdrms
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If you’re contemplating a container move like Danielle’s, here’s how Zippy Shell and PODS compare in the following key areas:

Zippy Shell PODS
Cost $$ $$$
Types of moves Local and long-distance moves Local and long-distance moves
Coverage area About 30 U.S. States  About 45 U.S. states
Space Their largest option is a 15′ container with about 625 cubic feet of interior space (they also have 10′ units, but they’re not available everywhere) Their large 16’ containers have 857 cubic feet of interior space
Loading/unloading time Three days each for loading and unloading Unlimited
Parking Street-legal containers are perfect for city parking Containers are smaller and can fit in the driveway/on the street
Container material All metal cages that promote airflow Enclosed, all metal

Zippy Shell and PODS both offer local and long-distance moving services, but PODS has a significantly larger national coverage area and allows customers unlimited time to load and unload

Each company’s containers work well when moving from and to urban areas where parking is limited, but Zippy Shell’s cage-style containers are definitely the way to go if you’re shipping or storing items that need to “breathe.”

Read our comprehensive Zippy Shell review here.

MovingPlace: Two trailer sizes and car shipping, too

MovingPlace is head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to offering full-size trailers for really big moves.

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Here’s how MovingPlace and PODS’ prices, services, and equipment compare:

MovingPlace PODS
Cost $$ $$$
Types of moves Moves over 250 miles only Local and long-distance moves
Coverage area National coverage (the number of states isn’t specified) About 45 U.S. states
Space Their largest 53′ trailers have more than 3,600 cubic feet of interior space Their large 16’ containers have 857 cubic feet of interior space
Loading/unloading time Three days for loading and three days for unloading Unlimited
Parking Parking can be an issue with 28′ and 53′ trailers Containers are smaller and can fit in the driveway/on the street
Availability Often available on short notice Need to book well in advance (especially during the peak summer moving season)

MovingPlace’s cavernous 28′ and 53′ trailers are solid choices for big DIY moves, but they’re only available on moves over 250 miles, and parking can be a problem in tight urban areas and apartment complexes.

Customers generally get three days each for loading and unloading compared to unlimited time with PODS, but we love that MovingPlace can often provide equipment on short notice when container companies can’t.

MovingPlace is definitely worth considering if you’re OK with doing the loading and unloading yourself but would rather leave the driving to professionals.

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Matt's Move with MovingPlace
“I would use MovingPlace again. Ultimately, they delivered on time and were the cheapest for my move.” – Matt
From
CA
To
MN
Cost
$3,218
Size
3 bdrms
Read The Full Story

Read our comprehensive review of MovingPlace review here.

Matt’s experience with MovingPlace

man carrying moving box

In the summer of 2022, Matt hired MovingPlace to help move his family from Berkeley, California, to St. Paul, Minnesota.

In addition to MovingPlace’s competitive pricing, Matt liked that his quote included fuel, transportation, door-to-door delivery, and basic insurance.

Matt ended up doing more work than expected due to a last-minute mix-up at MovingPlace, but the company delivered his items on time, without loss or damage, and for less than the original quote.

U-Haul U-Box: customizable, budget-friendly moves

U-Haul is most well-known for its orange and white rental trucks, but its U-Box moving containers are cost-effective alternatives for small studio and 1-bedroom apartment moves.

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89% of users select this mover

Here’s how PODS and U-Box stack up in a head-to-head competition:

U-Box PODS
Cost $ $$$
Types of moves Local and long-distance moves Local and long-distance moves
Coverage area All 50 U.S. states, Canada, and many foreign countries About 45 U.S. states
Space U-Box only offers one container size that has about 257 cubic feet of interior space Their large 16’ containers have 857 cubic feet of interior space
Loading/unloading time Unlimited Unlimited
Pick-up/delivery Optional. You can choose to pack and unpack at a U-Haul facility to save money Customers can choose door-to-door, door-to-terminal, or terminal-to-terminal service
Container material Treated plywood (each container comes with a weatherproof cover) Enclosed, all metal

U-Box consistently delivers far lower prices than the competition, and the company’s small wooden containers are great choices for cost-conscious customers who are moving locally, from state to state, or to another country.

U-Box customers have unlimited time to load and unload their containers, and they can choose door-to-door service or load and unload at a company facility if they’d like to save a few bucks.

Read our comprehensive U-Haul U-Box review here.

Jarom’s move with U-Box

U-Haul U-Box PODs competitor

Jarom, his wife, and their dog recently moved from Springville, Utah, to Tampa, Florida.

To take advantage of a $500 relocation grant and to help anyone planning a move like his, Jarom participated in our Better Moves Project by sharing his experience with U-Box.

Jarom was determined to keep his moving costs as low as possible, but he wasn’t willing to skimp on quality or work with a fly-by-night mover.

Jarom moved during the peak summer season, but U-Box came through with an accurate quote, top-notch communication, and professional service from beginning to end.

See how U-Box compares to PODS and U-Pack here.

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Jarom's Move with U-Box
“Everything went great with U-Box. The only thing that I would’ve changed is the price to make it cheaper! >For people moving a studio or 1 bedroom apartment, go with U-Box. They are a lot cheaper than their competitors and often will end up being cheaper than renting your own moving truck since you’ll need to pay for lodging, food, gas, etc. I would recommend them because every step of the move was communicated to me and my items arrived safely to our new destination and I didn’t have to stress or worry about them.” – Jarom
From
UT
To
FL
Cost
$2,650
Size
1 bdrm
Read The Full Story

And now, without further ado, let’s talk about PODS.

PODS: container moving and storage from an industry pioneer

Peter Warhurst founded PODS in 1998 after coming up with a unique moving and storage container concept that ultimately reshaped the relocation industry.

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89% of users select this mover

As a market leader with more than five million moves under its belt, it’s no wonder that so many customers rely on PODS for their local and long-distance moving and storage needs.

With three convenient container sizes, a large national coverage area, and competitive prices on moving and storage, we definitely recommend getting a quote from PODS.

Read our comprehensive PODS review here

Bethany’s experience with PODS

real life PODS competitor customer

Bethany recently moved from Oakland, California, to Arlington, Virginia, for work and to be closer to her family.

Using a PODS container made the most sense because full-service movers were prohibitively expensive, and a 2,800-mile road trip in a rental truck just wasn’t an option.

In her Better Moves Project survey, Bethany praised PODS for pricing accuracy, timeliness, and communication. She’d use PODS again on a future move and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the company to anyone planning a move like hers.

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Bethany's Move with PODS
“The move went better than I expected. It was very smooth. Initially, I thought I had ordered a POD that was too small, but everything ended up fitting so things worked out perfectly. Book the POD and movers and early as possible, especially when moving in the spring or summer since availability is limited. I’d absolutely recommend PODS and felt I got my money’s worth.” – Bethany
From
CA
To
VA
Cost
$4,540
Size
2 bdrms
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PODS vs. the competition: which moving company is right for you?

We hope this comparison is helpful, but at the end of the day, we can’t tell you which of these companies (if any of them!) is right for your move. Every move is unique, and it’s up to you to find the moving company that best matches your own needs.

In some cases, you may even have better luck renting a truck (from a company like Penske) or biting the bullet and hiring a full-service mover.

Either way, why not compare prices from different service providers you can trust (including PODs competitors), all in one place? moveBuddha can help with instant quotes from full-service, container, and DIY movers.

Other moving container companies and PODs competitors worth checking out

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