How to Choose the Right Size POD for your Move

PODS and other moving container companies have become popular with families on the move in the past few decades.Short for Portable On Demand Storage, PODS, are heavy-duty steel, wood, and polymer containers that you can use for on and offsite storage as well as local, intrastate, and interstate moving.

PODS are available in 7, 12, and 16-foot units and are much more cost-effective than hiring full-service movers. 

In addition, unlike when renting a moving truck, all the driving is handled by professionals.

On the downside, loading and unloading are up to you, but the pros of using PODS far outweigh the cons.

In this article, we’ll break down how the company’s services work, the different available containers, and which size you’ll need for your move or storage project.

Once you know the size of your move, the best way to know what your cost should be is by getting a personalized and instant estimate as well as comparing it with the competition. – take a look:

  • Moving Cost Calculator: Get a free, personalized, and instant estimate of your move. Just enter the date, size, and where you’re moving to/from and we’ll instantly tell you how much your move should cost.
  • Best Moving Container Companies: PODS is a moving container company, but it’s not the only one. Compare them with the best competitors to ensure you choose the right company for you!
  • Best Moving Companies: PODS is a great option, however, a true moving company offers more services and an easier move. Get to know the best moving companies in the country.

How do PODS work?

Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, PODS has become a container moving and storage industry leader.

Interesting POD facts –

  • PODS is now owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (Canada)
  • They operate in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom
  • The company has more than 200 service centers and storage facilities in the US
  • The company’s annual revenue exceeds $250 million

Did You Know? 

No, Podzilla isn’t the fearsome dragon that attacked Tokyo. It’s the nickname of PODS’ custom trucks that hoist, transport, and deliver portable storage containers to customers’ homes and businesses.

Renting a PODS container couldn’t be easier.

It works like this –

  1. First, determine where and when you’re moving
  2. If you are using your container for storage, figure out how long you’ll need it and if you’d like it kept at your home or business or one of the company’s secure facilities
  3. Determine which size unit or units you’ll need (more on this shortly)
  4. Get a quote (don’t forget to ask about promos and special offers)
  5. Reserve your container online or over the phone and schedule delivery
  6. Using a custom hoist truck, PODS will deliver your container to your home, apartment, or business
  7. You and your helpers load your items into the container at your own pace
  8. When you’re finished, a driver will pick up your loaded container and take it to a company storage facility (storage center) or transport it in town, across the state, or to another state

What are the different sizes of PODS?

PODS come in three different container sizes – 7, 12, and 16 feet.

Below are the dimensions and weight limits for each.

7-foot containers

  • 7 x 7 x 8 (L x W x H in feet)
  • Can accommodate the contents of 1 room (furniture and cartons)
  • 5,200-pound weight limit
  • Approximately 360 cubic feet of interior storage space

7-foot containers are great for –

  • studio and 1-bedroom apartments
  • College students heading off to school
  • Moving items to a second home
  • Partial estate moves
  • Storage during small home improvement projects

They’re available for local and long-distance moves within the US and Canada.

12-foot containers

  • 12 x 8 x 8
  • Hold between 2 and 3 rooms
  • 4,700-pound weight limit
  • Approximately 690 cubic feet of interior space

12-foot containers can generally hold the contents of a 2 or 3-bedroom apartment, and PODS claims they have about the same interior space as a 15-foot moving truck.

They’re also popular for office moves and may accommodate the contents of a moderately furnished 1 or 2-bedroom home, excluding attics, garages, and basements.

Did You Know?

12-foot PODS containers are widely available but can only be used for local moving and storage.

16-foot containers

  • 16 x 8 x 8
  • Hold 3 or 4 rooms
  • 4,200-pound weight limit
  • Approximately 860 cubic feet of interior space

According to PODS, 16-foot containers are perfect for –

  • 3 or 4 bedroom home moves (and storage)
  • Office relocations
  • Larger home remodeling projects

Large containers are available for local and long-distance moving within the US and Canada.

PODS sizing anomalies

You probably noticed that PODS’ 16-foot containers have the lowest weight limit and that the small 7-foot units can hold the most weight.

Though strange, this is probably due to the heavier weight of the larger containers and the limits of what the delivery trucks can hoist and haul.

This can be an issue because well-packed household goods generally have a density of about 7 pounds per cubic foot.

In other words…

If you load a 16-foot unit top to bottom and front to back with appliances, books, and heavy oak furniture, your weight could be 6,000 pounds or more because –

860 cubic feet x 7 pounds per cubic foot = 6,020 pounds

In this instance, you’d have overloaded your unit by more than 1,800 pounds, which can turn into a huge hassle.

Why should I rent a PODS unit for moving and storage?

There are tons of reasons to rent a PODS container for your moving and storage needs.

Below are a few of the most relevant –

  • PODS are reasonably priced and much less expensive than hiring full-service movers
  • They’re available for storage as well as local, interstate, and interstate moves
  • They’re strong, weather-resistant, and secure
  • They offer easy ground-level loading and unloading without the use of ramps (walk boards)
  • You won’t have to drive a rental truck through cities, mountains, ice, and snow.

Did You Know? 

According to PODS, their containers can withstand winds up to 100 miles per hour.

How are PODS built?

Portable moving and storage containers take lots of abuse.

With that in mind, PODS units are constructed with steel frames, interior wood walls, and impact-resistant polymers, which makes them strong, secure, and weather-resistant.

In short, your things should stay safe and dry while inside.

Insider’s Tip

Just remember that, like all storage containers, your items will be susceptible to wide swings in temperature and humidity, as well as condensation and moisture from the ground.

How much do PODS cost?

PODS claims that –

  • The average cost for a local move using one of their containers is about $450
  • The average cost for long-distance moves is about $1,999.

The good news is that many moves to neighboring states with 7-foot containers cost less than $1,000.

The price for long-distance moves varies based on numerous factors, including –

  • What size and how many containers do you use
  • The distance between your old and new home or apartment

PODS clearly states that these figures are just averages and that your actual cost may be more or less depending on your particular situation.

It’s also important to note that PODS’ base costs include mileage and fuel and, in some cases, the 1-month of storage.

On the other hand, labor, packing materials, and other extras are not included.

PODS pricing for storage containers starts at just $149 per month.

Delivery and pick-up can cost an additional $74.99 each, but if you’re renting your unit long-term, these fees may be waived.

For more detailed information on PODS, prices check out our article How Much Do PODS Cost.

How to load a PODS container

Remember what a pain in the neck it was walking up and down the walk board last time you rented a U-Haul truck?

Thankfully, with PODS, that won’t be an issue because their containers are placed at ground level.

Other than that, the loading process is identical.

You should spread heavy items like appliances, sofas, and dressers as evenly as possible to distribute the weight.

Also, load the items you’ll need first at the back of the unit near the door so you’ll have access to them.

These items include –

  • Mattresses and bedding
  • Toiletries
  • Dishes and cookware
  • Clothes
  • Appliances
  • Toys
  • Tools

Though PODS are safe for moving and storage, in the event of damage or loss, we suggest taking important documents, passports, medical records, irreplaceable items, and valuables with you.

Tips for getting the most out of your PODS experience

OK, so it’s finally time to pick up the phone and reserve your PODS container.

Things are definitely moving in the right direction, but before pulling the proverbial trigger, consider the following tips –

  • Reserve your container and schedule your pickup and delivery at least a week or two in advance, especially if you’re moving (or storing) during the peak summer months
  • Ópt for a bigger container if you’re not sure if all your items will fit
  • Use standard moving boxes and/or plastic bins to pack your unit with maximum efficiency
  • Stock up on supplies like packing paper, boxes, tape, moving blankets, and rubber bands weeks before move day
  • Check for coupons and special promotions before reserving your container
  • If your dates change unexpectedly, notify PODS immediately to avoid hassles and additional costs
  • Clear your schedule so you can meet the driver in person for dropoff and pickup
  • Have a suitable place in your yard or driveway for the driver to place your container

What should you not pack in a PODS container?

You cannot load the following items into PODS containers –

  • Cars and other motorized vehicles, including lawnmowers and tractors
  • Hazardous materials
  • Trash and garbage
  • Guns, ammunition, and fireworks
  • Propane and other compressed gas tanks
  • Yard waste
  • Paint, thinners, chemicals, and automotive liquids like oil, coolant, gasoline, and brake fluid

Please note that this isn’t a complete list, so get one from PODS before signing a moving or storage contract.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What fits in a 12-foot POD?

12-foot PODS can generally hold a fully furnished 1 or 2-bedroom apartment or the contents of a minimally furnished 2-bedroom home.

How many PODS are needed for a home?

For most multi-bedroom homes with garages, attics, and basements, you’ll need at least one 16-foot POD and perhaps another smaller container for overflow items.

What are the dimensions of a 16-foot POD?

16-foot PODS are 16 feet long, 8 feet high, and 8 feet wide and have about 860 cubic feet of interior space.

What size PODS do you recommend for a large move?

For large home moves, 16-foot PODS are the best bet. Just keep in mind that you may need more than one.

How long does it take to pack a POD?

Small 7-foot PODS can be loaded by two people between 4 and 6 hours, while large 16-foot units may take 4 or 5 people all day to load. Always assume you’ll need more helpers and more time than expected.

What is the difference between a 12-foot and 16-foot POD?

16-foot PODS are four feet longer than their 12-foot cousins, and their interiors are about 170 larger. But remember, the weight limit for 12-foot units is 500 pounds heavier than 16-foot units.

How much is a 16-foot POD?

For local moves with a 16-foot POD, you’ll usually pay $99.99 for delivery plus about $89.99 to have it moved to your new home, apartment or business.

Does PODS prorate monthly bills?

No, PODS doesn’t prorate storage. Even if you use your container for just a few days after your first month, you’ll pay for another additional month.

Does PODS provide free locks?

No. You can use your own lock to secure your container or purchase one from PODS, but their locks aren’t free.

What is portable storage?

Unlike self-storage units, PODS storage containers can be moved locally or from state to state, which is a huge advantage over brick-and-mortar storage companies.

Who are PODS biggest competitors?

PODS largest competitors include 1-800-Pack-Rat, U-Box, and U-Pack.

More resources to choose the right POD or option for your move:

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