PODS vs 1-800-PACK-RAT vs U-Pack: A Three-Way Showdown

Overall opinion: In this article, we’ll be taking a look at three major players in the container moving landscape. All of them are high-quality, trustworthy companies with good customer reviews, but if we had to pick just one, we’d go with U-Pack.

Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 5 / 5

89% of users select this mover

Moving into a new home has a lot of moving parts, but you’re likely here because you’ve already decided to forgo movers and try your hand at DIY-ing some or all of the moving process.

PODS, 1-800-PACK-RAT, and U-PACK are synonymous with the moving container industry. A simple Google search will return ads for all, so how do you know how to trust? All three moving and storage companies offer high-quality services with good customer reviews, but if we had to pick just one, we’d go with U-Pack.

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.8 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Unlimited storage
  • 3 container sizes
  • Nationwide
Check prices Visit Website

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.45 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Price matching
  • 10% discount
  • Local/long dist.
Check prices Visit Website

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 5 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Fast delivery
  • Nationwide
  • 100+ miles moves
Check prices Visit Website

% of users select this mover

Check out our best moving container companies to see how these industry leaders compare to our other favorites. In this article, we’ll get into the nitty gritty about average costs, services, protocol for short- and long-term storage, and more to help you make an informed decision if you’re stuck between these three options.

PODS vs. 1-800-PACK-RAT vs. U-Pack: How do they stack up?

Use the convenient table below to quickly compare what PODS, U-PACK, and 1-800-PACK-RAT offers.

Company Moving services Cost State availability
PODS Moving containers (3 sizes), plus professional driving, pick up/drop off, storage options and third-party labor $$$ 44
1-800-PACK-RAT Moving containers (3 sizes), plus professional driving, pick up/drop off, storage options and third-party labor $$$ 29
U-Pack Moving containers (1 size) or trailer (1 size), plus professional driving, pick up/drop off, storage options and third-party labor $$ 50

PODS vs 1-800-PACK-RAT vs U-Pack: Pros and cons

Every company has something to love and something that might cause a few concerns, but with the right information, you can prepare and make the best choice for your moving and storage needs.

PODS

PODS has the most experience out of any company in this industry. PODS practically created containers moving in 1998, and since then have helped millions of families successfully move across long and short distances.

Best Nationwide Coverage
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.8 / 5
Check prices Visit Website

93% of users select this mover

At A Glance
  • 30 days storage included
  • Local and long distance moving options
  • Unlimited loading/unloading time
  • Store on property or at a facility
read our full review
Check prices Visit Website

93% of users select this mover

Knowing you have PODS’ decades of experience can give you some peace of mind. They also have multiple container size options: eight-foot, 12-foot, and 16-foot pods, which allows them to accommodate moves of various sizes. New customers are also eligible several discounts out of the gate. For local moves, PODS offers 10% off initial delivery and 10% off first month’s rental.  For long-distance moves, PODS gives new customers 10% off initial delivery, 10% off first month’s rental, and 10% off long-distance transportation.

Alex used PODS to move from Minneapolis to Seattle in August 2023. At every step of the process, PODS showed up on time, communicated well, and protected his items from damage. He originally chose them because he wanted a cost-effective moving solution without a straightforward process –– and that’s exactly what he got. He was quoted $2,836 going into his move and paid exactly that when all was said and done.

Take a look at some of our other PODS moving experiences, including Michele, Kyle, Hassan, and Bethany, to decide if PODS is the right choice for you.

mover
moveBuddha icon
Alex's Move with PODS
“I would use PODS again because the actual cost of the move was almost exactly (just a little under) what they quoted; the delivery drivers were very communicative, friendly, and skilled; and the services were always on time and our items barely shifted at all.” – Alex
From
MN
To
WA
Cost
$2,836
Size
3 bdrms
Read The Full Story

Pros/Cons

  • Minimum rental time is 30 days, so you can take as much time as you need to pack and unpack
  • Online shipment tracking
  • Military and new customer discounts
  • Various insurance options available
  • Can be more expensive than the competition
  • You can’t get a quote or book online for most moves, which means you’ll probably spend some time on the phone
  • 12-foot pods are only available for local move

1-800-PACK-RAT

1-800-PACK-RAT focuses on offering some of the most competitive pricing in the industry. Not only are its quotes generally on the lower side for container moves, but the company will also typically honor lower quotes from competitors.

Most container options
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.45 / 5
Check prices Visit Website

93% of users select this mover

At A Glance
  • Barn-style container doors make packing easier
  • Available for both local and long distance moves
  • $10k insurance included with option to purchase more
  • Free lock provided for container door
read our full review
Check prices Visit Website

93% of users select this mover

Like PODS, PACK-RAT offers three different sizes of containers (eight, 12, and 16 feet) which adds even more flexibility to the company’s ability to accommodate your moving needs.

Desmond chose 1-800-PACK-RAT for his 2022 move from Oregon to Ohio. He was on a time and budget crunch, which meant he needed a cost-effective solution that didn’t cut corners. He landed on PACK-RAT because their metal containers made him feel more confident his goods would be safe in transit. Desmond was thrilled with his overall experience even though he moved in the middle of the busiest time of year.

He’s not the only one who’s had a great experience on a budget either. Batool and Carrie both felt PACK-RAT was the best choice for their budget and time constraints.

mover
moveBuddha icon
Desmond's Move with 1-800-PACK-RAT
“I would use 1-800-PACK-RAT again. Everything was very secure and arrived on schedule. They’re more expensive than some other options, but I appreciate the peace of mind having the singular container and not having to worry that a local contractor will hold my items hostage for additional fees.” – Desmond
From
OR
To
OH
Cost
$7,310.44
Size
3 bdrms
Read The Full Story

Pros/Cons

  • Best Price Guarantee (price matching)
  • All-steel frame is more resistant to mildew and other damage
  • Barn-style container doors make packing easier
  • Free lock provided for long-distance moves
  • $10,000 contents protection insurance included with long-distance moves, with the option to buy more
  • Monthly storage fee can’t be prorated
  • Limited nationwide availability and no international moving services
  • Long-distance moves sometimes come with unexpected fuel surcharges, meaning customers got a surprise bigger bill at the end of their move
  • No pickups or deliveries on Sundays

U-Pack

U-Pack is the container moving branch of freight shipping titan ABF, which means there’s a lot of experience behind your move. The company offers great prices for long-distance moves. While U-Pack ReloCubes are only available in one container size, you can order as many as you need for your move and only end up paying for the ones you use.

Best value container
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 5 / 5
Check prices Visit Website

93% of users select this mover

At A Glance
  • Long distance moves only
  • Only pay for the space you use
  • No deposit or initial fees
  • Fast delivery time frames
read our full review
Check prices Visit Website

93% of users select this mover

If you need something different, a 27-foot moving trailer is also available and you don’t have to use the entire space to get the benefits. If your items don’t fill the trailer, you’ll only be charged for the actual space they take up.

That said, U-Pack doesn’t do any local moves. If your move is more than 100 miles, you’re in luck. Otherwise, U-Pack services won’t be an option for you.

Shiri used U-Pack for her summer 2023 move — in the middle of peak moving season. She loved that U-Pack’s estimate was right on the money with what she ended up paying and she said she’d use the company a million times over.

Freddy, Jason, and Chloe ended up with similarly satisfying experiences, which adds to a growing list of reasons why U-Pack is our top choice for any moving container relocation.

mover
moveBuddha icon
Shiri's Move with U-Pack
“U-Pack provided me with the moving plan that included all the details of the dates and times for my move – from original location to the destination. The plan also included measurement specs for the containers, a suggested list of supplies to help with the packing, and tips & tricks to pack, and which items not to pack. U-Pack was prompt in delivering the containers and I believe I got my money’s worth.” – Shiri
From
CA
To
OR
Cost
$2,540
Size
3 bdrms
Read The Full Story

Pros/Cons

  • Super transparent pricing with a no-hidden-fees guarantee
  • Instant online quotes
  • Pay-for-the-space-you-use policy can lower your costs
  • Some of the best national coverage, which is great for people who live in rural areas
  • No local moves
  • No onsite storage
  • Only gives you three business days each to load and unload your container

PODS vs. 1-800-PACK-RAT vs. U-Pack: Container options

PODS and PACK-RAT have remarkably similar container options, while U-PACK kind of beats to its own drum. We’ve outlined each company’s storage container offerings, so you can make an informed choice for your needs.

PODS 1-800-PACK-RAT U-PACK
Storage container sizes 8-foot
12-foot
16-foot
8-foot
12-foot
16-foot
7-foot ReloCube
27-foot trailer
Storage services Yes (onsite storage or facility) Yes (onsite storage or facility) Yes (storage facility only)
Container materials Metal Steel frame and walls Plywood with metal reinforcements

PODS containers

PODS containers of all sizes are built out of sturdy steel to ensure your items are protected from the elements in transit. You provide your own lock and key, which means you have complete control over who can access your unit.

The convenient roll-up style doors are at ground level, which allows you to save space when you’re parking, plus load and access your belongings as needed. Units of all sizes also have built-in tie-down hooks, which allow you to securely fasten your belongings in place without the pressure of reverse-engineering a solution on the fly.

PODS containers can be stored on your property indefinitely, be relocated to your new home, or be kept at a secure facility until you need them.

We’ve quickly outlined the container options, so you can choose the best fit for your needs:

  • Eight-foot container: Comparable to a 5 x 10-foot storage unit, which is enough space for a small studio apartment of 500 square feet or less
  • 12-foot container: Comparable to a 10 x 10-foot storage unit, or enough space for 500–800 square feet of belongings
  • 16-foot container: Comparable to a 20-foot truck, which can hold the contents of a two-bedroom home

1-800-PACK-RAT containers

Like PODS, PACK-RAT offers three sizes of all-steel containers, which makes them weatherproof, not just weather-resistant like some of their competitors. The containers are equipped with barn-style doors, so they’re easier to load and access than containers with swinging doors.

Not sure which one to pick? The company offers a convenient tool for calculating your space demands.

Container options are as follows:

  • Eight-foot container: Can hold up to 4,000 pounds of household goods with approximately 408 square feet of usable space, or enough to hold one to two rooms of furniture
  • 12-foot container: Can hold up to 6,000 pounds of household goods with a total of 620 square feet of packing room — enough space for two to three rooms’ worth of furniture and other items
  • 16-foot container: Roughly the same amount of space as a 10 x 15-foot storage unit, which has about 830 square feet of packing room, or enough for three to four rooms of furniture

U-Pack containers

U-PACK operates a bit differently than its competitors when it comes to container sizes and storage options. While PODS and PACK-RAT can be kept on your own property for as long as you wish, the ReloCube is designed for immediate transport to its new location or storage at one of U-Pack’s facilities.

While its containers are smaller than competitors, you can order as many as you need or upgrade to the 27-foot moving trailer and only pay for the total space you use.

Here are U-Pack’s moving options:

  • Seven-foot ReloCube: Slightly smaller than competitors, with 308 square feet of packing space, or up to 2,500 pounds of goods (approximately one large room of belongings)
  • 27-foot moving trailer: Use only the space you need (fees are calculated based on the total linear footage you use)

With U-Pack, you’ll have three days to load and then the company will return to transport your belongings to your chosen location. It’s important to note that the ReloCube doesn’t offer the same degree of weather protection as other storage company containers, and its storage facilities aren’t climate-controlled. As long as you take proper precautions when packing your items, this shouldn’t be much of a concern.

PODS vs. 1-800-PACK-RAT vs. U-Pack: Cost

According to our research, you can expect to pay anywhere between $150 and $7,000 to relocate using moving containers. Your exact costs will depend on the distance you’re moving, the size of your home, how many containers you need, and any additional services you select.

We recommend requesting an online quote from multiple providers, but if you can’t, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and talk to a real person. Doing your research on the front end allows you to have a strong understanding of average costs, so you can feel confident no one’s taking advantage.

We’ve also prepared simple comparison tables to give you an idea of what to expect from PODS, PACK-RAT, and U-PACK.

PODS, PACK-RAT, and U-PACK: Cost for a local move

PODS 1-800-PACK-RAT U-PACK
1 bedroom $200–$400 $150–$500 Not available for local moves
2-3 bedrooms $300–$650 $200–$630 Not available for local moves
4-5 bedrooms $300–$800 $340–$790 Not available for local moves

PODS, PACK-RAT, and U-PACK: Cost for a move < 250 miles

PODS 1-800-PACK-RAT U-PACK
1 bedroom $450–$800 $465–$910 $900–$1,300
2-3 bedrooms $750–$1,900 $660–$1,900 $1,100–$1,700
4-5 bedrooms $900–$2,100 $1,000–$3,400 $1,200–$1,900

PODS, PACK-RAT, and U-PACK: Cost for a cross-country move

PODS 1-800-PACK-RAT U-PACK
1 bedroom $2,000–$4,000 $1,200–$3,800 $1,500–$2,500
2-3 bedrooms $3,000–$4,900 $2,400–$4,600 $2,400–$3,900
4-5 bedrooms $5,500–$7,600 $5,100–$6,900 $3,500–$6,600

As long as you’re doing a long-distance move, U-Pack tends to have the best prices out of these three. But remember, that may not be the case for your particular move. Always request personalized moving quotes before making any assumptions, and use our moving cost calculator to set your budget.

PODS vs. 1-800-PACK-RAT vs. U-Pack: Which one is right for you?

No one company can fit all situations, so you’ll often need to shop around before you find the right one for your needs.

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.8 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Unlimited storage
  • 3 container sizes
  • Nationwide
Check prices Visit Website

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.45 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Price matching
  • 10% discount
  • Local/long dist.
Check prices Visit Website

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 5 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Fast delivery
  • Nationwide
  • 100+ miles moves
Check prices Visit Website

% of users select this mover

PODS can be a great fit if you don’t mind providing your own lock and love the convenience of flat-rate pricing, but it may not work well if you’re moving internationally or have a lot of valuables.

On the other hand, 1-800-PACK-RAT may be the best fit for a budget-conscious customer who isn’t worried about asking for discounts or getting other quotes for price matching. However, it won’t work as well if you’re moving in or out of one of the states they don’t serve or you really need a 12-foot container for a local move.

U-PACK is a good option if you prefer a moving trailer or you have a small amount of household goods that conveniently fits in the 10-foot Relocube. However, it won’t work as well if you’re looking for onsite storage at your home, want various container sizes, or moving less than 100 miles.

Here’s a short list to help you make your decision:

Use PODS if:

  • You want a company that prioritizes communication and readily provides updates
  • You want to provide your own lock for your own peace of mind
  • You prefer flat-rate pricing with no surprises

Don’t use PODS if:

  • You need insurance exceeding $10,000
  • You need to move outside of North America

Use 1-800-PACK-RAT if:

  • You are moving to or from one of the 29 states they serve
  • You want unlimited loading time
  • You want to negotiate your costs

Don’t use 1-800-PACK-RAT if:

  • You need nationwide availability
  • You need a 12-foot container for a long-distance move

Use U-PACK if:

  • You don’t mind storing your container at a U-PACK location
  • You want to pay only for the space you use
  • You want nationwide and international availability

Don’t use U-PACK if:

  • All-steel construction is a priority for you
  • You want a large storage container or lots of container options
  • You’re moving locally (fewer than 100 miles)

FAQs about PODS vs. 1-800-PACK-RAT vs. U-Pack

Is PACK-RAT better than PODS?

PACK-RAT AND PODS have similar prices and container sizes, but PACK-RAT’s steel, weatherproof containers are more durable. We’d recommend looking at pricing for both, but if all other things are equal, PACK-RAT may offer more peace of mind from pests and weather-related damage when your belongings are in their containers.

What is the difference between 1-800-PACK-RAT and U-Pack?

1-800-PACK-RAT and U-Pack are different companies with different availability and product offerings. Most notably, 1-800-PACK-RAT’s containers are all-steel, while U-Pack’s ReloCube is wooden with a weather-resistant cover.

1-800-PACK-RAT also offers containers in several sizes, while U-Pack only offers the ReloCube or a full-size moving trailer.

Overall, U-Pack has wider availability by servicing long-distance moves in all 50 states, whereas 1-800-PACK-RAT is limited to 29 states. That said, U-Pack doesn’t service local moves.

What sizes do PODS come in?

PODS containers come in three sizes: eight, 12, and 16 feet.

How big is a U-Pack trailer?

The U-Pack trailer is 27 feet long. The trailer has a maximum square footage of 1,944 cubic feet, which is large enough to haul three to four rooms of furniture.

Which is more affordable for long-distance moves: PODS, 1-800-PACK-RAT, or U-Pack?

PODS and PACK-RAT are the most affordable for long-distance moves from small apartments or one-bedroom homes, while U-Pack’s prices are more competitive for larger moves. We recommend requesting quotes from all three companies and choosing the option that works the best for your budget and storage needs.

Not what you were looking for?

Check out other categories that can help you find the information you need!

See All
Hide All