PODS vs Moving Companies? Comparing Your Options

When conducting research for a cross-country or local move, many people land on two options: moving containers and moving companies. If you’ve found this page, you’re presumably in this situation.

While both options cut out the hassle of driving a large U-Haul or other moving truck rental, they each come with a set of pros and cons. We’ll go over what booking a professional mover versus renting a portable moving container (such as a PODS container) looks like to help identify which moving option is best for you.

To clarify and avoid any confusion, moving containers and “pods” are the same thing.
And by moving companies, we’re talking specifically about professional movers such as those on our best interstate movers list.

With that cleared up, let’s get into it.

Company Quote Rating Price
U-Pack U-Pack Logo Check prices
starstarstarstarstar 5 / 5
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PODS PODS Check prices
starstarstarstarstar 4.8 / 5
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1-800-Pack-Rat Check prices
starstarstarstarstar 4.45 / 5
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PODS vs moving companies

Moving container companies like PODS are different from professional movers, especially when it comes to things like pricing and services. Knowing these differences can help you choose the right company for your needs.


The cost of your move will depend on how far you’re moving, how much stuff you’re bringing, and whether you need additional services like packing and loading. While you can use moving containers for DIY moves — which tend to be more affordable — sometimes the cost of PODS is comparable to using professional movers. However, PODS offers several deals for new customers that could bring their prices down.

For local moves, PODS gives first-timers 10% off their initial delivery and 10% off first month’s rental.  For long-distance moves, PODS offers 10% off initial delivery, 10% off first month’s rental, and 10% off long-distance transport. Depending on the time of year, other markdowns may apply. That’s why it’s important call PODS and speak to a representative about possible promotions, as well compare multiple moving quotes using our moving cost calculator.

Here’s a comparison of general costs of using PODs vs moving companies for a move:

PODS Professional Movers
Average cost for local move $225-$850 $335-$2,800
Average cost for long-distance move $450-$7,600 $800-$14,000+
Deposit? No Yes, a small deposit is required for most companies
Insurance Coverage Choose between coverage plans for the POD only or for the POD and all container contents Basic liability coverage included for all moves with the option to upgrade to comprehensive coverage with an additional charge


There’s also a difference between PODS vs moving companies when it comes to services. Check out what each one has to offer in this handy chart:

Services PODS Professional Movers
Moving services for residential and commercial needs
Packing supplies included
Packing and unpacking services
Loading and unloading
Furniture disassembly and reassembly
Temporary storage options
Long-term storage
Moving insurance
Specialty moving services like hot tub moving, antiques, and car shipping
Cleaning services
Custom packing and crating
Pet transportation
DIY services
Flexible moving dates and timeframes
Pay only for the space you use


Both PODs and professional movers offer flexibility to customers, but there might one depends on what you’re looking for. If you want freedom to focus on work and other things in life, professional movers will offer better flexibility since they handle the move for you. They save you time and effort overall compared to any DIY moving options like moving containers.

On the other hand, if you want the flexibility to change your moving date, move at a more leisurely pace, and have better control over every aspect of the move, then a moving container is the better choice. PODS offers the flexibility to control your moving schedule and pricing by handling some parts of the move yourself.

How PODS works

Using moving container companies is often referred to as a do-it-yourself (DIY) move. Relocating using moving containers works like this:

  • You book your move and schedule a date to have your container dropped off
  • Once the container has been dropped off, you load it up with your packed belongings
  • The company picks up the container and schedules a drop-off at your new home where you unload and unpack your items
  • Once that’s done, the company comes back to pick up the container. And that’s it!
@movebuddha Should you use a moving container company? PODS vs professional movers. Which is right for your next move? This is exactly what we look at in this analysis #movers #pods #upack ♬ original sound – moveBuddha

Pros and cons of moving with PODS

  • It’s usually the cheaper option — check out our picks for cheapest moving containers.
  • Temporary storage is easy and affordable — simply use the moving container as the storage container at a storage facility
  • Many companies give you a minimum 30-day rental period, so you can take your time with your move
  • You have to do all of the work (un)packing and (un)loading
  • It can be challenging to park in an urban area, apartment complex, or a housing community
  • The move will likely take significantly longer compared to professional movers doing it
  • You have to get your own moving supplies
  • Items that are especially fragile or sensitive to temperature changes may not fare well in this moving method

If you need long-term storage for your move, renting a moving container makes the most sense. As mentioned above, the containers make for a great, easily accessible storage option. Just be sure to call the storage unit in advance.

When moving companies offer long-term storage, they unload your items into their warehouse or storage facility—making it impossible to access your items during storage.

Moving containers typically cut moving costs, but that’s not always the case. If your move exceeds the capacity of a storage container, you’ll need to rent additional space, potentially doubling your expense.

Container sizes can vary among companies, so it’s important to research which will work best for your move. The number of containers you’ll need will depend on your home size. Container service companies like 1-800-PACK-RAT, U-Pack and PODS have charts to help with your estimate.

We recommend looking at freight moving companies for larger DIY moves.

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.5 / 5
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  • Best overall value
  • Portion to charity
  • Veteran owned
Get A Quote
(855) 650-0657

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.5 / 5
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • 20 yrs experience
  • Flat rate pricing
  • Family owned
Get A Quote
(866) 835-2392

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.25 / 5
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  • White glove
  • Expensive items
  • Guaranteed delivery
Get A Quote
(703) 972-1772

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.45 / 5
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Family owned
  • East coast focus
  • Affordable pricing
Get A Quote
(980) 217-6841

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.25 / 5
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • 74 years in biz
  • 1,800 trucks
  • Storage available
Get A Quote
(844) 950-2963

% of users select this mover

How moving companies work

Relocating with a full-service moving company is the most convenient and efficient way to move. Leaving it to the pros will save you a lot of time and energy so you can focus on all the other tasks that come with a move.

That being said, it’s essential to look at the pros and cons before moving forward with booking this type of move.

Pros and cons of using a traditional moving company

  • The chances of accidents or damage to your items are lower with professional movers
  • You won’t do any of the heavy lifting
  • The move will be done quickly compared to a DIY move
  • The company will provide the moving supplies
  • Moving companies provide options for special items such as fine art, large instruments, fragile items, and electronics
  • It’s more expensive than renting a moving pod
  • Less flexibility than the “Do at your own pace” possibility of a moving container move
  • Headaches like cancellations, hidden fees, damage to items, and moving scams are common — hire a reputable interstate moving company to avoid these issues

Is PODS or a moving company the right option for a long distance move

Best Nationwide Coverage
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

The right option for a long-distance move depends on a number of factors including flexibility, pricing, and services.

If you don’t want to do any of the heavy lifting and aren’t worried as much about costs, a professional moving company is your best bet. They coordinate the entire move including packing and loading on both ends of your move. All you have to do is get yourself to your new home.

If you’re hiring a professional moving company, you’ll almost certainly spend more money. But that extra money will go toward giving you the peace of mind to focus on other move-related considerations such as work, family, pets, and getting settled into your new home and neighborhood.

On the other hand, if you want control over your move date, more flexibility, and lower pricing — and don’t mind doing some of the work yourself — then a moving container like PODS is a great option. While renting a moving container can save you money, be prepared to put a lot more work into your move.

Keep in mind that prices can increase with DIY moves once you add on extras that are usually provided by professional movers — like packing materials. Many container moving companies now offer moving supplies to buy or rent, such as boxes, tape, plastic wrap, moving blankets, and dollies. Be sure to calculate these costs into your final move price when comparing with quotes from professional movers.

Before you make a final decision about which type of moving company is right for you, use our moving cost calculator and get free quotes from the best moving companies in the country.


Are PODS cheaper than hiring movers?

Yes, in most cases, PODS are cheaper than hiring professional movers.

Are my belongings insured with either PODS or moving companies?

Yes, both PODS and moving companies offer basic insurance coverage. Plans and coverage options change depending on the provider so read the fine print to find out what’s covered. Both also offer the option to increase coverage if you want more peace of mind.

How secure are PODS compared to professional moving trucks?

PODS containers are made of steel and have tamper-resistant locks plus reinforced walls that protect your items from theft and damage during a move.

What’s the best option if I’m only moving a small amount of stuff?

In general, PODS 8-foot containers are the better option for small moves, but it really comes down to pricing, where you’re going, and what types of items you’re moving.

What’s the better option for local moves?

For local moves, PODS and professional movers are both great options.


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