PODS vs U-Pack (Head-to-Head): Comparing 2 of Our Top Picks for Container Moving

Overall Opinion
PODS Moving Services
A+
moveBuddha Rating
Overall Opinion
U-Pack
A+
moveBuddha Rating

THE VERDICT: U-Pack barely edges out PODS.

U-Pack’s transparent pricing, quick delivery times, and extensive national coverage area put the company ahead of the competition.

U-Pack and PODS are heavyweights in the moving and storage container niche.

  • PODS pioneered the use of portable containers nearly three decades ago
  • U-Pack is backed by shipping giant ABF

Though the companies offer similar services, there are subtle differences.

We compiled pricing, service, and availability data to help you decide whether to use PODS or U-Pack.

Before reading on, check out these helpful resources:

  • How much will your move cost? – Our moving cost calculator is a great resource. Just enter your move dates, origin and destination cities, and the estimated size of your move, and let the magic algorithms do the rest
  • Best interstate movers – The moving industry is full of shady players. With so much at stake, it’s worth hiring a top-rated long-distance mover with verified customer reviews
  • Best moving container companies – It’s simple. You load and unload, they drive, and you save big bucks

How the moving container business works

It couldn’t be easier –

1. You get quotes online or over the phone

2. You schedule a time to have your empty container(s) delivered

3. You load the container at your own pace (or hire labor through a company like HireAHelper)

4. The company transports your container to your new home

5. You unload it

6. They pick it up when it’s empty

PODS vs. U-Pack: pros and cons

Let’s start with the pros and cons.

Take a look, then read on for more comprehensive reviews.

PODS: multiple container sizes, lenient change, and cancellation policies

PODS pros PODS cons
  • Container moves are generally more affordable than full-service movers
  • Military discounts
  • Flexible change and cancelation policy
  • Big moving windows that can be extended as needed
  • Containers can be used for moving and storage
  • On and offsite storage is available
  • Multiple container sizes
  • You load and unload and leave the driving to professionals
  • Great nationwide (and some international) coverage
  • Online shipment tracking
  • Various insurance options
  • The website lacks some basic information
  • Some quotes can’t aren’t available online, which means you’ll have to call
  • Many bookings have to be made by phone — there’s no online option to book long-distance moves
  • Often sell out during peak times, so reservations should be made well in advance
  • Need ample space for the container

 What we like:

  • PODS offers tons of flexibility
  • 30-day rentals mean you can take your time loading and unloading and use your container for storage
  • Full refunds on date changes and cancellations made at least one day before your scheduled service date
  • All-around peace of mind

What we don’t like:

  • Capacity may be an issue during peak times
  • It may be necessary to book your container up to six months before your move (this isn’t feasible for most customers)

Read our full review of PODS here.
Check out our in-depth breakdown of PODS pricing here.

U-Pack pros and cons

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

U-Pack pros U-Pack cons
  • Container moves are generally more affordable than full-service moves
  • No deposits or hidden fees – transparent pricing on all bookings
  • An easy-to-use website that offers instant quotes for all moves
  • Online shipment tracking
  • Fast transit times
  • Add-on services available to customize your move
  • Multiple container sizes
  • With 28-foot freight trailers, you only pay for the space you use
  • You load and unload and leave the driving to professionals
  • Excellent national coverage – U-Pack is a great option for customers in rural areas
  • Monthly storage is available
  • Stricter cancelation policy than PODS. If you cancel within a week of your move, expect fees
  • No local moves
  • 8-foot tall containers can be challenging to park, load, and unload
  • No onsite storage
  • Only three business days for loading and unloading
  • More expensive on long-distance moves

What we like:

  • Transparent pricing with a no-hidden-fee guarantee
  • Customers can choose from moving containers and freight trailers
  • Online quotes for all moves
  • Fast transit times

What we don’t like: 

  • No local moves or moves under 100 miles
  • Tall containers make loading and unloading tricky

Read our full U-Pack review here.

PODS vs. U-Pack: services and availability

PODS U-Pack
Moving
Storage at a Facility
Storage on Your Property
Storage Between Destinations During a Move
Delivery and Pickup of Containers
You Pack the Containers
Professionals Pack the Containers Available as an add-on service
Free time for loading, unloading, and storage Up to 30 days Up to three business days
Shipment of Containers to New Address
Insurance Included
Insurance Available to Purchase
Free Cancelation or Modification

(Up to the day before your move)

Takeaways –

  • PODS customers have 30 days for loading, unloading, and storage
  • You can’t store U-Pack containers on your property
  • U-Pack has strict cancellation and change policies

PODS vs. U-Pack: where are services available?

Coverage area is another factor worth considering when choosing a container company.

PODS U-Pack
Available in the U.S.? In 44 states All 50 states and Puerto Rico
Available in Canada? Yes Yes
Available internationally? Yes, in Australia No

Before deciding on a container company, confirm that your origin and destination locations are in their service area.

Takeaways –

  • U-Pack services more states than PODS
  • Both companies service Canada

PODS vs. U-Pack: who has better containers?

Moving containers should be sturdy and weatherproof to keep your items safe during transit.

PODS and U-Pack use high-quality metal containers that are available in multiple sizes.

Here’s how they stack up:

PODS U-Pack
Number of different container sizes  3 2
What are the container sizes? 7-foot

12-foot

16-foot

5’10” U-Pack Relocube
27’ (interior length) U-Pack trailer – only pay for the space you use
Storage available for all container sizes? Yes Yes
Interior space (in cubic feet)  390-1,008 305-1,800
Container material Metal Metal

 Takeaways –

  • PODS has three metal container sizes to choose from
  • U-Pack customers can choose Relocubes or freight trailers
  • With freight trailers, customers only pay for the floor space they use

PODS vs. U-Pack: how much do container moves cost?

We get it; price is important.

Cost for local moves

PODS cost U-Pack cost
1 bedroom $200 – $400 No local moves
2-3 bedrooms $300 – $650 No local moves
4-5 bedrooms $300 – $800 No local moves

Cost for moves under 250 miles

PODS cost U-Pack cost
1 bedroom $450 – $800 $900 – $1,300
2-3 bedrooms $750 – $1,900 $1,100 – $1,700
4-5 bedrooms $900 – $2,100 $1,200 – $1,900

Cost for long-distance moves

PODS cost U-Pack cost
1 bedroom $2,000 – $4,000 $1,500 – $2,500
2-3 bedrooms $3,000 – $4,900 $2,400 – $3,900
4-5 bedrooms $5,500 – $7,600 $3,500 – $6,600

Just remember, these are “ballpark” figures. Your actual move costs will vary based on:

  • Your origin and destination locations
  • When you move
  • How much you have
  • Average fuel cost at the time of your move
  • Which company you use

PODS vs. U-Pack: which moving container company is right for you?

U-Pack is our top pick for several reasons, but other companies may be a better fit for some customers.
In the end, PODS and U-Pack are both solid choices. Check out the following two posts to see what recent participants in our Better Move Project said about their moves.

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