U-Box Competitors: 4 of The Best Container Moving Alternatives to U-Box

Overall Opinion
U-Haul U-Box
moveBuddha Rating
Overall Opinion
moveBuddha Rating
Overall Opinion
PODS Moving Services
moveBuddha Rating
Overall Opinion
Zippy Shell
moveBuddha Rating
Overall Opinion
moveBuddha Rating
If you’re planning to move, you may have considered U-Haul and may have seen their U-Box moving container option. Whether you’re planning to use U-Box or not, it’s essential to do some research before your move!U-Box is U-Haul’s take on the container moving and storage industry, a subset of the moving industry that allows people to semi-DIY their moves. Most container companies have the same basic model: They deliver portable storage containers to you, you pack them yourself, a professional driver delivers them to your final destination, and you unpack and then have them picked up.Here we’ve outlined some U-Box competitors, so you can do your research on what option offered in the moving industry best suits your needs. 

Be sure to check out the companies’ customer reviews, as well as look them up with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see what their BBB rating is. Don’t wait till your move date to be met with an unhappy surprise! Research and prepare ahead of time. 

Check out our list of the best moving container companies to see how we rate different container moving solutions.

Before your move, use our moving cost calculator to get a free quote on the estimated cost of your move. A moving estimate is extremely helpful as you’re pricing out your move. If you’re preparing for an interstate move, you’ll want to budget more money for moving day as interstate moves are more expensive. (Here are the best interstate moving companies.)

U-Box Competitors: Meet the Competition

The companies outlined below are legitimate, reputable moving companies; it’s still worth reading customer reviews to check for any bad reviews that may raise red flags for you. 

We’re comparing some of the biggest names in the moving industry, so you’ve likely already heard of them, or come across them in your search for the best moving company. We’re going to compare the following: 

But first, let’s talk about U-Haul’s U-Box.

U-Haul U-Box: Customizable Moves From a Budget-Friendly Company You Can Trust

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

What we love: U-Box provides a truly customizable experience, with many optional add-ons you can choose from to make your move on move day as DIY or full-service as you want it to be. All the add-ons can be booked online with transparent pricing so you know exactly how much everything costs. Whether you’re moving to a tiny farm in Kentucky or to a high-rise building in New York, you can customize your move to fit your needs as you head to your new home. Plus, there’s a U-Haul location just about everywhere.

What we hate: When it comes to the U-Box containers themselves, U-Box falls short of the competition. Only one small container size is available, and in an industry where the standard is sturdy metal containers, U-Box’s are made of treated plywood, which makes them less weatherproof and less durable than U-Box competitors. This could be a concern if you’re going a long distance on move day and preparing for an interstate move. A seamless moving experience on move day means your belongings arrive safely and dry. 

U-Box Pros U-Box Cons
  • You can haul the containers yourself with a trailer, but you don’t have to
  • U-Haul is one of the largest, most established, most trusted brands in moving
  • You can order as many containers as you think you need, but you only pay for the ones you actually use
  • You can skip delivery costs by packing and unpacking at a U-Haul facility
  • Website makes it easy to get a quote online
  • Generally less expensive than a full-service move
  • U-Box will ship your containers to almost any international port
  • There’s just one container size available, and it’s small
  • The containers are made of wood instead of metal, so they’re not as weatherproof or as durable as the competition
  • Some online customer service options aren’t well maintained, so if you have a question or need help, you’ll probably have to make a phone call

ABF U-Pack: Long Distance Moves at Great Prices

Read our comprehensive review of U-Pack or get a quote from U-Pack. Also check out our deeper dive into U-Pack vs. U-Box.

What we love: While U-Pack doesn’t offer the widest range of container sizes for moving day, it has a pay-only-for-the-space-you-use policy for its 27-foot containers, which gives you more flexibility than the sizing from any other company.

What we hate: U-Pack doesn’t do local moves. You can only book their services if you’re moving more than 100 miles, which is a bummer, since they were among our best container moving companies

U-Pack Pros U-Pack Cons
  • Only pay for the space you use
  • No deposit or initial fees
  • Fast delivery time frames
  • Monthly storage available
  • Nationwide coverage
  • Online shipment tracking
  • Competitive pricing on 100 to 250-mile moves
  • Less flexible cancelation than the competition. If you cancel within a week of your move, the fees could be steep
  • No local moving options
  • Tend to be more expensive for cross-country moves
  • Parking can be a challenge
  • The 8′ tall freight trailer can be challenging to pack
  • Only 3 days to load/unload the container

PODS: Moving and Storage From the Most Experienced Container Mover Out There

Read our comprehensive review of PODS or get a quote from PODS.

What we love: PODS pioneered the container moving and storage business in 1998, so they have the experience needed to earn your trust. We also love their 30-day minimum rentals that allow you to take your time packing and unpacking, and various storage services that enable you to store your belongings, either at a facility or on your property.

What we hate: PODS is very popular, so it can be tough to get a booking unless you’re planning your move far ahead of time, which isn’t common, especially for renters. During peak moving times, PODS containers can be sold out for up to six months ahead of time.

  • 30 days of storage included
  • Local and long-distance moving options
  • Unlimited loading/unloading time
  • Store on your property or at a company facility
  • Various levels of insurance coverage available
  • Nationwide locations
  • Online shipment tracking
  • Online quoting and booking
  • Military discounts
  • No online quotes for long distance moves
  • Need space to park container
  • Pricing can be higher than competition
  • Reservations need to be made in advance during summer peak moving season

Zippy Shell: As Close to Full Service As You Can Get on a Container Move Budget

Read our comprehensive review of Zippy Shell or get a quote

What we love:

With most shipping container moving companies, the tradeoff for the affordable pricing is that you have to do all the packing and unpacking yourself on moving day, because you’re not using a professional moving company. Zippy Shell, on the other hand, makes it easy to add local helpers for packing and unpacking to your order, and often runs promotions that allow you to add some extra hands to your move for free. Having an extra set of hands on moving day, in the form of local movers, makes loading everything up with packing materials far easier than going DIY or solo! Packing up household goods is not only time consuming, but can be emotionally draining, too. An extra set of hands helps a lot. 

What we hate:

 Zippy Shell’s website is a bit difficult to navigate. When we expect to be able to do more and more online, Zippy Shell’s website is missing some crucial information, such as cancelation policies and container dimensions. You can’t get a Zippy Shell quote online, either—even if you enter information about your move online, you’ll still have to call and repeat that information to get a price estimate. Zippy Shell doesn’t make things easy, and that can be a turn-off for customers. 

Zippy Shell Pros Zippy Shell Cons
  • Usually less expensive than full-service movers
  • 30 days of free storage with every move
  • You can add packing and unpacking services to your order, sometimes at no extra charge thanks to frequent promotions
  • Someone else handles transporting the container
  • Expedited and guaranteed delivery options
  • Innovative metal cage containers that promote airflow
  • Containers are sized so they’re legal to park on the street and in parking lots, making them great for city and apartment dwellers
  • Website is outdated and unhelpful, so you can expect to spend a lot of time on the phone getting information and a quote
  • Containers are slightly smaller than competitors
  • No on-site storage
  • Only three days to pack and unpack
  • You can only order one container at a time
  • Cancelation policy that’s less flexible than other container companies, so if your plans change, you’ll probably have to pay
  • Availability isn’t great — Zippy Shell only operates in 28 states and essentially offers one container size

1-800-PACK-RAT: Container Moves On Just About Any Budget

Read our comprehensive review of Pack Rat or get a Pack Rat quote.

What we love:

Pack Rat is probably the most budget-friendly moving container company on this list. Their pricing starts out competitive, but they’re one of very few moving companies that will allow you to haggle your quoted price down even lower.

What we hate:

Pack Rat is only available in 29 states, which means they may not be an option depending on the starting and ending zip codes for your move. If there’s not a Pack Rat location near you, they may still be able to help you move, but the cost will be higher to cover the cost of delivering containers further away.

1-800-PACK-RAT Pros 1-800-PACK-RAT Cons
  • Usually less expensive than full-service movers
  • Flexible change and cancelation policy means you can get a full refund if your plans change (up to 48 hours before your move)
  • 30-day minimum rentals allow you to take your time packing and unpacking
  • Multiple container sizes
  • Someone else handles the transportation
  • Offers moving supplies (and they’re free for some long-distance moves)
  • $10k insurance included, with option to purchase more
  • Barn-style container doors make packing easier
  • Free lock provided for container door
  • Insurance is included for every move, with the option to increase your coverage for an extra fee
  • Some information isn’t available online, and you have to call for quotes and bookings
  • Pack Rat locations are only in 29 states, and there’s no international coverage here
  • Long-distance moves come with a fuel surcharge that not only increases the cost of the move, but that some reviewers have said wasn’t disclosed upfront
  • No deliveries or pickups on Sundays
  • Fewer locations than major competitors
  • Monthly storage fee can’t be prorated

U-Box Competitors: What Services Top Container Movers Offer

While the basics of what container moving companies provide stay pretty consistent across the moving industry, there are a lot of small differences in the services and terms from company to company. Be aware of these so you go with the company that’ll best help you with your move into your new home on move day.

Here’s how services compare for U-Box, and U-Box competitors including U-Pack, PODS, Zippy Shell, and Pack Rat.

U-Box U-Pack PODS Zippy Shell Pack Rat
Storage at a Facility
Storage on Your Property
Storage Between Destinations During a Move
Delivery and Pickup of Containers
You Pack the Containers Available as an add-on service
Professionals Pack the Containers Available as an add-on service Available as an add-on service Available as an add-on service, sometimes at no extra charge Available as an add-on service
Limited Time to Pack Containers

(Up to three business 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 of your move)

(Up to the day before your move)

(Up to 48 hours before your move)

Availability of U-Box Competitors: Which Companies Are Near Me?

Of course, nothing—not services, not cost, not add ons—matters if a company isn’t available in your area. Not sure if you’ll be able to book your move with U-Box or U-Box competitors? Here’s how availability for U-Box, U-Pack, PODS, Zippy Shell, and Pack Rat stacks up:

U-Box U-Pack PODS Zippy Shell Pack Rat
Available in the U.S.? All 50 states All 50 states and Puerto Rico In 44 states In 29 states In 29 states
Available in Canada? Yes Yes Yes No No
Available internationally? Yes – you can ship a U-Box to almost any international port No Yes, in Australia No No

U-Box Competitors: How the Containers Stack Up

One important factor to consider when you’re comparing container companies is the containers themselves.

In this case, we’re comparing container moving and storage unit industry leaders, who almost all follow best practices as far as having sturdy, metal containers that will keep your belongings secure and out of the elements (with the exception of U-Box).

Since these U-Box competitors have containers that are constructed in similar ways, you should look at how many sizes are available and what those sizes are to determine which company is the best fit for your moving needs to help you transition seamlessly into your new home.

For U-Box, U-Pack, PODS, Zippy Shell, and Pack Rat, here’s how the containers themselves compare.

U-Box U-Pack PODS Zippy Shell Pack Rat
How many container sizes available? 1 2 3 Officially, 2. But in practice, just 1* 3
What are the container sizes? 8-foot 5’10” “Relocube
27’ trailers(only pay for the space you use)






Storage available for all container sizes? Yes Yes Yes No, just 15-foot Yes
Cubic footage available? 280 cf 305-1,800 cf 390-1,008 cf 385-625 cf 404-830 cf
Container material? Treated plywood Metal Metal Metal cage Metal

*Officially, Zippy Shell offers two container sizes. But when we tried to find out information about the 10-foot containers, a representative on the phone told us they don’t have them. 

When we pressed her further, she said they’re only available at such a limited number of Zippy Shell locations, it’s easier to just tell customers they don’t have them at all. You’ll have to call your local Zippy Shell to see what your options are, but it sounds like you shouldn’t count on having 10-foot containers available.

How Much Do Container Moves Cost?

When you’re researching moving companies and U-Box competitors, cost is one of the biggest factors you’ll take into consideration. 

We’ve compiled some average costs for U-Box and its alternatives, so you can have a ballpark idea of how much a move with each company might cost you on moving day.

Note that these are just averages. There are many factors that go into pricing a move, like the moving distance, gas prices, the amount of household goods you’re moving, whether you add on extra services, the time of year, and more. 

The only way to know how much a moving company will charge you is to work with them to get a personalized free quote. Before choosing a moving company, we recommend getting your own quote from every company you’re considering. 

We also recommend reading customer reviews of the company name to check for any negative reviews. The worst moving companies with bad movers and bait-and-switch tactics tend to have more negative reviews or bad reviews than positive customer reviews. Being a discerning customer almost ensures a productive and easy move into your new home. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s when it comes to doing your pre-move research!

With that said, here are what we found to be average prices for different types of moves with U-Box, U-Pack, PODS, Zippy Shell, and Pack Rat.

Cost for a Local Move

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

Cost for a Move < 250 Miles

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

Cost for a Cross-Country Move

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

Which Moving Company Is Right For You?

Every move is unique, and every person or family should pick the moving company with reputable movers that can give them the best service at a price point that works for them. 

That’s why we haven’t picked a winner here from this list of U-Box competitors and container moving companies. These are all companies worth considering, and you should get a moving quote from each of them before choosing a moving company to hire for move day. 

Don’t wait until the last minute. Research to find the moving company, moving container company, moving truck or van lines provider, that best fits your needs. Avoid a bad moving company and moving scams like the plague, because they’ll make a challenging thing – moving – an even greater challenge. Good moving services are worth their weight in gold, and we’re here to help you find them. 

Before booking anything, you should compare as many companies and prices as possible, and not just container movers. moveBuddha can help by giving you instant price quotes for multiple movers—container, DIY, and full service—that you can trust.

Not what you were looking for?

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

See All
Hide All