Overall opinion: In the ultimate moving container smackdown between U-Box, PODS, and U-Pack, we know who we’d book: U-Pack. U-Pack offers fast shipping and excellent national coverage, all backed by logistics from the experienced freight company ABF.
Their pricing is super transparent and generally beats the competition for medium-distance moves. The only downside is that U-Pack isn’t available for local moves.
We ranked U-Pack amongst the top moving container companies—see how it stacks up against other container moving companies. We’ve picked our favorite for the best moving container company, but we’ve also compared a lot of information so you can pick your favorite and book your move with confidence. Read on for the ultimate moving container smackdown.
Moving Container Companies at a Glance
U-Pack, U-Box or PODS vs a full-service moving company? For the budget-conscious mover, there’s no contest there.
Container moving companies offer a fantastic service: the ability to save money by DIY-ing some of your move, but without having to drive a giant moving truck anywhere.
Container moving and storage companies will most often deliver the containers to your home so you can pack your belongings yourself. That means you’ll save the money it would have cost to have professional movers pack for you. The container companies then handle the huge logistical hassle of shipping the containers to your new address, where you can unpack them. No truck rental needed!
It’s no wonder container companies have fast become a large part of the moving industry — they offer a great middle-of-the-road solution for homeowners who don’t want to shell out for a full-service move, but also can’t or don’t want to have to drive a truck or haul a trailer to their new home.
But with all that growth comes a lot of competition. People have tons of choices for container moving companies—how do you possibly pick the right one?
U-Box vs PODS vs U-Pack: Cost for Services
Cost is a major factor for most people when choosing a moving container company. Let’s take a look at average costs for these three companies and how they compare.
Cost for a Local Move (< 100 miles)
|U-Box cost||PODS cost||U-Pack cost|
|1 bedroom||$150 – $600||$200 – $400||Not Available for Local Moves|
|2-3 bedrooms||$300 – $700||$300 – $650||Not Available for Local Moves|
|4-5 bedrooms||$300 – $800||$300 – $800||Not Available for Local Moves|
Cost for a Medium-Distance Move (< 250 miles)
|U-Box cost||PODS cost||U-Pack cost|
|1 bedroom||$450 – $1,000||$450 – $800||$900 – $1,300|
|2-3 bedrooms||$700 – $2,000||$750 – $1,900||$1,100 – $1,700|
|4-5 bedrooms||$800 – $3,000||$900 – $2,100||$1,200 – $1,900|
Cost for a Long-Distance Move (Cross-Country)
|U-Box cost||PODS cost||U-Pack cost|
|1 bedroom||$1,200 – $3,500||$2,000 – $4,000||$1,500 – $2,500|
|2-3 bedrooms||$2,500 – $4,500||$3,000 – $4,900||$2,400 – $3,900|
|4-5 bedrooms||$4,000 – $7,000||$5,500 – $7,600||$3,500 – $6,600|
Here’s why you should take these prices with a grain of salt (and why we’re not declaring a winner on cost): Average costs are not necessarily reflective of what a move will cost with any of these companies.
Many factors go into calculating the price for a moving quote. Because of this, the only way to get a price estimate that’s accurate for your move is to take your specific information to each of these companies and get an individualized quote.
For more info on pricing and budgeting for your move, check out our moving estimate calculator.
U-Box vs PODS vs U-Pack: Meet the Competitors
Besides a pricing comparison, you should look at the pros and cons of each storage container company when making your decision. Here are some key pros and cons to consider when deciding which container service to use for your move.
U-Haul U-Box Pros and Cons
What we love: U-Box is a product of U-Haul, and there’s hardly a moving company on the planet that has the same amount of experience and trust behind it as U-Haul. We love that U-Box has a ton of optional add-on services in addition to its rental trucks so you can keep your move as DIY as possible, or create something that’s between a DIY move and a full service one. U-Box containers have competitive prices, so for the budget conscious, it’s a great option to check out.
What we don’t: You only get one container option with U-Box, and of all the container companies we’ve reviewed, U-Box has the worst containers. They only come in a single size (small), so you would need to rent several containers to fit all your possessions. In addition, they’re made of treated plywood instead of metal, which gives us concerns about how durable and weatherproof they are.
|U-Box Pros||U-Box Cons|
| || |
PODS Pros and Cons
What we love: Every PODS reservation is for a minimum of 30 days, which means you can take your time packing and unpacking, or take advantage of free storage on your property or in one of their facilities. Plus, their cancelation and modification policies give you a ton of flexibility to take your time or change your moving timeline. With three different sizes of containers, it’s easier to find a portable storage container that matches your packing needs. PODS storage facilities are available in each state where PODS operates, great for both short-term and long-term storage.
What we don’t: PODS containers are extremely popular — a little too popular. As a result, they often sell out of containers up to six months ahead of time, especially if you’re trying to book a move during peak moving times, like weekends or during spring and summer.
|PODS Pros||PODS Cons|
| || |
U-Pack Pros and Cons
What we love: U-Pack may not offer as many container sizes as PODS, but you can rent a 27-foot trailer and only pay for the space you use, which guarantees you’ll have enough space but still get the best possible price. For smaller moves, you can rent U-Pack containers (called ReloCubes) instead of a moving trailer. Storage is also available for U-Pack ReloCubes. Best of all, you can handle pretty much everything online!
What we don’t:
U-Pack only accommodates long-distance moves. If you’re moving under 100 miles, you’ll have to go to a competitor. You also don’t get as much time to load and unload your belongings as you would with other companies.
|U-Pack Pros||U-Pack Cons|
| || |
|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||Available as an add-on service||Available as an add-on service|
|Limited Time to Pack Containers||✔ |
(Up to three business days)
|Shipment of Containers to New Address||✔||✔||✔|
|Insurance Available to Purchase||✔||✔||✔|
|Free Cancelation or Modification||✔ |
(Up to the day of your move)
(Up to the day before your move)
When it comes to value-added services, U-Box and PODS have some noteworthy perks. They offer storage on your own property, unlimited packing and unpacking time, and flexible modification or cancellation of your booking—all services U-Pack does not offer.
You’ll also need to consider each company’s availability. After all, if they don’t serve the area where you live, you’ll have to choose a different company. Here are the service areas for U-Box, PODS, and U-Pack.
|Available in the U.S.?||All 50 states||In 44 states+ D.C.||All 50 states and Puerto Rico|
|Available in Canada?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Available internationally?||Yes – you can ship a U-Box to almost any international port||Yes, in Australia and U.K.||No|
While U-Pack doesn’t operate outside the U.S. and Canada, it does serve Puerto Rico, something many moving companies don’t offer. And U-Pack’s 50-states coverage extends to many rural areas where it can be difficult or expensive to get other container companies to do drop-offs and pickups.
|How many container sizes are available?||1||3||2|
|What are the container sizes?||8-foot||8-foot |
|5’10” U-Pack Relocube |
27’ trailers(only pay for the space you use)
|Storage available for all container sizes?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cubic footage available?||257 cf||402-835 cf||308-1,944 cf|
|Container material?||Treated plywood||Metal||Metal|
Obviously at the bottom of the list in terms of container quality is U-Box, which only offers small, plywood containers. Compare that to multiple sizes of steel frame containers you can get from either PODS or U-Pack, and there’s really no competition.
While we love that PODS offers three different container sizes, that’s still not as flexible as U-Pack’s policy that you can rent a 27-foot tractor trailer and only pay for the space you end up using. This guarantees you’ll have enough space for everything you own, and that you won’t pay for any space you’re not using. There’s no better deal than that in this industry.
U-Box vs PODS vs U-Pack: Which Company Is Right For You?
Our pick for the best container moving company out there is U-Pack, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right choice for you. These are all solid, trustworthy companies. During your move planning process, it’s a good idea to get a free quote from all three of them and compare their moving services and customer reviews to fully understand what they have to offer.
If you’re ready to start comparing, you can get instant quotes from multiple movers you can trust, right here at moveBuddha! With a solid price comparison and knowledge of what each moving container company can offer, you’ll be able to make the right choice for your move.
Not what you were looking for?
Check out other categories that can help you find the information you need!