U-Pack vs. Alternatives: How Do They Compare?

U-Pack (not to be confused with U-Haul) is one of the biggest names in the moving container game — and in our opinion, U-Pack offers the best overall value among moving container companies.

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 5 / 5
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  • Fast delivery
  • Nationwide
  • 100+ miles moves
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moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.8 / 5
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  • Unlimited storage
  • 3 container sizes
  • 10% discount
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moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.45 / 5
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  • Price matching
  • 10% discount
  • Local/long dist.
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moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.0 / 5
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  • 4-5 Bdrm Houses
  • Nationwide
  • No local moves
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moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.2 / 5
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  • Park on street
  • Labor available
  • Small moves
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The best moving container companies can provide the perfect middle ground between a DIY move and hiring full-service movers. Rather than loading everything into a moving truck, container companies drop off a container at your property that you load yourself. They then pick up the container and transport it to your new home, where you unload it.

Of course, comparing U-Pack’s services to PODS, 1-800-PACK-RAT, and independent full-service movers can help you choose the best moving company for your next move.

Here’s what you should know about U-Pack and how it compares to some of its top competitors.

U-Pack vs. alternatives

Most moving container companies offer a wide variety of moving services to help your move go as smoothly as possible. Below, we’ve created a chart to help you quickly compare the services offered by several popular storage container companies.

Company Storage? Cost State availability Number of container sizes
U-Pack Short- and long-term options Average cost $2,300 per ReloCube for door-to-door delivery All 50 states, plus Canada and Puerto Rico 2
PODS Short- and long-term options Average cost is $550 for a local move and $3,000–$4,000 for long-distance moves, depending on the PODS size and move distance 46 states (not in AK, MT, ND, or VT), plus Canada, Australia, and the UK 3
1-800-PACK-RAT Short- and long-term options Average cost is $3,760 for a long-distance move 32 states (not in AL, AK, AR, DE, HI, KS, KY, ME, MS, MT, ND, NE, NH, RI, SD, VT, WV, WY) 3
SMARTBOX Short- and long-term options Average cost is $2,816 for a long-distance move with no unloading or loading assistance Only available in 23 states: AL, AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, IL, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, NC, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, plus Washington D.C. 1
Safeway Moving 30 days of free storage with all moves Average cost is $2,300 for local moves and $10,000+ for long-distance moves All 50 states and internationally No moving containers offered
Mayzlin Relocation May be available, but not guaranteed Average cost is $4,300 for long-distance moves All 50 states for long-distance moves No moving containers offered
Allied Van Lines Short- and long-term options Average cost is $3,500 for a long-distance move All 50 states and internationally 1

U-Pack vs. other moving container companies

U-Pack offers a variety of moving options and services, but they aren’t the only choices for cross-country movers. Read on to learn more about the services offered by U-Pack.


How much it will cost for you to move with U-Pack will depend on the variables of your move, such as how many household items you have and the distance of your move. While U-Pack can only be used for moves more than 100 miles, those moving cross-country will pay far more than those moving across the state.

However, unlike PODS or 1-800-Pack-Rat, with U-Pack you have the option to only pay for the space you use when you choose to move with their ReloCubes. U-Pack’s ReloCubes are small, and you can order multiple containers for safely packing your entire home.

Whether you order eight ReloCubes or three, in the end, you will only pay for the ReloCubes you fill, so you’ll never have to worry about overpaying for your move. U-Pack also offers trailers, which are much larger and recommended for customers who will need more than five ReloCubes for their move.

Trailer space isn’t necessarily more expensive than ReloCubes, so you’ll want to discuss with U-Pack customer service regarding the exact parameters of your move and they can help you choose the option that is best for you. They can also provide you with a free quote for both, allowing you to see the moving costs associated with both of their container options.

Container options and services

When moving with U-Pack, you’ll choose from ReloCubes or a moving trailer, depending on your moving needs and your service area.

Each U-Pack ReloCube is a steel weatherproof container measuring seven feet wide, 6’3” deep, and 8’4” feet high, offering 308 cubic feet of loading space. Generally speaking, one ReloCube should hold one room’s worth of items.

The U-Pack trailer measures 28 feet long, eight feet wide, and nine feet high on the outside, comes with a loading ramp, and can hold up to 1,944 cubic feet of items — equivalent to a three- to four-bedroom home.

If you require storage solutions during your move, you will need to use U-Pack ReloCubes, which can be put into storage for both the short and long term as needed, offering you all the flexibility you need and access to your items with just a few days’ notice.

While most movers find that these two container options are sufficient for their move, it’s important to note that other moving container companies like PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT have more sizes when it comes to moving containers and might be the better option for some moves.

Company Container sizes Additional services
U-Pack 6’3” X 7’ X 8’4” ReloCube, 28’ X 8’ X 9’ trailer Service center delivery, adjust your moving date as needed, guaranteed delivery, easy online quotes with transparent pricing
PODS 8-, 12-, and 16-foot Packing and unloading assistance for an extra fee, car shipping, boxes and moving supplies, move-in services for an extra fee
1-800-PACK-RAT 8-, 12-, and 16-foot Loading and unloading help for an extra fee, moving supplies available for an extra fee
SMARTBOX One size: 8’ X 7’ X 5’ Price-match guarantee, waterproof vinyl covers for boxes, climate-controlled storage facilities, loading and unloading assistance available for an extra fee

U-Pack vs. full-service movers

Using U-Pack or another portable storage container company will be much different than working with a full-service moving company. Below, we evaluate the differences between these two types of moving companies and how the moving process might look with each one.


In general, if you look at the costs associated with working with a full-service mover like Allied Van Lines or Safeway Moving, you will find that U-Packs Relocubes are a much better fit if you’re on a tighter budget.

For example, in one of our moveBuddha moving experiences, Joshua paid $5,100 to work with Safeway to move his one-bedroom apartment from New York City to New Orleans. Meanwhile, the same move with U-Pack would have been $1,638.

However, this quote doesn’t include any of the packing or loading assistance that Joshua received when he worked with Safeway. Also, if you decide to choose a moving container, you’ll also need to be able to pack your belongings just as well as professional movers do. U-Pack may cost less for transportation, but it might cost more to replace belongings should anything happen during transit, such as shifting or container leakage.

Additionally, when you work with a full-service moving company, they’ll pack the truck for you and will usually be able to do so much more efficiently than you would. As a result, you may end up having to purchase more space in moving containers than when working with an experienced full-service company.


The biggest difference between using a full-service moving company and one of the best moving container companies is the services they offer.

A full-service moving company offers a large myriad of services that make cross-country moves a cinch. They can provide moving and packing supplies, help you pack, load the truck, drive it to your new home, and some companies, like Safeway, will even help with appliance connection in your new home.

In comparison, when you use a moving container company, you will likely be doing much of the packing and loading on your own. Of course, some moving container companies, like PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT, also offer help with loading and unloading your container for an extra fee.

Additionally, using a moving container company often makes storage during your move easy. Most moving container companies use steel containers, which can easily be put in their storage units for either short- or long-term periods during your move. Often, you don’t even need to know the storage duration before your move and can make changes as your move progresses.

Regardless of whether you choose a full-service moving company or moving container, you won’t have to worry about truck rental or driving a moving truck, as these services are provided by both types of companies.

Is U-Pack the right choice for you?

Using a storage container company like U-Pack for your next move is usually the cheaper option, and we think that U-Pack is an excellent choice for most types of moves.

Overall, those on a budget who are physically able to pack, load, and unload on their own can benefit from a cheaper moving experience with U-Pack. If you need storage as part of your move — or if the details of your move are uncertain — a moving container company like U-Pack is the best option to start your move while still providing you with the flexibility you need.

On the other hand, if you don’t have the time or capability to pack and load a trailer on your own — or you have several expensive specialty items that could be damaged during your move due to improper packing — it is probably better to stick with a full-service mover. Also keep in mind that the standard moving package with U-Pack only includes three days to load the ReloCube or trailer once it is dropped off at your home, which might be too restrictive for some movers.

Use U-Pack if:

  • You don’t know the exact date your new home will be ready
  • You need to put your household items into storage for a period of time during your move
  • You prefer to pack and load your own belongings

Don’t use U-Pack if:

  • You aren’t physically able to pack and load your own moving container
  • You need to get your items to your new home as quickly as possible
  • You have specialty items like a piano or artwork that could be damaged in transit
  • You need more than three days to pack and load your belongings

Still not sure if U-Pack is the right option for your move? Check out our full U-Pack review or head over to our moving cost calculator to see moving quotes from U-Pack alongside quotes from other full-service moving companies.

FAQs about U-Pack vs. alternatives

How much does PODS cost?

The cost of using a PODS container for your next move will vary based on the size of your home, as well as the distance of your move. As a rough estimate, those moving a short distance can expect to pay $500–$700 for a three-bedroom house, and those moving a long distance can expect to pay $3,500–$5,000.

What does U-Pack Offer?

U-Pack offers moving containers in two sizes: the ReloCube and a trailer. Customers must pack and load these moving containers on their own within three days. Each ReloCube can hold 308 cubic inches or about one room’s worth of items, including furniture. A trailer is a bit larger, holding 1,944 cubic inches, which is enough space to accommodate about a three-bedroom house.

After it is packed, U-Pack comes to pick up the containers, and they can either be put into storage or begin their journey to your new home. Once the container is delivered, you will be responsible for unloading it on your own within three days of delivery.

Do moving container companies require insurance?

Moving container companies do not require movers to have insurance for their items. However, you may want to purchase insurance on your own if you are using a moving container company, as it can help cover the cost of any damage that occurs to your belongings in transit.

What are some affordable alternatives to U-Pack for long-distance moves?

U-Pack is often an affordable moving container option, however, those on a budget may also want to get quotes from SMARTBOX, 1-800-Pack-Rat, and U-Haul’s U-Box to see if any of these options are cheaper than working with U-Pack for your move.

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