U-Pack and U-Box are two of the most established container companies out there, and they both have powerhouse moving companies behind them—U-Pack is owned by freight shipping giant ABF, and U-Box is owned by U-Haul, the company that pioneered the DIY move. With either of these companies, you’re getting experience.
The two companies operate similarly. They’re container companies, which means their base business model is to lease out shipping containers which you can have delivered to your home before you move, pack with your belongings, and then have professionally shipped to your new address to unpack when you arrive there. It’s sort of a half-DIY move—you do all the packing, but none of the driving.
But when it comes to U-Pack’s and U-Box’s services, containers, and costs, there are differences you have to take into account before you choose the mover that’s right for you. We did the legwork and put together a comprehensive comparison of the two companies with reviews. Read on to see what we found out.
A great place to start when comparing two companies is with the pros and cons of each. Here’s what we love and what we hate about each company, plus all the other upsides and downsides you might want to consider.
U-Pack Pros and Cons
What we love: U-Pack has some of the most transparent pricing we’ve seen among container moving companies. It explains exactly what you’re paying for and has a no-hidden-fees guarantee, plus has a pay-only-for-the-space-you-use policy for its largest moving containers, ensuring you have all the space you need without overpaying.
What we hate: U-Pack only does long-distance moves. If you’re moving locally, our #1 choice for container moves isn’t available, which is a huge bummer.
|U-Pack Pros||U-Pack Cons|
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U-Box Pros and Cons
What we love: U-Box is less expensive than a lot of other container movers in many circumstances, and it gives you a truly customizable experience where you can add on a number of services, or keep your move totally DIY to keep the cost down.
What we hate: U-Box’s containers just don’t stack up to the competition’s. They’re made of plywood, so we don’t trust them to be totally weatherproof. Plus, some users wrote in reviews that the containers broke during transit.
|U-Box Pros||U-Box Cons|
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Most container moving companies operate with the same basic business model: They deliver containers to your old address, you pack your stuff into the containers, and then the company handles driving or shipping them to your new address so you can unpack them there. That’s pretty much how moving with either U-Pack or U-Box works, but the companies both do more than that.
Here are the different services offered by U-Pack and U-Box.
|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|
|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)
None of the services matter, though, if these companies aren’t available for moves in your area. Here are the places U-Pack and U-Box serve.
|Available in the U.S.?||All 50 states and Puerto Rico||All 50 states|
|Available in Canada?||Yes||Yes|
|Available internationally?||No||Yes – you can ship a U-Box to almost any international port|
While U-Pack and U-Box offer similar services and both have large service areas with great availability, their containers are one of the factors that truly separates them from one another. Here’s how the containers available from U-Pack and U-Box compare.
|How many container sizes available?||2||1|
|What are the container sizes?||5’10” Relocube |
27’ trailers(only pay for the space you use)
|Storage available for all container sizes?||Yes||Yes|
|Cubic footage available?||305-1,800 cf||280 cf|
|Container material?||Metal||Treated plywood|
It’s important to note here that while it’s pretty standard in the industry to use metal containers (and the majority of container companies have only metal containers available), U-Box’s containers are made of treated plywood and come with a cover to help protect them from the elements. Wood is obviously not nearly as durable as metal, and there are plenty of online reviews from people who used U-Box and had the containers arrive at their final location damaged. This is a huge factor for our review, since keeping your belongings safe should be a top priority for a moving company.
U-Pack and U-Box both offer a budget-friendly alternative to full-service moving. But keep in mind that both companies allow you to customize your move, which can affect the price. There are also so many other factors that go into pricing a move — starting and ending locations, time of year, size of the move, gas prices, etc. — that the average prices we’ve compiled below may not be representative of what your move will cost.
Before judging either of these companies based on their prices, you should get a personalized quote that’s accurate for your moving needs so you know for sure who can offer you the best price. And remember that when it comes to moving pods, the cheapest is not necessarily best — you should hire the company that gives you the best services to fit your needs at a fair price.
With that in mind, here are the average prices for moves with U-Pack and U-Box.
Cost for a Local move (< 50 miles)
|U-Pack Price||U-Box Price|
|1 bedroom||Not Available for Local Moves||$150 – $600|
|2-3 bedrooms||Not Available for Local Moves||$300 – $700|
|4-5 bedrooms||Not Available for Local Moves||$300 – $800|
Cost for a Medium-Distance Move (< 250 miles)
|U-Pack Price||U-Box Price|
|1 bedroom||$900 – $1,300||$450 – $1,000|
|2-3 bedrooms||$1,100 – $1,700||$700 – $2,000|
|4-5 bedrooms||$1,200 – $1,900||$800 – $3,000|
Cost for a Long-Distance Move (Cross-Country)
|U-Pack Price||U-Box Price|
|1 bedroom||$1,500 – $2,500||$1,200 – $3,500|
|2-3 bedrooms||$2,400 – $3,900||$2,500 – $4,500|
|4-5 bedrooms||$3,500 – $6,600||$4,000 – $7,000|
Out of these two companies, our pick is U-Pack.
But don’t let an article on the internet make a decision this huge for you. Before hiring any moving company, you should research a ton of different options to find one that fits your needs and your budget. The question isn’t U-Pack vs U-Box, it’s U-Pack vs PODS vs Zippy Shell vs U-Box vs whatever other companies operate in your area.
If you want to get a quote from U-Pack, PODS, U-Box, and multiple other movers you can trust all on one site, we can help. Start here and get all the quotes you need to compare and find the best mover for you.