Zippy Shell vs PODS: Comparing Costs, Service, and Quality

Overall opinion: While Zippy Shell and PODS offer similar services, we think PODS are superior to Zippy Shell thanks to PODS’ flexible packing and unpacking options, greater variety of container sizes, and better customer service.

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.2 / 5
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  • Park on street
  • Labor available
  • Small moves
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% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.8 / 5
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  • Unlimited storage
  • 3 container sizes
  • Nationwide
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% of users select this mover

While both companies have rightfully earned a spot on our list of the best moving container companies, PODS ultimately comes out on top. However, there still may be times when Zippy Shell is the better option for you. Read on for a comprehensive comparison of the two companies.

Why choose Zippy Shell vs. PODS

As with any other moving decision, there are times where Zippy Shell will be a better choice for your move than PODS — and vice versa.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing Zippy Shell vs. PODS. Zippy Shell and PODS are portable moving container companies with similar business models. Both companies allow you to rent a container (or multiple containers), which are delivered to your property for you to pack your household goods. These offer a cost-effective moving solution if you’d like a more DIY move but don’t want to drive a moving truck.

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moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.8 / 5

89% of users select this mover

The loaded containers are then transported to your new address, where you can unpack them yourself or hire professional movers or a full-service moving company to unpack for you.

While both companies offer storage solutions that can help minimize your moving stress, PODS is more flexible because you can keep the containers on your property (and store them there, instead of in a storage facility) for as long as you want to. That means you can take your time to pack and unpack the containers. Zippy Shell only allows containers to stay on your property for up to three days. This time sensitivity could add to the pressure of your moving experience.

Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.2 / 5

89% of users select this mover

Zippy Shell has two container sizes — 10 feet and 15 feet — that can each hold up to 5,500 pounds of items. PODS offers three different portable storage unit sizes — eight feet, 12 feet, and 16 feet — that can hold 4,200 to 5,200 pounds of household goods.

Zippy Shell’s specialty containers are street legal, while you’ll typically need a permit to park PODS containers on your driveway or in the street.

With that in mind, Zippy Shell is generally better for moves with heavier loads and situations where you might have trouble getting a permit for a moving container. PODS is best when you’ll need more than three days for loading or unloading your stuff.

Zippy Shell vs. PODS: Online Reviews and Reputation

Both Zippy Shell and PODS are established container-moving businesses. Neither is a fly-by-night organization, so you don’t need to worry about getting scammed by either of these companies.

With that said, both Zippy Shell and PODS operate under a franchise model, meaning each individual Zippy Shell or PODS location has its own page for Google, Yelp, and Facebook reviews.

Regarding PODS in particular, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) even has a different page for each franchise location. This can make it tough to get an accurate grasp on these companies’ reviews and online reputations.

This also means that the quality of service you get can vary from location to location. For example, when Michelle used Zippy Shell for her move from New Jersey to Colorado, she was initially impressed by the company’s low prices. While the moving day itself went smoothly, Zippy Shell continually delayed the container’s delivery date to the point where she rented a U-Haul to pick her items up from the warehouse.

“We wanted a pod-like option and Zippy Shell gave us the cheapest quote. They were very helpful in answering questions before the move, but we had little communication after that. After four days, they hadn’t delivered our items to our new home, so we rented a U-Haul and drove over an hour to get our items.” —Michelle

On the other hand, when Bethany used PODS to move from California to Virginia, she was impressed by their affordability, reputation and convenience. Pre-move coordination, moving day, and delivery all went smoothly, even though the delivery window was larger than she would have liked.

“The move went better than I expected. It was very smooth. This was my first time funding my own move and cost was the most important factor. I wanted a mover that did both packing and loading and was not the most expensive option. PODS was the least-expensive moving option. They were also incredibly accommodating, responsive, and punctual. I would recommend them to any of my friends who are in the process of moving.” —Bethany

Our best advice: Since each franchise location operates somewhat independently, some will be more professional and offer higher-quality services than others. We recommend doing your research about the specific location you’ll be working with before booking a move with either company. Be sure to look up customer reviews and other information about that specific location to get a better sense of whether other movers have had positive or negative experiences.

Zippy Shell vs. PODS: Services head-to-head

PODS and Zippy Shell’s offerings are very similar. Both offer portable storage containers, which means their basic business models involve delivering shipping containers to your home, allowing time for you to pack them with your belongings, and then transporting them to your new location. They also both offer temporary storage services, with long-term onsite storage options at their own warehouses.

But that’s not all Zippy Shell and PODS offer. Here’s how services from both companies compare.

Zippy Shell PODS
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 Can be added on as an optional service, sometimes free of charge
Shipment of containers to new address

As you can see, the services offered by Zippy Shell and PODS are nearly identical. The biggest difference is that PODS allows you to store containers on your own property for as long as you like, while Zippy Shell only lets you keep the containers for up to three days before moving them to a storage facility.

These two companies also differ in their service area and experience level. Here’s how their availability stacks up:

Zippy Shell PODS
Years in business 15 25
Number of customers served Not available 6 million
Available in the U.S.? In 34 states + Washington, D.C. (but partners with 1-800-PACK-RAT to help increase availability) In 44 states + Washington, D.C. (not available in AK, MT, ND, VT, WV, WY)
Available in Canada? No Yes
Available internationally? No Yes (in the U.K. and Australia)

Zippy Shell vs PODS: How the containers compare

How do the containers themselves compare? Both offer weatherproof, steel frame containers, though Zippy Shell’s unique trailer design is noteworthy for being street legal and offering several tie-down points so you can have peace of mind about securing your items while in-transit.

Here’s what Zippy Shell and PODS offer.

Zippy Shell PODS
How many container sizes are available? 2* 3
What are the container sizes? 10-feet*
Storage available for all container sizes? No (only for 15-foot) Yes
Cubic footage available? 420-680 cf 402-835 cf
Container material? Metal cage Metal
Weight limit? 4,500 pounds 4,200-5,200 pounds, depending on container size

*Zippy Shell advertises 10-foot containers on its website, but that size has severely limited availability. You’ll have to check with your local Zippy Shell location, but it’s likely that only the 15-foot containers will be available.

Zippy Shell vs. PODS cost

Cost is obviously a major consideration when comparing moving companies. Moving is always going to be expensive, no matter what—but a company that can save you money has a huge advantage over its competitors.

There are many factors that go into pricing a move, but here’s how the average costs stack up for Zippy Shell versus PODS.

Zippy Shell vs. PODS cost for a local move

Zippy Shell PODS
1 bedroom $190 – $240 $200 – $400
2-3 bedrooms $300 – $630 $300 – $650
4-5 bedrooms $350 – $750 $300 – $800

Zippy Shell vs. PODS cost for a move < 250 miles

Zippy Shell PODS
1 bedroom $500 – $920 $450 – $800
2-3 bedrooms $730 – $1,600 $750 – $1,900
4-5 bedrooms $1,100 – $3,100 $900 – $2,100

Zippy Shell vs. PODS cost for a cross-country move

Zippy Shell PODS
1 bedroom $1,800 – $3,900 $2,000 – $4,000
2-3 bedrooms $2,800 – $4,500 $3,000 – $4,900
4-5 bedrooms $5,200 – $7,000 $5,500 – $7,600

The average costs for the two companies are very comparable. But keep in mind that with all the factors that go into a move, the only way to know exactly how much your move will cost is to get a personalized quote based on your needs.

Need more help with estimating your moving expenses? A moving cost calculator is a great way to get a free quote and a moving estimate before the big day.

You should get personalized quotes from both Zippy Shell and PODS to accurately compare what each company will charge for your move.

Zippy Shell vs. PODS: Pros and cons of each

When comparing two moving companies, it’s important to look at all the pros and cons. Here are how the best and worst features of PODS and Zippy Shell compare.

Zippy Shell vs PODS Pros

Zippy Shell Pros PODS Pros
  • Street legal containers don’t require a permit for city parking
  • Innovative metal cage containers that promote airflow and include multiple tie-down areas to secure your items
  • Expedited and guaranteed delivery options
  • Available for both local and long-distance moves
  • Multiple insurance options
  • Easily add moving labor help
  • Containers hold up to 5,500 pounds
  • Flexible, climate-controlled warehouse storage if you need to wait before moving in
  • Easily secured barn-style doors
  • Pricing can be cheaper than PODS
  • Flexible change and cancellation policies so you can get a full refund if your plans change
  • 30-day minimum rentals mean you can take your time packing and unpacking
  • Store on your own property or at a PODS facility
  • Moving and storage can be offered separately, or combined in one order
  • Multiple container sizes available
  • You don’t need to be present for container delivery or pickup
  • Roll-up doors allow for flexible placement of your items
  • Very strong customer satisfaction ratings
  • Available in almost all states and several countries
  • Moving supplies can be included
  • Online shipment tracking
  • Military discounts

Zippy Shell vs. PODS cons

Zippy Shell Cons PODS Cons
  • No online quotes —you have to make a phone call.
  • We had a few bad experiences with their customer service giving us inaccurate information.
  • You can only keep containers on your property for up to three business days.
  • You can only order one container at a time.
  • Their cancellation policy is less forgiving than we’ve seen from other companies.
  • Availability can be limited — Zippy Shell is only in the U.S., and only has locations in 34 states
  • Only the 15-foot container is widely available
  • Pricing can be higher than competition
  • No online quotes for long-distance moves — you have to call.
  • Some bookings can only be made by phone (there’s no online option)
  • You’ll likely need to obtain a permit to keep a PODS container at your property
  • Availability can be limited because they’re so popular — PODS containers are often sold out up to six months in advance, especially during peak moving times (spring and summer).
  • 12-foot containers are only available for local moves
  • Hard to get containers for last-minute moves
  • If using PODS for storage, monthly costs will generally be higher than a self-storage facility

Zippy Shell vs PODS: Which One Is Right for Your Move?

Overall, Zippy Shell and PODS have similar offerings. We prefer PODS because of its more flexible rental policy and better customer service, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right choice for you — especially since their high demand means they often aren’t available for last-minute moves.

You might prefer Zippy Shell if you live in an urban area or on a property that doesn’t have space for you to park a sizeable storage container. In that case, Zippy Shell’s smaller, street-legal containers might make the company a better option for you.

However, if you prefer storage on your own property rather than at a facility, PODS is the clear winner, since Zippy Shell doesn’t allow that.

We recommend acquiring a personalized moving quote from both Zippy Shell and PODS if you’re interested in moving with a container company. The price may end up being the deciding factor for you, and there’s always the possibility that one company may have a special offer or promotion that makes it the more cost-effective choice.

Zippy Shell and PODS aren’t your only container options when planning a move: Other good alternatives include U-Haul U-Box and U-Pack ReloCube. Seek out instant quotes from multiple movers to compare prices and services.

FAQs about Zippy Shell vs. PODS

What are the pros and cons of using Zippy Shell compared to PODS for moving and storage?

Zippy Shell’s storage containers are street legal, which can be more convenient than getting a permit for a POD. Zippy Shell containers also hold up to 5,500 pounds, while PODS only offers 4,200- to 5,200-pound capacity, depending on the container size.

However, PODS has a much wider availability area and gives you more time for loading and unloading your items. Zippy Shell also generally doesn’t have as good of a customer satisfaction score.

What are the differences in cost and convenience between Zippy Shell and PODS for a cross-country move?

Zippy Shell and PODS operate fairly similarly for cross-country moves, but there are a few differences you might want to consider. While Zippy Shell only gives you up to three days to load your container, you can keep PODS on your property for up to a month. You also don’t have to be home when your POD is dropped off.

PODS has better nationwide availability, making them better suited for more cross-country moves. Finally, both companies offer fairly similar pricing, though Zippy Shell is sometimes a little cheaper.

How does Zippy Shell work with long-distance moves?

Zippy Shell delivers a 15-foot container to your home, after which you’ll have up to three days to load it. Once the container is loaded, Zippy Shell will transport it across the country and deliver it to your new home. The company can also keep the container in temporary storage at one of its warehouses if you won’t be able to move into your new home right away.

What companies besides Zippy Shell are like PODS?

Besides Zippy Shell and PODS, other popular moving container companies include U-Haul U-Box, U-Pack, and 1-800-PACK-RAT. It’s always worth getting a quote from multiple providers so you can compare your options.

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