If you’re interested in a self-service mover, you’ve likely come across U-Pack and PODS as two viable moving company options. While both are excellent portable storage container companies that offer similar moving services, one may suit you better than the other. In this guide, we’ll compare U-Pack and PODS’ services, costs, benefits, and drawbacks to help you determine which provider is the best moving company for your move.
Our Take on U-Pack vs. PODS
U-Pack is a great option for those looking to use a self-service mover on a budget. We found U-Pack to offer the most affordable prices out of all the self-service movers we researched. We specifically like the company’s pay-for-what-you-use policy for people who are unsure of how much space their belongings require. This policy allows customers to pay for a large moving trailer per square footage, rather than pay for the entire container itself.
PODS may be a better choice if you value having a flexible schedule and want to choose from a range of moving services. PODS offers more time to load and unload your container than U-Pack, and the company features a partnership with Hire-A-Helper to provide comprehensive moving labor options.
U-Pack vs. PODS: Services
U-Pack and PODS both follow a similar moving process:
- Customers can request portable storage containers from both companies, which will be delivered to your point of origin upon request.
- After receiving the containers, load your belongings into the containers.
- Once your belongings are packed and loaded into the containers, notify the company to pick up the container and transport it to your new home.
- At your new home, unload your belongings into your new residence.
One major difference is that PODS offers more moving labor options through its partnership with Hire-A-Helper. With this service, customers can receive access to professional packing and unpacking services or loading and unloading services despite PODS being a self-service company. Depending on your location, U-Pack can provide loading and unloading services through third-party companies.
Additionally, U-Pack offers a moving trailer option, which PODS does not. Customers can use U-Pack’s pay-for-what-you-use policy with this option. You pay per square footage rather than for the entire container, which adds some flexibility when it comes to how much space you use and the price attached to it.
PODS’ storage options are also a highlight when compared to U-Pack. PODS’ facilities are on-site and include climate-controlled units and 24/7 security. U-Pack does not feature on-site storage.
Here are a few services and resources offered by U-Pack:
- Pay-for-what-you-use moving trailer services
- Delivery services
- Moving labor via third-party companies
- GPS tracking
- Protection plans
- Fuel calculator
- Space estimator
- Moving videos
- Loading and packing advice guides
- Moving checklist
Below are a few of PODS’ offerings:
- Packing and unpacking services
- Loading and unloading services
- GPS tracking
- Long-term and short-term storage solutions
- Commercial moving services
- Moving supplies
- Protection plans
- Moving checklist
- Moving and storage calculator
- Storage checklist
- Business storage
- Vehicle transportation
- Packing and loading tips
U-Pack vs. PODS: Container Options
Both companies offer metal weather-proof moving containers that are sturdy and durable. While PODS offers more moving container sizes, U-Pack offers access to the entire moving trailer of a freight truck with ABF Freights, which is a service not provided by PODS.
U-Pack Container Options
U-Pack offers a ReloCube, the company’s portable storage unit option, or a moving trailer to help you transport your belongings during a move. The ReloCube holds a maximum of 2,500 pounds and is easy to load. U-Pack’s moving trailers feature a loading ramp and use a locking divider wall to secure your belongings once they’re loaded.
Here are the dimensions of U-Pack’s containers:
- ReloCube: 5’10” deep x 6’10” wide x 7’9” high
- Moving Trailer: 27’ long x 8’ wide x 9’ high
PODS Container Options
PODS offers three container sizes, all of which have a steel frame, are weather-resistant, and feature built-in tie-down rings to help you secure your belongings. Similar to U-Pack’s containers, PODS’ containers sit on the ground and are easy to load and unload. Unlike U-Pack’s containers, PODS’ containers use roll-up doors rather than swing doors. This adds more convenience, as less room is needed to open and close the containers themselves.
Here are the dimensions of PODS’ containers:
- Large: 16’ deep x 8’ wide x 8’ high
- Medium: 12’ deep x 8’ wide x 8’ high
- Small: 8’ deep x 7’ wide x 8’ high
U-Pack vs. PODS: Cost
U-Pack tends to offer cheaper moving prices than PODS. While PODS tends to cost more, it features on-site storage and more service options than U-Pack.
To transport a two-bedroom home from Portland, Oregon, to Cincinnati, Ohio, within a month, U-Pack suggested 13 feet on its moving trailer for $3,843. The ReloCube option for this move would be two ReloCubes for a total of $4,730. According to U-Pack, these estimates are all-inclusive and include no hidden fees.
To determine how much your move with U-Pack will cost, fill out this easy-to-use form.
PODS is a pay-as-you-go service, so you avoid any upfront payments with the company. To give you an idea of PODS pricing, we obtained a quote from PODS for a two-bedroom home moving from Portland, Oregon, to Cincinnati, Ohio, using a 16-foot container for a total of $5,265.64. This total is broken down as follows:
- The first payment for entail delivery is $487.95.
- The cost of transportation is $4,627.85.
- The final payment for the last drop-off and pick-up is $149.84.
Note: This quote includes $10,000 in contents protection, nine days of transit time, and a month of storage, but it doesn’t include taxes.
To get an accurate idea of how much PODS will cost you, complete this quick online survey.
U-Pack vs. PODS: State Availability
U-Pack offers its services in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. However, the company has some limitations when it comes to local moves, as it has a 150-mile minimum for its services. PODS offers its services in all 50 states and Washington D.C., and it doesn’t feature a minimum mileage for moves.
U-Pack vs. PODS: Customer Reviews
On average, both companies have received positive reviews on a variety of third-party customer reviews sites, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot. Check out what previous customers of each company had to say on the BBB.
U-Pack features an A+ rating on the BBB, which is higher than most moving companies, and has an accreditation from the organization.* Here are some U-Pack customer reviews from the BBB:
“Reasonable prices. We moved from upstate [New York] to [Georgia]. The trailer was dropped off on a [Friday], picked up on a [Wednesday], and was delivered to our house on a [Tuesday]. [The staff was] friendly and helpful. $2300.00 we thought was fair. Drivers helped us set up the ramp, which was very heavy. They provided some tie-downs and a dolly. Would definitely recommend this company.” — Denise W.
“My husband noticed that the cube on the truck would not accommodate our items. As to not waste the driver’s effort to unload the cube, my husband informed the driver that the cube was too small. I immediately reached out to the company and rescheduled for the next size up. I was unaware that I had incurred an additional $150.00 for returning a cube that was misrepresented and not delivered. My items at this point were now in U-Pack transit to their destination. When I became aware of the $150.00 drop fee, I reached out to U-Pack’s representative, Blake, who would not consider removing the fee.” — Carla H.
*BBB information accurate as of May 10, 2021
PODS has an F rating on BBB and doesn’t have an accreditation.* It should be noted that many businesses don’t opt for a BBB accreditation because it’s an additional cost to them. This choice, alongside a company’s complaint history, overall time in business, customer experience, and advertisement issues can impact the overall rating a company receives. Most negative customer reviews of PODS mention communication difficulties or slow delivery times.
Here’s what a few customers had to say about PODS on the BBB:
“Pickup and delivery of the storage unit was on time, except once, and then it was an hour early for the final pickup of the empty pod. Not a problem at all. After more than 14 months in storage, our possessions were in perfect condition. This included a number of art pieces and collectibles that would have been destroyed by any exposure to moisture. The climate-controlled storage was a major reason we selected PODS for our move.” — Michael S.
“We were told the delivery was scheduled [from] 12–3 p.m. We received no call, no email, nothing that communicated the change. The delivery driver called at 12:15 to say he was on his way and asked about door placement. I completed the diagram online that [showed the] door placement facing the house, but he received different directions [and] had to return to their facility to turn the pod around. Once he arrived, we explained the delivery time and showed him the original email of 7:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m. He said … the delivery was added to his route that morning and only listed the 12–3 p.m. Honestly, the only good part of this experience was the pleasant, apologetic delivery driver who did nothing wrong but apologized for his employer’s lack of communication.” — Kevin S.
*BBB information accurate as of May 10, 2021
U-Pack and PODS are both excellent moving container companies, but if you’re looking to go with the more affordable option, look into U-Pack. Not only does the company provide more affordable pricing than PODS, but its pay-for-what-you-use policy on its moving trailers offers additional flexibility to your overall cost. As long as you meet U-Pack’s minimum mileage requirement, you can expect a cheaper move with the company.
On the other hand, if you’re making a local move or you prefer a more convenient moving schedule, consider PODS. This moving company gives you 30 days to load and unload your belongings, which is considerably more time than the three days offered by U-Pack. The company also provides on-site storage facilities with climate-controlled units and 24/7 security, adding another layer of convenience if you need to store your belongings for longer than originally planned.
Alternative Moving Companies
While U-Pack and PODS are two top-rated moving companies, other moving and storage companies on the market offer similar services. You may also want to consider a self-service move if you don’t have many belongings or are making a local move. Keep reading for two more moving recommendations.
1-800-PACK-RAT is a self-service moving container company that offers similar services to U-Pack and PODS. We found 1-800-PACK-RAT to be the ‘Best Overall Self-Service Mover’ thanks to its competitive rates, reputable customer service, and useful online resources. PACK-RAT features a user-friendly customer portal and helpful online guides that assist customers in obtaining complete control over their move.
The company’s moving containers are high-quality and weatherproof and provide easy-to-load access. The company also provides the option to purchase moving and packing supplies for self-movers. Additionally, 1-800-PACK-RAT features a partnership with Hire-A-Helper. This partnership allows customers to easily gain access to reliable third-party companies to provide moving assistance, such as packing and unpacking services.
To learn more about 1-800-PACK-RAT, complete this online questionnaire.
International Van Lines
International Van Lines is a full-service moving company that offers packing, loading, transportation, unloading, and unpacking services. This company also offers specialty moving services for unique items like pianos or antiques and assists with auto shipping if you need to relocate a vehicle. International Van Lines is a great choice for people who prefer to have the company handle as many parts of their move as possible.
When we requested a quote from International Van Lines to move a two-bedroom home from Portland, Oregon, to Cincinnati, Ohio, the company gave us a quote of $2,015–$3,445. This quote includes loading services and transportation. To learn what services International Van Lines has to offer, fill out this easy-to-use form.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much can you fit in a U-Pack ReloCube?
You can store a maximum of 2,500 pounds in a ReloCube. We suggest viewing a ReloCube as holding roughly a room and a half’s worth of belongings.
How much are monthly PODS?
If you’re looking to use PODS for storage, unit prices typically start at $149 per month. Delivery and pick-up fees will also apply and vary depending on your storage specifications.
How many days should I take off to move?
This depends entirely on what you believe you’ll be able to accomplish within a certain period. When it comes to considering how long it may take you to pack and unpack, we suggest giving yourself one day for every two rooms. Transit time will depend on what your moving company quotes you. Consider blocking off at least a week to pack, move, and unpack.
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and having the data to back up our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for moving service providers is on a 100-point scale based on 7 factors:
- Moving Services (30): Does the company offer its services for local, long-distance, and/or international moves?
- Additional Services (29): What additional services does the company provide, such as packing and unpacking or loading and unloading?
- Coverage (10): Does the company offer any additional insurance plans, such as full-value coverage?
- Scheduling (7): Are customers able to schedule online, over the phone, or on both platforms?
- Trailers/Containers (7): How many trailer or container sizes does the company offer?
- Additional Benefits (12): What additional benefits does the company provide, such as storage options, moving truck rentals, and financing?
- Reputation (5): What rating does the company feature on popular review sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at firstname.lastname@example.org.