We may be compensated if you purchase through links on our website. Our Reviews Team is committed to delivering honest, objective, and independent reviews on home products and services.More

Cheapest Moving Container Companies (2024)

Get your free moving estimate

Invalid Zip Code
Enter details in under 3 minutes

Author Icon Written by Shane Sentelle + 1 other Reviewer Icon Reviewed by Kent Sisneros Updated 04/19/2024

For the cheapest moving container company, we recommend U-Pack. We found that U-Pack offers some of the cheapest prices for moving container services and has a pay-for-what-you-use policy on its moving trailers, giving you more flexibility with the cost.

Renting a moving container might be best if you’re not in a hurry to move or prefer to pack and load at your own pace. Renting a moving container is typically more affordable than hiring a full-service moving company. We received quotes from some of the most popular portable storage container companies to see how they compare. See our top picks for the cheapest moving containers below.

Key Takeaways

We recommend U-Pack as our top choice for moving container companies for its pay-for-what-you-use policy that ensures flexible pricing using a 27-foot moving trailer.
Our research found that U-Pack can be up to 60% cheaper than other moving container companies
A moving container company offers more flexibility than full-service moves and is more affordable since labor is usually not included.

Top 4 Cheap Moving Container Companies

You should know that most container providers don’t provide moving labor. That means packing and all loading and unloading is up to you. The provider will drop the container off and pick it up according to your schedule, so this option is best if you want a DIY moving experience. That said, most moving container companies provide resources for hiring independent movers and purchasing packing supplies to help with your move.

We pulled quotes from each provider for a basic two-bedroom move between Nashville, Tennessee, and Buffalo, New York, and received the pricing figures outlined in the following table.

Our choices in order of price are:

U-Pack: Most Affordable
Zippy Shell: Best for Quick Moves
PODS: Most Convenient
1-800-PACK-RAT: Best Self-Service Mover

Compare Cheap Moving Container Companies

Container CompanyBase Cost*Storage Cost Per Unit Per MonthAvailability
U-Pack$2,381$15050 states
Zippy Shell$3,180$160–$22034 states
PODS$7,201$149+46 states
1-800-PACK-RAT$7,885$190–$28033 states
*Base cost is based on a sample quote for a two-bedroom move between Nashville, TN, and Buffalo, NY

Why Trust Us? We conducted 4,800+ hours of research on moving companies and crafted a ranking system based on the following research
Companies Considered
Homeowners Surveyed
Reviews Analyzed
Providers Compared

Cheapest Moving Container Companies


Most Affordable

Though it exclusively provides its services for long-distance moves, U-Pack offers some of the cheapest prices for moving container services. In fact, we found that U-Pack can be as much as 60% cheaper than many other moving container companies. The company offers its branded portable storage containers, called ReloCubes (70” x 82” x 93”), as well as a unique pay-for-what-you-use policy with its 28-foot moving trailers (27-foot internally).

We found this provider to be the best option for larger DIY moves. Its trailer option, along with its nationwide shipping capabilities, makes it easier to move large homes without overpaying. U-Pack is available for long-distance moves across all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Why We Chose U-Pack

U-Pack offers some of the most affordable rates on moving container moves. The company provides a pay-for-what-you-use policy that offers flexibility in pricing based on how much space you utilize. You may want to consider another provider on this list if you need more assistance with packing and loading, as U-Pack’s offerings for moving labor vary by location. That said, its quote process was the smoothest we encountered compared to its competitors. U-Pack doesn’t provide local moving assistance. However, its shipping capabilities throughout all 50 states and its affordable pricing make it an excellent option.

Pros and Cons

Pros Provides some of the cheapest rates compared to competitors Has locations in every state Features a flexible pricing structure Cons Doesn’t service moves under 150 miles Has no on-site storage option Only allows three days to load and three to unload


U-Pack will drop off either its ReloCubes or a moving trailer at your original home when you request it. Customers have three business days to pack the container with their belongings. This window is shorter than some competitors, including PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT, which offer 30-day rentals. Additionally, ReloCubes come in only one size—a 70” x 82” x 93” container. Both U-Pack’s container and trailer options feature barn-door openings, which allow you to take full advantage of the interior space.

U-Pack offers a unique pay-for-what-you-use policy. This allows you to pay per footage of a 28-foot moving trailer from ABF Freights. This feature is great if you’re uncertain about how much space you require. U-Pack can also offer tiered insurance for all trailer and unit contents. These plans begin at $75 for $20,000 of trailer contents coverage or $2,500 of ReloCube contents coverage.

U-Pack offers the option to purchase guaranteed delivery, backed by U-Pack’s 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. This guarantee states that if your shipment doesn’t arrive on the promised date, U-Pack will reduce your transportation charges, sometimes up to 100%.

U-Pack Services:

  • Fuel calculator
  • GPS tracking
  • Loading and packing advice guides
  • Moving checklist
  • Moving container moves
  • Moving labor via third-party companies
  • Moving videos
  • Pay-for-what-you-use moving trailer services
  • Protection plans
  • Space estimator


We created an instant ballpark quote with U-Pack for a move from Buffalo, New York, to Nashville, Tennessee, with three ReloCubes and received a price of $2,262. However, opting to use 15 feet in a moving trailer would only cost $2,381. U-Pack states these prices are all-inclusive and contain no hidden fees. Complete this short form to get an online quote from U-Pack.

Sample quote: $2,381 for a two-bedroom move between Nashville, TN, and Buffalo, NY

Deposit: None required

Payment methods:

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • PayPal

State Availability

U-Pack offers its services in every state, as well as Puerto Rico. However, your move must be at least 150 miles to use its services.

Zippy Shell

Best for Quick Moves

Zippy Shell has provided portable moving containers since 2007 and partnered with 1-800-PACK-RAT in 2018 to serve more customers. It assists with both local and long-distance moves but not international. Zippy Shell is known for helping movers on short notice and quickly delivering street-legal storage containers. This is handy if you don’t have a driveway and must leave your container parked on the curb on residential streets.

Why We Chose Zippy Shell

Zippy Shell is not only competitively priced, but it offers three insurance plan options. Your quote includes standard coverage. That’s $50,000 of coverage with a $5,000 deductible. You can choose to pay $149 for Plus coverage and lower that deductible to $2,500, or get Premium coverage for $399 and drop the deductible to $1,500.

Pros and Cons

Pros Offers 30 days of free storage with long-distance moves Has three insurance options Has street-legal containers made of galvanized steel mesh Cons Doesn’t offer shipment tracking Has some negative customer reviews pointing to delays Is only available in 34 states


Zippy Shell provides two container sizes for local and long-distance moves. The smaller is a 7-by-7-by-10-foot container totaling 420 cubic feet. It’s made to hold one large or two small rooms and a maximum weight of 3,500 pounds. The larger is a 7-by-7-by-15-foot container with a storage capacity of 680 cubic feet. It can store two to three rooms or up to 5,500 pounds.

Zippy offers short- or long-term storage and vehicle shipping. If you have some time between moving out of your current residence and into your new one, you can store your container(s) at one of Zippy’s secure, temperature-controlled facilities for any length of time. If you need to move your car along with household items, Zippy works with automotive transportation partners to ship your vehicle.

You can also add loading, unloading, and packing services through a Zippy partner.

Zippy Shell Services:

  • Local moves
  • Long-distance moves
  • Moving guides
  • Ongoing storage
  • Optional loading, unloading, and packing
  • Protection plans
  • Provides moving supplies in some locations
  • Vehicle shipping


Sample quote: $3,180 for a two-bedroom move between Nashville, TN, and Buffalo, NY

Deposit: 50% due two days before scheduled drop off

Payment methods:

  • Credit card

State Availability

The company has locations in the following 34 states and Washington, D.C.:

Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.



PODS is the most recognizable name in the DIY moving space. We consider it to be the most convenient due to its sprawling service area, sheer number of locations, and container size options. It offers local and long-distance moves in 46 states through more than 230 service centers.

PODS’ storage facilities offer useful features for long-term and short-term storage, such as climate-controlled storage units and 24/7 security.

Why We Chose PODS

PODS offers more flexibility in your schedule than U-Pack due to its 30-day rental periods and comprehensive storage options. The company also acts as an excellent option for moving assistance if you require help with packing or loading services. PODS is more expensive than U-Pack, but the company offers ongoing promotions on its website. PODS gets our vote for the most convenient option due to the speedy quote process we experienced, and the different storage unit sizes it provides.

Pros and Cons

Pros Offers climate-controlled storage facilities Features transparent pricing online and throughout the quote process Provides a variety of insurance options Cons Has varied unit availability across locations Features varied reviews dependent on location Doesn’t have a tracking app


PODS gives customers a generous 30-day window to load and unload their belongings from their containers. Extending your PODS rental for an additional 30 days is roughly $100 cheaper than 1-800-PACK-RAT, making the units great for both moving and short- or long-term storage. PODS offers insurance coverage for all contents ranging from $5,000 to $300,000 in total value protection.

PODS offers three moving containers: 8 feet, 12 feet, and 16 feet. Its 12-foot containers are only available for local moves. These weather-resistant containers feature roll-up doors, so they do not require as much space to open in your driveway. They also feature ramp-free loading.

Customers are able to receive reputable moving assistance with PODS through HireAHelper, MovingStaffers, and Pack & Load. Services with these partners include packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking.

PODS Services:

  • Commercial moving services
  • Contents protection plans
  • Loading and unloading services via third parties
  • Long-term and short-term storage solutions
  • Moving blog
  • Moving checklist
  • Moving supplies
  • Packing and unpacking services via third parties
  • Portable storage container moves


PODS functions on a pay-as-you-go model, so you pay for specific portions of your move a week before they happen. We obtained a quote from PODS to move two of its 16-foot containers from Buffalo, New York, to Nashville, Tennessee, for a total of $7,201 without taxes.

Upon initial delivery of your container, 15% to 20% of your final total is due. The rest is due upon pickup and after transportation to your new home. Any insurance or extra rental time you purchase beyond the initial month will add to your cost.

Sample quote: $7,201 for a two-bedroom move between Nashville, TN, and Buffalo, NY

Deposit: None required

Payment methods:

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Check (for local moves in some locations)

State Availability

PODS features locations in 46 states and Washington, D.C. PODS doesn’t have a physical branch in the following states:

  • Alaska
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • Wyoming


Best Self-Service Mover

1-800-PACK-RAT is one of the most all-inclusive moving container companies on the market. We noted that the company offers competitive rates, high-quality moving containers, a partnership with HireAHelper, and a wide selection of online resources and tools. The company offers its services for local and cross-country moves, as well as short-term and long-term storage. It’s available in 33 states and Washington, D.C.

Why We Chose 1-800-PACK-RAT

1-800-PACK-RAT may feature fewer locations than some companies on this list, but it offers more tools and services. The company offers competitive rates, though it is pricier than U-Pack. It’s the only company on this list to provide all-steel containers, which offer superior protection for all contents. These containers and PACK-RAT’s tiered protection plans make it the best option for DIY moving if you’re transporting high-value items.

Pros and Cons

Pros Features a wide assortment of online resources, including a blog, checklists, space calculators, and more Provides weatherproof, sturdy, and well-protected mobile storage units Offers price-matching for PODS Cons Has limited availability compared to other container companies Requires clients to book by phone Outsources international moves


A move with 1-800-PACK-RAT includes 30 days of rental. If you need more time for loading and unloading, you can extend the rental for another 30 days for an additional flat-rate fee. This provider offers tiered protection plans that cost as little as $34.95 per month per unit. This minimum protection plan covers $5,000 in total value, with up to $75,000 available for $149.95.

1-800-PACK-RAT offers container options in three sizes: 8 feet (suitable for 1–2 rooms), 12 feet (2–3 rooms), and 16 feet (3–4 rooms). However, it only offers its 12-foot containers for local moves. The containers are all-steel, sturdy, and weatherproof. Each container features barn-door openings that swing outward to maximize storage space in the interior.

In addition to its self-service moving service, 1-800-PACK-RAT offers assistance with loading and unloading or packing and unpacking through HireAHelper. The company also features a user-friendly website with various tools, such as a space calculator, location guides, a moving blog, and more.

1-800-PACK-RAT Services:

  • Auto-shipping services
  • Loading and unloading via HireAHelper
  • Location guides
  • Moving blog
  • Moving checklist
  • Moving supplies
  • Packing and unpacking via HireAHelper
  • Portable moving containers
  • Short-term and long-term storage services
  • Space calculator
  • Videos
  • Weight calculator


1-800-PACK-RAT quoted us to move two 16-foot containers from Buffalo, New York, to Nashville, Tennessee, for a total of $7,885. This quote includes $10,000 in contents protection, a no-cut security lock, and 10–14 days of transportation.

Billing would be broken down into a $500 deposit due 10 days before the first delivery. A month’s worth of rent would be charged upon delivery, and the remaining balance would not be due until 1-800-PACK-RAT begins transporting the container.

To keep renting the container, as well as $10,000 in contents protection, it would cost $299 per container per month. Complete this online survey to get your free 1-800-PACK-RAT quote.

Sample quote: $7,885 for a two-bedroom move between Nashville, TN, and Buffalo, NY

Deposit: $500 due five days before your container delivery

Payment methods:

  • Credit card

State Availability

1-800-PACK-RAT supplies its services within a 100-mile radius of each of its locations. The company also claims it can most likely help with a move in the United States, even if a location is not nearby. We encourage you to call the company to figure out if it can help you.

The company has locations in the following states and Washington, D.C.:

Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

How Do Moving Container Moves Compare to Full-Service Moves?

Moving container providers typically offer delivery and pickup windows for their containers, which makes loading and unloading easy to do on your own schedule. The price points these movers offer make moving affordable to a wide range of homeowners and renters.

Moving Container Moves

Full-Service Moves

A moving container company can add more affordability, flexibility, and control over your move. Though you can save money by packing and loading on your own, a moving container company will handle the transportation for you, allowing you to avoid renting your own moving truck. In short, a moving container company can be a happy medium to ease the stress of the moving experience.

Often, a moving container company can hold on to your belongings at a local storage facility until you request delivery to your new home. This allows you to prepare your new home for your belongings. You then unload the container(s) at your own pace. Many container rental companies offer a 30-day rental period in their base price. This makes flexible loading and unloading windows easy to schedule and gives you the freedom to hire moving labor or do it yourself.

A full-service moving company can handle every aspect of your move for you. This includes furniture disassembly, wrapping, packing, loading, transportation, unloading, unpacking, and reassembly. This is a better option for those who want to be more hands-off during their move and let a trained team handle most aspects. You may not get as much flexibility with your moving timeline since more people are involved.

Full-Service Moving Companies

If the full-service, hands-free approach interests you, check out some of our top suggestions for full-service movers below.

International Van Lines

Best Service Offerings


International Van Lines (IVL) provides industry-standard full-service moving options like furniture disassembly and reassembly, packing and unpacking, and loading and unloading services. IVL also supplies specialty services for difficult items like pianos and antiques. If you require help with transporting a recreational vehicle or one of your cars, International Van Lines supplies car shipping services.


We requested a quote for a three-bedroom move from Buffalo, New York, to Nashville, Tennessee, with International Van Lines and received a range of $4,200–$6,150. This includes loading and transportation. Representatives were prompt with pricing information when we called—it was one of the fastest quote processes we experienced.

Allied Van Lines

Best for Vehicle Relocation


Allied Van Lines is another full-service mover with national availability. The company acts as a carrier for many of its services, including its vehicle relocation services. While many movers tend to outsource this service to another company, Allied supplies its own trucks and drivers for vehicle relocation. It also provides GPS tracking and direct contact with the person moving your vehicle.


Our quote for a three-bedroom move from Buffalo, New York, to Nashville, Tennessee, resulted in a quoted price of $5,915–$6,536. Allied’s representative was thorough and mentioned that estimates couldn’t be binding without an in-person or video call survey. The rates we received were a ballpark price range.

Our Conclusion

We recommend U-Pack if price is your top priority, but Zippy Shell may quote you a slightly lower price depending on your location and type of move. 1-800-PACK-RAT is our top overall choice for moving containers because of its many resources and protection plans. 

The best way to see which option will be cheapest for you or provide the most value for your situation is to get a quote. Unfortunately, most moving companies require you to call to get an estimate even after you fill out an online quote form. We recommend getting a quote from at least three companies before deciding.

FAQ About Cheap Moving Containers

How much can you fit in a 16-foot moving container?

On average, a 16-foot moving container can store the belongings of three to four moderately furnished rooms.

How do they transport PODS?

PODS transports its moving containers with its patented hydraulic lift system called Podzilla. This makes it possible to drop off and pick up one of PODS’ containers anywhere with level ground and street access.

How do you pack a moving container?

We strongly advise you to discuss how the moving container company of your choice recommends you load your items into one of its containers.

However, a good place to start is to break down any furniture possible and wrap furniture and appliances in moving blankets. You will want to place heavier items around the perimeter of the container to act as anchors. You may then place boxes of more fragile and lightweight items in the center with proper padding and wrapping.

Are moving containers waterproof?

Most moving containers are advertised as being water- or weather-resistant. In most cases, your belongings will remain dry inside a moving container or pod. 

Does renters or homeowners insurance cover moving?

Renters and homeowners insurance policies will not cover your goods while in transit in most cases. Before you stage a move and request quotes, contact your insurance provider to confirm coverage options. If they don’t offer coverage, you can purchase valuation coverage from your moving company of choice.

Lemonade provides renters insurance or homeowners insurance that can protect your valuable items during a move. However, Lemonade will only cover your stuff while you’re moving if you’re moving independently (i.e., packing your stuff and transporting it yourself, not hiring a moving company). If you hire a moving company, you’ll need third-party insurance.

How are moving container companies regulated?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates interstate and long-distance moving companies across the United States. Follow this FMCSA link to search for a moving container’s licensing status using its name, motor carrier (MC) number, or United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number to ensure it is licensed to transport household goods.

Other Moving Resources

Our Rating Methodology

We back up our moving company ratings and recommendations with a detailed rating methodology to objectively score each company. We conduct research by reading through the company websites, analyzing customer reviews, conducting consumer surveys, requesting quotes, and speaking with customer representatives. We then score each moving company against our review standards for services, contents coverage, scheduling, trailer and container options, additional benefits, and reputation to arrive at a final score on a 5-point rating scale.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.