Relocating with a moving container is a great way to cut costs while maintaining some of the conveniences that full-service moving companies provide. We analyzed the most cost-effective moving container companies and included sample pricing and service profiles below. Request quotes from the providers we’ve listed to start planning a cheaper move.

3 Cheapest Moving Container Companies

Moving container providers typically don’t provide direct moving labor assistance. Instead, they suit the self-service or DIY moving client. 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 table below.

Container CompanyBase Cost*Cost for One Month StorageAvailability
1-800-PACK-RAT$7,885$190–$280 per month per unit30 states
U-Pack$2,381$150 per ReloCube per month50 states
PODS$7,201Costs start at $149 per unit per month46 states

1-800-PACK-RAT: Best Overall 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 30 states and Washington, D.C.

Pros & Cons

✔ 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 a price-matching policy for PODS

Has limited availability, relative to other container companies
Requires clients to book by phone


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. PACK-RAT’s 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. PACK-RAT 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:

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


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 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.

PACK-RAT features locations in the following states:

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

Why We Chose 1-800-PACK-RAT

1-800-PACK-RAT may feature fewer locations than the other 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, coupled with PACK-RAT’s tiered protection plans, make it the best option for DIY moving if you’re transporting high-value items.

Learn more: 1-800-PACK-RAT Review

U-Pack: 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 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, make it easier to move large homes without overpaying. U-Pack is available for long-distance moves across all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Pros & Cons

✔ Provides some of the cheapest rates compared to competitors

Has locations in every state

Features a flexible pricing structure

Doesn’t service moves under 150 miles

Has no on-site storage option


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:

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


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, to use its services your move must be at least 150 miles.

Why We Chose U-Pack

U-Pack offers some of the most affordable rates on moving container moves. The company offers a pay-for-what-you-use policy that offers flexibility in pricing based on how much space you utilize. If you need more assistance with packing and loading, you may want to consider another provider on this list as U-Pack’s offerings for moving labor vary by location. That said, its quote process was the smoothest we encountered. 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.

Learn More: U-Pack Review

PODS: Most Convenient

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.

Pros & Cons

Offers climate-controlled storage facilities

Features transparent pricing online and throughout the quote process

Provides a variety of insurance options

Has varied unit availability across locations

Features varied reviews dependent on location


PODS provides 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:

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


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 does not have a physical branch in the following states:

  • Alaska
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • Wyoming

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.

Learn more: PODS Review

Moving Container Moves vs. 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

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 driving a rental 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.

Full-Service Moves

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.

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

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.

Learn more: International Van Lines Review

Allied Van Lines

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.

Cheapest Moving Containers FAQ

Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews Team backs 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