There are many companies that offer portable storage container services, but not all are budget-friendly. We have conducted in-depth research on the top moving companies in the country.

During our research, we examine the cost of each company by simulating their quote process. This guide will rank and compare the cheapest moving container companies on the market.

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3 Cheapest Moving Container Companies

Based on our in-depth research and analysis, the following are the cheapest moving container companies:


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. 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.

Pros & Cons

✔ Features a wide assortment of online resources, including a blog, checklists, space calculators, and more

✔ Portable storage units are weatherproof, sturdy, and well-protected

✔ Offers a price-matching policy for PODS

✘ Only available in 30 states

✘ No online booking is available

Services

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.

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). Similar to PODS, it only offers its 12-foot containers for local moves. Each of PACK-RAT’s containers is all-steel, sturdy, and weatherproof.

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

Cost

1-800-PACK-RAT quoted us to move two 16-foot containers from Buffalo to Nashville for a total of $7,153. 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. To get in touch with a 1-800-PACK-RAT representative and receive a billing breakdown, complete this online survey.

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 than any other company on this list. The company provides competitive rates on its services, though they are pricier than U-Pack. It is also the only company on this list to provide all-steel containers.

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).

Pros & Cons

✔ Provides some of the cheapest rates compared to competitors

✔ Available in every state

✔ Pay-for-what-you-use policy provides flexibility in pricing and space

✘ 150-mile minimum for services

✘ No access to on-site storage

Services

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.

However, U-Pack also 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 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

Cost

We created an instant, ballpark quote with U-Pack to move from Buffalo, New York, to Nashville, Tennessee, with three ReloCubes for $4,427. However, opting to use 15 feet in a moving trailer would only cost $2,151. U-Pack states these prices are all-inclusive and contain no hidden fees. To get an online quote from U-Pack, complete this short form.

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.

Learn More: U-Pack Review


PODS: Most Convenient

PODS started in 1998 when its founder Peter Warhurst noticed that hydraulic technology could offer further convenience and innovation to the moving industry. PODS offers more convenience than some competitors due to its affordable rental prices and its network of more than 230 storage facilities across the country.

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

✔ Storage facilities include climate control and security

✔ Transparent about pricing during its detailed moving quote process

✔ Offers a variety of insurance options

✘ Bookings are required far in advance of your move date, as time slots fill up quickly

✘ Quote process may be long for some customers

Services

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 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

Cost

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 to Nashville for a total of $6,693 without taxes.

The bill is broken down into $876 for the first delivery, 30 days’ worth of rental, and $10,000 in contents protection. The second payment is for six to eight days of transportation of the PODS containers to a storage facility in Nashville for $5,540. The final payment is $278 for the redelivery and final pick-up.

It would cost $498 for each month’s rental after this first month, and it would cost an additional $50 per month to keep the contents protection plan for the rental.  To get in touch with a PODS representative for a free quote, fill out this online questionnaire.

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.

Learn more: PODS Review


How Cheap Moving Container Companies Work

Moving is no cheap matter, but you don’t have to break the bank to relocate to a new city. There are plenty of low-cost alternatives to traditional full-service movers, such as moving truck rentals and moving container companies. A moving container company’s self-service model allows you to have flexibility in your moving cost and schedule.

The service model is as follows: you notify the company when to bring your selection of a portable storage container (or multiple containers) to your home. You then load up your packed belongings within the rental period, typically 30 days. Once loaded, you notify the company when to transport your belongings to a storage center near your new address. You then schedule a time for the company to deliver your items to your new home, and you unload them within the remainder of your rental period.


Moving Container Moves vs. Full-Service Moves

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.

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.

If this 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.

The estimated cost for moving a three-bedroom home from Buffalo to Nashville with International Van Lines is $4,200–$6,150. This includes loading and transportation.

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.

Allied estimates that moving a three-bedroom home with an average number of belongings from Buffalo to Nashville costs $5,915–$6,536.

Learn more: Allied Van Lines Review


Cheapest Moving Containers FAQs

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.


Other Moving Resources


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)?

Our Reviews team reviews reputable companies from all across the nation, and we have a full-time researcher who collects (and regularly updates) more than 100 specific data points from each company. We perform in-depth research and compare each company on key factors such as cost, services, availability, and trustworthiness.

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