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Choosing the Right Size Moving Pod (2024 Guide)

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Author Image Written by Shane Sentelle Updated 05/13/2024

Choosing the right size moving pod is crucial for a stress-free relocation. The pod you select needs to fit all the household items you’d like to ship, and the decision also impacts the cost of your move. Our comprehensive guide reviews the various container sizes available, how to determine what size moving pod you need, and more.


How To Determine the Right Size Moving Pod

You can determine the right size moving pod by inventorying your household items. Measure larger items, such as furniture and appliances, and estimate how many boxes you need. Use this information to calculate how many cubic feet of space your belongings will occupy in a moving pod.

Many moving and storage companies also have online guides and tools to help you determine what size truck or container you need. Some have space calculators to help you estimate the type and size of container and the number of boxes you’ll need. Here are a few examples of moving calculators:

Factors such as whether you’re moving a studio apartment or multi-bedroom house make a big difference when determining your moving container size, as does the amount and size of your furniture. Consult the moving company from which you plan to rent your equipment to get the most accurate information. Moving container companies can provide a free quote tailored to your specific moving needs and offer expert recommendations.

QUICK Tip
When in doubt, go a size up. It’s better to have a little extra space than not enough. Some companies make this especially easy. For instance, U-Pack charges you based on how many ReloCubes you use. If you reserve three cubes but only use two, the company will pick up the empty one for free. That means you can err on the side of caution when booking without worrying about wasting money.

PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT offer three pod sizes—small 8-foot containers, medium 12-foot containers, and large 16-foot containers. U-Haul and U-Pack only offer a single size, which is roughly equivalent to the 8-foot pods offered by their competitors. U-Pack also offers moving trailers as a cost-effective alternative for larger moves, with 5–28 feet of trailer space available.

Here’s a quick rundown of size options available from the top moving container companies:

Size and CompanyExterior DimensionsInterior DimensionsCapacity (Cubic Feet)Weight Limit (Pounds)

ReloCube

7’W x 8’4″H x 6’3″L

6’10″W x 7’9″H x 5’10″L

308

2,500

U-Box

5’W x 7’6″H x 8’L

4’8″W x 6’11.5″H x 7’11″L

257

2,000

8’ PODS

7’W x 8’H x 8’L

6’W x 7’6″H x 6’6″L

402

5,200

8’ 1-800-PACK-RAT

7.2’W x 7.8’H x 8.5’L

Not available

404

4,000

12’ PODS

8’W x 8’H x 12’L

7’W x 7’6″H x 11’6″L

689

4,700

12’ 1-800-PACK-RAT

7.75’W x 7.5’H x 12’L

Not available

620

6,000

16’ PODS

8’W x 8’H x 8’L

7’W x 7’6″H x 15’6″L

853

4,200

16’ 1-800-PACK-RAT

7.75’W x 7.5’H x 16’L

Not available

803

6,000

Here’s what different companies recommend based on your home size:

Home SizePODS / 1-800-PACK-RATU-HaulU-Pack

Studio

one 8′ or 12′ container

1 U-Box container

1-2 ReloCubes or 6′ trailer space

One Bedroom

one 12′ or 16′ container

2 U-Box containers

1-2 ReloCubes or 7′ trailer space

Two Bedroom

one 16′ container (+ 8′ extra, if needed)

3 U-Box containers

2-3 ReloCubes or 13′ trailer space

Three Bedroom

one 16′ + 8′ container or two 16′ containers

4 U-Box containers

3-4 ReloCubes or 17′ trailer space

Four Bedroom

two 16′ containers (+ 8′ extra, if needed)

6 U-Box containers

5-6 ReloCubes or 23′ trailer space

1-800-PACK-RAT offers a much more comprehensive space calculator than its competitors and takes into account the exact number of boxes and items you have. The space calculator is specific to 1-800-PACK-RAT containers, but it can help estimate what you need from other companies.


Moving Pod Cost by Size

Moving pod pricing varies by house size, moving company, and where you live. Moving a four-bedroom home will cost more than a one-bedroom apartment, and long-distance moves will cost more than local moves. Additionally, moving pod prices don’t include any moving services. You’ll be responsible for packing and loading unless you hire help.

We pulled quotes from U-Haul and U-Pack for a move from California to Florida scheduled for June 2024. Here are the prices we received:

Home SizeU-HaulU-Pack

Studio

$2,137.95

$3,091

One Bedroom

$2,669.90

$3,579

Two Bedroom

$3,206.85

$5,598

Three Bedroom

$4,035.80

$7,171

Four Bedroom

$6,317.70

$11,001

Keep in mind that these two companies only offer one size container. With this setup, a bigger move means more boxes, not a larger container.

Other companies that offer budget-friendly moving containers include PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT, but these companies don’t offer instant online quotes. Their sites will prompt you to call a moving representative and provide more information for a custom quote.


Benefits of Moving Pods

Moving pods offer several advantages compared to other moving options. Two of the most appealing benefits are the flexibility and convenience they bring to the moving process. The shipping container company you choose will drop off the pod at your house, and you can load and unload it at your own pace. This gives you time to carefully pack and unpack your belongings without worrying about extending a truck rental or finishing before the movers arrive.

Moving pods are also easier to load than a moving truck and often less expensive than hiring full-service movers, especially if you’re moving cross-country on a budget. Moving pods are typically ground-level, which makes the loading and unloading of heavy items less strenuous. The company will pick it up after you’re done loading it and transport it to your new home, so you don’t have to worry about driving a large rental truck on unfamiliar roads.

Moving pods double as a portable storage container. This can save you the expense and hassle of renting a self-storage unit if you need to fix up your new place. Additionally, moving pods have weather-resistant materials and security features, such as steel frames and tie-downs, that will keep your belongings safe on-site. Alternatively, the provider can take the container to one of its secure storage facilities until you’re ready to move in.


Our Conclusion

Do-it-yourself (DIY) movers have several container sizes to choose from. Determine the right size for your move by taking a thorough inventory of your belongings and consulting online sizing guides. We also recommend gathering moving quotes from at least three moving providers so you can compare pricing, features, and sizes.


FAQ About Moving Pods

What can’t you pack in a moving pod?

You can’t pack hazardous or dangerous items in a moving pod. This includes toxic, flammable, or corrosive items, such as cleaning supplies, motor oil, or ammunition. Companies also advise against packing perishable or valuable items in a moving pod, such as important documents, plants, or food.

How do you load a moving pod?

Load a moving pod with heavy items on the bottom, lighter items on top, and the weight evenly distributed. Pack the container as tightly as possible to prevent items from shifting, and use ratchet straps or ties to secure individual items or sections.

How many moving pods do I need?

How many moving pods you need depends on the size of your home and the container. As a general rule, you need one small container (8-foot) for every 400–600 square feet of space in your home. A medium container (12-foot) can cover 600–800 square feet, while a large container (16-foot) can cover 800–1,200 square feet.

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