Most Affordable Moving Container Companies (2024)

By Sean Donnelly Updated January 29, 2024

All products and services featured are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Renting a moving-and-storage container is an excellent way to save money on your move. Full-service costs can run high, especially for long-distance moves. Booking a mobile storage unit and handling the heavy lifting yourself can save you thousands of dollars and give you more control over the moving process. If you’ve reviewed the best moving companies and have decided on a DIY moving experience, then browse our list of the best container providers for both cross-country and local moves.

Did You Know?

388 movers requested and received a free no-obligation quote from one of the above companies in the last 30 days.

 


 

Most Affordable Moving Containers

The most affordable moving containers include the following:

If you’re still considering a full-service move, then the following providers are the best options for a range of moving needs.

 


 

Best Overall Container Mover: 1-800-PACK-RAT

What We Like

Our pick for the best overall self-service moving provider, 1-800-PACK-RAT offers three all-steel weatherproof container sizes that are available for long-distance and local moves plus storage at a secure facility.

Offering flexible pickup and delivery dates that work with your schedule, 1-800-PACK-RAT will send you a preview of your storage and moving costs through an online quote. And no payment is due until 48 hours before delivery.

 

Cost

When you start the booking process with 1-800-PACK-RAT, you’ll receive a free moving quote. Simply list your current and destination ZIP codes, portable storage container needs, or your desired rental term, and you’ll get a fairly accurate pricing figure. You won’t have to pay the full price immediately, as you are free to cancel up to 48 hours before your containers are delivered.

Services Offered

With 8-, 12-, and 16-foot container options for residential and commercial use, 1-800-PACK-RAT makes long-term storage and long-distance moving accessible with lower average costs than van lines offer. For a less hands-on experience, 1-800-PACK-RAT also provides resources for booking moving labor.

Read more: 1-800-PACK-RAT Review

 


 

Best for Larger Moves: U-Pack

What We Like

Although U-Pack offers fewer size options than other moving container companies and doesn’t service local moves, it may be the most affordable moving option on our list for large, long-distance moves.

U-Pack offers a “pay-for-what-you-use” service model. This means that, regardless of whether you need a U-Pack ReloCube or trailer, you’ll only pay for the space that you ultimately use. It offers three-day loading and unloading windows on either end of your move, which makes it easy to move at your own pace.

Cost

Once you get a free quote from U-Pack, you won’t have to worry about paying until your moving date. No deposits are required, and with no labor fees unless you request moving help, it is one of the most affordable moving and storage options. You can book your trailer or 8-by-8-foot shipping container quickly and easily online.

Services Offered

U-Pack is a premium self-service moving option, but it only provides assistance for moves longer than 150 miles. Primarily, it offers moving containers (ReloCubes) and trailers (27 feet long) for moving needs of all sizes. Its moving container can fit a single room, while its trailer can fit a standard three- or four-bedroom home. It also offers moving resources, including labor, container space calculators, and packing guides, to ensure that all moves are as hassle-free as possible.

 


 

Most Straightforward Pricing: PODS

What We Like

PODS (Personal On-Demand Storage) is the premier company in the moving container industry. Its name has become so synonymous with container moving that moving clients commonly refer to all such units as “PODS,” regardless of brand.

PODS offers three portable moving container sizes for moving and storage needs. Its weather-resistant containers are ideal for both local and long-distance moves, as well as on-site and climate-controlled storage. As a DIY moving solution, PODS also offers resources for booking moving labor on its website.

Cost

PODS estimates on its website that most local moves with its containers cost between $349 and $549. For long-distance moving rates, get a free quote online. All free quotes for PODS container rentals include 30 days of storage, along with pickup, drop-off, and transportation fees. PODS costs relatively little when compared to professional movers and doesn’t require payment until seven days before moving day.

Services Offered

PODS is primarily meant for DIY moving. However, that doesn’t mean that you’ll have to forgo all moving help. PODS offers resources for booking moving labor on its website, so you’ll be able to opt for help with packing, unpacking, specialized protection for valuables, and more.

Its 8- and 16-foot containers are available for local and long-distance moving, while its 12-foot offering is only available for local moving and storage needs.

 


 

Most Widely Available: U-Haul U-Box

What We Like

U-Haul is the biggest name in the DIY moving industry. While it primarily rents out moving trucks, it also has a portable moving container option. U-Haul U-Boxes are roughly 8-by-8-by-5 feet and can fit a large single room up to a studio apartment’s worth of furniture.

U-Haul’s U-Box comes with the added convenience of U-Haul’s nationwide network of storage facilities, which makes staging small moves straightforward. As an added benefit, U-Haul provides an easy-to-use online moving labor portal for hiring moving assistance.

Cost

Like most other moving container providers, U-Haul U-Box pricing is easy to obtain online. Once you know how many U-Box containers you need, you can book by entering your credit card number and setting your delivery and (if applicable) destination address. U-Boxes cost approximately $200 for initial rentals, which includes 30 days of free storage at your home or a facility. Subsequent months cost $50 to $100 per unit. No money is due until your units have been delivered.

Services Offered

U-Haul serves mainly as a truck rental company, but its U-Box offering comes with the same alternate options as its moving truck rentals. All U-Boxes come with two dozen free furniture pads per rental. You can also book moving labor via Moving Help and purchase your own moving supplies through any U-Haul retail center.

 


 

How to Pick a Container Moving Company

Here are a few key factors to consider before booking your moving container for a DIY move.

Check Sizing Options

Before booking any container provider’s services, ensure that your container(s) can fit all of the items you plan to move. Most container rental companies will provide a volume calculator or packing advice to help you choose the best vessel for your goods.

Get Quotes

Many of the top moving container providers offer speedy comprehensive pricing for free. Since these quotes don’t involve labor or material costs, they are far more reliable than those you may receive from a full-service mover. We recommend getting quotes from any mover you’re considering.

Look at Reviews

No matter how well-respected a given container provider may be, quality is sure to vary across different branches. Look into the reputations of your local container providers before making a final decision.

 


 

What Factors Influence Your Container Move’s Cost?

Be aware of the following when setting a budget for your affordable container move:

 


 

Our Recommendation

We recommend looking into and getting quotes from at least three moving container providers before deciding on a company for your move. This will ensure you get the best price with a provider that can accommodate your needs. Assess the cost of the moving container plus added services, if needed, before making a decision. We also recommend looking into the best long-distance moving companies for any full-service moving needs you may have. Even if you’ve determined that full-service movers are outside of your budget, getting quotes is never a bad idea.

 


 

Container Moving Company FAQ

How can I be sure that my valuables will be protected during a container move?

Many container moving companies offer valuation insurance coverage options for goods. You should look into this if you’re moving antiques or high-value items via a container.

Can container companies guarantee my delivery date?

Whether a container company can guarantee your delivery date will largely depend on the length of your move. Local and shorter long-distance moves can likely give you a guaranteed single date for your delivery. Cross-country relocations may necessitate that your movers provide you with a delivery date range instead of a single day.

What can’t I move in a moving container?

The list of prohibited items for container moves is similar to those outlined by most full-service moving companies. You shouldn’t pack the following items in a container:BatteriesFlammable goods of any kindFuel sourcesHarsh cleaning chemicalsLive plants or fertilizerOilPerishable foodToxic chemicals

 


 

How We Chose the Top Affordable Container Moving Companies

We researched and analyzed dozens of full- and self-service moving companies and formulated a moving review methodology based on a number of factors, including package options, pricing, and reputation. We also identified customer pain points based on customer-review analysis, proprietary consumer surveys, and interviews with former and current moving professionals.

Speaking directly to a representative at each company, we determined the number of package options available, the coverage provided, the types of moves available (long-distance, local, and international), and any extra perks offered, such as mobile apps, moving checklists, and 24/7 customer service.

We also gathered pricing data from each of the companies and determined whether they provide ballpark estimates or binding quotes. To determine reputation, we evaluated companies based on their rating with the Better Business Bureau as well as their overall score on Yelp.