Which is Better: Moving Trucks or Portable Storage Containers? (2024)

When planning a move, choosing between portable storage containers and a moving truck rental can be quite the conundrum. Both options have their unique advantages and drawbacks, making it a tough choice to nail down.

Worry not! We’re here to guide you through the nitty-gritty of these two popular moving solutions, so you can confidently make the best decision for your big move. Get ready to dive into the world of moving pods and truck rentals, as we explore costs, convenience, safety, and more.

Understanding Portable Storage Containers and Moving Trucks

When it comes to moving your belongings, there are two main contenders in the ring: portable storage containers and moving trucks. Portable storage containers (with PODS being a popular brand) are delivered right to your doorstep, giving you ample time to load up at your own pace before whisking them off to your new home. On the other hand, a moving truck rental puts you in the driver’s seat, empowering you to transport all your possessions on your terms.

But how do these options stack up in terms of features, advantages, and disadvantages?

Portable storage containers offer flexibility and convenience, with the added perk of temporary storage, while moving truck rentals boast a more budget-friendly approach for those who don’t mind putting in some elbow grease. Each option brings its own unique charm to the table, so let’s dig deeper and uncover the ins and outs of these moving heavyweights.

Cost Comparison: Portable Storage Containers vs. Moving Trucks

Which is Better: Moving Trucks or Portable Storage Containers? (1)

Deciding between portable storage containers and moving trucks can be challenging but ultimately, cost is a crucial factor. According to the latest insights from moveBuddha, a moving costs and services comparison website, this is what you can expect for a 2-3 bedroom household (800-1,200 sq ft):

Portable Storage ContainersMoving Truck Rental
Local move (<50 miles)$200 – $700$20 – $50/day (plus per-mile rate)
Cross-country move (>2,500 miles, e.g. East Coast to West Coast)$2,400 – $4,900$1,200 – $2,850 (plus fuel costs)

To cut costs and maximize value, compare quotes from multiple providers and take advantage of any available discounts. Consider downsizing your belongings to reduce the size and number of containers or trucks needed. Remember, while portable storage containers offer a more laid-back moving experience, moving trucks tend to be easier on the wallet.

Pro tip: According to the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA), peak moving season is May to August, so prices will be higher and availability limited. If you cannot schedule your move in some other month, at least make sure your moving isn’t close to any holidays as they tend to be extremely busy.

Convenience Comparison: Portable Storage Containers vs. Moving Trucks

If you prefer convenience over anything else, portable storage containers and moving trucks each have their perks. Portable storage containers like PODS give you the flexibility to pack and load at your own pace, without feeling rushed. Plus, you have the option to store items for a longer period if you’re not ready to move immediately.

On the other hand, moving trucks offer the advantage of transporting all your belongings in one trip, saving you time and multiple journeys. With a moving truck rental, you can plan your move according to your schedule and avoid the need for additional storage fees.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your priorities, whether you prefer a leisurely packing process or a one-and-done moving experience.

Safety and Security Comparison: Portable Storage Containers vs. Moving Trucks

Keeping your precious belongings safe and sound during a move is a top priority, and thankfully, both portable storage containers and moving trucks have their merits.

Portable Storage Containers (Moving Pods)Moving Truck Rental
Lock and key
Keep your items secure with a personal lock, ensuring that only you can access your container.
A watchful eye
While driving, you can keep an eye on your belongings, reducing the risk of theft.
Weather protection
Containers are designed to withstand the elements, shielding your belongings from rain, snow, and wind.
Custom packing
Secure your items with ropes, straps, and moving blankets to minimize movement and prevent damage during transportation.
Ground-level loading
Reduce the risk of dropping items and causing damage by loading directly at ground level.
One-trip wonder
Transport everything in a single trip, reducing the time your belongings are exposed to potential hazards.

Remember, no matter which option you choose, it’s essential to take extra care in packing, loading, and unloading your items to ensure their safety during the moving process.

Choosing the Right Option: Portable Storage Containers vs. Moving Trucks

So, which moving solution is the champion for your upcoming relocation? To make the right call, consider these key factors:

  • Size of your move: Estimate the volume of your belongings to determine if a portable storage container or moving truck is better suited for your needs. Moving pods can go up to 16 ft. in length, which makes them suitable for moving a home with 3 to 4 rooms, while box trucks can reach 26 ft. and a volume comparable to two 16-foot containers.
  • Distance of your move: While moving pods are good for both local moves and long-distance moves, a truck rental might make more sense for short distances.
  • Budget constraints: Truck rentals are less expensive than moving pods, it’s a fact. While containers are often easier to use than rental trucks, not everyone wants to pay the added cost. Assess your budget and make the right choice for your particular situation in terms of cost versus convenience. Note that if you aren’t ready to move right away, most moving container companies will keep your packed belongings at a secure storage facility for a monthly fee. However, storing a pod is generally more expensive than renting a storage unit and keeping your items there until you are ready to move.
  • Timeline flexibility: If you need more time to pack and load your items, a portable storage container might be a better option, as moving trucks are typically rented on a daily basis for local moves.

Once you’ve weighed these factors, research different companies to compare their offerings, prices and perks to find the perfect moving partner for your unique needs. Here is a quick look at some of the best options out there:


PODS is the original drop off and pick up moving container service. Offering multiple container sizes and well-built containers, PODS operates in 46 states, including D.C. and Hawaii. To calculate pricing you can either give them a call or fill in a short online form, where you can also type in our promo code. Save 10% when you book through SpareFoot.


While mostly known for their moving trucks and trailers, U-Haul launched their wooden U-Box moving containers to compete with PODS several years ago. When it comes to comparing PODS vs U-Haul, the key difference to note is that the U-Box comes in one size only — 257 cubic feet, the equivalent of a room. That means you may need multiple U-Boxes to pack all of your stuff. One advantage of the U-Box is that you can eliminate delivery costs by picking the containers up and dropping them off yourself using the provided trailer.


U-Pack provides metal moving containers (called ReloCubes) at an affordable price. At 308 cubic feet of loading space, they are 20% larger than U-Haul boxes and online quotes are readily available. One drawback is that U-Pack containers are only available for long distance moves. Their minimum mileage requirement is 150 miles. Get $10 off $100+ on supplies $20 off $200+ on supplies with promo code.


Offering both local and long-distance delivery, 1-800-PACK-RAT features quality containers and they try to price match with PODS.

Zippy Shell

Zippy Shell offers unique cage-like containers which allow you to securely tie down your household goods for transport. With competitive rates, Zippy Shell is worthy of your consideration. The service is currently available in 34 states. Save 10% with SpareFoot promo code.

Andreea Draguleasa

Andreea Draguleasa showed an affinity for foreign languages and literature at an early age and started writing when she was 6. She studied journalism, advertising, and public relations at the University of Bucharest and worked as a content writer for a tourism agency and as a journalist for a magazine in the hospitality industry until 2010. After seven years as marketing manager for a Home & Deco online shop, she realized that learning something new every day brings her the most joy, so she went back to researching and writing informative articles. Through her experience traveling the world, she's picked up tips and resources she now shares on self storage solutions. When not writing about home organizing and storage, Andreea spends most of her time reading, playing video games, and spoiling her cat.

Which is Better: Moving Trucks or Portable Storage Containers? (2024)


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