Best Moving Containers and Portable Storage Units

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Self-storage units and portable moving containers give people flexible moving and storage options. Our research team vetted 18 storage companies that are rated by more than 5,845 customers. Read our guide to find the best storage solution by comparing cost, unit features and local availability.

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Self-storage options

Whether you need a temporary storage solution to help streamline a move or you’re looking for a monthly storage plan that lets you store your items on a more long-term basis, there are convenient storage options across the U.S. to fit your size and budget needs.

Types of storage

When selecting a storage unit, you have a few options. There are indoor and outdoor units, both of which offer a variety of features and add-ons. There are also portable storage options that are popular temporary solutions for those preparing for a move or who need items out of their home to facilitate a remodel.

  • Indoor storage units: Many consumers choose indoor storage units because they typically have climate control. If you’re storing valuable or otherwise sensitive items and are concerned about warping, extreme temperatures or other natural elements, indoor facilities can be a good choice. Indoor storage is particularly common in large metro areas and tends to offer somewhat smaller units and more security than an outdoor facility.
  • Outdoor storage units: You’ll likely find larger units for rent if you opt for an outdoor storage facility. Most outdoor storage units are gated and require a special access code or card to enter for added security. Outdoor storage units are ideal for storing large items and for those who want drive-up unit access.
  • Storage cubes and pods: Portable moving container companies deliver containers to a specified location, which gives you the flexibility to load it at your own pace. Once ready, the company picks up and delivers the container to a predetermined location. Most portable storage companies can accommodate long-distance moves as well, which makes them a popular choice for people moving out of state.
  • Self-service portable storage containers: Some portable storage companies offer a self-service option that lets you move your own container. This option is often the cheapest. Typically, portable storage units are a cheap, flexible choice for temporary storage. On-site delivery gives you convenient seasonal storage or space you can use during renovations or while relocating an office.

Storage unit sizes

Storage unit sizes typically range from 5 feet long up to 30 feet long. Customers can choose their size based on necessity. A 5-foot-by-5-foot storage unit is about the size of a closet, while a large 10-foot-by-30-foot unit is larger than the average garage and can fit the items from a furnished three-bedroom home, including appliances and boxes.

Unit size (in feet)Square feetAbout the size of
5x525Small closet
5x1050Average walk-in closet
5x1575Large walk-in closet
10x10100Half of a one-car garage
10x20200One-car garage
10x25250Larger than a one-car garage
10x30300One-and-a-half car garage

Storage facility features

Different facilities may vary in what they offer, but we recommend looking for storage companies that have:

  • Security: Controlled access, 24/7 video surveillance and additional locks are key security features facilities may provide. Be sure to check out the security features each facility offers.
  • Climate control: Some storage companies offer climate-controlled storage facilities. People with wooden or leather furniture, appliances, instruments, artwork or photos should consider using climate-controlled storage.
  • Convenient access: If you need to access your unit outside of normal business hours, make sure your storage unit offers 24/7 access. Many storage companies have a gated entrance unlocked by a personal code that grants customers access to their items at any time, while others only allow access during their hours of operation when the office is staffed.

Storage unit add-ons

Without a doubt, the hardest part about using a storage unit is move-in day. Moving requires supplies and resources you may not have or know you need. These services aren’t available from every facility but can definitely help make the move-in process easier.

  • Truck rental: Some storage facilities offer free use of a moving truck when you sign up. This is a great way to get settled into the unit without having to rent a truck yourself. Check the terms and conditions when you sign up. For example, some facilities may only offer you use of the truck for a limited time, like a few hours on sign-up day.
  • Moving labor: If you do not want to worry about loading and unloading your unit or if you are unable to do so, some storage facilities may partner with local moving companies to assist with labor needs. You can also hire an independent moving company or get friends and family to help.
  • Supplies: Check to see if the storage facility sells moving supplies such as boxes, bubble wrap and tape. Many offer these supplies to make the facility a one-stop shop for movers.
  • Unit modifications: Check for different modifications you might find beneficial, such as shelving, lighting, video monitoring or professional organization services.

Storage unit cost

The typical cost for a storage unit ranges from $45 to $180 based on the size of the unit, facility location and facility features. It's important to compare prices and look into any additional fees that could arise.

To find some more specific pricing examples, we ran a few quotes for 5-feet-by-10-feet storage units in popular areas and found the average cost for a unit ran around $60 a month.

LocationAverage monthly cost
Tampa, Florida$43
Indianapolis, Indiana$55
Louisville, Kentucky$47
Portland, Oregon$76
Atlanta, Georgia$81

Some self-storage companies offer discounts for college students and military personnel. Many also run various promotions and discounts for storage.

  • Military: Most self-storage and portable storage companies offer discounts to active military personnel. If you choose to do a personally procured move (PPM), you can be reimbursed by the government for 95% of your moving expenses.
  • College students: Some companies offer college student discounts. Students currently attending a college or university can save money and work around class schedules when moving in or out of their homes or apartments.
  • Promotions: Check for promo codes, bundles and other special offers when pricing various companies online. Some facilities may offer a special web price that is lower than their typical rate. Other common promotions include the first month free (or heavily discounted) or a small percentage off your monthly rate for a set period of time.

How portable storage containers work

Portable storage containers, also commonly referred to as moving cubes or storage pods, are a convenient storage option gaining in popularity. One of the biggest advantages portable storage containers have over traditional moving companies is the flexibility they offer, which lets you work around unexpected events without adding stress. Moving containers can be the ideal fit for:

  • Remodels: Portable storage units are often used to hold items during home remodels. Containers can be dropped off at your home, and you can keep the unit on your property to keep your belongings out of the way but safely nearby. Once your project is finished, the company picks up the container.
  • Flexible relocating: Sometimes, closing dates fall through or construction deadlines run over. With the convenience of a container on site, you can keep your personal belongings safe until you need them.
  • International shipping containers: Moving internationally can be a daunting task. Certain self-storage and portable storage companies have relationships with various freight and barge transport companies to move your belongings across major bodies of water.

Moving container sizes

  • Small: A small container is great for storing the contents of one room. They typically range from 5 feet wide by 8 feet long to 7 feet wide by 8 feet long.
  • Medium: Typically, a medium container holds the contents of two to three rooms. Medium containers are usually 8 feet wide by 12 feet long or 8 feet wide by 16 feet long.
  • Large: Most large moving containers are comparable to the size of a rental truck. Each can hold the contents of three to four rooms, though large container dimensions vary by company. A typical portable storage unit is 10 feet wide by 35 feet long or 8 feet wide by 40 feet long.

Storing your moving container

Most self-storage and portable storage unit companies give you the option of storing your container in one of their storage facility locations. Once you have your container packed, simply call and schedule a day and time to have it delivered to the closest facility near you.

Moving container costs

The cost of a moving container will vary based on the company and whether the unit is being used for moving or storage. Prices fluctuate based on location and other factors, including fuel fees and long-distance moves. Because the industry of portable and self-storage containers has expanded, it's important to compare prices and look into any additional fees that could arise.

  • Rates: Depending on the company, container size and whether you're moving or storing, your rates can vary. You can rent containers by the day, week or month.
  • Container size: Some moving container companies have multiple container sizes that differ in price, and some have a standard size with a flat rental rate.
  • Fees: When comparing final prices, be sure to inquire about any additional fees, such as fuel charges, delivery and monthly fees. Even how often you need to access your container in storage can affect the final price.

To get a better understanding of the typical price for portable storage units, we requested a few quotes for popular areas using the following scenario: A 16-foot unit (or recommended equivalent for a three-bedroom home) delivered and stored at a residential address for a local, same-state move. For New York City, we switched our quote to a more typical residence for that area, a two-bedroom apartment.

LocationUnit sizeAverage monthly cost
Baton Rouge, Louisiana3-bedroom home$157
Tulsa, Oklahoma3-bedroom home$173
New York, New York2-bedroom apartment$278

Overall, quotes were easy to obtain, and we didn’t have to jump through any hoops or speak directly with a sales representative to get custom quoting or negotiate pricing. We did discover that not all moving container companies in each area would serve a local move, so be sure to make this feature part of your vetting process if you’re planning on using a portable unit for your local move. Compare PODS and U-Pack to learn how services can differ.

Who are the best self-storage companies near me?

Moving container FAQ

How much do portable storage units cost?

Generally, a portable storage unit costs between $200 and $500. Pricing for portable storage units depends on your needs. The size, whether you're moving or storing and additional services are all price factors.

Are moving pods worth it?

Your budget and needs help determine if you should choose a moving pod or traditional movers. While moving pods are often a bit more expensive than other moving options, they give you more time to pack, move and unpack.

Can moving companies store your stuff?

Some moving companies do offer storage services. Make sure to discuss storage options with a representative before making a decision.

How do you pack a moving container?

To get the most out of your moving container:

  • Fill it from the floor to ceiling and wall to wall.
  • Place heavier items on the bottom and lighter items on top.
  • Distribute the weight of your items evenly.
  • Make sure items are secure and fastened if necessary.
  • Take your time - a rushed pack is more likely to damage your items.
  • Always lock your container.
What size moving container do I need?

The size of moving container you need is determined by the size of your living space. Most standard moving containers are 300 cubic feet, meaning:

  • A one-bedroom residence will need one to two containers.
  • A two- to a three-bedroom residence will need two to three containers.
  • A three- to a four-bedroom residence will need three to four containers.
How do moving containers work?

The process for using moving containers varies company by company, but generally:

  1. A few days before you move, the company delivers your moving containers to your home.
  2. You have several days to pack your belongings before the moving container company picks up your containers and takes them to your destination.
  3. After the move is complete, the company takes back its moving containers.
What is the most popular storage unit size?

There are numerous size options for storage units, but the industry-standard storage unit size is 10 feet by 10 feet.

Not sure how to choose?

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    Storage company author reviews

    U-Haul Storage

    U-Haul is a self-move and self-storage company that launched in 1945. Along with trailers and trucks, they rent U-Box containers that allow consumers to pack a room's contents for safe moving or storage through various delivery and pick-up solutions.

    Read more about U-Haul Storage

    Smartbox began in 2002 and has over 60 million customers nationwide. They focus on moving and storage as well as temporary storage needs. They offer convenience and flexibility with a focus on customer service.

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    Door-to-Door Storage

    Door-to-Door Storage is family owned and began in 1996 in Seattle, Washington. Today they service cities across the United States.

    • Customer service: With a goal of providing excellent customer care, Door-to-Door offers many of its services online, 24/7. Consumers can go online to complete several tasks, including checking availability and scheduling a delivery. Consumers can call and schedule to speak with a consultant to help determine their storage needs.
    • Moving services: Upon scheduling a move, Door-to-Door will set up a personalized moving plan with the consumer. Once the container has been delivered, the consumer has seven days to load it. Upon delivery to a predetermined location, the consumer has an additional seven days to unload it.
    • Storage: Consumers can call and schedule to speak with a consultant to help determine their storage needs. Once the container has been delivered, the consumer has seven days to load it. The container is stored in a 24/7 storage center making scheduling access easy and secure.
    • Service areas: Door-to-Door offers services in a wide range of cities nationwide. Consumers can find a full list online.
    United Mayflower

    United Mayflower provides portable moving and storage container services for both local and long distance moves. They use a network of over 100 moving and storage professionals nationwide.

    • Moving containers: United Mayflower offers flexibility when it comes to moving. Pack and unpack at your own pace and call for container pickup and delivery. Their containers hold the contents of a 1,500 square foot home and are waterproof.
    • Storage containers: United Mayflower’s storage containers are very similar to their moving containers. Consumers can choose to store their container at their homes or at one of United Mayflower’s secured facilities. They can be kept indoors or outdoors.
    • Dimensions: The moving and storage containers are 16 feet long, 8 feet wide and 8 feet high. Each comes with tie-down rings to secure belongings.
    • Service areas: Consumers can find an interactive map online or search by the city nearest them to locate specific dealer locations.
    • Government & military: United Mayflower provides moving and on-site storage services for government and military. They provide employers with employee and office relocation services with their business self-storage moving containers.

    1-800-PACK-RAT is a portable storage and moving company capable of local and long distance moving. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland.

    Read 331 Reviews
    Go Mini's

    Go Mini’s was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Simi Valley, California. Today, it has expanded into a rapidly growing portable storage and moving franchise with over 200 locations across the United States, Canada and Mexico.

    • Container kits: Go Mini’s offers container kits for their 12-foot, 16-foot or 20-foot containers. Each come with various moving supplies including boxes and bubble wrap.
    • Moving containers: Go Mini’s offers 12-foot, 16-foot and 20-foot moving containers. They are the only national portable storage franchise to offer a 20-foot container. Each one is ventilated to prevent mold and mildew, and they contain padded wheels to protect driveways.
    • Load assistance: If consumers are unable or simply do not want to load their container, Go Mini’s has partnered with HireAHelper to provide such services. Consumers can visit HireAHelper’s site for quotes.
    • Service areas: Go Mini’s services various locations throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Consumers can go online for a full list of service locations.
    • Moving and packing supplies: Go Mini’s website has moving supplies for sale. Consumers can browse prices for anything from various box types to packing paper, tape and blankets.

    ModSpace was formed in 2007 by combining Resun Corporation and GE’s North American modular space business. Today, it is headquartered in Berwyn, Pa. Along with modular buildings they provide portable storage units to multiple industries.

    • Portable construction storage containers: ModSpace offers 8 feet by 20 feet and 8 feet by 40 feet storage containers. Each one is made of steel, is well ventilated and is delivered by a tilt-bed truck.
    • Container specs: The 8 feet by 20 feet container holds a volume of 1,169 cubic feet, with an empty weight of 4,850 pounds that can hold up to 61,289 pounds. The 8 feet by 40 feet container holds a volume of 2,385 cubic feet, with an empty weight of 8,380 pounds that can hold up to 57,759 pounds.
    • Office/storage trailer: ModSpace offers an 8-foot by 28-foot trailer which provides consumers with office space and storage space in one. Some of the features include insulated walls, ceilings and floors, as well as electric heating and air.
    • Instant Quote: Consumers can go online to get an instant quote from Modspace. They also have a live chat feature where consumers can ask live questions to an online representative.
    iStorage Self Storage

    iStorage is a self-storage company that has been in business since 2011. They aim to provide excellent on-site amenities and currently have facilities in 66 locations across 10 states.

    Read more about iStorage Self Storage
    Simply Self Storage

    Simply Self Storage offers self-storage facilities in over 200 locations across the United States. They work with consumers on a budget offering various rate options and deals.

    Read more about Simply Self Storage
    Extra Space Self Storage

    Extra Space Storage operates self-storage facilities across 38 states and Puerto Rico. They offer various storage unit sizes as well as storage for small to large vehicles and boats.

    Read more about Extra Space Self Storage
    Public Storage

    Public Storage is a global self-storage provider offering facilities in the United States and Europe. Along with self-storage they can accommodate business storage needs and vehicle storage needs.

    Read more about Public Storage

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