Reviews

PODS vs. U-Haul: Which Storage Container Should You Choose in 2023?

When getting ready to move, it’s important to have a reliable company to handle belongings. When it comes down to PODS vs. U-Haul, which one comes out on top?
PODS vs U-Haul
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Hiring a professional moving company can be prohibitively expensive for many, which is why renting moving containers is a popular alternative. Moving containers are dropped off at a customer’s property, and the customer can load in their belongings at their own pace. The container is then picked up and transported to the customer’s destination or put into a storage facility until the customer is ready. Moving containers can also be kept on the customer’s property for on-site storage, such as if a remodel is happening and belongings need to be moved out of an area of the house for a few days or weeks. U-Haul moving pods and PODS containers are two of the big names in this industry, but which one is the best choice? We’ve broken down the differences between PODS vs. U-Haul and determined which company customers will want to go with for their storage need or their next move.

How We Compared Moving and Storage Services

PODS vs U-Haul
Photo: istockphoto.com
  • Reputation: A company’s reputation goes a long way in a customer’s mind, even if the customer has never hired or worked with that company. Reputations are built on something, after all, including years in the business and general public perception.
  • Moving container options: Does a company offer a one-size-fits-all option, or are there varying sizes to suit different customer preferences? Moving container companies should have different solutions to tackle customers’ distinct moving needs.
  • Available services: Container shipping and storage are a given, but can the customer bundle any additional services through the same company? The ability to rent a moving truck or extra self-storage space may be a make-or-break factor for customers who are moving.
  • Location availability: A moving container company is the right choice only if a customer can actually use its services. Companies with more locations and wider service areas can work with more customers.
  • Quote and booking process: As with many services nowadays, the bulk of moving container rental is done online. But not all online booking services are equal. An intuitive, streamlined booking experience makes the stressful process of moving easier.
  • Cost: Cash is king, and for many customers, cost will be the paramount (or only) factor determining which company they go for. Low-cost options are obviously preferable, but customers will also want to make sure they’re getting a good value for what they pay.
  • Customer reviews: Reviews aren’t always gospel—customers with poor experiences are much more likely to go out of their way to make a complaint than those with positive experiences will provide compliments. However, sifting through reviews can help customers temper their expectations or ask additional questions when booking and renting a moving container.
PODSU-Haul U-Box
Moving container options8-foot, 12-foot, and 16-foot enclosed steel containers95-inch by 56-inch pest-resistant plywood container covered with weather-resistant vinyl
Available servicesContainer moving and storageContainer moving and storage, moving truck rental, self-storage facilities
Location availability46 states50 states and Washington, D.C.
Sample container cost$209 to $249 per month for container stored on customer property, $119 fee for drop-off, $119 fee for pickup$99.95 per container per month, no delivery fees
Better Business Bureau ratingCA+

PODS vs. U-Haul: Reputation

The PODS name has become near-synonymous with moving containers. The company has been in business since 1998, and it’s fair to say that it has been one of the catalysts for moving containers’ popularity in the industry. On the other side, many know and trust U-Haul as a moving truck rental company with over 21,000 locations across the U.S., and most customers will have used or know someone who has used U-Haul’s services. The U-Box is a relatively new addition to U-Haul’s service lineup, but U-Haul pod rental has quickly become a popular choice among moving customers. U-Haul has a reputation for affordability and ease, and that reputation is bolstered by almost 80 years in business.

Verdict: PODS has become a well-known name since its inception in 1998, and moving containers have become synonymous with the brand. However, with business dating back to 1945 and a majority hold over the moving industry, U-Haul’s reputation of efficiency and affordability edges out PODS.

Winner: U-Haul

PODS vs. U-Haul: Moving Container Options

When looking for moving container rentals, customers want to know what options are available to them. U-Haul pod sizes are limited to one option: a 257-cubic-foot, 95-inch-by-56-inch container made of pest-resistant plywood and enclosed in a durable, weather-resistant vinyl cover. The U-Box can hold a room to a room and a half of household goods. Customers are able to rent as many units as necessary to fit all of their belongings, and the containers will be transported together.

PODS offers 8-foot, 12-foot, and 16-foot options for 402, 689, or 835 cubic feet (however, it’s important to note that the medium size is only available for in-town moving and storage). These sizes allow customers to choose the option that best fits their needs. The containers are made from durable steel with an interior cage, so customers may feel that PODS are a sturdier and more secure option.

Verdict: U-Haul only offers one size of U-Box, and customers who are inconvenienced by this may need to order more than one, depending on their needs. PODS has three container sizes, allowing customers more flexibility to choose the appropriate size to meet their needs, potentially reducing the need to order more than one box.

Winner: PODS

PODS vs U-Haul
Photo: istockphoto.com

PODS vs. U-Haul: Available Services

PODS primarily moves and stores containers, and customers can also opt to keep the containers on their property. PODS also allows customers to hire moving labor assistance to load and unload containers and also offers car shipping. Customers who need one of these services can consider hiring PODS to bundle all of their hirings under one company.

On top of its U-Box service, U-Haul is well known as one of the best interstate moving companies for those opting for a DIY move. U-Haul provides moving truck and self-storage unit rentals, all at relatively low prices with nationwide availability. Customers can use a U-Haul service for any step of their moving process.

Verdict: In addition to storage, PODS also offers moving labor assistance and car- shipping services. This is a relatively limited selection of services: U-Haul also offers those services, and customers have the added benefit of being able to opt for moving truck and trailer rentals—services for which U-Haul is primarily known—on top of U-Box and self-storage rentals. All of U-Haul’s services offer maximum flexibility and convenience to customers who are moving themselves.

Winner: U-Haul

PODS vs. U-Haul: Location Availability

One of the benefits of using moving containers is that they provide customers with much more flexibility than would be had if using a traditional moving company. Customers have much more time to load and unload their belongings, and containers can be kept in a storage facility for weeks to months at a time if a customer can’t move into their new location right away. According to U-Haul, there are over 2,400 U-Box locations throughout all 50 states and Washington, D.C., so customers in virtually any ZIP code can rent a U-Haul shipping pod. This breadth of locations also means that a customer should be able to have a U-Box delivered to their home relatively quickly for packing, and boxes that have been stored at a facility can arrive at their destination in a short amount of time as well.

Conversely, PODS only has 200 locations in 46 states, so PODS cannot service every customer. Additionally, the customer’s starting point and destination must both be in the PODS service area. Due to this relatively low volume of locations, it may take longer for a PODS container to arrive; however, customers moving locally can likely expect a fairly quick delivery to their new destination. Additionally, U-Haul guarantees its shipping arrival dates, which PODS does not.

Verdict: There are about 200 PODS storage locations across 46 states; therefore, not all ZIP codes are in the vicinity of a PODS location. U-Haul’s U-Box program has a staggering 2,400 locations in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., meaning it’s possible for virtually anyone to rent and move with a U-Box.

Winner: U-Haul

PODS vs. U-Haul: Quote and Booking Process

Both PODS and U-Haul’s booking process occur primarily online. Customers looking solely for storage can receive a quote and book a PODS delivery and pickup entirely online. However, for customers looking for moving or moving and storage services, customers will need to call a customer service representative to receive a quote. This extra step may put off some customers and can slow down what customers expect to be an expeditious process. The PODS online booking process also requires customers to go through multiple selection screens, which can feel repetitive.

On the other hand, U-Haul customers can receive a quote using U-Haul’s estimate calculator and book storage or moving services entirely online. There are only a few fields that customers have to fill in before they receive their quote and can proceed to confirm the booking. Overall, U-Haul’s quote and booking process is more straightforward and streamlined.

Verdict: Potential PODS customers will go through different means of receiving quotes depending on their needs: Clients who are moving are required to call, whereas clients who are simply renting can conduct all business online. PODS customers are redirected to the company’s online booking process for both moving and rental. The website itself can be slow to load, too. Overall, the PODS process isn’t nearly as efficient as U-Haul’s: All U-Haul pods customers can receive a quote and book online through a streamlined and smooth process.

Winner: U-Haul

PODS vs U-Haul
Photo: istockphoto.com

PODS vs. U-Haul: Cost

PODS moving costs can vary significantly; pricing can be as low as $225 or over $7,000. The price depends on how far the customer is moving, how long the container will be in storage, the time of year, and the number of PODS the customer needs. Monthly rental costs can be between $189.99 and $249, and this range does not include delivery and pickup fees, which can be between $89.99 and $119.99. Security locks and moving blankets come at an extra charge.

U-Haul pricing is notably more affordable than pricing for PODS. Containers typically cost around $100 for 1 month of use, although some customers have received quotes for as low as $50. There is no delivery fee; U-Haul furniture pad rental is free (boxes come with two dozen furniture pads). U-Haul estimates that a customer would need three U-Boxes for a 2-bedroom house with an average number of belongings. For 1 month of renting three U-Boxes at $100 apiece, customers would pay around $300 after any applicable tax; conversely, a PODS customer could pay close to $400, including the monthly rental fee and delivery and pickup fees. Customers can use PODS and U-Haul cost calculators to best estimate what they’ll pay.

Verdict: PODS containers are typically pricier than U-Box containers, and high delivery and pickup fees and an automatic protection plan are tacked onto the total cost. U-Haul tends to be a more affordable option per unit, and there are no delivery fees.

Winner: U-Haul

PODS vs. U-Haul: Customer Reviews

PODS and U-Haul moving companies receive mixed reviews across online platforms; however, it’s essential to keep in mind that customers with negative experiences are much more likely to complain than customers with positive experiences are to praise.

PODS and U-Haul both appear to readily reply to complaints filed through the Better Business Bureau. On Consumer Affairs, PODS holds a 1.2 out of a possible 5 star rating. Positive reviews note the professionalism of the PODS employees. Negative reviews cite high pricing and issues with damage claims and delivery. On Trustpilot, PODS receives a much more confidence-inspiring 3.7 out of 5 stars, with feedback noting seamless delivery and helpful customer support staff.

U-Haul holds a 1.2 out of 5 star rating on Trustpilot with over 1,000 reviews; however, relatively few reviews reflect direct experience with the U-Box product. Positive U-Box reviews note a smooth, hassle-free experience, while negative reviews mention issues with some local employees. U-Haul’s Consumer Affairs rating is 3.9 out of 5 stars, and reviews cite positive customer support experiences and easy rental experiences. As is often the case, customer experiences can vary between locations of any company, and clear communication and expectations can help customers minimize disappointment.

Verdict: U-Haul and PODS receive mixed reviews online; however, both companies appear to consistently respond to and attempt to resolve customer complaints. Positive U-Box reviews cite a hassle-free process and responsive customer support, while PODS customers compliment clear communication and courteous service.

Winner: Tie

Verdict: U-Haul is a major name in the moving industry, and with good reason: A nationwide presence, thousands of locations, affordable prices, and a wide array of services make it an excellent choice for customers looking to DIY a move. PODS is another great choice for a moving container, especially for those looking for a larger or sturdier container and long-term storage.

When it comes to booking a moving container, customers can hardly go wrong with a U-Box from U-Haul. The company’s strong reputation, nationwide availability, streamlined scheduling, and affordable price make it an excellent choice for those looking to DIY a move. U-Haul customers can also take advantage of the other services that the company has to offer, including some of the best self-storage facilities and best moving truck rentals. For customers who fall in the service area and appreciate larger container sizes or sturdy steel containers, PODS is another solid option.

FAQs

While that was a lot of information comparing these two moving-industry giants, many may still have specific questions about U-Haul containers vs. PODS. Here are the answers to some of the questions customers have most frequently when looking for one of the best moving container companies.

Q. Do I need to make a deposit to U-Haul before renting a moving pod/container?

U-Haul does not require deposits for customers paying by credit card.

Q. Do PODS offer GPS tracking?

Yes, PODS offers GPS tracking. However, some customers note that the tracking may not be updated very frequently.

Q. Are PODS a good moving solution?

Depending on a customer’s needs, preferences, and budget, PODS can be a good moving solution for those looking to mostly DIY a move.

Q. Can I move internationally with PODS?

PODS cannot facilitate moves internationally other than to Canada.

Q. What cannot be transported in PODS?

Hazardous items such as toxic chemicals, gas, liquids, substances, material, or waste; lawn mowers; motorized vehicles; and illegal items cannot be transported in PODS. It’s also recommended that heirlooms, irreplaceable artifacts, deeds, legal notices, forms of currency, and items that are not the customer’s personal property are not transported in PODS containers.

Sources: MoveBuddha, MovingAstute