As you all might know, moving containers took the industry by rage by making moves super convenient and easy. PODS was the company that revolutionized the industry by introducing moving containers. After that, many companies started offering containers to their customers which led to a rise in competition in the moving and storage industry. SmartBox is one such company that is relatively new but it still manages to stand its ground in the industry.

When you have so many options to choose from, you are certainly going to be confused. To make it easier for you, we have compared two of the best container companies in the business: PODS and SmartBox. The comparison has been made based on various aspects so as to help you to make the right choice for yourself!

How Does it Work: PODS vs SmartBox

Both SmartBox and PODS are essentially container companies as a result of which the services offered by both of them are quite similar. These companies have been providing their customers with moving and storage solutions for a long time now. Be it residential moves or commercial moves, PODS, and SmartBox excel in all kinds of services.

When you rent out containers from either of these companies, all you have to worry about is loading/unloading the containers. The container companies will ensure that their drivers ship your containers safely to your new homes. Want to know how it all works? Here’s what you need to know!

When you are planning your move, you should first assess the quantity of your stuff. Based on this, you can then place an order with either PODS or SmartBox. On the scheduled drop-off date, the container company will drop off the container(s) at your doorstep. Now, you can either load it up immediately or even take your sweet time to load. After all, you can keep the containers for yourself for 30 days.

Once you are done loading, you just have to give the container company a call. They will come and pick up the container from your house. The container will then be transported to your new house. Now, consider a scenario in which your new house isn’t ready. You can choose to send the container to the company storage facility instead.

Once your container reaches your new house, all you have to do is unload it. Again, no one rushes you through this process, so you can take your time to unload it. Once that is done, you can call up the company and ask them to pick up the container(s) from your house. Voila! That’s it!

Also Read: Top 5 Moving Container Companies | PODS vs 1-800-PACK-RAT

Availability of Locations: PODS vs SmartBox



When you visit the SmartBox website, you will find out that SmartBox has locations in all the 50 states of the USA. But you should know that although the company covers the entire nation, in reality, they have opened only a limited number of locations across the country.

This means that you can book a SmartBox container irrespective of where you stay. However, you will be charged extra (for the additional distance traveled by the truck) if there is no company location near your house. As a result of this, you must be mindful of where you stay while booking a move with SmartBox as you don’t want your moving expenses to go up.

However, there is still a bright side to this situation. Because of its limited coverage, SmartBox has partnered up with several local moving companies. Some of these partner companies even offer international moving services! So, don’t forget to ask SmartBox about this when you reach out to them to make your reservation.

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Also See: SMARTBOX Moving And Storage Review


PODS logo

PODS is known for its availability of locations. In fact, the popularity of this company has grown so much that moving containers are also synonymously known as moving pods. PODS has more than 20,000 cities across the US, Canada, and even Australia.

Although PODS has numerous locations available, you should know that the company covers only 44 states. This means that it does not have any locations available in about 6 states (North Dakota, Alaska, Montana, Vermont, Wyoming, and Virginia).

In addition to this, PODS containers are always in high demand. This is because you won’t find any containers available to rent out at the last moment. Customers have also reported that they had to start reserving a PODS container as early as 6 months before their moves!

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Read Also: PODS Review

Bottom Line

Both the companies have locations available throughout the nation. SmartBox covers all the states, but it has only limited locations. On the other hand, PODS covers only 44 states but has many locations in those states. The company that is the most suitable for your move is the one that has locations near both your current and the new house. If the locations are near your house, you can rest assured that you won’t end up spending more than expected on your move.

Sizes and Quality of Containers Offered: PODS vs SmartBox

Whenever you are moving with container companies, your decision to hire them eventually depends on what type of containers are offered by them. After all, you have to store all your belongings inside this container and you wouldn’t want your stuff to sustain any damages during the move. Let us have a detailed look at what SmartBox and PODS have to offer.


SmartBox containers are known to be super driveway friendly because they are small and come in only one size. In fact, you can actually fit two SmartBox containers in one parking space. Because the company offers only one standard size, you have to order multiple containers depending on the size of the house that you are moving.

Say that you are unsure about the number of containers you would need for your move. SmartBox lets you order a maximum of 8 containers at once. They also follow a pay-per-use policy which means that you pay only for the containers that you use. For instance, if you order 5 containers and end up using only 4, you won’t be charged for the 5th container.

It is important for you to note that SmartBox containers are sturdy and made out of high-quality wood. They are also equipped with canvas covers. These canvas covers are supposed to protect the container from harsh weather. Let us have a look at the specifications of a SmartBox container.

  • Dimensions: 8ft (length) x 5ft (breadth) x 7 ft (height)
  • Weight Capacity: 3000 pounds
  • Storage Space: 231 cu. ft.

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PODS is more flexible when it comes to its container sizes. They offer 3 different sizes of containers to their customers. As a result of this, you simply book one size of container based on how big your house is. Unlike SmartBox, the availability of a variety of sizes at PODS ensures that you can avoid the hassle of calculating how many containers you would need to order for your move.

The material that has been used to construct a container really matters a lot as it determines the amount of weight that can be supported by it and whether it would be able to withstand a weather extremity like a storm. The best part about the PODS containers is that they are made out of steel frames. In addition to that, the walls of the container use impact and weather-resistant paneling. Want to have a look at the specifications of the PODS containers? Here you go!

7-Foot Container12-Foot Container16-Foot Container
Dimensions6 ft. 6 in. x 6 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.11 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.15 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in.
Storage Capacity390 cu. ft.749 cu. ft.1,008 cu. ft.
Weight Capacity5,200 lbs.4,700 lbs.4,200 lbs.

Note: Their 12-foot containers are available only for local moves.

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While the containers offered by both companies are great for your moves, PODS would be a more desirable company for most people. This is because the variety of sizes offered by PODS ensures that you can get your work done in only one container. The containers are made of steel as opposed to the wooden containers of SmartBox. This means that your stuff remains secure inside the container at all times.

The most important factor that puts PODS much ahead of SmartBox and all its other competitors is that you can move larger homes at affordable costs with PODS. It is very difficult to get quotes from SmartBox when you want to move a large house. However, SmartBox does offer quotes for small and mid-sized moves. To sum it up, we believe that PODS wins this round!

Cost of Renting Moving Containers: PODS vs SmartBox

It is very difficult to compare the cost of renting a SmartBox container and a PODS container because your final bill depends on many factors. The cost of your move depends on things like the distance of your move, the number of rooms in your house, the time of the year, the price of gas, discounts available at the time, etc.
However, if you want to have a more budget-friendly move, you should know that PODS is the cheaper option out of the two. The average cost of renting a PODS container is $2,840 and the average cost of renting a SmartBox container is $3,020. As you can observe, the cost of renting a container from PODS is generally $200 less than the cost of renting a container from SmartBox. Let us have a look at a more detailed breakdown of prices.


When you are dealing with SmartBox, you can rest assured that you can get containers at affordable rates. The best part about moving with SmartBox is that their prices are really transparent. You don’t have to break your head when you try to make sense of your bills. They provide you with an easy-to-understand breakdown of prices and what is initially quoted to you is what you pay.

To add to that, SmartBox also offers a price matching policy. Even if their initial quote might seem high, you can bring down the price of your move by showing them a written estimate offered by its competitors. They will then try to beat those prices. Let us have a look at how much you would have to spend when you rent out SmartBox containers.

You will have to pay around $89 for every container that you rent from the company. You can take your own sweet time to load up your container as your quote includes 30 days of free storage. You can also expect to pay $99 for the delivery of your containers.

Now, if you are going for a local move, you can expect to pay in the range of $200-$1,000. A mid-sized move (about 250 miles) can cost you in the range of $400-$2,500. Finally, a long-distance move will cost you anywhere between $2,500-$8,000. To add to that, if you need to put your stuff into storage, you will have to pay in the range of $49-$109 to use the company warehouse. On the other hand, if you want to keep the container in your driveway beyond a month, you will have to pay in the range of $59-$159.

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PODS is known to offer the best prices for your moves because of which the demand for PODS containers is always high. Whether you are moving a small home or a large home, you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg while moving with PODS.

PODS asks you to make your payment in three installments. The first payment is made 5 days before the container delivery date, the second payment is made 5 days before the shipping date, and the third payment has to be made at the end of your reservation.

The only thing that doesn’t bode well with its customers is its confusing bills. You don’t get a proper breakdown of your prices. You are asked to pay a low price at the beginning but later on, many additional fees are added to your bill. Their final quote does not even include the tax estimate. As a result of this, understanding your bill while moving with PODS is truly a tedious task.

When you are moving with PODS you can expect to get better and more affordable rates for your short-distance moves. When you move for a short distance (up to 100 miles), you can expect to pay in the range of $200 – $800, depending on the size of your house. When it’s a midsize move (around 250 miles), you will have to pay anywhere between $450-$2,100. Lastly, you will have to pay in the range of $2,000-$7,600 for a big cross-country move.

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Bottom line

PODS and SmartBox both offer services at low rates; however, PODS beats SmartBox and almost all of its competitors with its wallet-friendly rates. Although the prices offered by PODS aren’t that transparent, this doesn’t mean that the company is trying to loot you. On the contrary, what you pay to PODS will be way lesser than what you pay to other companies, and in this case, SmartBox.

See Also: Moving Container Deals and Discounts

Insurance Coverage Options: PODS VS SmartBox

Purchasing insurance is absolutely essential when you are moving from one place to another. As it is, moves are super expensive. But your bank accounts suffer much more if you don’t purchase insurance. This is so because you will face a huge monetary loss (that won’t be compensated for by the company) if your stuff ends up sustaining damages during the move. Let’s see what the two companies have to offer when it comes to coverage options.


If your stuff is expensive and very dear to you, SmartBox might not be the best option for your move. We say this because SmartBox does not offer any coverage for short-distance moves and storage. If you ever avail of moving and storage services from SmartBox, make sure that your stuff is covered by your homeowner’s/renter’s insurance.

On the contrary, you don’t have to worry about coverage when it comes to long-distance moves. SmartBox offers you $10,000 coverage for your stuff when you are going for a big cross-country move. This liability coverage option covers your stuff from the time it is loaded up to the time when the container is dropped off at your place.

It so happens that sometimes you might own really valuable and expensive stuff. In this case, a $10,000 coverage might not be enough for you. Fortunately, SmartBox lets you purchase up to $70,000 of coverage for each of the containers that you have rented from them.

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PODS really shines when it comes to offering low-cost coverage to its customers. The company offers two types of plans, namely container-only insurance and content protection insurance. You can avail of any of these plans depending on your needs.

You can avail of container-only insurance at the low rate of $10 per month. This plan covers any damages that are sustained by the container when it is placed on your property. On the contrary, the content protection plan covers not only the container but also your stuff when it is loaded into the container.

Keep in mind that water-related damage is not covered within this plan. The best part about it is that you can get coverage up to $300,000 within this plan.

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Bottom Line

PODS certainly offers more protection to your stuff when you move. The coverage plans offered by PODS are more comprehensive and suitable for the time when you are moving really expensive stuff. To add to that, unlike SmartBox, PODS also covers your stuff when you go for local moves or put your stuff into storage. Do note that we aren’t saying that SmartBox is a bad option. However, it is important to be mindful of the value of your stuff before you move with SmartBox.

Cancellation Policies: PODS vs SmartBox


You don’t need to worry about losing money when you move with SmartBox because their cancellation policies are great. The company starts charging your credit card three days before the move. If you cancel before that, you won’t have paid them anything and no cancellation fees would be charged to you.

If you cancel within those 3 days, you can expect to be charged 15% of the quote or $400 (whichever amount is lower). In the worst-case scenario, you might end up cancelling your booking on the day of your move. If this happens, you will be charged 15% of the quote or $400 (whichever is higher).


PODS is known for its flexibility. If you ask us, no one is as flexible as PODS. You can cancel your moves for free up till the day before your move. Don’t forget that you need to do so before 4pm. If you cancel your move after that or on the day of your move, PODS will certainly charge you a cancellation fee.

Bottom Line

As we said before, no one can beat PODS when it comes to their cancellation policies. SmartBox also offers you a lot of flexibility, but you need to make your decisions at least 3 days before the move if you want to avoid paying cancellation fees.

Reasons to Hire SmartBox

  • Moving with SmartBox is pocket-friendly and hiring them is a better alternative to hiring full-time movers (when you are looking to cut costs).
  • SmartBox offers a lot of discounts to its customers. College students, staff, and faculty members can avail themselves of a $20 discount. Additionally, military members also get great discounts from the company.
  • Their transparent pricing policy ensures that there are no surprises when your final bill arrives.
  • Their price matching policy lets you take control and bring down the price of your move.
  • The company has received some really good reviews from its past customers.
  • Their containers are placed at the ground level. This eliminates the need to get ramps and other loading equipment.
  • The storage facilities are climate-controlled. You can rest assured that your stuff is safe when you opt for their storage services.
  • Their pay-per-use policy makes your life really easy.
  • SmartBox offers some high-quality moving and packaging supplies to their customers.
  • SmartBox provides its customers with free locks for their long-distance moves.

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Things to Consider While Hiring SmartBox

  • SmartBox does not provide you with any coverage when you use their storage services or go for short-distance/local moves.
  • Their website glitches a lot, navigating through it is really painful.
  • You cannot book your moves online while working with SmartBox.
  • Their containers are made of wood because of which they might not be as weather-resistant as they claim to be.
  • SmartBox has a limited number of locations across the nation.
  • Their cancellation policy is stricter than that of PODS.

Reasons to Hire PODS

  • PODS is known for its affordable prices. The prices offered by PODS are too good to be true and you will end up saving a lot of money while moving with them.
  • You will find moving coupons for PODS which will bring down the cost of your move. PODS also offers discounts on your move. All you have to do is ask them for it.
  • PODS has a wide reach in the nation because it has maintained a large number of locations.
  • PODS offers great customer service. You can get in touch with their customer service rep and have all your queries resolved instantly.
  • PODS has received some really positive reviews from its customers.
  • PODS offers 3 sizes of containers, as opposed to the one size that is offered by SmartBox.
  • PODS containers are high-quality metal containers which means that they are effectively weather and impact-resistant. One can rest assured that their stuff is safe when it’s inside a PODS container.
  • The company offers a very comprehensive insurance plan. You don’t need to worry about facing any monetary losses due to damaged stuff when you move with PODS.
  • The cancellation policy followed by PODS offers you a lot of flexibility.
  • Customers have reported that PODS strictly adheres to your schedule and there are rarely any delays from their side.

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Things to Consider Before Hiring PODS

  • PODS is always in high demand, especially during summers. This means that they are often out of containers. Finding a PODS container at the last minute is next to impossible. You often have to book your move 6-12 months in advance.
  • Their website isn’t that comprehensive. You will notice some gaps in the information that is provided on their website.
  • Although PODS claims that their customers can book their moves online, you will have to book most of your moves via a phone call.
  • The prices offered by PODS are not transparent. Tax estimates aren’t included in the quote that is offered to you.
  • You might run into a problem if your driveway is small. Their bigger containers might not fit in your driveway or streets.

Which Company is Right For You?

PODS has been the industry leader since 1998, meanwhile, SmartBox is relatively new and still has managed to give it a tough competition. Although a PODS deal appears to be beneficial in a lot of cases, it isn’t true that SmartBox won’t offer you the same or even better benefits. Always keep in mind that each and every move is unique. The things you need might be available with either one of them or even both of them.

The wisest thing to do would be to get quotes from both companies. Evaluate what they are offering to you for the same move. We recommend that you understand your own needs first based on which you will be able to select the right container company for yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best pod moving company?

When you are planning to move, you should choose nothing but the best company for yourself. Here are some of the best companies in the business that offer great services, low prices and helpful customer service.

Also Read: U-Pack VS PODS

What is the cheapest moving container company?

When you are moving, managing your finances becomes one of your biggest concerns. If you are working on a tight budget, consider hiring the following companies.

  • Ubox
  • U-Pack
  • PODS
  • 1-800-Pack-Rat

Also See: 5 Cheapest Moving Container Companies