PODS vs. PACK-RAT®: Which Portable Moving Container is Right for You?

June 3, 2024

PODS and PackRat are two popular portable on-demand storage (PODS) and portable moving container services. They both provide an alternative solution to traditional full-service moving companies and self-rented moving trucks.

With PODS and PackRat, you load your belongings into a delivered shipping container at your own pace. Once loaded, the container is transported to your new home or a storage facility. You then unload at your leisure. This allows for flexible loading, transportation, and unloading based on your schedule.

PODS and PackRat aim to simplify the moving process by having containers dropped off at your location. The containers can be loaded over days or weeks, then picked up and stored or delivered when you’re ready. These on-demand services help reduce stress compared to coordinating movers or truck rentals.

Both PODS and PackRat offer portable storage solutions. However, there are some key differences between the two companies in terms of pricing, container sizes, delivery options, storage facilities, and overall services offered. This guide will provide an in-depth comparison to help you determine the best option for your moving and storage needs.

Cost Comparison

When it comes to cost, PODS and PackRat have some similarities but also key differences depending on your moving and storage needs.

Local Moves

For local moves within the same metro area, PODS tends to be more affordable than PackRat. PODS local move pricing starts at around $100-$150 for delivery and pickup of the container, plus $5-$10 per day for rental fees. PackRat local moves start at $199 for delivery and go up based on container size, distance, and number of days, often totaling $300 or more.

Long Distance Moves

For long distance interstate moves spanning over 150 miles, PackRat is generally more budget-friendly. Their long distance moves include delivery, 7 days of rental, and return delivery fees in one flat rate, which can be as low as $1,195 depending on mileage. PODS long distance moves incur separate delivery/pickup fees plus daily rental fees, which can add up to $1500+ for long distances.


When it comes to storage, PackRat offers the first 30 days included with delivery and pickup fees, whereas PODS charges weekly storage fees starting Day 1. However, PODS’ weekly storage rates can potentially be lower than PackRat for longer term storage over 1-2 months.

So in summary, PODS is better for shorter local moves while PackRat shines for long distance relocation. For storage, PackRat has the edge for short term while PODS can be cheaper monthly. Carefully crunch the numbers for your specific moving scenario.

Container Sizes

When it comes to container sizes, PODS and PackRat offer some similarities as well as key differences.

PODS offers three main container sizes:

PackRat offers four main container sizes:

In summary, PackRat offers more size options, while PODS has larger capacity containers overall. PODS 12-foot and 16-foot containers are taller and wider than PackRat’s largest units.

Loading and Unloading

When it comes to loading and unloading PODS containers vs PackRat containers, there are some key differences to consider.

PODS provides portable on-demand storage units that are dropped off at your location by a delivery truck. The PODS can be placed in your driveway, in front of your home, or wherever is most convenient for loading. The PODS come in different sizes ranging from 7-foot to 16-foot containers. You load the POD yourself by packing your belongings into the container on your own timeline. The PODS are constructed with doors on both ends as well as a roll-up door on top to make loading easier. Once the PODS are loaded, you contact PODS and they will pick up the loaded container and transport it to your new destination or one of their storage facilities if needed.

With PackRat, their reusable containers are also delivered by truck but they are loaded differently. The PackRat containers have a side-loading door and ramp system that allows the company’s moving professionals to load your belongings directly from your home into the container safely and securely. You don’t have to load the PackRat container yourself. The company brings a team of movers with equipment like dollies and ramps to do the loading for you. This can be much easier than loading a POD yourself if you have large or heavy items. PackRat also offers an appliance dolly for loading washing machines, dryers, and refrigerators. At your new home or destination, PackRat will also unload the container and place your items for you. So PackRat handles both loading and unloading while with PODS you have to load yourself but they will unload for you upon delivery if requested.

Storage Options

When it comes to storage, PODS and PackRat both offer flexible options, but there are some key differences in their storage capabilities:

So in summary, while PackRat provides short-term portable storage, PODS offers more flexible and longer-term storage options nationally. PODS is better suited for seasonal, military, student or corporate storage needs where accessibility over months or years is required.

Pickup and Delivery

PODS and PackRat both offer door-to-door pickup and delivery service for their moving and portable storage containers. This provides convenience by having the container delivered directly to your location and picked up when you are finished using it.


PODS provides pickup and delivery in most areas of the continental United States directly by PODS employees. You schedule the delivery date and pickup date when you place your order. The PODS container is dropped off at your location and can be loaded at your own pace. Then when you are done, you contact PODS to schedule a pickup date for them to come retrieve the container.

PODS offers pickup and delivery service in all 48 contiguous states. However, there are some limitations in more remote rural areas where providing this service is more challenging. So PODS pickup and delivery is more widely available in suburban and urban locations.


PackRat uses third party moving companies and trucking partners for pickup and delivery service in the United States and Canada. When you place your order, you will schedule the delivery and pickup. A PackRat representative will then coordinate fulfillment of your order with their partners.

The availability of pickup and delivery varies more with PackRat based on their network of partners in each area. Some regions have more extensive coverage, while rural areas are less likely to have accessibility. You’ll want to check with PackRat to confirm they can provide pickup and delivery service to your exact location when getting a quote.

Insurance Options

Both PODS and Pack Rat offer basic cargo insurance to protect your belongings in case they are damaged during shipping. However, there are some key differences in coverage to consider:

PODS Insurance

PackRat Insurance

So in summary, PODS offers more inclusive basic coverage, while PackRat’s insurance feels more limited. Adding insurance can get costly for both, so document your belongings carefully.

Customer Service

PODS and PACK-RAT both offer customer service to help with scheduling, billing, and resolving any issues that come up during the moving and storage process.

Reviews of PODS’ customer service are generally positive. Many customers mention the representatives are friendly and helpful when scheduling a delivery or resolving an issue. Wait times to speak to an agent are usually short. Some complaints revolved around issues with delivery times being delayed and representatives not providing solutions.

PACK-RAT also receives favorable reviews of their customer service. Customers have praised the representatives for being knowledgeable, patient, and taking the time to explain things. There are some complaints about long hold times when calling and representatives being unable to provide firm delivery dates. However, most reviews indicated the agents were able to resolve issues that came up during the moving process.

Overall, both companies provide decent customer service, with areas for improvement around managing delays and setting accurate delivery expectations. Most representatives are able to remedy problems and ensure a smooth moving and storage experience.

Security Features

When it comes to security for your belongings, PODS and PackRat offer similar features to keep your items safe during storage.



Both PODS and PackRat emphasize secure facilities and sturdy, lockable containers to keep possessions safe. Key security features like video monitoring, perimeter fencing, and restricted facility access aim to deter theft and protect items in storage. Customers have the option to add more security like theft insurance or their own padlocks. Overall the companies offer robust security mechanisms to ensure peace of mind during storage.

Summary and Recommendations

PODS and Penske Truck Rental’s PACK-RAT® portable storage containers both offer convenient and flexible options for moving and storage. However, there are some key differences between the two that customers should consider when deciding which is better for their specific needs.

Pros of PODS :

Cons of PODS:

PODS is best for local moves where you need help loading, national/long-distance moves, and climate controlled storage.

Pros of PACK-RAT:

Cons of PACK-RAT :

PACK-RAT is ideal for DIY movers on a budget who want transportation flexibility and cheap storage prices.

For most residential moves, PACK-RAT tends to offer better overall value. But PODS is better for climate controlled storage needs or full-service, long-distance relocations. Consider your specific moving and storage requirements when choosing between PODS and PACK-RAT.