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Real People: PODS vs. U-Pack ReloCubes (ABF)

Posted in: I'm Moving, Moving Containers, Moving Stories
Picture of Shiromi A.

This post is part of our “Real People” series. Each post is written by a real person, not employed at HireAHelper, that actually used the service listed. These posts offer the inside scoop on the pros and cons of using moving equipment and services from moving container companies like PODS, U-Pack ReloCubes and 1-800-Pack-Rat, or rental truck companies like Penske Truck Rental, Budget Moving Trucks, and U-Haul. Today’s post is from Shiromi A. of Seattle, WA as she documents her research and decision making process when comparing U-Pack vs. PODS

UPDATE: We’ve gone back and updated this post with fresh numbers for 2019.

My husband is a retired military member, so our lives involved moving seven times in four years. Let me tell you, it never gets easier. You’d think we would have the moving thing down by now, but I find each move has its own set of unique challenges to overcome.

When we decided to move from Portland, Oregon up to Seattle, Washington so we could finally live near the water, we knew it would take some planning. We called around a few interstate moving companies, but the quotes were super pricey. We didn’t want to rent a truck because you pay by the day and that time crunch can be stressful.

That’s when my husband and I quickly came to the conclusion that based on our location, either PODS or U-Pack ReloCubes would be our best bet.

PODS vs. U-Pack ReloCubes: Which One Is Better?

PODS is basically the grandaddy of the moving container industry, so it made sense to start there.

However, when we compared PODS online against U-Pack, we eventually realized that we had a U-Pack shipping location that was pretty close to our starting place.

Our quote from PODS was for $1,471.00  for two 7′ containers, which isn’t bad for an interstate move where someone drives all your stuff for you. Not bad at all! It’s just that thanks to Moving101, we were able to compare prices and figure out that U-Pack ReloCube could get us a comparable service with two 7′ containers for $1,168.00. Even better!

Military Move Moving Container Price and Review Comparison

Both prices are below their price averages. But what actually pushed U-Pack over the edge was that PODS were larger than what we needed, meaning they would have taken up way more space on the tiny driveway of the new house.

Also, if this matters to you, U-Pack only charges you for the space you use, so you can always order an extra container in case you aren’t sure without worrying.

Everyone’s move is different, so your best bet is to go to Moving101 and check out the price differences for yourself.

“…thanks to Moving101, we were able to compare prices and figure out that U-Pack ReloCube could get us a comparable service with two 7′ containers for $1,168.00. Even better!”

Also based on the research from Moving101, we figured two ABF ReloCubes would be enough, and whatever was left over (e.g., clothes, toothbrush, etc.) could go in the car. We were certain two moving containers would be enough, but the beauty of working with ABF was that we could just order three ReloCubes and only pay for the ones we used!

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How much time do you have to load and unload a U-Pack vs. a PODS container?

One major downside to ABF ReloCubes for you is that they only gave us a maximum of three days to get it loaded and a max of three days to get it unloaded before the company was scheduled to come and pick it up, or else they would have charged us a fee.

Compared to the 30 days PODS would have given us, that’s a pretty big difference. If we needed to be more flexible, I don’t know if we could have gone with ABF. For reference, our PODS quote for $1,471 included a month of storage, and they would have charged us $399.98 if I had kept it even one day into the following month, and then $359.98 per month after that. Basically, that turns into a storage bill if you don’t call them and schedule to move it.

Luckily, we didn’t need to keep our stuff long, so we were able to go with U-Pack and save some money.

Let the pros pack your cube!

After booking the ReloCubes, U-Pack promptly delivered the containers to our house. Great … now we needed to figure out how to pack them correctly.

While there are a ton of great articles and video about how to pack a ReloCube, it would have been too stressful to do it ourselves. It’s one thing packing boxes and making sure things don’t get broken, but quite another to fit them “Tetris-style” into a container so that things don’t move around in transit.

We simply called a local moving company to have them load up the ReloCubes; this is one decision I don’t regret one bit. True, the beauty of containers is that you can pack them yourself over the course of several days. The pros got everything quickly loaded and use up every spare inch of the container, which is great considering we had a shorter window of time!

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How secure are PODS Containers vs. U-Pack ReloCubes?

Since your entire life contents are in those ReloCubes, security is essential.

ABF containers have steel doors with a metal handle that open outward like a bedroom door. This, as opposed to the steel roll-up doors on PODS containers. Both are weatherproof. We figured both were safe options and – spoilers – my contents were totally fine after my move.

However, Neither PODS nor ReloCubes provide locks as part of the order, so we picked up a pair of heavy-duty padlocks from U-Pack for $8.50 each to secure the two containers. (After we finished, these remained locked on until the cubes reached their final destination.) We called the company after everything was packed and they came to pick up the cubes the next day.

They told us we didn’t even have to be there when the containers were picked up, although we chose to stay and chat to the driver. Just as before, the U-Pack driver was prompt and friendly. He even gave us plenty of suggestions for things to do in Seattle! U-Pack also gave us a tracking number so we could monitor our shipment. Nothing like a little peace of mind when you’re moving 200 miles away.

“We still stressed about the ‘what if’s’, but the ReloCubes process made things a little less ‘headachey'”.

How Unloading Works

Typically, once the ReloCubes arrive at your destination, you get a two-day grace period before you incur storage fees. Since we weren’t storing our goods, we simply placed a call to U-Pack on arrival in Seattle and scheduled a delivery time.

After the containers were delivered, we decided to hire help again to unload them. It was nice to have someone else do all the labor, but I would say this isn’t nearly as essential as hiring professionals to pack the containers. Our new, local moving company messaged us right after we booked and showed up inside an hour time frame to unpack the Cube, just like before!

When everything was unloaded, we again called U-Pack ReloCubes to have a driver pick up the now empty container, and that was it! All of our belongings were finally in one spot.

Was this an easy move? Not totally. Moves are never easy. We still had our little hiccups, like when we left our new house keys with our old landlord. We still stressed about the “what if’s”, but the ReloCubes process made things a little less headachey, and what more can you really ask for?


  1. Ben

    We are trying to choose between these same two options for a move from Florida to Ohio, and this was very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Daniel

      Glad it helped Ben! We’d love to hear about how your move went, who you chose, and if you need any help or have any move-related questions along the way.

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