Self-Storage vs. Pods: The Full Comparison

Storage pods are gaining popularity as an affordable home storage solution. But how can you be sure they're the right choice for your needs? Here's a comparison of self-storage vs. pods that will help you find the perfect solution for your situation.

When it comes to storing and moving your belongings, self-storage units and pods are two major options to consider. No matter which you use, these units serve many of the same purposes. 

Self-storage units and pods are both units that can be used by people to either store their belongings or move them from place to place. Pods are convenient but are often the more expensive option. Self-storage units are not as convenient but are often larger and cheaper. 

A person’s specific needs for moving and storage determine whether a self-storage unit or a pod is the better choice. Read on to learn more about the differences between self-storage units and pods, as well as which would be a better choice for you. 

Comparing Self-Storage Units and Pods

There are a few different attributes that you can use to compare self-storage units against pods if you’re in the process of trying to decide which type of storage to rent. Here are some of the things you can look at when you’re deciding between the two: 

  • Convenience: When you’re looking at the convenience of self-storage pods vs. pods, you should consider the operating hours of each facility. You should also consider how easy it will be to get your belongings into the storage unit or pod.
  • Price: Price will be a limiting factor for some renters. Prices will often cover a monthly fee as well as delivery and pickup fees related to pod service. Those using self-storage units should also consider moving truck rental fees.
  • Security: Security is an important storage consideration, whether you’re storing items for the long-term or just for a temporary move. Check security standards of self-storage units and pod services carefully to make sure your belongings are protected and insured.
A hand digital lock.
Check security standards of self-storage units and pod services carefully to make sure your belongings are protected and insured.
  • Size: Size is an important factor when you’re deciding between a self-storage unit and a pod. Storage units are often larger than pods are. That means if you’re looking at storing many items, you might need to look at a storage unit over a pod. 

When it comes to the factors above, self-storage units and pods offer slightly different services. Below you’ll find a table of how these two types of units stack up against each other. (Source: Move.org)

Storage TypeConveniencePriceSecuritySize
Self-Storage UnitMust drive to facilitiesStarting at
$60-180/month average (standard, no climate control)
Security varies from facility to facilityComes in larger sizes 
Pod UnitHome delivery/pickupStarting at $150/month plus fees for delivery and pickupSecure facilities for storage16’x8’x8’ is the largest size available

Are Pods Cheaper Than Storage Units?

One of the biggest questions that people have about choosing between self-storage units and pods is, “How much do they cost?” Many pod services advertise pods as being a fraction of the cost of storage units, but is this really the case? 

The truth is that it depends on whether you’re using pods for long-term storage or if you’re using them for transportation during a move. When it comes to long-term storage, pod rental can be more expensive. But when it comes to a long-distance move, a pod service can cost a quarter of what an interstate moving truck will cost. 

Cash on hand.
If you need a long-term storage, renting a self-storage unit might be a more budget-friendly option than renting a pod.

The major cost benefit of pods is that pod companies are typically part of a nationwide network that allows them to easily move pods between city hubs. This helps them keep the costs of interstate moves low. 

When it comes to long-term storage, storage units are often cheaper than pods. But self-storage units do not come with the same amenities for transportation in a moving situation. Also, the cost of a moving truck for an interstate move can be enormous. 

Are Pods More Convenient Than Storage Units?

Pods are commonly advertised as being more convenient than a traditional self-storage unit. However, this depends on what you need your pod to store, for how long, and other factors. Here are some of the reasons pods might be considered more convenient than self-storage units: 

  • Pod delivery and pickup: Unlike self-storage units, which require you to rent a moving truck and haul your items back and forth to the storage facility, a pod truck will deliver a pod directly to your home and pick it up when it’s full. Though this service does come with a one-time fee, it is still cheaper than a moving truck rental. It also allows the renter to save on tipping movers.
  • Packing time: Pods can be kept if needed to fill up and store. This is convenient for people who are trying to go through a home garage or another home storage space to fill the pod up. In comparison, it is much less convenient to rent a moving truck since moving truck companies charge by the day and can be very expensive. Containers are rented by the month.
  • Access: Pods usually have scheduled hours for access. This can be somewhat inconvenient compared to self-storage units that allow 24-hour access via a keypad gate and lock system. However, these 24-hour units are not usually as secure as a pod storage facility. 
A storage container.
Pods are more convenient to be used as storage if you want to transport your stuff to a different location.

In many ways, a pod can be a much more convenient way to transport your belongings for a cross-country trip. You simply have the pod dropped off, fill it up, and then have it shipped to your new destination. But a pod is an expensive way to store items for the long-term, and its restricted access compared to a self-storage unit means it isn’t the better option for holding on to things. 

Choosing Between Storage Units and Pods

Both storage units and pods are useful in their own ways, but it depends on what you need them for. Each of these storage types has its merits

When Should You Get a Storage Unit?

A Self-Storage Unit Is Usually A Better Option In The Following Cases: 

  • When storing items that you need regular access to
  • When storing items in the same city that you live in
  • When storing items for the long-term
  • When pods are not allowed in your area (some HOA rules and other law enforcement regulations don’t allow pods in driveways)
A pile of boxes.
Self-storage units are ideal for those who want to store their stuff for a long period of time.

Self-storage units can be a cheaper option if you need long-term storage and aren’t in the process of moving things from one place to another. If you’re slowly going through your stuff trying to declutter, renting a self-storage unit can help get it out of your space as you declutter a little bit at a time.

However, keep in mind that if you use a storage unit and have to plan a move, you’ll have to hire a separate moving truck and movers to retrieve the items (or rent a truck and move them yourself).

When Should You Use a Pod Service? 

A pod service is usually a better option in the following cases: 

  • When storing items temporarily during a decluttering project
  • When moving your items from one city (or state) to another
  • When storing items that you’re not planning to access frequently
A group of person unloading.
Since pod rentals are relatively expensive, consider using them for short-term storage.

Pods are a more expensive option compared to self-storage units, but they’re the best option for moving items quickly and easily. In comparison, moving services to and from a self-storage unit is a lot more hands-on. They also aren’t that much cheaper in comparison once you include the costs of a moving service or the hassle of driving a U-Haul. 

Self-Storage and Pods Are Both Useful


Self-storage and pods each have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to storage and moving services, but their utility is dependent on what you need them for. Knowing what items you need to store, how long you’ll need to store them, and how often you’ll need access can help you decide which of the two choices is the better option for you. 

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