Residential Storage: Shipping Containers vs. PODS

Portable storage solutions come in various shapes and sizes, and customers have options when looking to store personal belongings on residential properties.

Considering two very common portable storage units used for short or long term; ISO shipping containers and the PODS® units that have become prevalent in the last few years. Customers are typically looking for affordable, secure and easy to use storage that can be either rented for a short period of time or purchased for long term on site storage.

Comparing Two Solutions: The Basics

PODS® provide a service that allows for customers to rent storage units that can be delivered to a residence, loaded and kept on site for a certain amount of time, or loaded and taken to one of their facilities off site. The units are made of aluminum skin covering a steel frame and are considered “weather resistant”. The access is through lightweight steel roll up doors. Rental rates are dependant on location and term, as well as the size of the unit and range in approximation from $139/term to $159/term and up with delivery fees starting around $100. Only three sizes are available: 7’, 12’ and 16’. Purchase is not an option.

ISO shipping containers for residential portable storage gives people a multitude of options when considering how to store their personal belongings on or off site. Shipping containers are built from heavy duty Corten steel and come standard with locking cargo doors on one end. Standard size shipping containers for residential storage are guaranteed to be wind and watertight, and with lockboxes installed are essentially 100% secure. ISO sizes are 20’, 40’, 40’ High Cube, and 45’ High Cube. Custom containers are easily fabricated into any required length to fit your exact specifications. Lightweight steel roll up doors can be installed, and many other custom modifications can be done to your container. Rental rates range from $89/term to $139/term and delivery and pick up fees are dependant on your location and term. Service fees are often reduced drastically and sometimes waived completely. Containers in standard ISO sizes or custom lengths can be rented or purchased.

Short Term Residential Storage

Planning on moving or doing home renovation? Short term portable storage is almost a necessity in these scenarios. PODS® are often thought of due to their ease of access roll up doors and provided service. However, the shipping container provides a cheaper and much more diverse solution that caters to residential storage in timeframes of up to 3 months as well. Delivery is typically done using tilt-bed trucks so the containers can be dropped off in driveways, curbside or in yards. Most short term storage is needed nearby the house for ease of access when moving or doing minor remodeling projects; PODS® or shipping containers are usually dropped in the driveway or near the street where the storage unit will be exposed. This brings up the all important issue of security. The 20’ ISO shipping container has long been known as the strongest mobile or stationary modular structure in the world; you can rest assured that your belongings are not only secure from intruders but from the elements as well.

With rental rates as low as $50/term, the cargo container for residential storage is a very cost efficient solution at a time when your move or renovation is very often a financial burden. Of course these types of situations tend to change as well – if you’re moving, there is a always a little bit of uncertainty as to what lies ahead. If you’re remodeling, things always tend to take longer than planned, don’t they? Using ocean freight containers for on site storage allows for the option of purchasing a container as well.

Long Term Residential Storage

If your short term project turned into something much bigger than expected, or if you’re planning a major construction job, your on site portable storage solution will become even more a part of your residence. The facts are very simple: ISO shipping containers are a more cost efficient and customizable portable storage option. With sizes ranging from 4’ or 5’ on up to 53’ in length, the shipping container provides enough storage for an entire house, or multiple homes’ belongings. Some of these situations often lend to the requirement of storage of goods for possibly 5, 10, 20 years or more of needed additional storage space. Do the math, you’re going to want to purchase your portable storage container if thats the case. When it comes to buying shipping containers for long term residential storage, it’s a blank canvas, you can have vents installed, walk through doors or even skylights! Virtually any type of modification can be done to shipping containers including insulation and electrical. If its going to be there for a while, might as well make it your own right?


ISO containers are manufactured to carry cargo, and once they have served that function they can be re-purposed as portable storage containers. This simple concept is one that shouldn’t be overlooked in a world where every little bit counts.

Summary of shipping containers vs. PODS®

It is of course personal preference, but the general overview is that there are many options to consider when seeking portable storage for residential use. After reviewing the facts, it seems that the shipping container for portable storage has the most affordable and flexible solution out there.

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