The Best Moving Companies
|United Van Lines||Atlas Van Lines||Wheaton World Wide Moving||Bellhops||U-Pack Moving||PODS||Go Mini’s Moving and Portable Storage|
The best safety and service records with a wide network of agents.
Impressive online tools that help you find your local agent.
Get a “ballpark estimate” before scheduling an in-home estimate.
Excellent customer service paired with painless booking.
Two container styles to choose from: a cube and a trailer.
No-ramps needed to use its containers, and you pay by the month.
Online storage calculator and three container sizes to choose from.
How We Found the Best Moving Companies
60 hours of research
23 companies evaluated
7 top picks
The Best Moving Companies
The best moving company can transport you anywhere, and it has a track-record for keeping belongings safe. You should schedule multiple estimates to find the best price and vet your local agent — but our top picks stand out for their transparent pricing, easy claims, and a solid reputation for happy customers.
How to Choose the Best Moving Company for You
Decide between a van line and moving container
There are two major categories of moving companies: van lines and moving containers. They each have their own advantages, so reflect on what you want from your moving service, and consider comparing quotes from each.
The 7 Best Moving Companies
Best interstate & local movers
Best moving containers
How We Chose the Best Moving Companies
While many companies claim to be national, not all of them actually live up to this promise. Specifically, most will move you to anywhere in the US, but not from anywhere. They only originate moves from one or a select few origin cities.
We wanted to choose moving companies that would be available to most people, so we focused on national van lines and moving container companies.
Strong safety records
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) tracks and investigates customer complaints made against a moving company, and lists the results of their truck inspections.
Between its search tool, company snapshot, and safety measurement system, we can see how many and what kind of complaints were lodged against each company, any inspections the company has failed, and reports that detail why. Atlas, United, and Wheaton, stand out for having the lowest number of complaints compared to their fleet size, but no company was totally complaint-free.
The most frequent complaints are related to shipment documents, estimates and final charges, weighing, pickup and delivery, loss and damage, and claim settlement. These are common areas where there can be misunderstandings between a moving company and its customers.
Even though some companies have a relatively higher complaint ratio, it’s worth noting that the vast majority of customers reported no complaints. For example, in 2016, Atlas Van Lines received 20 complaints but traveled 86,345,120 miles. Assuming that each customer traveled an average of 500 miles, that means that only 0.0001% of customers had a complaint — so we took most of these complaints with a grain of salt. But because national moving companies are all fairly similar, we gave preference to the ones with a better report card.
Reliable customer service
Comparing services and scheduling a quote should be intuitive and friendly. We scored companies based on how easy it was to find information like the types of moves they handle, their levels of service tiers, their claims reimbursement page, and their “find your agent” tool.
The best sites let us search for a local agent by zip code — even better if we could get to that agent’s website without having to enter our contact information each time. If possible, we wanted to limit the number of phone calls and emails we’d be fielding from agents before we had a chance to research them. We also looked for the ability to get quotes in the way that’s most useful to you, whether that’s online, over the phone, or in person.
Then we called each company’s customer service line. We wanted to discover how easy it was to reach a representative if we needed to schedule an estimate, get clarification on our bill, or check the status of a claim.
Our Picks for the Best Interstate & Local Movers
With 327 local agents and a presence in every state except Hawaii, United has the largest mover-network of every van line we examined. All of our top picks excelled in inspection results and had low numbers of complaints, but United took first place in both categories.
United has the most trucks, drives the most miles, and has the fewest complaints and inspection failures to boot. Its customer service was on point as well. The representative we spoke to answered all of our questions with ease. What's more, it's one of the few companies to accommodate a standard working schedule. With United, you can schedule in-home estimates outside of your Monday–Friday, 8–5 work week.
Atlas is smaller than United but has a large presence across the country (including Hawaii). We particularly like its search tool that lets you filter by zip code and state. When you call for a quote, you’ll be instantly directed to your nearest Atlas agent — the local company that packs and loads the truck. The person you speak to can answer every specific question you might have about how they move, but they might not be able to answer for how other local Atlas agents do business.
Wheaton is the smallest company of our top picks, but still has agents in all but three states. If you’re in Maine, Nevada, or Wyoming, Wheaton will coordinate with an unaffiliated moving company to help move you in and out of state.
While United and Atlas require you to call them for a quote, we like Wheaton’s ballpark estimate tool. Entering your information gets you an instant estimate range, so you can scope out the approximate cost of your move before taking time off to schedule an in-home estimate.
Using mostly a workforce of college students and a polished and intuitive tech-enabled platform, Bellhops has blossomed into an exciting and legitimate threat against the conventional goliaths in the moving space. Offering the same services as a traditional moving company, Bellhops excels in customer satisfaction, having consistently high ratings and rave reviews. Its website proudly boasts an average satisfaction rate of 4.8/5 stars and a 90% “excellent” rating on Trustpilot, out of more than 1,000 reviews. It’s not surprising Bellhops’ customer satisfaction scores are so high since the company places such a high priority on hospitality. In fact, the company’s code of conduct reads almost like a knight’s oath of duty: “[have a] servant’s heart, innovator’s mind, owner’s grit, and playful spirit”. The emphasis Bellhops places on attitude and work ethic, as well as the affordable cost, earned the company a spot among our top picks.
Bellhops’ webpage and app are wonderfully crafted, easy to use, and intuitive to navigate. The technology Bellhops depends on is able to gather an accurate estimate of the resources needed to make your move a success. After asking you to answer a few questions online (using their seamless app), Bellhops will determine how many movers and how long it will take to accomplish your move. A customer can opt to get a truck and movers or just hire help to load or unload.
We find Bellhops best for local moving: The company will arrange for movers and a truck to get you settled. For long-distance, a member of their “concierge team” will work with you to build a custom city-to-city plan in the days/months leading up to your big move. However, Bellhops only provides its services in 53 cities across 26 states and Washington, D.C. The other 24 states and international cities will have to wait as the company eyes expansion.
Bellhops offers two options for payment structure. Your first option is to lock in the financial amount estimated by their software, which calculates the amount of time and resources necessary to accomplish your move based on several screening questions. This option will charge a base fee determined by an algorithm, plus an hourly rate for labor. The second option is the hourly “pay as you go” option, which involves paying for a minimum of two hours of labor, with the remaining time calculated in 15-minute increments. The second option is better for those who only need help loading and unloading their belongings but aren’t sure how long it will take. Anyone making a larger move, requiring more resources like a truck, will be better off booking the software estimate. Getting a quote is a snap: Just answer roughly 10 multiple-choice questions about your move.
Be aware that Bellhops doesn't offer specialty packing services like many of the larger, more traditional, moving companies. However, Bellhops will plastic-wrap and protect larger items like your TVs, furniture, mattresses, etc. — it just won’t package your belongings. And while the company is expanding quickly, it's currently only available in 26 states and D.C.
Our Picks for the Best Moving Containers
U-Pack is available in 49 states (sorry Delaware) and offers two sizes of containers, as well as two styles: the standard 6'x7'x8’ “Relocube,” which requires a short step to go into the unit, or a 28'x8'x9’ trailer that comes with a ramp.
Unlike our other top picks, U-Pack has a short time window for you to pack and unpack your container. Once the containers arrive, you have just three days to pack before they're moved to your new home, and you’ll only have three days to unpack too.
PODS are probably the most well-known name in moving container companies, but it ships to fewer states than U-Pack. If you live in Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, or Wyoming, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Its containers rest on the ground (no ramps needed), have solid steel walls, and come in three different sizes (7’x8’, 12’x8’, 16'x8'). You can also take your time loading and unloading your unit, as they’re rented on a monthly basis. Just make sure to give PODS ample time to schedule the return pick-up — if its schedule is booked the last week of your rental, you'll be charged for an extra month of rent and insurance.
Go Mini’s has a heavy East Coast presence, but the company doesn’t have any locations in Hawaii and some western and midwest states. We love GO Mini’s storage calculator, which lets you go room by room to check off common furniture items and boxes you’ll need to pack, then recommends the size container you’ll need.
Its containers come in three different sizes (12’x8', 16’x8’, 20’x8’), but they each require a higher step into the unit — about eight inches. While that makes lifting and loading a little more difficult, your possessions will stay safe and dry during the rainy season. Like PODS, you can load your GO mini’s container at your own pace, but you’ll be charged a monthly rate.
Next Steps: How to Find Your Movers
Vet your local agents
If you choose to work with a traditional moving company (either through a van line service or with a local mover directly), you’ll need to take a few extra steps to verify they have a clean record.
All our top picks have excellent reputations for customer service, vehicle and driver safety, and a low number of customer complaints at the national level. But your experience will vary depending on the local team handling your move. Luckily, it’s easy to check for red flags.
- Start with the FMCSA mover search tool to look up the company by name. Once you click on the company, you'll see its complaint history.
- Compare the number of complaints against the number of trucks. A company with five complaints and 1000 trucks is more trustworthy than one with five complaints and 50 trucks.
- Click on the “most recent safety rating data” link under “safety and insurance.” This will take you directly to the FMCSA’s company snapshot.
A company that meets these requirements is operating legally and is likely a safe company to work with. We also recommend checking each company’s Google, Yelp, or Angie’s List reviews to gauge overall customer satisfaction.
Schedule estimates and compare prices
When working with a van line, an in-home estimate is critical to approximate how much your move will cost. Not only do van lines charge you for your chosen service package, but they also charge by the total weight of everything you plan on putting on their truck. If you forget to list a piece of furniture in the phone estimate or underestimate the number of boxes, they'll charge you for the extra weight.
If you go the moving container router, you’ll want to make sure to choose the right size. The quote process here is relatively straightforward. On the company’s website, you’ll enter your location, move date, and the container size you want. Then they'll suggest the ideal size or number of containers. You can get an accurate quote online because containers charge a monthly rate, not by weight or labor.
Get it in writing
To avoid a dispute later, make sure you get your estimate in writing. Check that it includes not just the total price but an itemized list of the services you’re paying for — such as any packing materials, loading or unloading services, or storage. This makes it easier to compare charges between movers.
Alternatives to Moving Companies
Friends and family
This may seem like an obvious tip, but asking friends and family to help you move is the easiest (and cheapest) alternative. Whether you bribe them with pizza or promise to return the favor, your personal network can help ease the load of a local move.
Rent a truck
If your biggest need for a moving company is the tools to transport all your things, companies like U-Haul will rent you a moving truck directly. Trucks start at $20 per day (plus a charge per mile), and are likely to end up significantly cheaper than a traditional moving company. You will have to load and unload your belongings, as well drive the truck yourself. However, that also means you have full control of your move and the protection of your belongings, and a more straightforward price.
Hire your help
If you’ve got the mode of transporting your things down, but just lack the labor help you need, you can hire movers. This is different from a full-service moving company, because you’re only paying for human labor to load and unload your things. You can supervise the whole process, and even pay to have them pack your things if you like. This kind of service is local-based, and you can use sites like Hire a Helper to find assistance in your area.
Ship your stuff
There are several ways to ship your packed things to your new city (as long as it isn’t large furniture). Services like Amtrak Express Shipping, Greyhound Package Express, and FedEx, will transport your boxed belongings for a price by weight. This option may especially appeal to people who aren’t driving to their new home, have minimal belongings, or are moving someplace already furnished. People typically pay between $150 and $500 depending on how much they ship.