We Spent 2 Months Searching for the Best Moving Companies—Here's What We Found

Atlas Van Lines topped competitors in almost every category.

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For many—if not most—people, moving is not a pleasant experience. From figuring out the logistics of packing up your entire life to transporting a whole house's worth of items, it's a big ordeal that typically takes months of preparation. But employing the right moving company can turn a chaotic event into a coordinated operation. Professionals are able to provide assistance at every stage of the process, giving advice on when to move and how to box up certain objects, and offering options for vehicle transportation and temporary storage solutions.

In order to find the best moving companies around the country, our research team spent two months collecting data on nearly 20 movers, evaluating nationwide availability, featured services, price transparency, customer service accessibility, and many other factors. Check out our recommendations for local, long-distance, and international moves.

Best Moving Companies of 2022

Best Overall: Atlas Van Lines

Atlas Van Lines logo

Key Specs

Nationwide availability: 50 states

Full-service packing? Yes

Storage services? Yes

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Operates in all 50 U.S. states, plus Canada

  • Online quote system provides easy access to customer service

  • Vast resources hub

  • Tracking feature built into online portal

Cons
  • Cancellation policy doesn't allow for much wiggle room

Why It Made the List

No matter what type of move you're planning, it's likely that Atlas Van Lines can provide the support you need due to its nationwide coverage and long list of services. In particular, the company offers a wide range of packing and transportation options, including for specialty items like pianos, antiques, and fine art. Atlas also owns secure warehouses all over the country that can accomodate short- or long-term storage needs.

To receive a moving cost estimate, prospective customers can call the company's support line or fill out an online request form. Depending on the method you choose, you'll receive either a binding or non-binding quote—the former means you won't have to pay more than the initial amount given; the latter gives you a ballpark number that's subject to change.

One thing to keep in mind when booking is Atlas's cancellation policy. If you cancel your move within three days of signing the contract, you won't be charged, but canceling closer to your move date could lead to unwanted fees. These guidelines may be stricter than some local moving companies', which often allow customers to cancel as late as 24 to 48 hours in advance without penalty.

Best for Long-Distance Moving: North American Van Lines

North American Van Lines

Key Specs

Nationwide availability: 50 states

Full-service packing? Yes

Storage services? Yes

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Add-on services include packing, storage, installation, and furniture assembly

  • Several pricing options

  • Packing calculator helps determine the number of boxes you'll need

  • Online domestic and international shipment tracker

Cons
  • Virtual or in-home walk-through is required to get a binding quote

Why It Made the List

North American Van Lines' incredible resources hub and interactive online tools will help you plan ahead for a long-distance move. The packing calculator estimates what supplies are needed based on the amount of rooms you have and the number of years you've lived in your house. The shipment tracking feature lets you know exactly where your items are, whether you're moving across the country or overseas.

Ballpark estimates are created instantly when you fill out an online form (which takes less than two minutes), and the price you're given includes packing and unpacking, loading and unloading, and the 24/7 digital tracking function. In order to receive a binding quote, you must complete an in-person or virtual home assessment that'll take stock of your belongings.

Throughout the process, North American offers three different types of pricing:

  • Bottom-line pricing: a guaranteed rate that's calculated based on your in-home assessment.
  • Not-to-exceed pricing: your move will not cost more than the number provided, and the bill will be decreased if your move ends up costing less.
  • Customized pricing: combines a guaranteed price with any added service charges.

If you opt for one or more of North American's additional services, such as appliance installation or furniture assembly, prepare to receive a customized rate from a customer service representative.

Best for Local Moves: Allied Van Lines

Allied Van Lines

Allied Van Lines

Key Specs

Nationwide availability: 50 states

Full-service packing? Yes

Storage services? Yes

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Allied Express option for customers who don't need a large-scale truck

  • Can request a quote in under two minutes

  • No upfront deposit

  • Provides moving supplies for self-service packing

Cons
  • Website doesn't offer many specifics on the individual services

Why It Made the List

Allied Van Lines is ideal for local moves because the company allows you to do as much or as little as you want. Looking to handle the packing yourself but need a bunch of boxes to get started? Allied will set you up with the right supplies even if you don't use its team of packers. For those of you worried about properly securing your more valuable items, the company can also arrange for a partial pack, leaving fragile and breakable objects, like artwork, mirrors, dishes, and more, in the capable hands of its professionals.

Another benefit to Allied Van Lines is its Allied Express option, which lets customers rent portable storage containers for smaller moves rather than forcing them to pay for a huge truck they won't fill. Unlike other moving container services, such as PODS or U-Pack, Allied Express offers full-service packing, loading, and unloading, so you don't have to do any of the heavy lifting. This is a particularly popular choice for apartment dwellers.

The company also provides in-transit storage if you can't move into your new home right away. Even if you're relocating down the street, Allied will safeguard your belongings for up to 90 days at one of its climate-controlled, heavily monitored facilities, taking some of the pressure off if your timeline doesn't match up perfectly.

Best for International Moves: Mayflower

Mayflower Movers logo

Mayflower Movers

Key Specs

Nationwide availability: 46 states

Full-service packing? Yes

Storage services? Yes

Pros
  • Capable of facilitating moves to more than 150 countries

  • Cost includes a move manager, full-service packing, and a customized plan

  • Your personal consultant will spearhead the customs process

  • Car shipping is an add-on service

Cons
  • Not available in all states despite its prevalence overseas

Why It Made the List

Having handled government and military relocations for more than 60 years, it's not surprising that Mayflower has developed an impressive operation for international moves. The process begins with a consultation to determine your exact needs, and an estimator will walk you through your transportation and value protection options before providing a customized quote. The price you receive includes full-service packing and the assistance of a move coordinator, who prepares the necessary paperwork for customs clearance, confirms delivery dates, and tracks your items as they make their way to your new home.

Unpacking, storage, and debris removal can all be added to your moving plan, as can auto transport, which does not require a third-party carrier. Mayflower even has a different quote request form for car shipping so that you can break down the costs separately.

Though your dedicated move manager will help keep you organized, Mayflower also offers an online portal that customers can use to stay up to date on everything. The desktop tool documents each stage of the moving process, allowing you to check off tasks as you go. You can also make payments, access important contact numbers, and edit entries on your to-do list.

Best for Small-Load Moves: Bellhop

BELLHOP

BELLHOP

Key Specs

Nationwide availability: 27 states

Full-service packing? Yes (in select markets only)

Storage services? No

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Hourly labor is available

  • Build-Your-Own package option lets you pick and choose services

  • Moves can be scheduled as quickly as 24 hours out

  • Claims are processed within one to two business days

Cons
  • Services are not nationwide

  • Claims must be filed within five business days of your move

Why It Made the List

Bellhop may not offer as many services as some of the other companies on this list, but it's a great option if you're moving apartments or need help at a moment's notice. With Bellhop, you can hire hourly labor, meaning you only pay for the time you use (note: depending on the package you choose, a two- to three-hour minimum is required).

Another aspect of the company we like is its flexible scheduling. Bellhop accepts bookings with just one day's notice, though it's recommended that you give the team at least three days to prep for your move. Unlike many of its competitors, Bellhop doesn't require an in-home consultation, so it's much easier to make last-minute arrangements.

When you first request a quote, the company will suggest a moving plan for you based on the information you provide, but it also has a Build-Your-Own package, which allows you to tweak the number of movers, trucks, and hours you wish to reserve. With each Bellhop move, you have the option of hiring just a team of movers or movers plus a 16- or 26-foot truck. It's important to note that Bellhop is only available in 27 states, and not every city offers each service—for instance, packing is an add-on in just five markets at the moment.

Best for Packing and Moving: Colonial Van Lines

colonial van lines logo

Key Specs

Nationwide availability: 48 states

Full-service packing? Yes

Storage services? Yes

Pros
  • Offers customizable packing options for general household and specialty items

  • Supplies all of the packing materials

  • Online quote calculator

  • Mobile app allows you to submit a visual inventory of your belongings

Cons
  • App does not include a tracking feature

Why It Made the List

The most stressful part of a move may in fact be the weeks leading up to it when everything you own has to be packed up in boxes. Luckily, many moving services provide full-service packing as an add-on, but Colonial Van Lines goes above and beyond with its offerings. In addition to a whole-home pack, the company can box or wrap up a single-item, your entire kitchen, or create a customized plan that includes specialty objects, such as antiques, artwork, and more.

You don't have to purchase any moving supplies ahead of time—Colonial takes care of that—but if you decide to pack up your belongings yourself, you can order boxes and other materials through the company's mobile app. The app also lets customers upload photos and videos of their items so that they can receive a more accurate quote for their move. The only thing missing is a tracking feature.

While some moving companies charge by room or square footage, Colonial's prices are based on weight. So if you're planning to move a lot of heavy items, make sure to compare quotes from several providers to see if Colonial makes the most financial sense.

Best Moving Pod Company: PODS

Pods Moving logo

Pods Moving

Key Specs

Nationwide availability: 44 states

Full-service packing? No

Storage services? Yes

Pros
  • Choose from three container sizes

  • Units are impact- and weather-resistant, plus reinforced with aluminum for added security

  • Transparent pricing

  • Very easy to cancel

Cons
  • No packing or loading assistance offered

  • Car shipping is not an option

Why It Made the List

With PODS, the name speaks for itself: Short for "portable on-demand storage," the company rents out containers for DIY moves, leaving it up to the customer to pack and load their own belongings. There are three container sizes available—8, 12, and 16 feet—with the largest being able to hold up to 1,200 square feet worth of furniture. If you're unsure which container to get or whether you need more than one, PODS' moving and storage calculator will point you in the right direction.

Apart from the container itself, the company also provides transportation from point A to point B. When you’re ready to move your things, a driver will collect the unit, and you can decide whether to have it moved to your new home or stored at a PODS facility, where it will be kept indoors.

Because you rent the container on a monthly basis, you can keep the unit at your home or at one of the company's secure warehouses for as long as you want. For context, rentals start at $149 per month and delivery and pick-up fees typically average $75.

Best Car Shipping Company: United Van Lines

United Van Lines

United Van Lines

Key Specs

Nationwide availability: 50 states

Full-service packing? Yes

Storage services? Yes

Pros
  • Separate quote request form for car shipping

  • Online shipment tracking

  • Customers are assigned a move specialist who'll provide a guaranteed deliver-by date

  • Will move luxury and antique vehicles

Cons
  • Personal items cannot be moved with the vehicle

Why It Made the List

For interstate and long-distance moves, choosing to ship your car instead of driving it can save you a lot of hassle. But not every moving company provides the service. With United Van Lines, a designated move specialist will coordinate both your household move and your vehicle transport.

In the event that you just need United's car shipping services, you'll still be assigned a customer support manager to handle the logistics. They'll help you fill out the necessary paperwork, schedule and confirm pick-up and delivery dates, and walk you through the billing process.

Customers have a choice between door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal delivery, and while the former is more convenient, the latter doesn't require you to be there when the car gets dropped off. You can also store your vehicle at one of the terminals if you don't need it right away. As for the actual transportation, United offers both open-sided and enclosed carriers. Enclosed is recommended for cars that are over 25 years old or cost more than $60,000.

Best Moving and Storage Service: Wheaton World Wide Moving

Wheaton World Wide logo

Wheaton World Wide

Key Specs

Nationwide availability: 50 states

Full-service packing? Yes

Storage services? Yes

Pros
  • Offers in-transit storage for up to 180 days

  • Takes protective measures to ensure items are not damaged in storage

  • Belongings can be returned from storage in as little as 24 hours

  • Will move appliances, large instruments, and other specialty items

Cons
  • No online tracking function

Why It Made the List

Wheaton World Wide Moving offers many services, but its storage options make it stand out over competitors. For instance, if you're moving across state lines, the company provides up to 180 days of in-transit storage, meaning that if you can't move into your new home right away, Wheaton will keep your belongings in one of its facilities for up to six months.

Even if you're moving locally, the company is able to store some or all of your things for a short or long period of time. The movers will even add extra packing materials, such as shrink wrap, to protect your items from getting damaged while they're in Wheaton's care. When you're ready for your belongings to be returned, Wheaton requires just 24 hours' notice to deliver them to your doorstep.

The company gives ballpark estimates for out-of-state moves through a form on its website, but in order to receive an accurate quote, you'll need to schedule a virtual or in-person home walk-through with one of Wheaton's representatives.

Best Online Quote System: U-Pack

u pack logo

Key Specs

Nationwide availability: 50 states

Full-service packing? No

Storage services? Yes

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Provides an actual estimate within two minutes

  • Price you're given is all-inclusive

  • No initial deposit required to reserve your move

  • Self-service aspect makes it more affordable than many other moving companies

Cons
  • Minimum mileage requirement, meaning no local moves

  • Given just three business days to load your belongings

Why It Made the List

Most moving companies won't supply you with any type of estimate until you speak to one of their agents, but U-Pack's instant quote system spits out a number in a matter of minutes without making you enter a phone number or even an email address. Though the estimate you receive isn't binding, you don't have to pay a dime until your shipment is actually picked up.

Because U-Pack only provides the equipment used to transport your belongings, the bill will likely be significantly cheaper than if you were to hire a full-service mover. Customers can choose between a 28-foot trailer, which typically accommodates a three- to four-bedroom home, or a 6x7-foot ReloCube.

What's great about the trailer is that you only pay for the space you use, so transporting a heavy object that's tall rather than wide won't be as expensive as it would be with some other companies. If you're interested in the ReloCube option but worried that you'll need more space, U-Pack allows you to rent more than one at a time. However, unlike PODS, there is a limit for how long you can keep your trailer or cube. Customers are given just three business days to load up their container and another three days to unload their items at their new home.

Final Verdict

If we had to choose just one company to recommend, it'd be Atlas Van Lines because of the provider's nationwide availability and comprehensive set of moving services, which include packing, storage, and vehicle relocation. The free online quote tool can be used to kick-start your planning, and all moves are assigned a manager, who is accessible via the Atlas Customer Portal. The digital dashboard also allows you to make payments, track your belongings, and file a claim.

How to Choose a Moving Company

When selecting a moving company, there are a number of important factors to consider, including services offered, price, and reputation. To start, narrow down your options by deciding what jobs you absolutely need the movers to perform. Eliminate any companies that don't fulfill those requirements.

Once you've settled on a list of services, request quotes from multiple providers to compare prices. Not all online estimates factor in additional service fees, so we highly recommend talking to a company representative in order to get as accurate a number as possible.

No matter which way you're leaning, double check the company's status with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and read about other customers' experiences on trustworthy review platforms like Angi and Yelp.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does a Moving Company Cost?

Moving company costs vary depending on how far you're traveling, the weight or amount of items being moved, and whether you book any additional services, such as storage. On average, prepare to pay between $80 to $100 per hour for a local or intrastate move (under 100 miles) and between $2,000 and $5,000 total for an interstate move (over 100 miles).

There are ways to save when hiring a moving company, like booking during the off season (October to March) or on a weekday. Moving containers that you load and unload yourself also tend to be a more affordable option, as are shared load companies that transport multiple customers' belongings at one time.

Do You Tip Movers?

It's common practice to tip movers, and, given all the heavy lifting they do, you shouldn't skimp when it comes to gratuity. Whether you're moving local or long-distance, it's appropriate to tip between 15 and 20 percent of the total bill. That figure can then be divided by the number of movers on the project, so if you had a three-man crew assigned to a $3,000 job, each mover would receive $200 if you were to tip 20 percent. Don't forget to tip in cash!

Can I Hire Movers Just to Load a Truck?

Definitely! This way, you can avoid paying for services you don't need and won't injure yourself lifting heavy boxes. Bellhop is one company that lets you hire just movers or movers and a truck. It doesn't offer packing services in most locations, so it mainly tackles loading and unloading. You can request an estimate on Bellhop's website.

Methodology

In order to compile a list of the best moving companies, our research team made dozens of customer service calls and enlisted the help of data collectors to fill in the blanks for more than 30 criteria points. These included nationwide availability, storage options, valuation coverage offerings, and customer support channels.

Each criteria point was assigned a weight, then grouped into one of six categories:

  • Customer experience (23 percent) 
  • Coverage and types of moves offered (20 percent)
  • Moving services (20 percent)
  • Pricing/price transparency (20 percent)
  • Insurance/protection (10 percent)
  • Reputation (7 percent)

Scores were calculated based on these weights, and companies were ultimately given a rating out of five stars. To ensure that the information presented is accurate, two or more data collectors verified the research. This page will be updated with any changes to the highlighted companies' offerings.

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