Experts in container rentals, sales & customization
Let us help you today! 800.686.9114

Advantages of Buying or Renting a 20ft Shipping Container

Share this Insight:


Start Today

Whether you are looking for container solution to Rent, Buy or Modify, our custom container solutions will be perfect for you!

Get A Quote

A 20ft shipping container can benefit those looking for peace-of-mind secure storage. But why should you consider a 20ft container when there are so many options available for portable storage? In this article, we’ll discuss the advantages of a 20ft shipping container, what makes it different from other shipping container sizes and how it compares against competing storage solutions.

What is a 20ft Shipping Container?

Everyone knows what a shipping container is. However, few people consider the distinctive design decisions that make them perfect for keeping stored materials safe during long overseas journeys. A 20ft shipping container is a reusable mobile transport and storage unit. They’re built with corrugated steel, are wind and weather-tight, and can endure severe weather conditions.

After their creation in the 1950s, they’ve gained widespread use in various industries, not just shipping and trucking. Many industries use containers, from construction workers and plumbers to painters and auto mechanics. Millions of hard-working people daily rely on these storage units to ensure that essential worksite materials are protected and always exactly where they need them.

A forklift stacking a 20 ft container on top of another 20 ft container.
20ft Shipping Containers are also called TEUs, or Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units. This is because while the length is standard for containers, height is not. There are standard containers, usually 8′ 6″ in height, but there are also taller and shorter containers. For instance, high cube containers can be 20ft long, but they’re taller than standard, coming in a full foot higher at 9′ 6″.

20ft Shipping Containers are Secure

Shipping containers are used to being roughed up on the waves. That’s why they’ve been designed to maintain their strength for decades, with a robust floor that can hold heavy loads and distribute that weight to the corners of the container. The container rests on four bottom corner fittings, which allow it to be tightly secured and stacked on top of another container. They can endure temperatures from -22 to 149 degrees Fahrenheit and maintain structural integrity.

Most containers have a 4-bar, 8-cam locking system. Our containers instead use a retrofitted slide bolt and lock box system that guarantees higher security. This makes unauthorized access to your container difficult and makes it easier for the right people to quickly get the supplies they need.

20ft Shipping Containers are Portable

You can use containers for various purposes, including shipment, storage, construction and more. Because of their widespread use, it’s crucial that the people who rely on shipping containers can move them around from location to location.

20ft shipping containers are one of the best options available for mobile storage. They can be moved with a forklift or by truck or rail.

They are Great for Storage

20ft shipping containers are an excellent option for whatever you plan on storing. They offer a larger storage space than most other options on the market. With modifications, containers can further organize the storage of pipes, cables and wires.

You can load containers at ground level, making the storage process safer and more accessible than with an elevated truck bed.

How 20ft Containers Compare to Other Options

The dimensions of a standard 20ft shipping container are 8′ x 8’6″ x 20′. That’s larger than most mobile storage solutions. Here are some comparisons with competitors in the storage industry that might help you understand how our sizing differs from other storage providers.

A chart displaying the differences between the volumes of 20-foot-long Southwest Mobile Storage Containers and other storage options.


PODs is a national moving and storage company based in Florida. Their containers come in three sizes: small, medium and large. All three sizes are smaller than a 20ft shipping container rental from Southwest Mobile Storage.

A small container from PODs has a total volume of around 448 feet, about a third the size of a 20ft SMS container. A medium container rental from PODs is a little more than 50% of the total volume of a 20ft container, while their largest container only holds about 75% of the volume of an SMS container.

PODs are constructed out of wood, aluminum and vinyl instead of steel.

A chart comparing the volumes of a 20 foot shipping container and three PODs units.

Public Storage

Public Storage is a real estate investment trust that owns the largest self-storage brand in the United States. They offer self-storage locations clustered in major cities, and customers rent a storage space that they can access from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at most locations. They don’t offer mobile storage, and most of their smaller units have less storage volume than a 20ft shipping container.

A chart comparing the volumes of a 20 foot shipping container and seven Public Storage spaces.


1-800-Pack-Rat is a storage and moving company that delivers non-shipping storage containers and then transports them to another location after you pack them up. It offers on-site storage at its branch locations. Some locations are like Public Storage, offering warehouse-style storage. While Pack Rat containers might resemble shipping containers, they’re not the same.

As a moving company, Pack Rat’s containers aren’t as durable as shipping containers. They’re meant for shorter-term storage and are made of steel. They use disc locks instead of our slide bolt and lock box system. Its containers have barn style doors instead of roll-up doors like PODs, and all of their options offer less storage volume than a 20ft shipping container.

A chart comparing the volumes of a 20 foot shipping container and three 1-800-RAT-PACK storage units.

20ft Containers Vs. 40ft Containers

Besides their size, several considerations impact whether a 20ft shipping container would be more valuable than a 40ft shipping container. A 20ft shipping container is half the size and, unlike its larger counterpart, can move when loaded. Industry standards prohibit us from moving containers over 20 feet long.

If you need storage transportation between one part of your facility and another, consider 20ft containers. The delivery process will be more flexible if you have 20ft shipping containers instead of 40ft containers. If you want to move 40ft containers, you must be first empty them.

Also, shipping containers that are 20 feet long are compact enough to store in a parking space or driveway. That means that you can place storage exactly where you need it.


There are plenty of reasons why you should consider buying or renting a 20ft shipping container for your next planned project. With increased storage flexibility from easier transportation options, you can be confident that you won’t have to wonder:

“Now, where is that? Is that safely stored? Can my team access it quickly?” Rest easy; the container’s got you covered!

Do you think a 20ft shipping container isn’t enough? Learn more about our 40ft shipping container units. You may also consider modification options to create a specialized container that helps your team get things done.

Related Content

Looking for more info? Our blog is regularly updated with insightful news and notes. Take a look at these relevant posts:

Get A Quote Today!