Storage Trailer Rental vs Shipping Container Rental – Which Should I Choose?

Storage trailer rental vs shipping container rental?

When it comes to storage projects, trying to decide the type of storage facility to use and what size works best can be tough.

Businesses will often struggle with this, as they must consider not just the facility but one that fits into their budget.

In this blog, we’ll compare a storage trailer rental vs shipping container rental to help you get the information on which works best for your business.

Storage Trailer Rental vs Shipping Container Rental


Before we look at the differences between the two rentals, let’s look at what they both are.

Storage Trailer

Storage trailers, also known as dry van trailers, are common ways to store and transport goods.

Dry vans are a type of semi-trailer that are designed to carry pallet, boxed, or loose fright. They normally aren’t temperature controlled or can carry oversized shipments.

An Example of a Storage Trailer
Photo by Joseph Paul on Unsplash

Dry van trailers are used for a variety of different shipment types, called ‘less than truckload’ or LTL. Dry vans come in several sizes:

  • 24 ft’ box or straight trucks, usually common for city deliveries.
  • 28 ft’ trailers or pup trailers, commonly used for LTL shipments up 22,500 pounds of freight.
  • 53 ft’ trailers, most common type of dry van and able to accommodate up to 45,000 pounds of freight

Storage trailers are great for shipping things like clothing, furniture, and electronics. They can also be used to move machinery, parts, non-perishables, and household goods.

After being used on the road, many dry van trailers are used for storage trailers.

Shipping Containers

Shipping containers are ISO steel containers that can withstand shipment, storage, and handling.

Also known as conex boxes and storage containers, shipping containers have been growing in popularity for their versatility and mobility.

Shipping Container Rental from Southwest Mobile Storage

Shipping containers have three standard sizes:

  • 10-feet
  • 20-feet
  • 40-feet

While these are the standard sizes, shipping containers can be modified to be larger than 40 ft’.

There are even some suppliers who are able to provide 8 ft’ containers for moving.

ISO steel containers are able to be used in different scenarios, such as:

  • Storage
  • Pop up shops
  • Schools
  • Medical units
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants and bars

Rental Options


Now that you know what each of these storage options are, let’s look at rental options.

Both storage trailers and shipping containers are available for rent or for purchase. Some providers also offer dry van rentals as well.

Rental options will often vary depending on a number of factors:

  • Rental provider
  • Size of trailer or container
  • Length of time

For many storage trailer or shipping container provider, a minimum of a month is a requirement when it comes to rentals.

However, not all of providers will give prorated rates should you use the trailer or container for less than a month.

Here at Southwest Mobile Storage, we do offer prorated rates if you use one of our storage shipping containers for less than a month.

Storage Trailer Rental vs Shipping Container Rental

Rental fees may grow the larger the size of a trailer or container.

For instance, renting a pup trailer may be less expensive than the more popular 53 ft’ option.

The amount of time that you’ll need for storage also plays a part in what your rental fees will be.

Rent for a few months or a year will be more expensive than if you were just renting storage for a month.

The rule of thumb for storage containers is rent or lease if you’re only going to use the conex box for a year or less.

More than a year, you should consider purchasing the container.



We’ve discussed what both storage trailers and shipping containers are and what things to consider when renting one or the other.

Another option we want to highlight is the ability for modification or customization.

While storage options are usually thought to just be about storing items, there are many ways that storage – especially that of shipping storage containers – can be used.

Both storage trailers and shipping containers can be used to store items and materials, however only shipping containers have the ability to be modified.

Storage containers can be modified and customized with:

These additional components allows businesses and consumers to create a storage unit to their liking.

This can also help secure and protect inventory or equipment.

But storage isn’t the only thing you can do with shipping containers.

As mentioned earlier, shipping containers can be and have been used for alternate building materials.

Many industries use storage containers for a variety of reasons.

For example, schools can use shipping containers for science labs, classrooms, locker rooms, and record rooms.

Retail businesses use storage containers not just for inventory, but temporary pop up shops to help market and sell their merchandise.

Adidas Pop-Up Shop Cargotecture

The ability to customize and modify shipping containers adds to their popularity, as businesses can display their brand name as part of the container.

Which to Choose?


So which one of these should you choose?

It depends on your business and its project.

If you need to transport inventory before storing it, a storage trailer may work for you.

However, if you need more mobility and customization, then a shipping container is the better choice.

As both are available to rent or purchase, your project’s size and time frame could also dictate your choice.

Remember, the smallest storage trailer is about 24 ft’, which may not be small enough, while the largest is 53 ft’, which could be too big.

Shipping containers have three standard sizes, but again, containers can also be customized to fit a business’ needs and budget.

In this article, we looked at storage trailer rental vs shipping container rental.

We explained what each was, what to expect for renting, and what you can do with each.

We’re a little biased, but shipping container rentals are the preferred choice if you’re looking for a particular size, that allow for modification.

If your business is looking for a storage shipping container, give us a call at 800.686.9114 or you can fill out the form below.

Our storage experts have over two decades of experience, supporting and helping our customers find the right container for their projects!


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