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What Type of Shipping Container Do You Need?

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You have an upcoming home project that you know will need extra storage space and you know you need a shipping container, but you’re not sure what type of shipping container you need. There are a lot of different types of shipping containers, from used shipping containers and one-trip shipping containers to High Cube shipping containers and a standard shipping container.

Making sure that you choose the right type of shipping storage container is important, not just as part of keeping within your budget, but saving time when placing your items inside. A small container may not be able to fit all of your belongings, while a larger storage container may be too big.

In this post, you’re going to learn about the various types of shipping containers, standard shipping container sizes and everything else you need to know to pick the right one for your home remodel or renovation project.

Let’s get started by discussing the difference between used shipping containers and “new” ones.


Should you get a used shipping container or a “new” shipping container?

When looking for shipping container rentals, one of the first questions you may be asked is whether you’re looking for a new or a used container. This may be confusing, as you might think that a new container would be better than a used container, however that’s not always the case, as a used shipping container can work just as well for projects as a new container. So what’s the difference?

What is a one-trip container?

A one-trip container is literally a container which has made one trip overseas.

One-trip shipping containers are very common because in the US we import more than we export, and it is frequently cheaper for companies overseas to build new containers than it would be to ship them back.

One-trippers have significantly less wear and tear than containers that have made more than one trip overseas and are often referred to as “new.”

What is a used shipping container?

A used shipping container is a container that has made more than one-trip overseas and in some cases has been used continuously for as many as 15 years!

Used shipping containers are sometimes referred to as “recycled containers.” The biggest difference between a used container and a one-trip container is the amount of wear and tear, rust and dents.

Some common problems with used containers include:

  • Hard to open doors. Due to dents and overall wear and tear the doors of a used container might be difficult to open.
  • Worn down floors. Years of use will lead to the floor of a used container becoming patchy and worn down.
  • Odor. Depending on what the container was used to transport there might be a pungent odor in the container.

One issue with one-trip containers is they are usually more expensive than their used counterparts.

There are a few different classifications for used containers from best to worst they are IICL, cargo worthy, wind and water-tight, and as is. Most of our storage containers here at Southwest Mobile Storage are rated Class B, which means they are cargo-worthy. This means that they have been inspected and are deemed as being worthy to travel over international seas.

A Commercial Shipping Storage Container

Standard Shipping Container Sizes:

Shipping containers come in a few standard sizes.

  • 10-foot shipping containers which are 10’ X 8’ X 8.5.’ A 10-foot shipping container can hold around 80 square feet of stuff.
  • 20-foot shipping containers which are 20’ X 8’ X 8.5.’ A 20-foot shipping container can hold around 160 square feet of stuff.
  • There are 40-foot shipping containers which are 40’ X 8’ X 8.5.’ A 40-foot shipping container can hold around 320 square feet of stuff.

Additionally, there are also high-cube containers which we will talk about in just a bit.

What is a High-Cube Container?

High-Cube containers are standard containers that are 1-foot taller than the standard dimensions.

While typical shipping containers are 8.5 feet tall, high cubes are 9.5 feet tall making them perfect for offices, labs, or storage spaces. If you have items that will need a taller ceiling – like a tall dresser or cabinet – a high-cube container might be suitable to use during your renovation.


What is a Custom Shipping Container?

Custom shipping containers had proven to be creative outlets for both businesses and residents. These modified containers range from custom home gyms or home garages, while businesses have used them for kiosks, concession stands, and even made their businesses with modified containers! Customizing a shipping container can provide an alternative to building a home additions. For example, a few of our residential customers have used our modified containers as a way to reduce costly room additions, like a home gym. Some have used them to make carports or garages, as their homes initially did not include one.


How to decide what type of shipping container is right for you:

Now that you’ve learned what the different types of shipping containers are, as well as their sizes, you have a better idea of what container will work for your home project. We have a quick container graph that’s help you decide which size shipping container you would need if you were moving, but it can also be used for any type of remodeling or home renovation project, so you can see how much of your belongings will fit in which size.

Remember the standard container sizes are:

  • 10’ X 8’ X 8.5.’
  • 20’ X 8’ X 8.5’
  • 40’ X 8’ X 8.5’

There are also high-cube containers which are a foot taller standing 9.5 feet instead of 8.5.

If the standard dimensions will not work for you, you can consider the option of a custom container. A custom container is the perfect choice if your home renovation includes adding an additional room or added feature that didn’t come with your home.

You can also add additional customizations such as:

  • Steel security doors and windows
  • Storage cabinets, tool racks, and cribs
  • Shelving units
  • Modular office units
  • Carts, dollies, and toolboxes

Taking the time to figure out your shipping container type helps to cut down on stress, costs, and time. If you’re curious about our custom containers, check out our gallery to see options! Already know want size you need? Then get your free quote!

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