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Best Moving Companies of 2023

The best moving companies have a track record of getting from A to B when they say they will. We evaluated the top movers in the country -- because you should trust the people driving off with all your stuff.

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Joe Supan Senior Writer
Joe Supan is a senior writer for CNET covering home technology, broadband, and moving. Prior to joining CNET, Joe led MYMOVE's moving coverage and reported on broadband policy, the digital divide, and privacy issues for the broadband marketplace Allconnect. He has been featured as a guest columnist on Broadband Breakfast, and his work has been referenced by the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, National Geographic, Yahoo! Finance and more.
Joe Supan
6 min read
See at National Van Lines
national-van-lines-moving-truck
National Van Lines
Best overall moving company
See at JK Moving Services
JK-moving-services-dolly-loading
JK Moving Services
Another great option for long-distance moves
See at North American Van Lines
moving-truck-on-road
North American Van Lines
Best for local moves
See at Interstate International
crew-shutting-truck-door
Interstate International
Best international moving company
See at PODS
pods-moving-truck
PODS
Best moving container
See at Penske
penske-truck-in-driveway
Penske
Best truck rental

Moving isn't easy. Whether you're going across the street or across the pond, it takes a lot to get your life boxed up, loaded into a truck and shipped off to your next home. You essentially have three options: rent a moving truck and do it all yourself, rent a moving container and have them do the driving, or hire professional movers to do it all.

Going with the pros is more expensive, but it's the easiest way to get your life from point A to point B. (The average person moves about 12 times in their life; professionals do it every day.) 

The best moving companies are also licensed and insured so even when the worst happens -- a precious box of heirloom ceramic gnomes is smashed to bits, say -- you'll at least have some money to cry into.

Best moving companies

This best list draws on government sources like the General Services Administration's moving services score and the Department of Transportation's safety ratings, as well as online customer reviews and firsthand experience getting estimates for a variety of moves. A good rule of thumb is to compare at least three moving quotes before picking a mover. Each one should ask for a detailed inventory of your home before offering an estimate. 

national-van-lines-moving-truck
National Van Lines

National Van Lines checks every box I looked for. It has a stellar 103 rating from the GSA, an excellent safety track record with the DOT and impressively positive customer reviews. But more than that, it felt like a company I'd trust with all my belongings. 

It only took about 90 seconds to navigate its phone tree and get a human on the line. Right off the bat, the operator felt more like an advisor than a talking sales pitch. She was ready to set up a virtual home walkthrough immediately and she answered all of my questions with ease.

JK-moving-services-dolly-loading
JK Moving Services

JK Moving Services specializes in corporate, long-distance and international moves, and it has a history of handling complicated moves safely and on-time. It received a 104 score from the GSA and a 4.23/5 in customer reviews with the Better Business Bureau. JK also has the lowest rate I saw of trucks and drivers being delayed because of failed inspections. 

So what kept JK out of the top spot? The quotes I got for long-distance moves were as much as $5,000 higher than other companies. It's still worth going through the quote process, but if you want to keep costs low, you might find that JK isn't your best option.

moving-truck-on-road
North American Van Lines

While you can also use North American Van Lines for long-distance moves, it's one of the few moving companies that had everything I was looking for -- a history of safety, high marks from customers, industry certifications -- plus the ability to handle local moves. Most interstate moving companies pass local moves onto local movers, but with more than 500 locations around the country, North American Van Lines can handle them in-house.

The quote process took a little longer than some of the other moving companies we evaluated, but once I got someone on the phone, I was able to book an in-home estimate in about eight minutes. With more than 1,400 drivers in the US, North American Van Lines also had more flexibility with the moving date than other companies.

crew-shutting-truck-door
Interstate Moving

Moving to another country can be incredibly stressful, and it helps to have a company on your side that knows the paperwork inside and out. Interstate International received a 110 score from the GSA. That means that when the US government sends people overseas, this is the company it trusts to handle the details. Interstate also has both certifications we looked for in an international moving company: FAIM Quality Certification by the FIDI and membership in the International Association of Movers. 

pods-moving-truck
PODS

There's a reason PODS has become the household name for moving containers. It offers the most affordable (and transparent) pricing of any moving container company, and you can choose from three sizes. You can also purchase add-ons like packing services, vehicle shipping, and short- and long-term storage. 

One of the benefits of using a moving container like PODS is that you can go at your own pace. It'll drop it off in your driveway, and you pay monthly for as long as you need it. You're limited to four free hours to load the container in places without driveway space.

penske-truck-in-driveway
Penske

If you want to go full DIY, renting a box truck and bribing some friends with pizza is by far the most affordable way to move. It was close, but Penske got the edge over U-Haul and Budget for its affordable pricing and numerous rental locations. 

You can choose from three truck sizes and one cargo van, and pricing is $30 plus 59 cents per mile (the largest truck increases to $30 plus 79 cents per mile). For similar sizes, U-Haul charges $30 plus $1.59 per mile, while Budget charges $30 plus 79 cents. 

How we found the best moving companies

Moving companies are tricky to review. Since I couldn't realistically grade every mover's hauling skills myself, I relied on other customers' experiences. The most reliable source is the Form GSA3080 that government employees fill out to evaluate movers after they relocate for work. That data is compiled into an all-in-one score (PDF) for movers. From my original list of more than 50 interstate movers, I cut any that had a below-average score. 

From there, I looked into each company's record with the Department of Transportation. Did it employ enough drivers to handle timely cross-country moves? How is its safety record? I eliminated any companies with below-average vehicle or driver inspection scores. 

Then I tested out what I could: the quote process. I filled out online quote forms from 22 movers and waited for my phone to blow up. It should only take about 10 minutes to get a quote over the phone. I dinged any companies that put their sales pitches ahead of my questions or asked for a large deposit immediately. The best moving companies will request a detailed inventory of items you're moving before they provide a quote, and they'll be able to explain their policies in clear, simple language.

Finally, I dug into reviews and complaints with the Better Business Bureau. This was less about an overall number -- moving is the kind of industry where people typically only leave reviews when there's a problem -- and more about finding a pattern of complaints. I also gave preference to companies that were certified as ProMover by the American Trucking Association. This means they've passed an annual review of their business practices, including their complaint history. 

Frequently asked questions about moving

How do I know if a moving company is legit?

All interstate moving companies have a US Department of Transportation number, which is usually displayed at the bottom of their website. You can search this number on the DOT website to see information about the company's safety record. Red flags for moving scams include offering a quote without a detailed inventory, unusually low prices, or asking for a deposit in cash, money order or wire transfer. 

How much should I tip movers?

An average tip for movers is around $5 per person for each hour of work. It's also a nice gesture to have water or snacks on hand for movers while they're loading or unloading items in your home. 

How much does it cost to hire professional movers?

Local moves average around $500, while interstate moves can cost as much as $10,000. Among the 22 companies I received quotes from, here is the average to move: 

  • <25 miles: $465
  • 100 miles: $2,059
  • 500 miles: $2,538
  • 1,000 miles: $3,512
  • 3,000 miles: $5,404

Add-ons like packing services and vehicle shipment will add significantly to the final cost. 

What should I look for when comparing moving companies?

It's tempting to just go with the moving company that gives you the cheapest quote, but it pays to put in some extra legwork. To get started, you can view the federal government's mover ratings that it uses for employee relocation. A high score isn't a guarantee of a positive experience, but it's a good place to start your list of moving companies you want to get quotes from. 

A reputable moving company should offer an in-person or virtual tour of your home before providing a written estimate. The contract you sign is called a Bill of Lading and it should detail out every little part of your move, from estimates to services provided, as line items. This can (and should!) include everything from how much you'll be charged for the move itself to whether or not the moving company will provide its own bubble wrap.

If you don't understand something in your contract, ask your moving coordinator about it. A company with a strong track record will be able to explain any issues in simple terms.