How Much Do Shipping Containers Cost?

Storage and shipping containers have plenty of uses in today’s world. Whether you are a manufacturer in need of transportation services, a small business looking for extra storage space, or just an individual hoping to complete a personal building project, a shipping container can definitely be a lifesaver.


Before you can proceed with your plans, though, it’s important to know how many containers you’ll need and how much they should cost. How much space do you need? How long do you need it for? Do you need your shipping containers to be in brand-new condition, or will a used container suit your purposes? All of these factors have an effect on how much you’ll find yourself paying for your shipping containers.


We’ll go through an overview of what specific factors go into the cost of a shipping container, and then provide a range of prices for each type of container available. If you’re in the market for a shipping container, you should come away with a decent understanding of what is a reasonable price for your needs.

What Factors Go Into Container Cost?

A forklift navigating a number of shipping containers

Several factors go into determining the cost of a shipping container, including dimensions, labor costs, and special features. Image courtesy of DF Container.

Companies take a multitude of factors into account when putting a price tag on their shipping containers. These factors include:

  • External Dimensions: Shipping containers are generally classified by their external dimensions. How long a container is has a huge impact on its price. For example, a shorter container can fit in tight places much more easily than a longer one. As a result, you may pay more for the convenience of a 10’ container that you can put anywhere than for a 40’ container that only fits in certain locations.
  • Internal Dimensions: The internal dimensions of a shipping container are obviously correlated to its external dimensions, but they play a different role in determining the price. The convenience of having a smaller container that can be placed almost anywhere has to be balanced with the inconvenience of having a smaller interior volume to work with. As a result, the internal dimensions of a shipping container also play a major role in how much it will cost.
  • Labor Costs: Some sizes and types of shipping containers are simply more common than others– and when a specific size is super common, it does a lot to offset its price. Even if you’re looking for a smaller container– for example, a 10’ one– you’ll likely pay more just because this size of container isn’t very common and manufacturing them is more labor intensive.
  • Ease of Transportation: Some shipping containers are built to be stationary, while others are meant to transport a high volume of goods from place to place. Whether you plan on using your shipping container for cargo transport or not can therefore play a role in its cost. A container that doesn’t need to be road-worthy in the long term will likely cost less than one that needs to hold up against the wear and tear of frequent travel. The cost of a cargo-worthy shipping container can be offset by renting it as opposed to buying it, though– so there are still options available.
  • Door Arrangement: It may seem a little odd to have to consider what type of door your shipping container needs to have, but this does factor into the final cost. The standard shipping container has a set of doors in the back, ideal for loading and unloading cargo. But you can also find containers with double doors– a set at the front and at the back– or with side opening doors to allow for easier access to large items. You may find some door configurations more helpful than others, depending on your specific needs.
  • Condition: The condition of your shipping container will certainly affect its price. For most types of containers, you can buy them new or used, refurbished or as-is. New containers will tend to be more expensive, but also in great condition– they’ll last for a long time. Used containers can often be purchased and repaired, which will also cost a little more. Alternatively, you can buy used containers as-is if you’re alright with potential damage on your container. Purchasing as-is is often a good option for people who have the skills to repair their shipping containers themselves, and it tends to be the cheapest, too.
  • Unique Features: There are a variety of special features you can add to your shipping container that will also have an effect on its cost. Besides door arrangement, you can also choose to buy watertight and wind-tight containers that will better withstand the weather and can operate as long-term outdoor structures. This is often a great option for those using shipping containers for personal building projects, such as extra outdoor living spaces, or businesses looking for temporary office space, such as at construction sites. High-cube containers are also an option. High-cube containers stand at nine and a half feet tall instead of the standard eight and a half, giving you an extra foot of vertical storage space– which, depending on your needs, can be a lifesaver.

How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Shipping Container?

We know what factors go into the price of a shipping container– but what is a reasonable price range for each type of container? Based on the options currently available for purchase, we’ve compiled an estimate for how much you should reasonably expect to pay for a shipping container.

Ten Foot Shipping Containers

a 10 foot shipping container

10’ shipping containers fit easily in most open spaces. Image courtesy of Rent-A-Container.

As we’ve mentioned, 10’ shipping containers aren’t as common as their 20’ and 40’ counterparts, and it takes a little more work to manufacture them. That said, they can fit in a wide variety of places– anywhere greater than 10’ x 8’, to be exact. They can also be collapsible, depending on where you purchase them from. If you’re just looking to store your personal belongings somewhere, this could be a good option for you.

10’ shipping containers can cost anywhere from $800 to over $6,000– a price that changes depending on what features you add on to them. At Rent-A-Container, this size of container is available for purchase, not for rent, and generally costs between $3,000 and $4,500.

Twenty Foot Shipping Containers

A 20 foot shipping container

20’ containers are one of the most common sizes for shipping containers. Image courtesy of Rent-A-Container.

20’ shipping containers offer a lot more interior space than their 10’ counterparts, but they’re still small enough to fit in most outdoor spaces. As such, they’re useful for a wide variety of things, including office space, shed space, storage space for businesses. They’re even used sometimes for living space– a 20’ shipping container is roughly the size of a one or two-bedroom apartment, and with the rise of the tiny home movement, it’s not out of the ordinary to find people living in homes of around this size. These containers are also frequently found on construction sites as temporary offices or in the retail and food industries as storage space.

Generally, 20’ shipping containers fall in a price range of $1,800 to $6,500, depending on their condition and features. At Rent-A-Container, you can purchase a 20’ shipping container for anywhere from $1,100 to $5,000.

Forty Foot Shipping Containers

A 40 foot shipping container

40’ shipping containers offer a lot of interior storage space. Image courtesy of Rent-A-Container.

40’ shipping containers may not be quite as convenient of a size as 20’ and 10’ containers, but if you’re looking for something with lots of storage space, they are an excellent option. Besides the fact that these containers are great for transporting large quantities of goods and for personal or business storage, they are also a pretty good size for a living space– about the size of a two or three-bedroom apartment, in terms of internal area. With such flexible uses, it’s not uncommon to find 40’ shipping containers being used in the construction, retail, and food industries as well as in the tiny home movement.

40’ shipping containers usually cost a minimum of $2,000, and can cost up to around $8,300. At Rent-A-Container, 40’ containers cost between $1,350 on the low end to $9,800 on the high end, depending on their condition and special features.

High-Cube Shipping Containers 

A high cube shipping container

High-Cube shipping containers offer an extra foot of vertical storage space. Image courtesy of Rent-A-Container.

Whether or not you’re looking for a High-Cube container also affects the price of your shipping container. For the most part, 10’ shipping containers only come at the standard height of eight and a half feet. 20’ and 40’ containers, though, usually give you the option of purchasing them as a High-Cube.

For 20’ High-Cube containers, a normal price range can be anywhere between $2,000 and $6,900. For 40’ High-Cube containers, you’ll probably be looking at between $3,500 and $8,900.

At Rent-A-Container specifically, you can usually expect that a 20’ High-Cube container will be brand new and will cost between $5,000 and $7,000. A 40’ High-Cube container from Rent-A-Container, by contrast, costs anywhere from $2,800 to $14,000, depending on its other special features.

Watertight and Wind-tight Shipping Containers

Watertight shipping containers being used to build an outdoor structure

Watertight and wind-tight shipping containers are great for long-term outdoor structures that need to withstand the weather. Image courtesy of Blogspot.

Make sure to keep in mind how much exposure to the weather your shipping containers will have to withstand! Although purchasing watertight and wind-tight containers can be an added cost, it can also be an extremely worthwhile investment if you’re looking for something more like a permanent structure– such as a tiny home or office space, for example.

Generally, you can expect a watertight shipping container to cost at least $2,000. At Rent-A-Container, a watertight container will usually cost between $2,500 and $6,700 for purchase, depending on its other features.

Double Door and Side Opening Shipping Containers

A shipping container with an open door arrangement

Shipping containers can come with a variety of door arrangements. Image courtesy of ABC Containers Perth.

If you need more flexibility in your shipping container, purchasing one with an alternative door arrangement might be the right way to go. Double door containers are great if you need quick access to both ends of your storage space, while open side containers are helpful for maneuvering large items.

Usually, a double door shipping container will cost at least $4,000 while a side opening container can cost anywhere between $6,000 up through $12,000. Rent-A-Container has a variety of double door containers available, and they’ll usually cost between $3,700 and $5,000.

Should You Rent a Container– And How Much Does That Cost?

A group of shipping containers stacked along a street in a city as part of a construction project.

Whether you should purchase or rent a shipping container depends on your specific needs. Image courtesy of Daisy Linden.

Sometimes, you really don’t need to purchase a shipping container outright. If you only need storage space temporarily, or to move cargo on rare occasions, you might find that it’s not worth purchasing a whole container. Or maybe you just currently don’t have the money to buy one. It’s important to evaluate your own personal and business needs, but if you fall into any of these categories, renting might be the right decision for you.

In general, you can anticipate that a rented shipping container will cost between $75 and $200 per month, or up to $500 if you need extra features. With Rent-A-Container, 20’ containers can be rented starting from $75 per month and 40’ containers start at about $95 per month, but a good range to expect for a good-quality container is between $150 and $900 per month.


If you’re in need of a shipping container, it can be difficult to figure out how to find one– starting with what size and type is best suited for your needs right on to how to purchase or rent one. Knowing the average price of each type of container is also crucial to making plans for your business or building projects– having an idea of how much you’ll spend on storage space is a big step toward reaching your goals. With the price ranges we’ve provided, you should have a stronger understanding of what types of storage containers are available and how much they should reasonably cost you.