Finding quality and affordable moving boxes is one of the most important steps to preparing for your move, whether you're relocating across the country or down the street. When finding moving boxes, you'll want to look for ones that are sturdy enough to hold up to jostling in a truck, will securely store the type of items you're moving—like a television or rack of clothes—and are easy to label and keep track of. You should also look for boxes that won't dip into your monthly rent or mortgage fund and can be used again.
"While you want strong boxes, you don't want the boxes themselves to weigh a lot, especially since movers will be charging you by the pound," notes Scott Borgert, Merchant, Storage at Home Depot. "Corrugated moving boxes are impact-resistant but light enough to keep costs low when packed well."
Our top pick, UBoxes Pack of 15 Medium Boxes, is affordable, high-quality, and will work for almost every use. While you need to buy tape separately, the boxes come in a pack of 15 and can be used many times. Plus, they're made of corrugated cardboard, the material that Borgert recommends.
Here are the best moving boxes for keeping your belongings safe and organized.
Best Overall: UBoxes Medium Boxes, Pack of 15
Come in a pack of 15
No labeling marks or template
For a great, all-purpose moving box, we recommend UBoxes Medium Boxes. They come in a pack of 15 and have enough space to pack up a room—and then some. Medium boxes are a great choice if you aren’t sure what size to get. With the exception of extra-large items like TVs or specialty items like hanging clothes, these can fit just about anything you want to move from Point A to Point B.
Each box can hold up to 30 pounds. While there are boxes out there with a heavier weight limit, remember that you will have to lift and carry these boxes when you pack and unpack your moving truck. Medium boxes are a good option if you want to make the most of your packing materials, but still want to be able to actually move them. The UBoxes do not have handles and need to be carried from the bottom. This is certainly a big downside, but the moving boxes are good quality and can even last through multiple moves and time in a storage unit, which is another reason why they're our top pick. Especially for the low price, you would expect to receive fewer and more cheaply made boxes.
Now, you will also need to purchase tape and markers separately. These boxes are plain and do not have a place to label the contents or room the items belong to unless you choose to write on the outside with a marker. Most people do that when moving anyway, so it is not a major issue in our eyes.
Best Budget: CHEAP! CHEAP! Medium Moving Boxes, Pack of 20
Pack of 20 boxes
Need to be labeled
Packing tape needed
These CHEAP! CHEAP! moving boxes are some of our favorite moving boxes for their budget-friendly price tag and durability. They come in a pack of 20, perfect for an entire room or two (depending on your needs). This one pack will likely work for a larger room with a lot of decor, such as a family room. It may also work alongside other specialty boxes, such as a wardrobe box, to provide the perfect amount of storage for two bedrooms.
The boxes aren’t labeled, so you'll need to do your own labeling before moving day. You'll also need to construct them using packing tape. We recommend reinforcing the bottom of the boxes to add to their 65-pound weight capacity and durability, especially if you are packing heavier items. Keep in mind that these are not heavy-duty boxes. They aren’t made to hold extremely heavy items like books. These medium-sized boxes have handles, though, which can be used if you are packing and carrying lighter items. If you're packing heavier items inside, we recommend carrying them from the bottom for the best experience.
Best Small: Bankers Box SmoothMove Classic Small Moving Boxes, Pack of 10
No tape required to construct box
Not very secure
Lid should be taped down
These small moving boxes are perfect for small items, knickknacks, decor, and even files; plus, they don’t need tape. Just press down to form the box and the included lid. If you plan to put them in a moving truck, plan to secure the lid with tape to keep the contents from spilling out during a sharp turn. These boxes are most suitable for a short-distance move or for taking smaller items in your vehicle to your new home because the lid can be a little unpredictable at times.
However, considering they are durable enough to be used more than once, these boxes are a particularly great deal. The boxes have handles, which are located below the lid for easy carrying. (If you do tape the lid, avoid the handle area so you can easily carry the boxes.) The smaller moving boxes are also made from 75 percent post-consumer recycled materials, making them one of the more eco-friendly options on the market and on our list. They also come in a pack of 10 for organizing several collections of items.
Best Large: CHEAP! CHEAP! Large Moving Boxes, Pack of 12
Made of durable cardboard
Not suitable for super heavy items
Require packing tape
These moving boxes are indeed cheap in cost but still durable in construction. They are made of corrugated cardboard and can hold up to 65 pounds each. You will need tape to secure the bottom and top seams. This is especially the case if you plan to leave your items in storage for a longer period of time. However, you will find the boxes are easy to carry from your home to a moving truck, thanks to built-in handles.
The CHEAP! CHEAP! boxes come wrapped in plastic wrap and banded, as well. This helps ensure they arrive to you without any damage. Given their more budget-friendly price point, this perk really adds a lot of value and ensures you get the maximum use out of your purchase. You can buy these large boxes in either a 6-pack or 12-pack, and several other sizes and combinations are also available online.
These boxes are perfect for large items that are not extremely heavy, such as kitchen platters or decor. You won’t want to overload them with things like books or electronics, but they will do the job for most items you want to move, including large stacks of clothing, bedding, or stuffed animals and toys.
Best Kit: U-Haul 1-2 Bedroom Kit
Recommended variety of boxes
Includes packing materials
Can be customized
Unused boxes can be returned
The best moving kit comes from U-Haul. While this kit is definitely more expensive, U-Haul has taken almost all the guesswork out of getting the boxes and packing materials you need for a successful move. U-Haul offers kits for apartments, one-to-two-bedroom, three-to-four-bedroom, and more than four-bedroom homes. The kits have the recommended number of boxes for packing everything in your space, in addition to a variety of sizes and packing and padding materials like tape. You can even return unused boxes after your move, thanks to the brand's buy-back program, and recycle the ones you did use and don't need anymore.
You can further customize your kit by adding or subtracting certain items. For example, if you have a large collection of books, you can add heavy-duty boxes to hold them. If you have extra mattresses, you can add mattress bags. The downside of U-Haul kits is that they are quite a bit more expensive than if you purchased from cheaper retailers. However, U-Haul makes quality boxes that won’t break, are easy to label and will suit all of your needs. If you want the most convenient option, these kits are definitely it.
Best Bin: HDX 27 Gallon Tough Storage Tote
Last for years
Can be used for storage
Can be easily stacked
Easy to overpack
No place to label
If you want something that will last for years and through multiple moves and can be used for storage in either a storage unit or your new space, look no further than the HDX line of tough storage totes. Our at-home tester used these through multiple moves, in storage units, and to keep seasonal decor. The totes lock with zip ties on the sides, although you will need to purchase the zip ties separately.
The boxes are expensive, at almost the same cost for one tote as it is for a 12-pack of cardboard boxes. If you just want to move once and be done, these totes are probably more than you need. But, if you are willing to spend more upfront, these totes will last you for as long as you need them to. They also stack, with each lid offering space for the base of the box on top.
There are multiple sizes available. The 27-gallon works great for many items, although be careful not to pack it full of heavy things like books. (It will be difficult to move if it is overpacked.) The box sizes range from 7 gallons to 70 gallons, and not all will stack within each other, so we recommend getting multiples of the same size to maximize your packing space. There is also no place to label these boxes unless you add a sticky label, which our tester did. You can write on the yellow or red lids in a permanent marker, but it is hard to read when they are stacked, and the labels may not work for your next move or long-term storage.
Best for Books: Lowe’s Medium Heavy Duty Box with Handles
Can be purchased individually
Need tape, sold separately
Books are some of the hardest items to pack due to their weight. However, these Lowe’s heavy-duty boxes are strong enough to support the added weight and small enough to keep your books organized and manageable. They also have built-in handles to make moving them even easier. The corrugated cardboard walls are double-layered, with 0.25-inches of reinforced cardboard compared to the standard 0.125-inches.
You will need to reinforce the seams of this box with packing tape, which is, unfortunately, sold separately. This is a particularly important step to take at the bottom of the box to make sure that the box stays constructed—even when filled with books. These boxes are twice the cost of the standard medium boxes from Lowe’s. However, if you need to move books, they are worth the higher cost. They come individually, so you only need to purchase as many as you will use.
Best for TVs and Mirrors: Bankers Box SmoothMove TV/Picture/Mirror Moving Box, Large
Packing materials sold separately
If there is one item in your home that needs a specialty moving box, it’s your TV. Not only are TVs heavy and bulky, but they are also very fragile. Having a specialty TV moving box will ensure that your TV is safe and secure. Plus, the same box can also be used for large pictures or mirrors, although not all together. One box per item!
The Bankers Box TV moving box is the best option for its durable construction, price, and labeling. The outside is clearly labeled “Fragile” with two arrows pointing up to designate the top. It also has a “TV/Picture/Mirror” on the edge so that everyone knows exactly what is inside. The box does not include packing paper or cushioning, which we highly recommend to protect your TV during your move. It is expensive for a single box, but it’s much cheaper than a new TV and ultimately worth the splurge.
Best for Glassware: UBoxes Glass Cell Divider Kit
Holds 12 glasses at one time
Includes protective sleeves
Can be stacked for extra tall glasses
Box purchased separately
Made for a specific box
Glassware is one of the most fragile things you have to move. This kit from UBoxes has everything you need to protect your favorite cups and glasses in your moving boxes. It comes with a frame that fits 12 standard wine glasses, as well as protective pouches for each glass. It can also work with highball glasses, water glasses, or most other styles. If you have particularly large or tall glasses, you may need to purchase two and stack them in a taller box.
You will need to purchase a moving box separately, however, which is a downside. This kit fits perfectly with the UBoxes 1.5-cubic-foot box, and while you can use the kit with boxes from other brands, be sure to check all the measurements to make sure it will fit snugly. The frame should be snug within the box to keep your glasses from moving around during transit.
Our top pick is the UBoxes Pack of 15 Medium Boxes. They are budget-friendly, delivered quickly, and durable enough for most moving tasks. The medium size can work for books, decor, clothes, and many other household items. The CHEAP! CHEAP! Medium Moving Boxes are another top option. They come in a pack of 20 and combine durability and an awesome, low price point.
What to Look for in a Moving Box
When shopping for moving boxes, first consider the type and weight of the items you need to move. This will be key when selecting the sizes you need. While most homes will need a variety of sizes to pack everything, if you have a lot of heavy items like books, you will likely need more smaller boxes than large boxes. If you have a lot of decor and pillows, stock up on a few extra-large boxes, so your items aren't too squished.
Specialty boxes to pack glassware or dishes are essential to make sure your items make it from one place to another safely. The best thing to do is get a variety of sizes and be ready to order or buy extras in the sizes that you need.
The number of boxes you need will depend on the size of your home and how many things you plan to move. Many homes use between 10 and 12 boxes per room. However, if you are packing up a large dish collection or linen closet, you might need more—or less. It's quite possible that when you are preparing for a move, you're going through your things and donating a lot to charity or selling off items you don't want to take with you. In that case, you may need fewer boxes than you had planned. Start by planning for 10 to 12 per room and adjust from there.
Handles are a great way to carry boxes when you are packing or unpacking your moving truck. They can make lifting them significantly easier, whether the items inside are light or heavy. When picking out boxes, consider the ones with handles so that you don't need to lift the boxes from the bottom. This is particularly important to consider if the box is a medium or large size and potentially too big and bulky to comfortably and safely hold from the bottom.
Other Packing Materials Needed
Most boxes require packing tape to secure them, so you'll likely need to add that item to your cart if you're shopping for moving boxes. If you get a lower-quality box, you might need more packing tape than originally planned to reinforce the box at its seams. Other materials you may need include items to cushion the things in the box, such as bubble wrap, packing paper, or styrofoam, as well as items to help transport the boxes, such as a dolly or hand truck. All of these costs add up and might make purchasing a packing kit a cheaper and easier option.
What are the best places to buy moving boxes?
The cheapest places to purchase moving boxes are most often online. When buying online, the boxes will be delivered to you. This can take a few days, and the boxes may come damaged.
Buying moving boxes from a store, like Home Depot or Lowe’s, can be a little bit more expensive, but you will know exactly what you are getting and don’t have the same risk of damage. Buying boxes from a moving company is often the most expensive option, but it is the most convenient. They also have the largest inventory, including other packing and moving materials you might need, like a dolly or bubble wrap. Not to mention, they can also make recommendations for your move based on their expertise.
Is it better to move with boxes, tote bags, or bins?
Cardboard boxes are the cheapest option out of boxes, tote bags, and bins, which is why so many people love them when it’s time to move. Tote bags are good for certain items but can be hard to stack in a moving truck. Bins are the most expensive but will last the longest. They can also be used for storage and even other moves. The best option for you will depend on your budget and if you expect to need to move again in the future.
“I recommend that people use a system when moving, storing things, or just trying to get organized,” says professional home organizer Sandra Bent. “I always start by determining what type of storage works best for the situation.” For moving, this can include boxes, tote bags, or bins, but the key is to stick with the same thing for all (or at least most) of your items.
What’s the best way to pack boxes for moving?
When packing boxes for moving, you should start by laying down a layer of packing materials to protect the bottom of your items. This can be packing paper, bubble wrap, styrofoam peanuts, or a particularly eco-friendly option like newspaper or your personal towels. Wrap breakable items in additional layers of protection.
It’s best to pack the boxes as full as you can without overloading them. This keeps items from jostling and potentially getting broken during transit. If you have gaps in the box, you can fill it with wadded-up packing paper, towels, or socks.
What’s the best way to label boxes for moving?
Every box should be labeled with its intended room before you load it into your moving truck. The best time to do this is when you are packing. Have a permanent marker nearby to mark the room where the box will go. Keep in mind that the room you are packing up may or may not correspond to the room in your new home.
We recommend having a “parts” box specifically for the hardware needed to put any of your furniture back together. Having all of these things in one box (along with a basic tool kit) will make assembling your furniture much easier at your destination. Make sure to label this box, too!
You may also want to have a box designated for your first couple of nights in your new home. This can hold items like towels, utensils, a change of clothes, phone chargers, and other necessities for living. This way, you won’t need to unpack every box just to find your toothbrush.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Katie Begley, a freelance writer specializing in home and family products. Katie has been writing for The Spruce since 2019. As a military veteran and former military spouse, Katie has moved across the country, locally, and even overseas. For this article, she spoke to professional organizer Sandra Bent to get extra insight about the best tips for moving and packing and considered price point, durability, size, amount, features, and practicality. Additional insight and moving tips were provided by Scott Borgert, Merchant, Storage at Home Depot.