Compare Mobile Storage Containers

At first glance, all mobile storage containers may look alike. They’re not. Understanding the different materials and the manufacturing processes used will ensure you purchase the correct mobile storage containers. Containers will be your largest investment into your mobile storage business. Invest wisely into quality containers that produce income for the life of your business and add value to your business. Get information on different containers. Get product information. Get answers to your container questions. Get quality storage containers that last. Get MI-BOX.


Is the appearance of a container really important?

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Your belongings and your families life possessions will be kept in a storage containers. Now, would you like a container dropped off at your house or place of business looking worn or rusty? Would you like to struggle opening the door only see water stains or dirty wall panels?  We don’t think so. Now, wouldn’t you like to have a container dropped off looking like it’s brand new, sturdy and secure? Well, MI-BOX has been manufacturing mobile storage containers since 2004. Our dealers have tested them from coast to coast in the United States and Canada in every climate imaginable for many years. We build the longest lasting containers available.

With a smooth exterior composite wall panel, hot dipped galvanized frame and structural flooring system, MI-BOX containers are built to last a lifetime. Our nationally recognized MI-BOX logo on the side of each storage container gives each customer the assured confidence their belongings are safe and secure. MI-BOX customers will notice how clean and spacious the interior is. There are no interior posts so loading the largest of items is easy. There will be no water stains or rust. They will get an attractive, bright, clean, and spacious container every time. Something that they will remember and pass your name along to family, friends and co-workers.

  • appearance_of_a_container_1MI-BOX – The Good
  • appearance_of_a_container_2Other Guys – The Bad
  • appearance_of_a_container_3Other Guys – The Ugly

Quality Design & Materials

The structural integrity of a mobile storage container is comprised of the design and materials used in the manufacturing process. Inexpensive containers use cheaper materials and manufacturing process that cut corners. Quality containers use materials and designs tested and proven to work over time.

Make sure the containers you are going to purchase can handle the intended weight of your customer’s belongings. Container and contents can often weigh close to 10,000 lbs.  Mobile storage containers should be capable of stacking on to one another easily, quickly and safely. Containers should be able to withstand any weather conditions and climate. Buy your containers from a reputable supplier who has had them in service for years. Buy them once and use them for life.

Wall Panels

Wall panels not only need to be good looking, but they need to be strong and resistant. Steel skin exteriors without the correct backing can easily dent and rust. They also offer little structural integrity. Plywood wall panels skinned in aluminum can wear at the point of fasteners causing moisture to penetrate and can cause mold issues.

MI-BOX uses composite wall panels. They will not rust, rot, decay or mold. They last much longer than wood, rolled steel or plastics and require almost no maintenance. Composites add structural integrity and have been used in the transportation industry for decades… that’s why MI-BOX uses it.

Wall panels should be overlapping the steel frame where possible…not tucked towards the inside of the container. The bottom portion of the container can form a natural channel where water can pool up and eventually seep into container. Quality containers have the wall panel bolted to the outside of the steel structure, therefore water cannot pool up anywhere and simply run down the container naturally, causing no harm to the inside of the container. Foam tape and caulk are not miracle workers, and a good container design will never let water just pool up and sit on caulk or foam tape, therefore eliminating any water problems.

  • best_wall_panel_1MI-BOX – Wall Panel Overlapped
  • best_wall_panel_2MI-BOX – One Piece Clean Look
  • best_wall_panel_3Other Guys – Wall Panels Tucked In


Steel Finish

There are many different finishes used to coat the steel on containers. One is to simply paint over primer. This is the least expensive and the one that requires constant maintenance. Rust will appear and constant sanding and re painting is necessary to maintain a desirable appearance.

Powder Coating is another common finish. This application can be good and durable if applied the way it is intended. There are many steps in this process to achieve desired results. Unfortunately, to be cost effective for mobile storage containers, short cuts usually are taken. Proper cleaning and preparation of the steel is necessary for any finish to bond properly. It is simply not cost effective to take the necessary steps to prep the steel properly and therefore powder coating and painting are NOT recommended. They will require constant maintenance. The only question is when.

Hot dipped galvanizing is the longest lasting and most durable finish that can be applied to steel. The steel goes through a dipping process in large vats, from cleaning, etching, and application of molten zinc. This is the most expensive way to protect steel, but it will outlast just about everyone who is living today without any maintenance. It has been tested and used in the harshest environments on earth. Just look at every guard rail, sign posts and light posts going down the highways of North America. That in it should tell you how durable this product is. Bar none, it is the best coating for mobile storage containers. That’s why MI-BOX does it to every container we manufacture.

  • best_finish_1Other Guys – ISO Container Finish
  • best_finish_2Other Guys – Powder Coating
  • best_finish_3Other Guys – Paint over Primer
  • hot_dipped_galvanizing_1Hot Dipped Galvanizing
  • hot_dipped_galvanizing_2MI-BOX – Galvanized Containers
  • hot_dipped_galvanizing_3Most Durable Finish used on Guard Rails


The roof is another major component of any mobile storage container. The roof needs to be watertight and be able to withstand heavy ice and snow loads. They need to be strong enough to stack other containers directly on them and the design should allow for a margin of error when stacking.

Plastic roofs can crack and tear and will reduce the life expectancy of your container. Translucent polypropylene and polyethylene roof panels are plastic. They will expand and contract under different temperatures. They will crack over time as UV light breaks down its structure and plastic offers little to no structural integrity. Sun will penetrate them and allow harmful UV light in – only to fade the stored contents inside over time. Translucent roofs will show nasty stains left behind from standing water and ice.

Aluminum one piece seam sealed roofs have been used in the transportation industry for decades. Semi-trailers can be seen everywhere using the same technology used in MI-BOX mobile storage containers. Proven designs that work.

  • make_a_good_roof_1MI-BOX – Inside View of Roof
  • make_a_good_roof_2MI-BOX – Outside View of Roof
  • make_a_good_roof_3Other Guys – Translucent Roof Issues

Roll up Doors vs. Swing Doors

The roll up door is most commonly used in the mobile storage industry for various reasons. They require no extra room to open so cars and other containers can be placed next to a storage container. They don’t have hinges to wear out or cause doors not to close properly. Roll up doors require very little maintenance.

Swing doors require more space, require more maintenance and can be difficult to operate in windy conditions. Swing doors have a tendency to get out of square, thus creating problems upon opening and closing the doors. Roll up doors have been used successfully for many years at self-storage facilities. Most importantly, customers prefer them as they are easy to use.

  • roll_up_doors_1No Need for Extra Space with RollUp Doors
  • roll_up_doors_2Swing Doors Need Extra Space


The base floor structure is a major structural component of any mobile storage container. The steel structure of the floor must not bend or flex as it causes premature failure of wall panels, fasteners and doors. MI-BOX containers use a heavy gauge steel and minimum of 20″ on center I-beam structural steel.

Full-width forklift tubes are stronger and safer than forklift “pockets” that are just cut out to accommodate forklift forks.

The actual flooring material should be able to be easily replaced. Steel is not recommended as it would be hard to replace, it adds weight, and becomes slippery when wet. Plywood with a minimum thickness of 3⁄4 of an inch seems to be the industry standard and is holding up just fine.

MI-BOX flooring is specially designed with inserts for removable wheels which are much more versatile than permanent mounted casters. The wall panels attached directly to the flooring structure which increases the structural integrity of the container.

  • makes_a_good_base_1MI-BOX – EZ Replace Floor
  • makes_a_good_base_2MI-BOX – Full Width Forklift Tubes
  • makes_a_good_base_3 Removable Wheels (optional)

Pneumatic Wheels vs. Permanent Casters

There are pros and cons to either pneumatic or permanent casters but the cons of permanent casters far out way the pros. Permanent casters will never go flat but require a hard surface to be rolled upon. On a hot summer day rolling a container with steel casters can leave an indentation into asphalt. Plywood runners should be used on all deliveries to protect the drive surface from damage. This is tedious.

Stacking containers with permanent casters can be difficult and damage to the roof of the bottom container often occurs. Casters do break when stuck in unpaved surfaces and the protective coatings do tear off if the container is ever dragged. They cost about $ 100 each and can add up to $ 400 for each container.

Pneumatic wheels roll on just about any surface. There is no need for plywood runners. They work well over rocks, grass and other unpaved surfaces. They don’t damage driveway surfaces. The container weight is spread out over a larger surface making it easier to roll on and off delivery trucks or trailers. Pneumatic wheels by MI-BOX pivot, enabling the operator to keep the container square to the trailer or truck.

The removable wheel is much more cost effective. One set of 4 can be used on as many containers as you have because you take them with you. Containers are easily stacked without the wheels. Advantage Removable Pneumatic Wheels.

  • pneumatic_wheels_1Removable Wheels EZ to Use
  • pneumatic_wheels_2Other Guys – Permanent Casters
  • pneumatic_wheels_3Other Guys – !@#$ Happens


MI-BOX mobile storage containers are so well built that they are the only container available that can be financed over 20 years. That’s right 20 years. MI-BOX has spent years working with different financial institutions to prove the longevity of our container designs. We are very proud to partner with a bank that offers 20 year financing on our containers.


Stacking containers should be quick, easy and safe. MI-BOX containers are designed and built to stack just like building blocks… one on top of the other… up to 3 high. (28 ft. clear ceiling space is needed to stack 3 high).

MI-BOX containers sit right on top of our specially designed roof pads which keeps the seam sealed one piece roof from ever being damaged. Leaving a space in between the floor of the top container and the roof of the bottom container eliminates costly roof repairs and ensures a water tight seal.

Containers should be designed so you don’t have to set upper container perfectly onto lower container. There needs to be a little forgiveness there.

  • containers_be_stacked_1MI-BOX – Space Between Containers
  • containers_be_stacked_2MI-BOX – Stacking Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect
  • containers_be_stacked_3MI-BOX – Easily Stacked without Damage

Shipping & Assembly

A big part in making a decision with what type of container design that you are going to purchase is not only the quality of the containers but also how long it will take for final assembly and how many containers can be shipped on one truck. Some manufacturers have to ship them already assembled. Some offer a foldable design and others are sold in a kit form. The foldable design usually take about 1/2 hour and the kit forms take about 1 hour to assemble.

How long a container takes you to do the final assembly is really irrelevant to the longevity and quality that the container is going to give you. Something that might take a bit longer in the beginning, but has less maintenance and a longer shelf life should be worth the minimal extra effort. Shipping multiple units on one truck is a necessity in this business. The more containers that you can ship on one truck, the less the actual cost per unit will be.

  • shipping_assembly_1MI-BOX – 21 Containers On 1 Truck
  • shipping_assembly_2Other Guys – 4 Containers On 1 Truck


Click here to return to main containers page.

MI-BOX Mobile Storage franchise opportunities are available in the United States and Canada