Buying New vs. Used Shipping Container: Which to choose?

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    If you’re on the lookout for an option to store your things or add to your workspace, buying a new or used shipping container is an excellent option.

    Shipping containers are incredibly versatile and can be used for everything from transporting goods across the ocean to providing convenient storage solutions right in your backyard. But when it comes to making the important decision of what kind of container to buy, one of the key factors to consider is whether to go for a new or used shipping container.

    Let’s explore the pros and cons of new vs. used to help you make the right choice for your unique needs. First a quick clarification:

    • New Shipping Container refers to a “One-trip” Container that has made one trip across the ocean from Asia to North America. Kind of like a “new” car will often have a few miles on it, this is as new of a container as you can get in North America.

    • Used Shipping Container refers to a “Multi-trip” Container that has made several trips across the ocean or even around the world. It was constructed to withstand the elements and carry large amounts of cargo, and it still has lots of life left in it.
    Buying New vs. Used Shipping Container Get Simple Box

    Color and Cosmetic Condition of New vs. Used Containers

    One of the most noticeable differences between new and used shipping containers is their appearance. One-trip containers have that shiny, clean, and “new” look that often makes people say “Wow… this is such a nice container!” when they first look inside them. They also typically show fewer signs of wear and tear. On the other hand, used containers tend to show the marks of their previous journeys: dings, dents, scrapes, surface rust, etc.

    It’s important to note that both new and used containers are made of the same durable steel, which offers excellent corrosion resistance. New Shipping containers are typically painted in lighter colors like light gray or tan and they are fairly bright and clean on the interior as well. Used shipping container exteriors are often darker in color, ranging from dark blue or green to dark red.

    Buying New 20 foot Shipping Container Get Simple Box

    One Trip Shipping Container vs. Multi-use Container

    New containers have made just one trip across the ocean before being made available for sale or rent to the general public. This means they’ve had minimal use and are in excellent condition. They are perfect for those who want a container with very little wear and tear.

    On the other hand, used containers have had a longer journey, spending 10 or more years traveling all over around. If you don’t mind that your container has been used for hauling a variety of cargo and has some visible signs of wear, a used container can be a cost-effective choice.

    Price Difference of New vs. Used Containers

    The cost to buy a Container is a significant factor when deciding between new and used shipping containers. New containers are typically $1,000 to $2,000 more expensive than their used counterparts. However, this higher price tag comes with some benefits. New containers may come with a warranty or a leak-free guarantee, giving you peace of mind about their condition.

    Buying Used 40 foot Shipping Container Get Simple Box

    Features only available on New Containers

    New containers offer more customization options. Because there are less dents or surface rust, it is cheaper and easier to modify a new Shipping Container.

    You can choose additional features like extra doors, windows, or other modifications to better suit your specific needs.

    Finally, New shipping containers may come with additional features or configurations, such as having extra vents, easy-open cargo doors, or open-side containers which feature extra doors on the side of a 20 foot or 40 foot container.

    Smaller 10 foot shipping containers, typically only come in new or one-trip condition.

    Availability of Used vs. New Containers

    The availability of new and used containers can vary, depending on the size and type you’re looking for. Currently, New 20 foot shipping containers  and 40 foot shipping containers are more readily available, making them a convenient option for quick delivery right away. 

    If looking to buy a used container, we currently have used 40 foot High Cube containers readily available, but used 20 foot shipping containers are in more limited supply. The availability of used containers can also vary by location, so it’s a good idea to check with any of our container depot locations near you for the most accurate information.

    What do we Recommend

    Choosing between a new or used shipping container boils down to your specific requirements, budget, and priorities. New containers are ideal for those who want a pristine, durable container with the option for customization. Used containers can be a cost-effective choice for those who don’t mind a bit of wear and tear and are looking to save some money.

    Our most common recommendation is to buy a new 20 foot container because it is convenient, looks good, and can be delivered anywhere.

    Whether you’re planning to buy a container for long-term storage or you are looking to rent or move with a portable storage solution, make the choice that aligns best with your requirements and budget. New or used, a shipping container is an excellent investment that will serve you well for years to come, and we will be happy to be part of your decision.

    Contact your local container company today and reach out to any of our Get Simple Box team members!

    Buying New vs Used Shipping Container Get Simple Box


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