Conex Box vs. Shipping/Storage Container vs. Cargo Container: What's the Difference?

Breaking down the different types of shipping containers.

Once you've decided you need a storage container, your next step is to begin researching different types of shipping containers. You'll likely find steel storage containers for rent or sale by looking online. These containers go by many different names including, but not limited to, cargo containers, conex boxes (or connex boxes), sea cans, and ISO containers. This brings us to an important question: What is the difference between the types of shipping containers?

From United Rentals' perspective, they all mean the same thing. Most of our cargo containers are made from 14-gauge corrugated steel sides and roofs with 14-gauge steel cam-locking doors, qualifying them as heavy-duty equipment.

Let's dive into some of the most common names for these storage containers and their origins:

  • Cargo container: Widely used in the U.S. and the UK, this name comes from the container's ability to safely store and transport cargo.

  • Conex box: Often used by professional shipping and storage companies, this name hails from an old logistics model called the Container Express. This was soon shortened to "Conex."

  • Sea can: Another common name for the same thing, this name likely stems from the container's ability to withstand journeys across oceans.

  • ISO container: ISO containers are storage containers that are certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). These are containers that meet the specific standards of the ISO.

  • Shipping/storage container: These are the most common names for these containers and derive from their durability for shipping and storing goods and materials.

So how do you determine what is best for you? First, you must decide if you only need the container for a limited time (and therefore plan to rent it) or if you want to purchase it outright. United Rentals has the inventory and availability to rent a wind- and waterproof storage container to you for a month or two, or even for several years, depending on the length of your project.

Look no further than the United Rentals ' Guide to Renting a Storage Container for information on some of the factors to consider before renting -- or buying -- a storage container.

Our sales representatives will be happy to discuss your needs and show you options that solve your storage or office space challenges.

For more information on any storage containers for rent or sale, don't hesitate to contact us about storage container and mobile offices.

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