How To Compare Shipping Containers For Your Intended Use

There are several features to compare when searching for a Shipping Container to make sure you are buying the best container for the job, at the best value for your money, and with the right accessories or modifications applied.

It can be difficult to know where to start, and to know what questions to ask about comparing Shipping Containers before you buy one.  To help you out (because we are helpful Container Suppliers!) we have pulled together a list of features to compare when you buy your next container.

Compare New and Used Containers

20ft New Container

Deciding on a new or used Shipping Container often depends on what you plan to use it for.

New containers will have completed one trip overseas from China before being listed for sale, whereas a used container will have been used by the shipping industry typically for around 15 years.

New containers look better cosmetically and are therefore a more favourable option for conversion projects like container offices, pop-up businesses, etc.  They are also available in alternative sizes and designs such as side-opening, tunnel containers (open at both ends), and smaller 8ft or 10ft containers.

Used containers are a popular choice for export or general storage use. They are generally available in their standard shipping livery colors, with some wear and tear from extended use, but will be structurally sound. As with everything we sell they are professionally checked and if necessary repaired before resale, and come with our 12-month wind and watertight guarantee.

A new shipping container can be expected to last 2-3 times longer than a used container, so whilst they will cost you more initially they can offer better value for money in the long run. They can also hold a much better resale value when you want to get rid of them.

There are also other options to consider if you compare new and used containers, such as security which we have explained below.

You can find a more comprehensive comparison between new and used containers here.

Compare Container Insulation Options

Shipping Container Insulation

There are several ways to insulate your Shipping Container to protect the contents from condensation which can result in damp, and mildew.  Insulation is also important for reducing noise and improving temperature regulation in containers being converted into office spaces, catering units, and living spaces.

Options for container insulation include;

  • Adding insulation and ply-lining to the interior
  • Applying Grafotherm (spray foam)
  • Adding one of our self-fit container insulation kits

Your choice of shipping container insulation should be based on what you will use the container for. If your container is intended for conversion into a living space or somewhere you will be spending long periods of time, then the insulation must be more robust in order to prevent condensation and control temperature.

Insulation – Any material with insulating properties can be used inside your container, and this is held in place with a timber frame and covered with ply or melamine boards. This offers a very high level of insulation and will completely remove any condensation build-up, but it may be more than a lot of customers need if they are looking for condensation-free storage in a shipping container

Grafotherm spray foam – This is very much the industry standard condensation treatment option. It is applied to the inside of the roof and when it sets it forms a thick sponge-like layer that traps and hold any condensation once it’s formed.  This is widely available across our depot network in the UK, but for a typical storage customer, we are currently recommending our insulation kits as performing much better especially for long-term use.

Self-Fit insulation kit – Our self-insulation kits can be fitted to a container at any time to a thickness of approx. 4mm thick. This offers a level of thermal insulation equivalent to 55m of polystyrene. This significantly slows the rate of heat escaping which prevents condensation from building up inside the roof of the shipping container.   The kits are cut to size and come pre-fitted with industrial-grade sticky back plastic which is applied directly to the container walls and secured with a large roll of thermal tape which is also included.  These kits are generally more suited to storage containers rather than higher-end container conversions.

You might find our guide on How to Insulate a Shipping Container a useful source of further information.

Compare Container Sizes

40ft High Cube Container

Shipping Containers are most widely available in standard lengths of 20ft or 40ft sizes, and 8ft 6inches high which is to ensure that container ships, cranes, and haulage vehicles are able to move them around easily.  However other sizes are available, and we are able to source these for you!

You can choose a High Cube Shipping Container which has a 9ft 6-inch height, and most often 40ft in length although other lengths can be supplied. High Cube Containers are popular for larger storage needs, and sites that may want to stack pallets for storage, or run a forklift inside, but also living spaces or catering units due to their extra height.

Smaller 8ft, and 10ft containers are popular for smaller storage spaces for tools or garden equipment, and archives or furniture.

Compare Container Security Options

Securing your container is important and there are several options to compare.  A Shipping Container Lock Box is the most obvious option. A Lock Box is essentially an anti-vandal padlock surround that covers your lock to prevent thieves from attacking it with a bolt cutter or attempting to jimmy it off. Lock Boxes are fitted as standard to a new Shipping Container and can be added by us to a used Shipping Container (if requested when ordering), we also supply self-fitting Lock Boxes for older containers, available here.

You can also purchase a sturdy container padlock from us to secure your container. We have two options available, you can compare these container padlocks here.

Other container security options to compare are Shipping Container Security Alarms and external lighting such as these wireless Outdoor Solar Powered Lights which are ideal for lighting up your storage yard, or poorly lit areas to deter any intruders who could be sniffing around.

Compare Container Suppliers

This is possibly one of the most important features to compare when looking to buy a Shipping Container (perhaps we should have put it further up the list?!)

There are many container suppliers in the market who do not offer the levels of experience, value, and quality of service that we pride ourselves on here at Budget Shipping Containers.  Our team has years of experience in sourcing Shipping Containers from our trusted network of container suppliers. Our staff have all come to us from customer-service based roles, usually from within the container supply, haulage, or shipping industries so they know their stuff, and they will never try to bamboozle our customers with pushy sales techniques or jargon!  We are here to source you the best possible container for the purpose it is intended, and at the best value for money. If you aren’t sure which container you need then we are able to advise you honestly, and helpfully!

When you contact us to source a container, we will use the information you provide (we know the right questions to ask!) to put together a detailed quote that includes delivery to your UK postcode. We will thoroughly discuss all options with you, as well as delivery procedures and any other details we need to ensure the whole process is managed smoothly from start to finish.

If you have any further questions about comparing Shipping Containers, please do not hesitate to ask! You can also find lots of helpful information on the Guides section of our website. offer the UK’s largest online range of shipping containers for sale with a nationwide network of storage and conversion yards and crane equipped delivery vehicles.

If you need a shipping container feel free to browse our online range of shipping containers for sale, which also includes our ranges of flat pack sheds, container canopies and more. You can also call us on freephone 0808 1234 215 any time 9am – 7pm weekdays and our team will be happy to discuss your requirements. Alternatively, you can use our online shipping container quote form or request a telephone callback. In both cases we aim to get back to you within 1-2 working hours (may take longer for more detailed quotes).

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