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Shipping Container Sheds vs. Metal Sheds

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Are there benefits to using a shipping container shed instead of a traditional shed for storage? To help you decide, we’ll provide an analysis of the pros and cons of metal sheds versus onsite storage container sheds, available as standard or high cube. We compare factors like cost, security, and assembly time.


Take a look at this side-by-side comparison of a 20-foot container and a popular 10 ft x 15 ft metal shed:

  20-foot ISO Container with One Roll-up Door Metal Shed Kit
Footprint Area 160 square-feet 150 square-feet
Cubic Space for Storage 1156 cubic-feet 1021.9 cubic-feet
Set-up Time <4 Hours 18+ hours (+10 hours to pour concrete slab)
Entry Points A 7’8” opening with two cargo doors and another 6’ opening with an overhead roll-up door A 9’6” opening with twin doors
Security Extremely Secure Secure
Mobility Easy to Relocate with a forklift or crane Permanently placed unless you can disassemble and reassemble the shed
Longevity 25+ years 10+ years
Customizations Additional features such as personnel doors and climate control available Set as described on kit


Now, let’s dive deeper to explore additional considerations.

Onsite Storage Container Pros and Cons


  • Security: Made of durable Corten steel, shipping containers are extremely secure. If theft has been a problem for your business, an outdoor storage container will help fortify your stored material.
  • Mobility: Containers can be redeployed to wherever they are most needed.
  • Minimal set up: No assembly is required. Once the container is unloaded from the truck, you’re good to go.
  • No foundation required: You can skip the foundation if you have a flat, dry, and level space.
  • Customizable: Request customizations for your container unit based on your needs.


  • Up-front cost: Onsite ISO storage containers will probably cost more than a metal shed kit from a large retailer.
  • Lead time: Lead time to delivery will likely be longer as containers require modifications upon ordering.
  • Aesthetics: Some neighborhoods may place zoning restrictions on shipping container placement.


View customization and modification options for metal shipping containers

Metal Shed Pros and Cons


  • Up-front cost: Metal sheds will most likely cost less than an onsite shipping container shed.
  • Aesthetics: Neighboring businesses are unlikely to have an issue with the placement of traditional sheds.
  • Lead time: Delivery time will likely be shorter, considering many sheds kits are pre-made.


  • Assembly time: Assembly often takes longer than the manufacturer’s suggested timeframe. If you’re not technically inclined or good with power tools, assembly will may take around 18 labor hours.
  • Foundation cost and lead time: Many sheds require a slab foundation, a cost not built into the upfront price. Flooring is also not included. If you would like to install vinyl on top of the concrete, add another $300 or so to the price.

Cost Comparison of a Storage Shed vs. Shipping Container


The sticker price of a metal shed is lower upfront. If personal property owners are willing to give a few weekends to pouring a slab and building a backyard shed, a kit will probably be the more economical purchase.

However, some businesses may have different priorities. Between pouring a foundation and assembly, paying for the convenience of a complete, foundation-free container may be well worthwhile. If a contractor pours the foundation for the shed, you also must add at least another $1,000 or more to the budgeted cost for a 150 square foot slab.

While a shipping container costs more up front, businesses usually gain the remaining value in mobility and security when stolen or damaged equipment is a serious liability. Placing high-value assets inside a container offers business owners peace of mind. Keep in mind a container will likely outlast a traditional storage shed. Modified containers have a lifespan of 25+ years where a traditional shed will only last around 10+ years.

Businesses are also more likely to benefit from the container’s mobility. Instead of rebuilding a shed at a new location, businesses can pick up and move their onsite storage container. Customizations such as windows and doors, lighting, climate control, and even branding for example, are also more readily available. While paying for these added benefits may not make sense for someone seeking a backyard storage shed, they offer long-term benefits to businesses.

Containers are ideal for companies and organizations; sheds are ideal for personal property owners and backyard storage. If your business is considering a shipping container shed for storage, be sure to check out our Storage Floor Plan Product Catalog below, then reach out with your needs and questions by contacting us at 877-704-0177 or emailing

Download Storage floor plan catalog


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