What Size Rental Truck Do I Need?


Choosing What Size Rental Truck You Need

You're preparing for a do-it-yourself move and you've decided to rent a moving truck, great choice! But as you prepare to reserve your truck you realize that you have no clue what truck size you should rent - does this sound like you? Rest assured that you are not alone in this dilemma, which is why we've taken the time to create this moving guide.

One factor that you may find contributing to your uncertainty is the extensive amount of vague and generic advice on the Internet. For example, you've likely come across advice that stated something like "a 14' truck will move 1-2 bedrooms". The problem, we believe at least, is that these statements don't first define how big a bedroom is. When did a bedroom become a unit of measure? Oh, that's right, it didn't. That's because 1-2 bedrooms means something completely different depending on where you are located. For example, in Arizona and Texas you can almost guarantee that the average bedroom is larger than in New York City. And of course, a bedroom in a downtown highrise is going to be smaller than one in a suburban town.

If you're worried about fitting all of your items into your truck, consider hiring moving help to properly load your truck. Professionally trained movers will take necessary steps to maximize all of the available space in your truck. Request your moving labor quote now!

A Look at Rental Truck Sizes

The smallest rental truck size available is 10', the largest is 26'. Depending on the truck rental company you will find 2 to 5 additional size variations in between. If you're having trouble deciding between two size options then it's best to remember the golden rule: Always defer to a larger truck size. This is especially true if you are moving long distance and making multiple trips is not an option. Ask yourself this important question: If I am unable to fit everything into the rental truck what would I do?

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Rental Trucks for Small Moves

  • Small rental trucks should be used primarily for local moves. If you're planning a long distance move, we recommend only using a small truck size for very small moves, like a college student.
  • Most small moving trucks have rear wheel wells that protrude into the cargo area and reduce the amount of flat cargo space.
  • You will likely find that a larger truck costs the same or similar to a small truck. This is because most rental companies don't have an extensive inventory of small trucks, whereas they usually have a large inventory of medium trucks.
  • Fuel economy for small rental trucks tends to be 9-14 MPG.
Rental CompanyTruck SizeSize Class
U-Haul® 10' Small
Budget Truck® 10' Small
Penske Truck® 12' Small

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Rental Trucks for Apartments and Small Homes

  • Moving trucks between 14'-17' are the most common sizes rented.
  • They tend to be the least expensive because of the quantity available.
  • Medium truck sizes are best used for 1-2 bedroom apartments as well as small homes. You can likely fit up to 1400 SqFt in a 16' or 17' truck, especially if you hired moving help to load the truck.
  • Fuel economy for medium rental trucks tends to be 8-11 MPG.
Rental CompanyTruck SizeSize Class
U-Haul® 14' Medium
Budget Truck® 16' Medium
Penske Truck® 16' Medium
U-Haul® 17' Medium

Rental Trucks for Single Family and Town Homes

  • Larger rental trucks are best utilized for single family and town homes.
  • You can typically fit up to 2500 SqFt into a 26' truck. But of course that will depend on how well the truck is loaded.
  • If you have any doubt about whether or not your household goods can fit into a medium truck size you should always defer to this range.
  • Fuel economy for large rental trucks tends to be 4.5-6.5 MPG. U-Haul® trucks use regular unleaded fuel, while Penske and Budget trucks (in this large size range) require diesel fuel.
Rental CompanyTruck SizeSize Class
U-Haul® 20' Large
Penske Truck® 22' Large
Budget Truck® 24' Large
U-Haul® 26' Large
Penske Truck® 26' Large

Truck Rental Companies

You can learn more about each truck rental company, including the different size trucks they offer, by visiting our rental trucks resources or by using the links below.

Expert Advice

We hope that our guide to choosing the correct rental truck size was helpful for you. We know choosing your rental truck size can be difficult, especially if you're moving long distance. If you find yourself still unsure we have some final tips for you:

  • Local Move? If you're moving locally this should be a no-brainer. Truck rentals used for local moves are billable at a per day and mileage rate, the daily price may vary by $10-$20 depending on the size. In other words, spend the extra few bucks and get the larger truck just to be sure.
  • Who's Loading the Truck? If you plan to pack and load your moving truck by yourself, or with help from your friends, you should defer to a larger truck size. Professional movers are trained to maximize the overall space, whereas those not professionally trained may not be able to achieve the same level of efficiency. If you are concerned about your available space and want to maximize every inch, consider hiring moving help to properly load your truck.
  • Get Help: Consider asking the manager at your local rental truck location. Be sure to speak with an experienced manager to make sure you get the right advice.

Additional Truck Rental Resources & Guides


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What Size of Rental Truck do I Need?
[...] What Size of Rental Truck do I Need? Ayla and Julia with Moving Made Smooth, Inc.: Posted on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 2:24 PM You're renting a truck for your move and you took some time measuring some of the large items, thinking these will take up the most space.  This is actually the easy part.Look into all the storage and closet spaces.  Estimating how many boxes you intend to use.  Determine what you are keeping in the garage or shed.  Please consider selling, purging, and discarding any old or unnecessary items.  Think about the space, hassle, and cost to move semi important items.  Stay practical.  Now, let's get to truck sizes.  Small rental trucks (10' to 12') are recommended only for very small living spaces like a studio apartment.  It is sometimes more cost effective to rent a medium truck (14', 16', or 17') rather than a small one because rental companies often have more inventory of the medium (and will cost the same or less).  Smaller trucks also have wheel wells that take up cargo space.  Medium trucks are generally suggested for 1-2 bedroom apartments or small homes.  Large trucks (20', 22', 24', or 26') work best for single family and town homes.  Remember: when in doubt, get the next bigger truck!  During an in town move, this rule could save you a return trip, 3 extra hours, gas, and mileage.  On an out of state move this can be devastating and no one wants to experience that.  If you need further instruction please see our helpful links below.  General truck rental advice:http://www.mymove.com/resources/moving/moving-shipping/how-to-rent-a-moving-truck-myths-vs-facts.htmlhttp://www.ehow.com/how_8410598_calculate-size-uhaul.htmlhttp://moving.about.com/od/movingityourself/qt/renttrucksize.htmSpecific truck rental advice:http://www.elitemovinglabor.com/blog/view/53-what-size-rental-truck-do-i-need [...]
Trackback added by What Size of Rental Truck do I Need? on August 12 2014 08:35
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