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How to Choose the Right Moving Truck Rental Company

a large yellow Penske truck is parked in a neighborhood

If you are planning a DIY move then you are likely familiar with the three moving and storage options: A moving truck rental, moving container, and freight trailer. Each option provides a long list of benefits and drawbacks that must be considered before setting up your move. In this moving guide we will discuss the truck rental option because it is the most popular way to complete a do-it-yourself move, both for local and long-distance moving.

When most people hear the term truck rental they automatically think of U-Haul. I applaud U-Haul for their ability to brand themselves so well that they are synonymous with an entire industry, similar to Kleenex, Google, PODS and Aspirin. While many people may jump online and book a moving truck from U-Haul, you should know that there are two other large companies that rent moving trucks nationwide - Penske Truck Rental and Budget Truck Rental.

Let's explore the different truck rental companies to help you choose the one that best fits your needs and your moving budget.

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Penske Truck Rental

Prices Extremely competitive with U-Haul and Budget. Prices vary by season and location but are much more competitive than many think.
Quality Nationally established as having the best quality moving trucks. They provide a young and well maintained fleet.
Reservations Their quoting and booking process is straight-forward and easy to use. Even better, they provide quotes for insurance prices and include taxes in their pricing. Budget Truck Rental does not.
Coverage Area With 2,500 locations you can find a Penske location in many large cities nationwide. However, it's unlikely that you will have a Penske location near you if you are in a small city or rural area.

Budget Truck Rental

Prices Competitive with Penske and U-Haul. We've found them generally less expensive than U-Haul and slightly more expensive than Penske on average.
Quality Typically considered to have the second best quality of moving trucks. Their fleet of rental trucks vary in age but are relatively well maintained and are usually less than 7 years old.
Reservations A simple quoting process, and during the checkout process you can see the prices for insurance coverage (if you want to add coverage). Be aware though, the rate you initially see does not include taxes and additional fees. Only on the final page of the checkout process does the total price include taxes and additional fees.
Coverage Area Budget has 1,600 locations, all in the continental United States. Just like Penske, you can likely find a Budget Truck Rental location in most major cities.

U-Haul Truck Rental

Prices Because U-Haul has by far the most moving trucks on the road they can generally offer greater discounts. However we have found on many occasions that their prices are higher than Budget and Penske. This is likely because many consumers fail to price shop for their rental truck.
Quality Widely accepted as having the lowest quality trucks. However, they have added thousands of new trucks over the past few years which are slowly replacing the older ones. Still, they continue to rent older trucks that aren't in the best condition.
Reservations Simple and easy online reservation process. Includes the prices for insurance however does not appear to list taxes with the quote.
Coverage Area U-Haul is by far the largest rental truck company with around 21,000 locations and 175,000 trucks and trailers. You can likely find a U-Haul location just about everywhere in the United States, including smaller cities and rural areas.

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