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What Size Moving Truck Do I Need?

several U-Haul trucks are parked in a row outside of a warehouse

For your upcoming move you have decided to rent a moving truck but have no clue what truck size you should get - Sound like you? If you search the web you will find many references and opinions, some extremely generic (a 16 foot truck will move 1-2 bedrooms) and others offering a more technical opinion (12 ft. truck = 450 cu. ft.). The problem, we believe at least, lies in the interpretation of the information provided- 1 to 2 bedrooms may mean something completely different in Dallas than in New York City.

Process of Elimination

The simplest way to choose your rental truck size is to eliminate possibilities that do not exist in your situation. For example, if you have chosen to rent from Budget Truck you will only have three available size options: 12 foot, 16 foot and 26 foot. In case you're wondering, 94% of people that rent a moving truck for their move choose the truck rental company based on price or geographical limitations. With that in mind we can assume that most people will have between 3 and 5 truck size options depending on which rental truck company they choose.

Remember the golden rule: If you're ever unsure of what size moving truck you need then you should always defer to a larger truck size. This is especially true if you are moving long distance and multiple trips is not an option. Ask yourself, if I am unable to fit everything into the rental truck what would I do?

Moving Truck Size for Studios and Small Apartments

  • Small rental trucks should be used primarily for local moves. Only consider renting a 10 or 12 foot truck if you have a dorm room, studio or small one bedroom apartment with minimal furniture.
  • Most small moving trucks have rear wheel wells that stick out and reduce the amount of flat cargo space.
  • You will likely find that a larger truck (see medium sizes below) costs the same or sometimes less than a small truck. This is because most 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 12' Small
Penske Truck 12' Small
You've got the rental truck, but who is going to load and unload your stuff? Let's face it, your friends probably aren't that reliable. Save your back and keep your friends by hiring movers to do the heavy lifting for you. It's affordable and the movers will load (or unload) your truck way faster than you. Go ahead, book your move help. You can thank us later.

Moving Truck Size for 1-2 Bedroom Apartments and Small Homes

  • Moving trucks between 15 and 17 feet are the most common sizes rented. They tend to be the most inexpensive trucks because of the quantity available.
  • Medium truck sizes are best used for 1-2 bedroom apartments or condos, as well as small homes. We typically don't recommend this size to anyone with more than 1,400 square feet of living space.
  • Fuel economy for medium rental trucks tends to be 7-11 MPG.
Rental CompanyTruck SizeSize Class
U-Haul 15' Medium
Budget Truck 16' Medium
Penske Truck 16' Medium
U-Haul 17' Medium

Moving Truck Size for 3+ Bedroom Homes

  • In this size range: U-Haul trucks take regular unleaded fuel. Budget and Penske trucks require diesel fuel. There is typically a price difference between regular and diesel fuel, so remember to factor your estimated fuel costs into your overall moving budget.
  • Larger rental trucks are best utilized for single family and townhomes. If you have any doubt about whether or not your household goods can fit into a medium truck size you should always defer to a larger truck.
  • Fuel economy for large rental trucks tends to be between 4 and 7 MPG.
Rental CompanyTruck SizeSize Class
U-Haul 20' Large
Penske Truck 22' Large
Budget Truck 26' Large
U-Haul 26' Large
Penske Truck 26' Large
Moving soon? Find affordable local movers to do the heavy lifting for you on our mover marketplace.

Still Not Sure?

We know choosing your rental truck size can be difficult, especially if your moving long distance. If you still need more help we recommend reviewing another one of our relocation guides, choosing a rental truck size.

We hope that our guide to choosing the correct rental truck size was helpful for you. We leave you with some final tips and advice not otherwise covered in this blog:

  • If you plan to load and unload 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 are not likely to achieve the same level of efficiency. If you are concerned about space consumption, or if you like your stuff and want it to arrive at your new home undamaged, then consider hiring hourly moving help to properly load your truck.
  • 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, and that rate may vary some depending on your location, the time of year and the size of the truck. However, the truck size is unlikely to affect the daily rate by more than $10-$20. In other words, spend the extra few bucks and get the larger truck just to be sure.

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