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Penske vs. U-Haul (2021 Guide)

In your search for the right moving truck rental company, you have most likely come across both Penske and U-Haul as options. Read our comparison to learn more about the pros and cons of each.

Van driving with a U-Haul trailer in the desert Alamy

Penske and U-Haul are two of the most recognizable names in the moving industry. Both companies offer a variety of moving truck sizes and can be great options for local moves and cross-country moves. The This Old House Reviews team has researched some of the best moving truck rental companies on the market to help you have the best experience.

We recommend you keep reading this Penske versus U-Haul comparison to see which benefits, drawbacks, costs, and additional services best fit your moving needs.

If you’re interested in full-service moves, we suggest International Van Lines. If you want the same DIY approach as Penske and U-Haul but want a company to handle the transportation, we recommend PODS.

Our Take on Penske vs. U-Haul

Penske is an excellent choice for anyone who values having high-quality trucks and does not mind paying a higher cost for better quality. U-Haul is a better option for anyone interested in more affordable trucks and services that cater to DIY moving options.

Penske vs. U-Haul: Services

Penske and U-Haul are moving truck rental companies that offer similar rental services. Both companies feature a large selection of moving vehicles, and they both offer assistance with moving supplies and moving labor.

U-Haul offers more additional services with its rentals than Penske. Its U-Box® service acts as a great alternative to its traditional moving truck rentals. Penske, on the other hand, offers more insurance plans than U-Haul. The company offers six different levels of insurance, while U-Haul offers only two variations of its SafeMove insurance.

U-Haul Services

Here are some of the most popular services U-Haul provides outside of its moving truck rentals:

  • Moving labor
  • Moving supplies
  • Car trailers
  • U-Box® containers
  • Storage solutions
  • Trailer hitches
  • SafeMove insurance
  • Roadside assistance

Penske Services

Read over some of Penske’s services below:

  • Moving labor
  • Moving supplies
  • Car trailers
  • Storage solutions
  • Roadside assistance
  • Multiple insurance plans

Penske vs. U-Haul: Truck Rental Options

Both companies provide a variety of moving trucks and moving vehicles. Penske offers higher quality vehicles because the company changes its low-emission trucks more often than U-Haul changes its own. This makes U-Haul a cheaper option. U-Haul also offers two more truck sizes than Penske.

Penske Truck Sizes

Penske offers the following selection of trucks:

  • 11-foot high-roof cargo van
  • 12-foot box truck
  • 16-foot box truck
  • 22-foot box truck
  • 26-foot box truck

U-Haul Truck Sizes

U-Haul allows customers to rent the following moving vehicles:

  • 8-foot pickup truck
  • 9-foot cargo van
  • 10-foot box truck
  • 15-foot box truck
  • 17-foot box truck
  • 20-foot box truck
  • 26-foot box truck

Penske vs. U-Haul: Cost

When it comes to the overall cost of moving, you will typically find that Penske is slightly more expensive than U-Haul. This is because the company maintains a higher quality of trucks. Penske also tends to add its unlimited mileage option to its quotes. U-Haul adjusts its cost based on the distance of your move and the time required for your move.

U-Haul Cost

To give you an idea of the overall cost of a long-distance move with U-Haul, a 15-foot truck going from Miami to Chicago costs around $1,900. All estimates below include six days of use and 1,723 miles.

Cost

Truck Size Cost
Truck Size Cost
10-foot box truck (1 bedroom apartment) $1,805
15-foot box truck (1-2 bedroom home) $1,900
20-foot box truck (2-3 bedroom home) $2,090
26-foot box truck (3-4 bedroom home) $2,375

Penske Cost

A 16-foot box truck going from Miami to Chicago with Penske runs around $2,394. All quotes include Penske’s unlimited mileage option, as well as its environmental fee.

Cost

Truck Size Cost
Truck Size Cost
12-foot box truck (1-2 rooms) $2,280
16-foot box truck (2-3 rooms) $2,394
22-foot box truck (3-5 rooms) $1,829
26-foot box truck (5-7 rooms) $1,829

Penske also offers a variety of discounts that you can easily access on its website. Discounts include those for AAA members, students, military, and more. It should also be noted that the unlimited mileage option applies only to one-way rentals. Penske charges per mile for round-trip rentals.

Penske vs. U-Haul: State Availability

Penske has 3,000 locations and is available in 49 states. It does not provide services in Alaska. Penske also works with some Home Depot branches to provide more availability.

U-Haul is available in all 50 states with more than 20,000 locations.

Penske vs. U-Haul: Customer Reviews

Both companies are reputable and nationally known for their customer service. See what previous customers had to say about each company below, as well as each company’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) information.

U-Haul Reviews

U-Haul International Inc. has an accreditation from the BBB, and it currently holds an A- rating on the website.* Many customer reviews mention how reservations can change on short notice from your pick-up date, as well as hidden fees.

See what U-Haul customers have to say about their experiences:

“I ordered a trailer hitch at U-Haul on-line and also scheduled an appointment to have it installed. I then received a call from the store manager (Greg) informing me that they had the required hitch in stock. I showed up and was amazed at how efficiently they performed hitch and other vehicle towing installations. While I waited for my hitch to be installed, I noticed that several customers were confused about moving supplies, trailers, bike racks, trucks, and hitches. The staff was quick to answer their questions and help them with their needs.”

-Tom B. via BBB

“I booked a [15-foot] truck two weeks ago, but apparently, reservations are meaningless. They called me twice to cancel and find me another truck. The first time it was 30 [minutes] out of the way, so I said OK. Now the second time, they call me [at] 6 p.m. on a Friday, the night before I’m moving because SURPRISE! No truck!! This time they tell me a place over an hour out of my way. I said absolutely not. I asked them to find me something in a different area. Apparently they can’t. No other trucks in all of NJ. What?”

-Mlb B. via BBB

Penske Reviews

Penske Truck Leasing Co. L.P., Inc. also features an accreditation from the BBB and has an A rating.* Similar to U-Haul, many customer reviews point out how reservations can change on short notice. Learn about how Penske worked for previous customers below:

“Clean trucks and equipment. Quick service and overall pleasant experience. The prices are comparable if not better than most others in town. 10 out of 10. I highly recommend Penske... Thanks to the employees for the great customer care.”

-Kristopher A.

“We reserved a [53-foot] van trailer several weeks in advance of our move. When we called Penske two days prior to confirm, they informed us the trailer we reserved was several hundred miles away at another location and they [told] us to drive there and pick it up on our own dime. They refused to bring the trailer to our local location, which had assured us it would be available, because they would lose money on the rental.”

-Bradyen M.

*Better Business Bureau information accurate as of April 14, 2021

Our Conclusion

If you’re looking for an affordable truck rental for DIY moving, consider U-Haul. Its mobile app helps make DIY moving more user-friendly and easy to schedule. U-Haul also offers more additional service options, such as loading and unloading assistance, and it has an extensive storage facility network.

If you want plenty of protection options and value having a higher quality vehicle, then we suggest you look into Penske. Penske routinely changes out its rental vehicles, and it offers five different insurance plans with comprehensive coverage. These features come with a trade-off of higher prices than U-Haul.

Keep in mind that both companies have issues with changing reservations, but both companies feature wide availability.

Alternative Moving Companies

International Van Lines

Penske and U-Haul can provide some moving labor for loading and unloading, but if you want an all-inclusive moving experience, we recommend International Van Lines. Not only does International Van Lines handle the loading and unloading for you, but the company can also provide full-service moving packages that include packing, loading, transportation, unloading, and unpacking.

Similar to Penske and U-Haul, International Van Lines offers multiple protection plans, moving supplies, and vehicle transportation. If you want a moving company to handle every aspect of your move, we suggest you learn more about International Van Lines by filling out this short form.

PODS

If you value having a totally DIY moving experience, then PODS is one of the best choices for you. Instead of packing and loading all your belongings onto a moving truck with Penske or U-Haul, you do the same into a PODS container. The company will handle the transportation for you.

PODS provides plenty of flexibility in your moving experience. You get to decide when your moving container arrives, when it’s picked up, how long PODS holds onto it for you, and when your belongings are delivered. PODS also gives you 30 days to pack and load at your own pace. If such flexibility in a schedule interests you, we suggest you see how PODS can help your move by completing this easy-to-use form.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Penske charge per mile?

For round-trips, Penske charges 99 cents per mile. For one-way moves, Penske provides an unlimited mileage option.

Can you rent a U-Haul with a debit card?

When you reserve a truck online, U-Haul provides the option to rent your truck using an American Express, Discover, Mastercard, or Visa card.

What is the difference between one-way and round-trip moves?

A one-way move refers to when you pick up your truck in one location and drop it off at another location near your new home. A round-trip move is when you pick up and drop off a truck at the same location.

Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and having the data to back up our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for moving service providers is on a 100-point scale based on 7 factors:

  • Moving Services (30): Does the company offer its services for local, long-distance, and/or international moves?
  • Additional Services (29): What additional services does the company provide, such as packing and unpacking or loading and unloading?
  • Coverage (10): Does the company offer any additional insurance plans, such as full-value coverage?
  • Scheduling (7): Are customers able to schedule online, over the phone, or on both platforms?
  • Trailers/Containers (7): How many trailer or container sizes does the company offer?
  • Additional Benefits (12): What additional benefits does the company provide, such as storage options, moving truck rentals, and financing?
  • Reputation (5): What rating does the company feature on popular review sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.