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What Size Moving Truck Should You Get? (2024 Guide)

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Default Author Icon Written by Shane Sentelle Updated 05/01/2024

Moving day is stressful enough on its own, so you should do your best to prevent problems in advance. One obstacle many people encounter during their self-service move is renting the wrong truck size. This can cause problems even if you know how to pack a moving truck. You may need to pay to keep an undersized truck for longer than expected and make multiple trips, or you could spend more than you need to if the truck is too big.

Determining the right moving truck size will depend on a few factors, such as how much you need to move and the distance of your move. Keep reading to learn which size truck is right for you.


Factors To Consider When Choosing a Moving Truck Size

Moving trucks come in several sizes, from standard pickup trucks to 26-foot box trucks. The one you choose will depend on how many items you need to move and your travel distance.

The Size of Your Home

The number of rooms in your home or apartment will impact which truck you rent. Moving small loads or a one-bedroom apartment will likely require a small vehicle, such as a pickup truck or a 10-foot box truck. You run the risk of your items shifting during your move if you rent a larger truck with lots of extra space.

A larger apartment or house with items such as a washer, refrigerator, and multiple bed frames will require more space in a moving truck during transport. Skimping on the truck size could cost you more money and time in the long run because you may need to make multiple trips if you can’t fit all your items in the truck at once. You can estimate how much truck space you need with an online calculator or figure 150–200 cubic feet for every fully furnished room in your home.

How Many Items You Need To Move

Sometimes, your home’s size doesn’t matter as much as how many items you need to move. For example, if you have a lot of large furniture in your one-bedroom apartment, you may need a bigger truck than if you owned a small home but didn’t have many belongings.

The Distance You’re Moving

Where you’re moving will also determine your moving truck size. Rent a smaller truck if you’re moving a short distance and can plan to make a few trips within a short rental period. However, you’ll likely need a large truck to transport all your belongings at once if you’re moving cross-country.


Moving Truck Size Comparison

Specific moving truck dimensions vary according to the rental company, but most truck sizes are roughly standardized by length. We’ve compiled a list of truck sizes, their approximate interior dimensions, and the amount those vehicles can transport in the table below. The cost of a moving truck often depends on the truck’s size, so you’ll want an accurate estimate of what size truck you need to move to your new home.

Vehicle Type

Interior Dimensions

Move Capacity

Pickup truck

7’10” x 5’2″ x 1’9″ 

Small loads and small studio apartments

Cargo van

9’6″ x 5’7″ x 4’8″

Studio apartments and dorm rooms

10-foot box truck

9’11” x 6’4″ x 6’2″

Studios and one-bedroom apartments

12-foot box truck

12′ x 6’6″ x 6’1″

Small apartments

15-foot box truck

15′ x 7’8″ x 7’2″

One-bedroom houses and two-bedroom apartments

17-foot box truck

16’9″ x 7’8″ x 7’2″

Two-bedroom house

20-foot box truck

19’6″ x 7’8″ x 7’2″

Two-bedroom houses and three-bedroom apartments

22-foot box truck

21’11” x 8’1″ x 8″1″

One- to three-bedroom houses

26-foot box truck

26’2″ x 8’2″ x 8’3″

Three- or four-bedroom house


How To Choose a Moving Truck

Determining the right size moving truck and vehicle type for your move may seem challenging, but there are some things you can do to help simplify the process. Below are the steps you can take to determine which size truck you need for your do-it-yourself (DIY) move:

  1. Estimate how much you need to transport: Walk through your home and list all the items you plan to put on the truck. Include all furniture, fragile items, and any other items you plan on loading for your move.
  2. Figure out what size truck you need: You can use Penske’s Truck Wizard, an online moving calculator, to add all the items you need to move according to category. You’ll receive a recommendation for the best moving truck size after you’ve input all your items.
  3. Research truck rental companies: Base your research on third-party reviews and Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings to find reputable companies, then narrow your search by calling a few moving truck companies to get a quote and compare pricing.

The Best Moving Truck Companies

We recommend comparing a few moving companies based on their services, pricing, and warranty coverage before choosing one to hire. Note that the cheapest option may not be the best choice. Check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website before you hire a moving truck company. You can look up a moving company’s safety record and certification using its U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number.

Below is a list of moving and truck rental companies and their benefits to help you determine which moving truck provider is best for you.

Budget

Budget provides truck rentals for local and long-distance moves. The company has locations throughout the U.S., except for Alaska and Hawaii, and offers unlimited miles when you rent trucks for long-distance moves. This means you won’t have to pay extra if the drive ends up being longer than you anticipate.

You’ll receive 20% off local and 15% off one-way moves after you join the company’s motor club. Budget also extends the following ongoing discounts and deals:

  • 20% off for AARP members who rent Sunday through Thursday or 10% off when they rent Friday or Saturday
  • 20% off local moves and 15% off one-way moves for police, firefighters, EMTs, and students
  • 20% off truck rentals for U.S. military personnel who have traveling orders

Enterprise

Enterprise offers a large variety of truck sizes and towing services. One benefit of using Enterprise is that it has various comprehensive coverage protection plans. Compare a few of them below:

  • Damage waiver: This optional insurance coverage waives your responsibility to cover damage, theft, and loss of the vehicle you rent.
  • Personal effects coverage: This optional insurance plan covers the personal effects of the renters, drivers, and individuals traveling with the renter and protects against damage or loss.
  • Roadside assistance protection: Selecting this coverage means waiving your financial responsibility for roadside incidents, such as lost keys and fuel outages.
  • Supplemental liability protection: This protection plan covers up to $300,000 of third-party liability claims.

The Home Depot

The Home Depot rents trucks and cargo vans at low rates for local or smaller moves, starting at $19 per hour. Renters who choose Load ‘N Go trucks receive unlimited mileage. The Home Depot also provides equipment and tool rentals as add-ons and partners with Penske for renters who need larger truck rentals.

Penske

Penske is a national truck rental company providing low-emission trucks. It switches out its trucks often, which leads to higher rental rates, but it counters higher pricing with unlimited miles on long-distance moves and discounts. Here are some of the company’s most common moving discounts:

  • AAA discounts: Any AAA member can receive a 12% discount on rentals and supplies.
  • Fuel rewards: Customers who join Shell Fuel Rewards receive six free months of Gold Status, which allows them to save 5 cents per gallon when they fill up at a Shell fuel station.
  • Military discounts: All military personnel receive a 15% discount whether they’re active-duty members or veterans.
  • Student discounts: Students between 17 and 23 years old are eligible for a 10% discount.

U-Haul

U-Haul is available in all 50 states and can help you with an international move with U-Box, a portable storage moving container service. U-Haul can also connect you with local moving labor who will pack, unpack, load, and unload your belongings for an additional fee.

Full-Service Van Lines

If you don’t want to DIY your move, the following three moving companies offer full moving services:

  • American Van Lines (AVL): AVL is a nationwide moving company that assists customers with local, interstate, and international moves. If you receive a lower quote from a competitor, its team will match the price and offer a fixed rate, meaning prices won’t change despite how far you travel.
  • International Van Lines (IVL): IVL is an all-inclusive moving company that offers full-service amenities, such as packing and unpacking your items for you. It has multiple protection plans and will also transport your vehicle.
  • Interstate Moving & Relocation Group (IMRG): IMRG is a moving broker that matches you with local movers through its extensive network of moving company partners. It also helps customers find reputable moving companies and connects active-duty military members with Armed Forces-approved companies to make their moves a little less stressful.

Our Conclusion

We recommend renting a moving truck for short moves and hiring a moving company for long-distance or interstate moves. Professional movers will take the guesswork out of picking the right size truck. They’ll also know how to pack items properly and efficiently, and many offer extensive packing and unpacking services. A long-distance move takes more time and planning, so hiring movers can eliminate some of this hassle.

Renting a truck for a DIY move gives you more flexibility if you’re moving from one town to another nearby or within a city. Renting a moving truck is also more budget-friendly than hiring a full-service moving company, though you’ll do more of the work yourself. Consider how much time and energy you have to put toward your move when deciding between a self-service and full-service move.


FAQ About Moving Truck Sizes

How many cubic feet can a 20-foot moving truck hold?

A 20-foot moving truck can hold up to 1,016 cubic feet. This is equivalent to a two- or three-bedroom home or large apartment.

What is the smallest size moving truck?

The smallest moving truck size is a 10-foot box truck. You can also rent a cargo van or pickup truck if you’re moving smaller loads.

Will a queen bed fit in a 10-foot U-Haul truck?

Yes, a queen bed will fit in a 10-foot U-Haul truck. This type of U-Haul truck can generally fit items from a small apartment or one-bedroom home.

What is the best way to pack a moving truck?

The best way to pack a moving truck is to load the heaviest items first, such as couches, sofas, mirrors, and dining room sets. Load your furniture toward the back of the truck and along the sides to keep the truck balanced. Tie large and heavy items to the metal railings along the side of the truck with ratchet straps so that they don’t shift during your move.

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