How to Determine What Size Moving Truck You Need for Your Move background image

How to Determine What Size Moving Truck You Need for Your Move

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A moving truck is a necessity when you are relocating. If you hire professional movers, the moving company will likely bring their vehicle or trailer. There are also cheap moving services available that will just load and unload a truck or moving container that you rent. There is also the option of loading the truck on your own with the help of family or friends. If you must reserve a moving vehicle for your upcoming relocation, selecting the right size is essential to a smooth and efficient move.

1. Understand the Truck Sizes

Before you reserve your moving truck, you need to explore truck size options available. For example, through U-Haul, you can rent a 10-foot truck, which the company states that it is suitable for a studio or one-bedroom apartment - which is great for smaller moves. The most substantial truck offered by U-Haul is a 26-foot truck, which may be ideal for a three to a four-bedroom house. There are multiple truck sizes in between these two extremes, and there are also trailer options available that may be suitable for towing behind your vehicle. Here are the rental truck sizes available from various companies:


Penske offers four truck rental sizes for residential moving customers:

  • 12-foot: This ride has cab room for two and can accommodate 1-2 rooms of furniture making it ideal for a studio or 1-bedroom apartment.
  • 16-foot: Also equipped with two bucket seats, the next size up fits 2-3 rooms of belongings, so it's perfect if you're moving a 1- or 2-bedroom apartment.
  • 22-foot: The 22-foot truck has room for three in the front of the cab and accommodates 3-5 rooms of stuff.
  • 26-foot: The big daddy of them all, the 26-foot truck also seats three and has room for 5-7 rooms of your things. Sadly, this monster only gets ten miles per gallon.


The original rental truck, U-Haul offers customers five truck sizes, plus pick-ups, cargo vans, and trailers for smaller jobs:

  • 10-foot: U-Haul suggests using this model for moving a studio or 1-bedroom apartment or a college dorm. It features seating for two and a load capacity of 2810 lbs.
  • 15-foot: Ideal for 1-2-bedroom homes and apartments, this larger version seats three and features additional storage space over-the-cab.
  • 17-foot: U-Haul recommends this model for two-bedroom houses and 2-3-bedroom apartments. This truck also features the widest and shortest ramp of all the U-Haul trucks, making it easier to load and unload.
  • 20-foot: If you're moving a 2-3-bedroom house or apartment long distance, then this truck might be the one for you. The van-style cab makes sitting for hours on end more comfortable.
  • 26-foot: The largest U-Haul available, the 26' version accommodates a 3-4-bedroom home. Though it's the truck size most professional in-town movers use, you surprisingly don't need a commercial driver license to rent it.


Budget keeps things simple by giving customers just three sizes from which to choose:

  • 12-foot: Recommended for 1-2 rooms or a studio apartment, this truck fits two people and can accommodate up to 120 medium-sized moving boxes. If you're planning on towing your vehicle or you own a king-size bed, you'll want to upgrade to the next truck size.
  • 16-foot: With capacity for 3400-lbs (3-4 rooms), this truck has auto towing capabilities and has room for you plus a passenger.
  • 26-foot: Budget's largest offering, this truck has room for three and accommodates 5-8 rooms or 12,000-lbs.

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2. Cluster Items Together

While using a truck rental company's estimate when selecting the right size of truck or trailer to rent may be helpful, keep in mind that this is merely an estimate. Some people have larger sized furnishings, more things, and tons of stuff crammed into every closet and cabinet. Other packrats even have entire garages jam-packed with items from floor to ceiling. A smart way to better estimate a suitable truck size is to attempt to cluster your things together, such as in an unused formal dining room, a garage or another large space. This effort also helps you prep for the move. When you pack a place full of items and measure the area, you will have a better idea about the right truck size for your needs.

3. Start Packing

As you begin packing boxes and storage containers, you may get a much better idea of how much space you need in a moving truck. After all, it can be challenging to estimate truck space you need for all your kitchen items stored in cabinets and drawers. After you pack non-essentials, you can determine how many additional boxes you need for the essentials that you will pack at the last minute. In addition to considering boxes, pay attention to how many furnishings or appliances you own and the dimensions of each. Remember to take advantage of vertical space in a truck.

4. Consider the Distance of Your Move

An important factor many people overlook is the distance of the move. If you are relocating to a new home in-town or just a short distance move, you may feel comfortable estimating your truck needs on the low end. After all, you can always make two trips if you run out of truck space. On the other hand, if you are making a long distance move, it is not practical to make multiple trips. Estimating on the higher end may be beneficial. If you get in a bind, you can always rent a trailer to tow behind your car for additional space.

The steps that you take to prepare for moving day can make or break your overall moving experience. Apply these tips to estimate better the truck size that is suitable for your needs.