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If You Need a Moving Truck, Here’s How to Find the Goldilocks Size

 If You Need a Moving Truck, Here’s How to Find the Goldilocks Size

You’ve packed up everything you own, and you’re getting ready to move across the country to a new apartment. But then you start loading your boxes and furniture into your moving truck, and with growing dread, you realize: the truck is too small. What do you do with the rest of your stuff?

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Unfortunately, this scenario happens all the time. Before you make your move, however, you can be completely and totally sure that the moving truck you are renting will easily hold all your stuff.

We’ve compiled a guide to help you accurately determine which size of rental truck will best suit your moving needs. And if you remember nothing else, when you’re stuck deciding between two options, always go with the larger moving truck. 

For more moving tips, here’s the best moving companies of 2023, how to lift heavy boxes and how to clean a new home or apartment. 

Which companies rent moving trucks?

There are countless local and national companies that rent moving trucks, but a few large companies dominate. For the cheapest rental trucks with the widest selection of sizes, some of your best options are:

If you’re making a long-distance move, most of the larger trucks at these companies will let you tow a car behind them for an extra fee.

How do I decide which size moving truck rental I need?

Start by estimating how much stuff you have. You’ll probably need to reserve the rental before you’ve packed everything, so walk through your house or apartment and make a list of all your furniture and other large items that won’t fit in boxes.

Once you’ve got your list of large items and an estimate of how many boxes you think you’ll use to move, several online calculators can help you figure out which truck size works best for your stuff. We recommend UPakWeShip’s volume estimator or Penske’s Moving Truck Wizard.

A general rule of thumb for picking a moving truck rental size is that you’ll need 150 to 200 cubic feet of truck space for every furnished room in your home. If you’re not confident about the online calculators, or you need a little extra reassurance, call the moving truck rental provider you plan to use and ask them for advice.

What are the usual sizes of moving trucks?

Some companies offer unusual sizes of moving trucks, but these are the standard sizes you can expect to find.

Cargo van (about 250 to 320 cubic feet)

Consider renting a cargo van if you only have a small load to move. A cargo van can fit a queen-size mattress and is a great option for studio or one-room moves. 

10- to 12-foot truck (380 to 450 cubic feet)

Movers use a 10- or 12-foot truck for studio or one-bedroom apartment moves. Depending on the moving company you use, this truck can fit a king-size or queen-size mattress, around five medium-size furniture pieces with leftover room for other boxes.

15- to 16-foot truck (650 to 800 cubic feet)

Consider a 15- or 16-foot truck if you’re planning on moving from a one-bedroom home or a two-bedroom apartment. This size truck easily fits two to three rooms or around 10 medium-size furniture pieces. A king-size mattress, a washer and dryer, a fridge, dressers and a three-seater sofa can all squeeze into this size truck. 

17-foot truck (up to 865 cubic feet)

This oddly sized option available at U-Haul is best for larger apartments, condos or two-bedroom apartments that need a little extra room. The 17-foot truck fits two king-size bed sets, a three-seater sofa, a four-person dining table set, a love seat, a TV stand and a coffee table. 

20- to 22-foot truck (1,000 to 1,200 cubic feet)

Consider a 20- to 22-foot truck, one of the larger sizes of moving trucks, if you’re moving from a one to three-bedroom home, a three-bedroom apartment or a place with three to five total rooms. These trucks can fit two king-size mattresses, a six-person dining table set, dressers, a sofa and end tables, all while having room to spare for additional boxes.

26-foot truck (1,700 to 1,800 cubic feet)

The 26-footers are the big mommas of moving trucks. Consider the 26-foot option if you and your family are moving three to five bedrooms, five to seven total rooms or around 15 medium-sized furniture pieces. Three king-size mattresses will surely fit, along with nightstands, dressers, a sofa, kitchen equipment, washer and dryer and more. 

How much do different size moving trucks cost to rent?

Depending on the rental company you use and the distance you are driving, the cost of these trucks will vary.

For local moves where you can pick up and drop off the rental at the same location, you’ll pay a daily rental plus a fee per mile, usually $0.50 to $1.50. Cargo vans generally start at $20 to $30 per day, as do 10- to 12-foot trucks, though you’ll probably pay a little more per mile for the truck. The larger trucks will run you $30 to $50 per day, though you may want to shop around for 26-foot truck rentals as prices vary considerably.

Once you drop the moving truck rental off in a different location than you start, you’re going to have to pay more, and not only for the extra mileage. CNET sister site MyMove says that renting a 16-foot truck for a 30-mile move can range from $62 to $149.

If you’re moving long distance, the main cost factor for moving truck rentals will be how far you need to drive it. All of the major moving truck rental companies will provide you with a free quote based on your origin, destination and truck size. The average cost of a truck rental for a long-distance move is $500 to $700 for a cargo van or $1,200 to $2,200 for a 26-foot truck, according to reviews site Yelp.

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