Budget vs. U-Haul 2020

U-Haul and Budget are two of the most recognizable moving truck rental companies. U-Haul has lower costs, more services, and more locations, while Budget is more transparent about pricing and more proactive in dealing with customer complaints.

We compared truck rental prices from 24 quotes for move distances of approximately 50, 500, and 1,000 miles. U-Haul’s average cost of $1.77 per mile is about 15% less expensive than Budget’s average cost of $2.04 per mile.

Our recommended choice (just barely) is U-Haul.

Budget

  • Relative pricing transparency
  • Proactive approach to customer complaints
  • High prices

U-Haul

  • Low prices
  • Wide availability
  • Hidden costs
Heads up exclamation

Need to move away from college because of COVID-19?

Need to move away from college because of COVID-19?

If your school is switching to online classes and you need to move away from campus, then U-Haul might make it easier for you. The company is offering 30 days of free self-storage to customers with current student IDs.

Compare Budget and U-Haul to other companies on our Best Moving Truck Rental Companies list.

Budget vs. U-Haul pricing

50 miles (round trip)500 miles (one way)1,000 miles (one way)
Budget 12 ft. truck$299.23$575.84$1,273.38
U-Haul 10 ft. truck$108.15$685.69$1,232.63
Budget 26 ft. truck$326.40$852.38$1,617.09
U-Haul 26 ft. truck$131.50$856.28$1,546.65
Budget 12 ft. truck
U-Haul 10 ft. truck
Budget 26 ft. truck
U-Haul 26 ft. truck
50 miles (round trip) 500 miles (one way) 1,000 miles (one way)
$299.23 $575.84 $1,273.38
$108.15 $685.69 $1,232.63
$326.40 $852.38 $1,617.09
$131.50 $856.28 $1,546.65

Data as of 2/21/20. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change. Based on the average price for moves of approximately 50, 500, and 1,000 miles.

We collected 24 quotes from Budget and U-Haul for move distances of approximately 50, 500, and 1,000 miles.

Our findings?

U-Haul is your most cost-effective option for distances of shorter (50-mile) and longer (1,000-mile) moves, while Budget is the least expensive of the two companies for moves somewhere in the middle (around 500 miles).

Winner: U-Haul

Budget vs. U-Haul deposits

Budget deposits

Budget requires a deposit for all round-trip moves (in addition to your quote) but waives the deposit for one-way trips if you pay with a credit or debit card. Deposits are refundable, but it can take three to five business days after returning the truck before you see the money.

You should also be aware that while Budget’s advertised deposit rate is $150, our research found the average deposit is closer to $200 for round-trip moves.

U-Haul deposits

U-Haul’s deposit is more attractive for your pocketbook. The company takes a deposit of $100 or the full rental cost (whichever is higher)—but only if you are paying with cash.

Using a credit card or a debit card? No deposit required.

U-Haul’s conservative use of low deposits gives it a big price advantage over Budget.

Winner: U-Haul

Budget vs. U-Haul deposits

Don’t be fooled by a low quote. Thanks to extra fees, you can expect your final bill to be upwards of 70% more expensive than your initial Budget and U-Haul estimates.

Each company has a variety of additional fees (e.g., insurance, taxes, deposits) you can’t fully nail down until you finalize your quote. Plus, you have to pay for gas even after the company mileage fee.

It adds up.

Compare initial quotes vs. final costs

BudgetU-Haul
Initial quote$481.64$470.04
Average fees$350.57$290.11
Total cost$832.21$760.15
Initial quote
Average fees
Total cost
Budget U-Haul
$481.64 $470.04
$350.57 $290.11
$832.21 $760.15

Data as of 2/21/20. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change. Based on the average price for moves of approximately 50, 500, and 1,000 miles.

Winner: U-Haul

Ready to book?

Take advantage of lower costs and get your U-Haul quote now.
Get a Quote

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HIRE WORKERS TO HELP YOU MOVE

HIRE WORKERS TO HELP YOU MOVE

U-Haul Moving Help is an online marketplace (operated by U-Haul) where you can find low rates for labor services like loading and unloading your rental truck. Check out our U-Haul Moving Help Review to learn more.

Budget vs. U-Haul availability

It’s about 10 times easier to find a U-Haul depot than it is a Budget center. U-Haul reports approximately 20,000 locations, while Budget says it has around 2,000.

Winner: U-Haul

Budget vs. U-Haul customer experience

Customers who leave reviews generally recount poor experiences with Budget and U-Haul.

We dove into customer reviews on major review websites and found that both companies repeatedly receive the same customer complaint: trucks often aren’t available when customers arrive to pick them up.

Our research also revealed another red flag: a lack of transparency and accuracy. In our conversations with Budget and U-Haul customer service reps, both companies were unable to answer basic questions and provided information that directly contradicted their official websites.

It was hard to find positive customer reviews for either company—and believe us, we tried.

In the rare instances we came across, customers said something like “everything was great.”

We noticed Budget responds to most customer complaints and is proactive about solving problems—U-Haul is not. We’re impressed by the way Budget goes the extra mile to address concerns.

Winner: Budget

Like what you see?

Experience Budget’s customer service and get a quote now.
Get a Quote

Budget vs. U-Haul services

Budget and U-Haul offer most of the same services. The notable exception is moving containers: U-Haul has containers for rent, but Budget does not.

BudgetU-Haul
Multiple truck sizes✔ Yes✔ Yes
Moving containersNo✔ Yes
Self-storage✔ Yes✔ Yes
Moving supplies✔ Yes✔ Yes
WebsiteGet a QuoteGet a Quote
Multiple truck sizes
Moving containers
Self-storage
Moving supplies
Website
Budget U-Haul
✔ Yes ✔ Yes
No ✔ Yes
✔ Yes ✔ Yes
✔ Yes ✔ Yes
Get a Quote Get a Quote

Truck sizes

U-Haul has four sizes of standard moving truck, and Budget has three. The only size both companies have in common is a 26-foot truck (the biggest one there is), while your other options essentially break down into three categories:

  • Small (10 ft.–12 ft.)
  • Medium (15 ft.–17 ft.)
  • Large (20 ft.–26 ft.)

U-Haul and Budget rental truck sizes

SmallMediumLarge
Truck sizes10 ft., 12 ft.15 ft., 16 ft., 17 ft.20 ft., 26 ft.
Best for1-bedroom apartment1- to 2-bedroom home2- to 4-bedroom home
Offered byBudget, U-HaulBudget, U-HaulBudget, U-Haul
Truck sizes
Best for
Offered by
Small Medium Large
10 ft., 12 ft. 15 ft., 16 ft., 17 ft. 20 ft., 26 ft.
1-bedroom apartment 1- to 2-bedroom home 2- to 4-bedroom home
Budget, U-Haul Budget, U-Haul Budget, U-Haul

Winner: U-Haul

Moving containers

Moving containers—or moving pods—let you skip the drive in a rental truck. A company drops a container off at your house, and you load it with your stuff. Then the company picks it up and takes it to your new home where you unload it.

It’s less expensive than hiring a full-service moving company, but often pricier than doing everything yourself.

U-Haul has its own moving containers called U-Boxes, while Budget doesn’t offer any type of moving container services.

Winner: U-Haul

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CONSIDER USING A POD

CONSIDER USING A POD

Moving containers are a hybrid of a full-service and a DIY move. See where you might be able to save time and money with our list of the best moving container companies.

Budget vs. U-Haul coverage options

Nobody wants to go through the hassle and expense of moving only to pay thousands of dollars to cover unexpected accidents. Both Budget and U-Haul have damage protection plans to take the sting out of mishaps like damage to the rental truck or to your belongings.

Budget coverage options

Budget has four coverage options to ease your pain, whether you lock your keys in the truck or get into an accident.

Roadside assistanceValue protectionChoice protectionComplete protection
Cost per day$12.99$48.98$60.94$63.19
Roadside assistance✔ Yes
✔ Yes
✔ Yes
✔ Yes
Physical damage waiverNo✔ Yes
✔ Yes
✔ Yes
Supplemental liability insuranceNoNo✔ Yes
✔ Yes
Personal accident coverageNoNoNo✔ Yes
Cargo coverageNoNoNo✔ Yes
Cost per day
Roadside assistance
Physical damage waiver
Supplemental liability insurance
Personal accident coverage
Cargo coverage
Roadside assistance Value protection Choice protection Complete protection
$12.99 $48.98 $60.94 $63.19
✔ Yes
✔ Yes
✔ Yes
✔ Yes
No ✔ Yes
✔ Yes
✔ Yes
No No ✔ Yes
✔ Yes
No No No ✔ Yes
No No No ✔ Yes

Data as of 2/20/20. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change. Individuals should review their rental contract—including addendums—for a complete description of the policy’s terms, conditions, and exclusions.

U-Haul coverage options

U-Haul has three coverage options to protect you in the event of water damage, burglary, or accidents.

Safetrip®Safemove®Safemove Plus®
Cost per day$5.00$14.00$28.00
Roadside assistance✔ Yes
NoNo
Damage waiverNo✔ Yes
✔ Yes
Cargo protectionNo✔ Yes
✔ Yes
Medical coverageNo✔ Yes
✔ Yes
Supplemental liability coverageNoNo✔ Yes
Exclusion free coverageNoNo✔ Yes
Cost per day
Roadside assistance
Damage waiver
Cargo protection
Medical coverage
Supplemental liability coverage
Exclusion free coverage
Safetrip® Safemove® Safemove Plus®
$5.00 $14.00 $28.00
✔ Yes
No No
No ✔ Yes
✔ Yes
No ✔ Yes
✔ Yes
No ✔ Yes
✔ Yes
No No ✔ Yes
No No ✔ Yes

Data as of 2/20/20. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change. Individuals should review their rental contract—including addendums—for a complete description of the policy’s terms, conditions, and exclusions.

Winner: Tie

Our pick: U-Haul

U-Haul is our winner. While Budget has better prices for midrange moves and proactively addresses customer complaints, U-Haul has more locations, more services, and overall lower rates.

It’s just tough to beat U-Haul’s pricing and availability.

You can learn more about both companies in our full U-Haul Review and our full Budget Truck Rental Review.

Ready to move?

U-Haul can help with rental trucks, moving containers, and hourly labor services.
Get a Quote

Other rental truck picks

Here are our recommendations for other truck rental companies like U-Haul:

FAQs about rental trucks

How much does U-Haul charge per mile?

Our research shows U-Haul charges an average of $1.77 per mile. We calculated this amount by averaging together estimates for short (50-mile), medium (500-mile), and long (1,000-mile) moves.

Is it hard to drive a U-Haul?

It’s trickier than driving a regular car, but U-Haul trucks are designed to be driven by ordinary people. If you’re stressed about the driving, U-Haul has put together some tips for driving U-Haul moving trucks.

Do you need a driver’s license to rent a truck?

Yes. U-Haul and Budget require driver’s licenses to rent moving trucks.

Do Budget and U-Haul offer cargo van rentals?

Yes. Both companies provide cargo vans, which are a good option for small, in-town jobs like transporting washers, dryers, and furniture.

Do Budget and U-Haul offer cargo van rentals?

Yes. Both companies provide cargo vans, which are a good option for small, in-town jobs like transporting washers, dryers, and furniture.

What is the biggest U-Haul trailer?

The dimensions of the biggest U-Haul trailer are 6 ft. x 12 ft. U-Haul also has three smaller cargo trailers. Each comes with a built-in lockable latch to help keep your belongings safe.

About Kurt Manwaring

Kurt Manwaring
Kurt Manwaring brings nearly a decade’s worth of research experience as a business consultant to the Move.org team. He specializes in taking complicated issues (like moving) and presenting them in a way that everyone can understand. His writing has been featured in hundreds of publications, including USA Today, Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Heavy, Slate, and Yahoo! Lifestyle. He would love to hear about your moving experiences and questions at kurt@move.org.