What is Penske?
Penske Truck Rental is one of the three largest truck rental companies available to do-it-yourself movers. It has two main competitors in U-Haul and Budget. Although its shortcomings placed it third out of three in our rankings, Penske has some impressive strengths. Do you fit the ideal Penske customer profile? Read on and find out.
Is Penske right for you?
- You’re moving long distance.
- Penske’s rates for long-distance moves are comparable to and often less expensive than, those of their competitors. Plus, the larger trucks (22 feet and above) use diesel fuel, which provides a helpful boost in power. In-town movers will face much higher prices than they would at Penske’s competitors.
- You’re on a budget.
- A DIY move, including one with Penske, is always far less expensive than a full-service move.
- You don’t mind doing it all yourself.
- As mentioned above, this will be a DIY move. All Penske does is give you the keys, leaving loading, unloading, and driving all up to you.
Our in-depth review of Penske Truck Rental
Where is Penske available?
Penske operates in 2,289 locations across the lower 48 states and Washington, D.C., with another 30 locations throughout Canada. This number puts Penske at the bottom of the list for availability, but not by much: while U-Haul dominates the availability game with a massive 16,000 locations, Budget only operates in about 2,500 locations.
Thankfully, Penske makes it easy to find its rental locations. On its “locations” page, it lists how many locations are available in each state. Choose your state, then you’ll see which cities have locations. Because its competitors have confusing layouts (Budget) or require a ZIP code search (U-Haul), this ability to see quickly if Penske is available where you’re moving from/to is a breath of fresh air.
How does Penske’s pricing compare to its competitors?
On the front page of its website, Penske promises that it’s “dedicated to customers, focused on quality.” Penske makes no mention of pricing, which made us nervous that prices would turn out higher than those of the competition. Yes and no, as a matter of fact.
Penske will please long-distance movers with prices that are always at least as low as the competition, within a reasonable margin. In several of our sample quotes, the price actually came out much lower—as much as 38% lower, in fact, for the larger truck sizes. We never found an instance when Penske’s prices were much higher than the competition. (Be sure to book online, instead of on the phone or in person, to get 10% off.)
Penske also scores points for unlimited miles on long-distance moves. You’ll find the same perk with Budget, but U-Haul puts a cap on mileage with an extra per-mile charge if you go over.
Prices for local moves are another story. Whereas U-Haul and Budget both rent trucks for $30–$40 per day (prices set corporately, nationwide), Penske’s prices are much higher. The price may change based on geography or specific dealer, but it’s always two to three times higher than the competition. Local movers should look elsewhere.
What can you expect from your experience as a Penske customer?
The truck you rent is the single most important aspect of your experience. Here, Penske differs from their competitors in one big way. On the surface, the trucks appear the same, with comparable sizes and interiors. But in the larger truck sizes (22- and 26-foot), Penske uses diesel engines rather than regular gasoline engines. Diesel engines have slightly better fuel efficiency, which may save you money on a long move. They also have more power, in the form of torque, which makes climbing easier. If your move takes you across any mountain ranges, a diesel engine may be the better option.
Penske’s makes its customer service agents available seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., and you can contact them by phone or by online chat. If you run into trouble on the road, Penske makes its roadside assistance available 24/7.
What kind of coverage does Penske offer?
Penske offers a Limited Damage Waiver, and we recommend you take it. The cost adds about 10% on top of the rental price, and it limits your liability if anything happens to the truck en route. To be more precise, it won’t protect you against stupid mistakes like driving the truck into a too-short parking garage or drive-through, but it will protect you from the dents, scratches, and accidents that can easily happen on the road.
You can purchase additional protection, including Personal Accident Insurance (medical coverage for you and your passengers), Supplemental Liability Insurance (in case someone sues you after an accident), and Cargo Insurance (coverage for your stuff up to $15,000). Each has an extra cost, though each costs less than the Limited Damage Waiver. Renters must be over 21 years of age to purchase Supplemental Liability Insurance.
What additional services does Penske offer?
- Packing supplies – Penske offers packing supplies online, but at costs so high ($2.65 for a medium box, versus $1.35 at U-Haul) that we recommend you find your supplies elsewhere.
- Moving services – Penske does not offer packing, cleaning, loading, or unloading services, but its website will refer you to companies that do.
- Storage – Penske does not have storage facilities. However, it uses a service called SpareFoot to help you search for nearby storage solutions
We like Penske for long-distance moves
Penske is a great option for a bare-bones, long-distance move. It doesn’t have a lot of the bells and whistles of its competitor U-Haul, but if you just need a truck to get you from one state to another, give Penske a look.
While Penske has very attractive long-distance prices, its in-town prices are not worth your trouble. For a short move, we recommend choosing between Budget and U-Haul.