Bottom line: While Penske and U-Haul are actually pretty similar in terms of services and customer reviews, we think U-Haul’s wider availability, larger selection of truck sizes, and longer list of additional services make it slightly better for DIY moves than Penske (even though Penske may be cheaper in some locations).
Penske vs. U-Haul Truck Rental 2021
Penske and U-Haul are two of the most popular truck rental services in the industry, and they’re both on our list of the best truck rental companies.
Keep reading to learn how Penske and U-Haul differ—and why we think U-Haul is a better truck rental option for your DIY move.
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Penske vs. U-Haul pricing
Move distance (miles)
Penske 12-ft. truck
Penske 26-ft. truck
U-Haul 10-ft. truck
U-Haul 26-ft. truck
Data as of 8/22/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Because so many students are moving away from college to avoid COVID-19, U-Haul is offering customers with valid student IDs 30 days of free self-storage.
Generally, Penske’s rates are at least slightly higher than U-Haul’s, but they can be cheaper in some locations. If low prices are the most important factor to you, we recommend getting a quote from both companies.
The prices above are averages we calculated by gathering several quotes from Penske and U-Haul. Both companies calculate prices based on move distance and truck availability, so both seasonality and location can affect your price. Your quote will vary at least slightly from what we’ve listed.
Keep in mind that these averages reflect only the base rate each company charges for truck rental. They don’t include add-on services and fees like moving coverage, security deposits, extra mileage, towing charges, etc.
Penske offers a boatload of discounts year-round plus a few others seasonally, making it easy for you to save money. Its list of all-year discounts include military discounts, student discounts, and discounts for AAA members. The company posts seasonal discounts on its website, so check for deals before scheduling your service.
Penske vs. U-Haul availability
Penske has locations in 49 states (sorry, Alaska), and U-Haul has locations in all 50 states. Both companies have locations in Canada. U-Haul boasts more than 20,000 locations, while Penske’s count is more than 2,500 (including Home Depot locations that rent out Penske trucks).
U-Haul’s abundance of locations means two things:
- The company can usually get you into a truck at the last minute. This flexibility can spare you a lot of embarrassment and inconvenience if your friends show up to help on moving day but you didn’t book a truck ahead of time.
- U-Haul’s rates can be lower than competitors’ since prices are partially determined by truck availability—and U-Haul has a lot of trucks.
Both of these factors can affect you as a customer, which is part of the reason we recommend U-Haul over Penske.
Penske vs. U-Haul customer experience
Both Penske and U-Haul have easy-to-use websites that offer plenty of information and instant quote tools. This is all pretty rare for the moving industry, so both companies get points for convenience.
However, the two do differ a little in terms of customer satisfaction . . .
Penske customer reviews
Positive customer reviews for Penske usually focus on the company’s affordability and convenience, but very few applaud Penske’s customer service.
Penske’s bad reviews are mostly focused on unexpected charges like security deposits. A few also complained of faulty rental equipment, so watch out for that if you rent a Penske truck.
Overall, Penske’s reviews average out to middle-of-the-road customer satisfaction, and Penske is usually ranked below U-Haul in this regard (but only slightly).
U-Haul customer reviews
When customers recommend U-Haul, they’re typically focusing on the company’s friendly staff and customer service. Negative reviews of U-Haul usually fall into two categories:
- Customers complaining about hidden fees
- Customers complaining about last-minute changes to their reservations
Both of these are things you should watch out for with most moving companies.
It’s also worth noting that very few U-Haul customers complain about faulty equipment.
Since U-Haul’s customer reviews and ratings are generally a little better than Penske’s, we recommend U-Haul for customer experience.
Flat tires, empty gas tanks, and dead batteries are all bad news, especially when you’re in the middle of nowhere and the truck in question holds everything you own. To make sure you can get out of these sticky situations, Penske and U-Haul both offer roadside assistance.
Penske vs. U-Haul services
Penske and U-Haul operate almost identically, and they both run tight ships. However, if you’re looking for add-ons that can make your move more convenient (for a price), you’re more likely to find what you need on U-Haul’s extensive menu of services than with Penske’s comparatively limited selection.
|Packing and loading services|
*U-Haul has a "reservation guarantee," but it doesn't mean your reservation is actually guaranteed. In this case, it means if U-Haul doesn't have your truck ready at the specified time and location, it will give you $50.
One important distinction: Penske contracts with other companies to provide moving labor and self-storage services, whereas all of U-Haul’s offerings are in-house.
Penske's partner, Simple Moving Labor, has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau. There are relatively few complaints, but when customers get upset they often express frustration about challenges filing claims for damage to property and belongings.
Another big difference between Penske and U-Haul is their truck selections. Penske has only five truck sizes, while U-Haul has seven, so you’re more likely to find the ideal truck size for your move at U-Haul.
Penske truck sizes1
Interior capacity (cu. ft.)
Weight limit (lbs.)
Up to 2 rooms
Up to 3 rooms
Up to 5 rooms
Up to 7 rooms
Penske offers rentals that range from cargo vans (for a single room's worth of stuff) all the way up to 26-foot trucks (that can hold up to seven room’s worth of furniture and belongings).
U-Haul truck sizes2
Interior capacity (cu. ft.)
Weight limit (lbs.)
NA (open truck bed)
Less than 1 room
U-Haul’s rentals range from pickup trucks (for odd jobs around your house) to 26-foot moving trucks (for moving everything you could fit in a four-bedroom home).
Penske vs. U-Haul truck rental coverage
Moving coverage is crucial when you’re renting a truck because, contrary to popular belief, your personal car insurance policy won’t always cover exceptionally large vehicles like moving trucks.
If anything were to befall your rental and you didn’t purchase additional coverage, you would be left footing the bill for the damages yourself.
Luckily, both Penske and U-Haul offer comprehensive, customizable coverage plans to help protect you from hefty damage claims. Neither company provides specific pricing info for its coverage plans—likely because rates can vary based on factors like a customer’s age.
However, we’ve outlined what each plan covers below.*
Penske's coverage plans
Limited Damage Waiver covers damage to trucks and towing equipment unless they were used in ways that violate the rental agreement (doing donuts in an abandoned parking lot, for example).
Personal Accident Insurance provides coverage for you and your passengers in case of death or bodily harm incurred while driving the truck.
Supplemental Liability Insurance covers you if another driver files a claim against you.
Cargo Insurance covers your belongings against accidents and natural disasters while they’re in the truck.
Towing Insurance covers any vehicle you’re towing behind your Penske truck.
U-Haul's coverage plans
Safemove® covers your belongings (while they’re in the truck) as well as you, your passengers, and your rental equipment in the event of most accidents (except for collisions with overhead objects).
Safemove Plus® includes everything Safemove offers with two added benefits: it supplements your personal insurance policy for the first $1 million in losses, and it also covers the types of accidents that Safemove doesn’t.
Safetow® covers a vehicle you tow behind your moving truck as well as any equipment you rent to help you tow that vehicle.
*Individuals should review their rental contract—including addendums—for a complete description of the policy's terms, conditions, and exclusions.
Our pick: U-Haul
We think that U-Haul’s longer list of services, larger selection of trucks, and wider network of locations make it better for DIY moves than Penske. However, if budget is your biggest concern, we recommend getting a quote from both companies to compare prices. U-Haul’s rates are typically lower, but Penske is the cheaper option in some areas.
Let’s get this show on the road!
If you’re ready to rent a truck from U-Haul, click the button below to get your quote.
Other moving truck companies we recommend
If neither Penske nor U-Haul feels like a good fit for your situation, then we recommend reading up on some of our other favorite truck rental companies: