Penske vs. U-Haul Truck Rental 2021

We compared every feature and over 50 quotes from Penske and U-Haul to determine which company is better for moving truck rental. In most cases, Penske is your best option.
Our pick
penske
Penske
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
$1,136.50 avg. rental price
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Lower prices for long-distance moves
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Good customer reviews
  • Icon Pros  Light
    5 truck sizes
Second place
uhaul
U-Haul
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2
$992.19 avg. rental price
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Lower prices for local moves
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Terrible customer reviews
  • Icon Pros  Light
    7 truck sizes
Joe Roberts
Researcher & Writer
Read More
Published on August 04, 2021
10 min read

Bottom line

For many people, U-Haul is the go-to choice for moving truck rental, and not without good reason. The company’s competitive prices, variety of truck sizes, and unrivaled availability make it one of the best truck rental companies in the country.

However, U-Haul does lag behind Penske—one of its biggest competitors—in a few important ways: customer reviews, reservation reliability, and prices for big trucks and long-distance moves.

Because of its superior marks in these categories, Penske outclasses U-Haul in our book.


Table of Contents

Pros and cons

Penske
Pro Bullet Best rates for long-distance moves
Pro Bullet Best rates for large trucks
Pro Bullet Reliable reservations
Con Bullet Fewer locations than U-Haul
U-Haul
Pro Bullet Widest availability
Pro Bullet Low local prices
Con Bullet Terrible customer reviews
Con Bullet Unreliable reservations

Compare Penske and U-Haul top features

Company
Truck sizes
Locations
Avg. local price
Avg. long-distance price
Guaranteed reservations
Website
penske
53,200 locations worldwide1$328.09 + $1.29/mile
$1944.93
Icon Yes  LightYes
uhaul
721,000 locations in the US and Canada2$38.70 + $0.99/mile
$1945.68
Icon No  LightNo

Penske and U-Haul similarities

Before we dig into what makes Penske and U-Haul different, we wanted to go over a few things that they both do (and do well): comprehensive coverage options, moving assistance, and long-distance rentals.

Both companies have comprehensive coverage options*

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 holding the bill for the damages yourself.

Luckily, both Penske and U-Haul offer comprehensive, optional coverage plans to help protect you from hefty damage claims. These coverage options put both companies head and shoulders above a few competitors (namely Enterprise and Home Depot) that have much sparser coverage, if any.

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 someone else (i.e. a pedestrian or 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 on a Penske vehicle trailer.

U-Haul's coverage plans

Safemove® covers your rental equipment and your belongings (while they’re in the truck) in the event of most accidents except for collisions with overhead objects. It also provides some medical and life protection for you and your passengers.

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.

Exclamation
In case you break down en route

Flat tires, empty gas tanks, and dead batteries are all bad news, especially when you’re in the middle of nowhere and the truck you’re driving holds everything you own. To make sure you can get out of these sticky situations, Penske and U-Haul both offer 24/7 roadside assistance.

Both companies offer moving assistance

Usually when you rent a moving truck, it’s because you plan to do all the moving labor yourself. You don’t have to go full DIY on your move, though. If you want any help loading, unloading, or packing, both Penske and U-Haul can hook you up with a moving crew that will help with the heavy lifting.

As you’d expect, these services cost extra. However, moving assistance can make a long day of moving go much quicker, and they can spare you a lot of aches and pains later on, so the help is usually worth the cost.

Info Box
Need some loading advice?

If you’re going full DIY on your truck rental move, check out our guide to loading a moving truck for some tips and pointers. Even if you’ve loaded a moving truck before, these best practices that the pros use might still come in handy.

Both companies offer local and long-distance rentals

A local move is usually defined as any move under 100 miles, but for moving truck rental, it also means you return your truck to the same location where you rented it. This is why moving truck companies sometimes call local moves “round-trip moves.”

Long-distance moves—usually moves over 100 miles—are sometimes called “one-way” moves by truck rental companies because you return your truck at a different location than where you picked it up.

Unlike Enterprise and Home Depot, both of which only offer local rentals, U-Haul and Penske both service round-trip and one-way customers.


Penske and U-Haul differences

Now that we’ve addressed what both Penske and U-Haul offer—and how they both surpass a few of their competitors—let’s discuss what differentiates the two companies: pricing, extra services, and truck sizes, availability, and more.

Best long-distance prices: Penske

CompanyPenskeU-Haul
Avg. price for rentals over 1,000 miles
$2471.20
$2684.00
Avg. price for medium-to-large trucks
$2141.03
$2225.44

Data as of October 2020. Prices do not include add-on services like moving coverage or additional equipment rentals. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

If you’re moving over 1,000 miles, Penske’s prices are often lower than U-Haul’s, especially if you’re renting a medium-to-large truck.

On top of its excellent rates, Penske also gives long-distance moving customers unlimited mileage. U-Haul, on the other hand, will estimate how many miles you’ll need to drive to complete your move, and then charge you for any additional mileage you put on the truck.

Best prices for shorter moves: U-Haul

CompanyPenskeU-Haul
Avg. price for rentals under 1,000 miles
$686.68
$296.56
Avg. price for small rental trucks
$1748.83
$1499.27

Data as of October 2020. Prices do not include add-on services like moving coverage or additional equipment rentals. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

U-Haul’s prices are usually much better than Penske’s if you’re moving under 1,000 miles, especially if you’re moving in a small truck. Furthermore, for local moves, U-Haul’s prices are exceptionally lower than Penske’s—though not quite as good as Budget’s.

Keep in mind that the prices in the tables above are just averages. We gathered about 30 quotes from both companies to calculate these costs, but there are a lot of factors that can influence your moving truck rental price. Because of this, your final price may look at least slightly different from what we found.

For example, Penske offered the lowest rate available for this local move in Las Vegas.

If money is your sole concern, you should get a quote from both companies to ensure you get the best price, no matter how far you’re moving.

Most discounts: Penske

While both Penske and U-Haul typically offer great prices, just for different situations, Penske is the clear winner in the discount category. Here is the full list of discounts Penske advertises on its site:

     AAA discounts—12% or more off truck rental

     Military discounts—10% off truck rental

     College student discounts—10% off truck rental

     Seasonal/promotional discounts—varied savings[1]

For comparison, U-Haul’s discounts are much more sparse, and it doesn’t advertise specific discounts for truck rentals.

That said, U-Haul does sometimes offer promotional rates, and these can depend on which U-Haul location you visit. We like that Penske lists specific truck discounts on its site, though, because it lets customers know what to ask for when they rent their trucks.

Most extra services: U-Haul

Penske and U-Haul offer a lot of overlapping services, and they both offer all of the services you’d expect of a moving truck rental company, such as moving truck rentals (obviously), vehicle trailer rentals, and loading assistance.

However, U-Haul does have a few extra services that Penske doesn’t, such as cargo trailer rentals and moving container moves.

Penske and U-Haul service comparison

Service
penske
uhaul
Moving truck rental
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Moving coverage
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Packing and loading services
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Vehicle trailer rental
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Cargo trailer rental
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Self storage
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Moving container rental
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Packing supplies
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes

Data as of June 21, 2021.

Though U-Haul technically offers more services than Penske, these extra services are more or less superfluous if all you want from your moving truck company is a reliable moving truck with coverage.

For most truck rental moves, you probably won’t need a cargo trailer, and there’s almost no reason you’d need to add a moving container to your truck rental. Hybrid moves like this aren’t unheard of, but there aren’t many occasions that warrant renting additional equipment and services.

Because of this, we think that the two companies are about sixes service-wise for typical truck rental customers.

Most truck sizes: U-Haul

Like we said earlier, U-Haul has two more truck sizes than Penske. That said, both companies have basically the same range of truck sizes with cargo vans at one end of each spectrum and 26-foot box trucks at the other.

One thing U-Haul does have over Penske is its range of pickup truck rentals, which are perfect for small moving jobs like carting just a sofa or fridge. If you’re moving everything you own, though, either company can supply a near-perfect truck for the job, no matter how big or small your home is. 

U-Haul truck size 

  • Cargo van
  • Pickup truck
  • 10-foot box truck
  • 15-foot box truck
  • 17-foot box truck
  • 20-foot box truck
  • 26-foot box truck

Penske truck sizes

  • Cargo van
  • 12-foot box truck
  • 16-foot box truck
  • 22-foot box truck
  • 26-foot box truck

Check out our Penske review and our U-Haul review to get a more in-depth breakdown of the specifications for either company’s trucks.

Most availability: U-Haul

The biggest advantage U-Haul has over Penske is availability. While Penske has 3,200 locations worldwide,[1] U-Haul has a staggering 21,000 locations between the US and Canada.[2] This means that no matter where you live or where you’re moving to, you’re far more likely to have a local U-Haul location than a nearby Penske location.

That said, Penske does have more than enough locations to service most major cities in the US, and it operates in every state except for Alaska. Additionally, Penske partners with Home Depot to increase its service area. You can rent and return long-distance Penske trucks at participating Home Depot locations.

Even accounting for Penske’s Home Depot partnership, though, U-Haul is the clear winner for availability.

Best customer reviews: Penske

Customer satisfaction is one of the most stark differentiators between Penske and U-Haul. We could talk all day about qualities and services that one company or the other has and why you should care about them, but ultimately, the proof is in the pudding, and the pudding is customer reviews.

When it comes to customer satisfaction, Penske pulls ahead by a mile.

Across review platforms like Yelp and Google, U-Haul’s customer reviews are plagued by reports of unfriendly customer service agents, unreliable quotes, and—worst of all—last-minute reservation cancellations (we’ll talk about this a little more next).

In star ratings on multiple platforms, customers give Penske one and a half stars more than they give U-Haul on average, and customers often praise the company’s customer service and reliable reservations.

Of course, Penske isn’t without its fair share of customer complaints, and Penske’s negative reviews detail many of the same problems customers have with U-Haul. Overall though, Penske customers are much more satisfied than U-Haul customers.

Bullhorn
Want to hear what customers think of Penske?

Through our moving grant program, we’ve gained a lot of direct insight into Penske moves. If you want to learn exactly what moving with Penske is like, check out these reviews:

Brian’s Penske Move

Caroline’s Penske Move

Dion’s Penske Move

Most reliable reservations: Penske

U-Haul is notorious for breaking its reservations. U-Haul customers frequently report that the company either cancelled their reservations the day before their move or just didn’t have their trucks ready or available at pickup time.

In some instances, U-Haul sends these customers to different locations to get their trucks. This can add a few hours to a move, but these customers still get the right trucks. In other cases, U-Haul gives these customers a different truck size than they initially reserved, which isn’t ideal, but it’s better than nothing.

In extreme instances, though, customers are left with absolutely no recourse from U-Haul and have to scramble to find a truck at a different company.

This is such a problem that it even creeps into reviews for other moving truck rental companies. For example, several customer reviews for Enterprise start with something like, “U-Haul cancelled my reservation last-minute. Luckily, I was able to find a replacement truck at Enterprise.”

U-Haul does have a $50 “guarantee” on its reservations, specifying that if it fails to fulfill a reservation as planned, it will pay the customer $50 and still attempt to fulfill it some other way.[1] However, customers frequently report being stiffed this $50 and leaving U-Haul empty-handed.

By contrast, Penske’s reservations are much more reliable. The company also guarantees its reservations,[2] saying it will deliver your truck to your reserved location when you book, though it doesn’t include a money-back promise for broken reservations like U-Haul. However,  customers almost never report Penske dropping their reservations.

This is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding whether to rent from Penske or U-Haul. U-Haul may have cheaper rates in some instances, and it might be more widely available, but if you’re left without a truck on moving day, none of that will matter.


Our pick: Penske

While U-Haul isn’t without its charms like wide availability and a large variety of truck sizes, Penske’s reliable reservations, unbeatable rates for long-distance rentals and large trucks, and unmatched customer satisfaction record far outweigh U-Haul’s positive traits.

And like we said earlier, if money is your biggest concern, you should get a quote from both companies no matter how far you’re moving to ensure you’re getting the best price available.

Ready to get your Penske quote?


Methodology

Pricing played a huge role in our rankings. To get an accurate picture of each company’s prices, we gathered 28 online quotes from both Penske and U-Haul. We requested quotes for four home sizes across seven different distances ranging from 50 miles to 2,000. To minimize the effects of location and seasonality on pricing, we gathered all quotes within the same week and for the exact same zip codes.

We also checked both companies for dozens of other factors like reservation reliability, roadside assistance, and total number of locations. We investigated what each company offered online, read up on complicated offerings like moving coverage, and contacted customer service agents whenever we had questions.

Lastly, to rank the companies for customer satisfaction, we incorporated star rankings left by real customers on Google Reviews, Yelp, and various other review platforms.

Other truck rental companies we recommend

If you want to see how Penske and U-Haul compare to other moving truck rental companies, check out these reviews:

Recommended resources

For a DIY move, picking the right moving truck company is only the first step. Read these guides to ensure you’re prepared for moving day:

Sources

  1. Penske, “Our Companies.” Accessed May 3, 2021.
  2. AMERCO, “Company History.” Accessed May 3, 2021.
  3. Penske Truck Rental, “Coverage.” Accessed June 16, 2021.
  4. U-Haul Truck Rental, “For Your Protection and Peace of Mind, Safemove Has You Covered.” Accessed June 16, 2021.
  5. Penske Truck Rental, “Discounts.” Accessed April 27, 2021.
  6. Penske, “Our Companies.” Accessed May 3, 2021.
  7. AMERCO, “Company History.” Accessed May 3, 2021.
  8. U-Haul Truck Rental, “Your Reservation is Guaranteed or We Will Give You $50.” Accessed June 22, 2021.
  9. Penske Truck Rental, “Why Move with Penske?” Accessed June 22, 2021.
Joe Roberts
Written by
Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts is a professional writer with a degree in writing studies and over four years of copywriting experience. He previously worked at Overstock.com, where he wrote about furniture, home decor, and moving. Joe has moved all over Utah, so he knows his way around a moving truck—and he spends his time (and money) expanding his personal library so it will be even heavier next time he moves.

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