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.
The biggest advantage U-Haul has over Penske is availability. While Penske has 3,200 locations worldwide, U-Haul has a staggering 21,000 locations between the US and Canada. 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.
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.
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. 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, 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.