Once you’ve nailed down how much stuff you’re moving, there are two truck types we’d recommend:
Of course, there are other options out there, like cargo vans and moving trailers you can hitch to your car or truck. But we'll focus on pickups and box trucks since those are the best for most DIY moves.
Box trucks are the most common moving trucks—you know, the ones you often see parked in front of your apartment building. They’re more expensive than some other truck types, but they’re still far cheaper than doing a container-style move or going full service.
If you’re moving more than what fits in a one-bedroom apartment, you’ll probably want a box truck. In our opinion, a box truck isn’t worth the price for smaller loads—chances are you’ll be able to find a smaller cargo van better suited for your move.
Rental truck companies usually offer at least two box truck sizes (based on the length of the box itself). Here's the breakdown of which truck sizes are generally considered small, medium, and large.
If you’re moving a one-bedroom apartment or smaller, the 10- and 12-foot sizes are where you’ll want to start. Queen, full, and twin mattresses fit in these trucks, but most king-size mattresses, sadly, are a no-go.
Small box truck sizes are where most customers overestimate their needs. Most of the time, if you think you can make it work with one size, you’ll be able to.
Basically, if you pack up your truck the right way, you’ll most likely be able to make do with the size your instincts told you to go with.
To do so, start with the big stuff. Load your couches, beds, and other large pieces of furniture into the truck first. Then pile in smaller pieces of furniture along with your boxes.
Mid-size box trucks (and larger) are best for long-distance moves and—you guessed it—larger loads. These trucks are also more durable and better suited for long road trips, and there’s a whole lot more space for your things.
Medium box trucks are best for two-bedroom apartments, condos, and one- to two-bedroom small homes. A key difference between small and medium box trucks is that king mattresses fit inside the latter.
If you rent a medium-size truck from U-Haul (15 ft. or 17 ft.), it’ll probably also come with a Mom’s Attic—a small storage compartment above the truck’s cab that provides extra space to keep smaller, fragile items during transit.
Do you own a California king mattress? Look no further than a 20-plus-foot moving truck. These large trucks can generally hold items from two- to three-bedroom apartments all the way up to three- to five-bedroom houses. Plus, they can handle the weight of washers and dryers.
Each large U-Haul truck also comes with a Mom’s Attic, so don’t worry: you don’t need to throw away your comic book collection.
If you’re moving a single room’s worth of stuff—or if you have a few bulky pieces of furniture—a pick-up truck is a cheap and easy alternative to a full-service move or a larger truck rental.
It makes sense to use a pick-up truck if you’re transporting a couple chairs and a table or if you’re moving into a dorm room or small studio apartment.
Plus, if you’re working on home improvement projects, pickups are great for transporting tools, yard debris, and anything else you don’t want dirtying up your backseat.