What’s the Right Moving Truck Size for Your Move?

At a glance

Getting the right moving truck size is just as important as properly packing your truck. If your truck is the wrong size, big or small, it could jeopardize everything you pack inside. Renting a larger truck is also more expensive than a small one, so there’s your budget to consider as well.

What you need is a truck that’s just right. To find the ideal truck size, you first need to take stock of everything you’re moving and calculate how much space it will fill (we’ll help you there). Next, you’ll need to shop around for a truck with the ideal storage capacity (we’ll help you with that too).

Keep reading to get all the tips and tools you need to find the perfect truck size for your move.

Rental truck companies we recommend

Here are our favorite rental truck options from our list of the Best Moving Truck Rental Companies:

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What if I can’t find the perfect truck size?

What if I can’t find the perfect truck size?

If truck availability means you have to size up to a larger truck, make sure you have moving blankets to wedge between items to prevent shifting. If you go down a size, consider adding a trailer to your rental.

The whole picture

If you’ve moved only a handful of times—or if this is your first rodeo—you may not know which truck size is right for your move. It’s even more complicated if the company you’re renting from advertises only small, medium, and large sizes that don’t match your exact load size.

While the truck sizes that most companies recommend are helpful guidelines, they aren’t very precise.

Truck sizes that rental companies recommend

Home sizeRecommended truck size
1-room apartment10-16 ft.
2-room apartment12-22 ft.
3-room house16-22 ft.
5-room house22-26 ft.
Home size
1-room apartment
2-room apartment
3-room house
5-room house
Recommended truck size
10-16 ft.
12-22 ft.
16-22 ft.
22-26 ft.

As you can see, these ranges aren’t exact and sometimes the sizes overlap. For one thing, there’s no exact square footage linked to any home size, and just because two homes have the same number of rooms does not mean they are the same size or have the same amount of stuff inside.

Get money

How much do different truck sizes cost?

How much do different truck sizes cost?

Truck prices range between $120 to rent a small truck for a local move and $2,000 or more to rent a massive truck for a long-distance move. Prices also vary by company and time of year, so it’s impossible to precisely predict how much your truck will cost until you’ve booked it. Learn more in our moving truck pricing guide.

How to pick the right truck size

The best way to get the perfect truck is to use an online moving calculator to tell you how much cubic space (a.k.a. volume) you’ll need based on how many beds, boxes, or even unicycles you’re moving.

Next, find the cubic footage capacity of each truck size you’re looking at. Most companies provide the exact cubic footage capacity of each of their trucks so you don’t have to do any guesswork or math.

It’s that easy.

Family Unloading Furniture

What to consider when you’re calculating your move

While you’re using the calculator, it can be helpful to ask yourself the right questions:

  1. How many rooms are you moving? How many of these are bedrooms with mattresses?
  2. How many boxes are you moving? (Check out Home Depot’s box calculator to get an accurate estimate.)
  3. How big is your furniture? Do you have any oversized, bulky, or fragile items that may need special treatment?
  4. How far are you moving?
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Pro tip

Pro tip

Book a truck size that has 10–15% more cubic space than your estimated load to ensure you have enough room.

Different types of trucks

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

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.

Small box truck sizes

CompanyU-HaulPenskeBudget
Truck size10-ft. truck12-ft. truck12-ft. truck
Dimensions9 ft. 11 in. x 6 ft. 4 in. x 6 ft. 2 in.12 ft. x 6 ft. 6 in. x 6 ft. 1 in.12 ft. x 6 ft. 3 in. x 6 ft.
Capacity1 room, studio apartment 1–2 rooms, 1-bedroom apartment1 room
Weight limit 2,810 lbs.3,100 lbs.3,610 lbs.
Interior space 402 cu. ft.450 cu. ft.380 cu. ft.
Gas mileage12 mpg12 mpg8-14 mpg
Company
Truck size
Dimensions
Capacity
Weight limit
Interior space
Gas mileage
U-Haul Penske Budget
10-ft. truck 12-ft. truck 12-ft. truck
9 ft. 11 in. x 6 ft. 4 in. x 6 ft. 2 in. 12 ft. x 6 ft. 6 in. x 6 ft. 1 in. 12 ft. x 6 ft. 3 in. x 6 ft.
1 room, studio apartment 1–2 rooms, 1-bedroom apartment 1 room
2,810 lbs. 3,100 lbs. 3,610 lbs.
402 cu. ft. 450 cu. ft. 380 cu. ft.
12 mpg 12 mpg 8-14 mpg

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.

Medium box truck sizes

CompanyU-HaulPenskeBudgetU-Haul
Truck size15-ft. truck16-ft. truck16-ft. truck17-ft. truck
Dimensions15 ft. x 7 ft. 8 in. x 7 ft. 2 in.16 ft. x 7 ft. 7 in. x 6 ft. 6 in.16 ft. x 6 ft. 3 in. x 6 ft. 7 in. 16 ft. 9 in. x 7 ft. 8 in. x 7 ft. 2 in.
Capacity2–3 rooms, 2-bedroom apartment 2–3 rooms, 2- to 3-bedroom apartment 2–3 rooms, 2- to 3-bedroom apartment 3-bedroom apartment or condo, 2-bedroom house
Weight limit 6,385 lbs.4,300 lbs.4,460 lbs.6,160 lbs.
Interior space 764 cu. ft. 800 cu. ft. 658 cu. ft. 865 cu. ft.
Gas mileage 10 mpg12 mpg6-10 mpg10 mpg
Company
Truck size
Dimensions
Capacity
Weight limit
Interior space
Gas mileage
U-Haul Penske Budget U-Haul
15-ft. truck 16-ft. truck 16-ft. truck 17-ft. truck
15 ft. x 7 ft. 8 in. x 7 ft. 2 in. 16 ft. x 7 ft. 7 in. x 6 ft. 6 in. 16 ft. x 6 ft. 3 in. x 6 ft. 7 in. 16 ft. 9 in. x 7 ft. 8 in. x 7 ft. 2 in.
2–3 rooms, 2-bedroom apartment 2–3 rooms, 2- to 3-bedroom apartment 2–3 rooms, 2- to 3-bedroom apartment 3-bedroom apartment or condo, 2-bedroom house
6,385 lbs. 4,300 lbs. 4,460 lbs. 6,160 lbs.
764 cu. ft. 800 cu. ft. 658 cu. ft. 865 cu. ft.
10 mpg 12 mpg 6-10 mpg 10 mpg

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.

Large box truck sizes

CompanyU-HaulPenskePenskeU-HaulBudget
Truck size20-ft. truck22-ft. truck26-ft. truck26-ft. truck26-ft. truck
Dimensions19 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. 8 in. x 7 ft. 2 in.21 ft. 11 in. x 8 ft. 1 in. x 8 ft. 1 in.25 ft. 11 in x 8 ft. 1 in. x 8 ft. 1 in.26 ft. 2 in. x 8 ft. 2 in. x 8 ft. 3 in.26 ft. x 8 ft. 1 in. x 8 ft. 1 in.
Capacity2- or 3-bedroom home3- to 4-bedroom home 3- to 5-bedroom home 3- to 5-bedroom home 3- to 5-bedroom home
Weight limit 5,700 lbs.10,000 lbs.10,000 lbs. 9,010 lbs.10,000 lbs.
Interior space 1,016 cu. ft.1,200 cu. ft.1,700 cu. ft.1,682 cu. ft.1,698 cu. ft.
Gas mileage 10 mpg10 mpg10 mpg10 mpg8-10 mpg
Company
Truck size
Dimensions
Capacity
Weight limit
Interior space
Gas mileage
U-Haul Penske Penske U-Haul Budget
20-ft. truck 22-ft. truck 26-ft. truck 26-ft. truck 26-ft. truck
19 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. 8 in. x 7 ft. 2 in. 21 ft. 11 in. x 8 ft. 1 in. x 8 ft. 1 in. 25 ft. 11 in x 8 ft. 1 in. x 8 ft. 1 in. 26 ft. 2 in. x 8 ft. 2 in. x 8 ft. 3 in. 26 ft. x 8 ft. 1 in. x 8 ft. 1 in.
2- or 3-bedroom home 3- to 4-bedroom home 3- to 5-bedroom home 3- to 5-bedroom home 3- to 5-bedroom home
5,700 lbs. 10,000 lbs. 10,000 lbs. 9,010 lbs. 10,000 lbs.
1,016 cu. ft. 1,200 cu. ft. 1,700 cu. ft. 1,682 cu. ft. 1,698 cu. ft.
10 mpg 10 mpg 10 mpg 10 mpg 8-10 mpg

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.

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A good alternative for local moves

A good alternative for local moves

Enterprise is another rental truck company worth looking into. The company has 14 vehicle sizes—but it does only local moves. Read our full review for more details on what Enterprise has to offer.

Pick-up trucks

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.

Companies that offer pick-up truck rentals

*Budget offers pick-up trucks through its sister car rental company. 

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FYI

FYI

The better you organize your things into boxes, the fewer moving boxes you’ll need. Luckily, we have a whole review on how to pack efficiently, as well as a how-to on using shock absorbers like styrofoam, packing peanuts, newspaper, and bubble wrap.

Still can’t find your size?

If you’re between truck sizes, consider going with the smaller option and adding a trailer to your rental for more space—especially if you’re moving awkward or bulky items. For example, lawnmowers aren’t allowed inside a rental truck anyway.

(Check out our list of moving companies that offer trailer rentals for more details.)

If you still need a bigger rental truck, consider doing a full-service move or a container-style move. Rental trucks are especially good for smaller, local moves (and let’s be real, for cheaper rates), but if you’re moving a mansion or from one coast to another, you’ll likely need something bigger.

About Julia Campbell

Julia Campbell
Julia Campbell is a full-time writer who knows the tricks of the trade when it comes to planning a hassle-free move. Having moved seven times in the past five years, she draws from her own experience and industry expertise to help you avoid her biggest mistakes (like that time she thought she could get away with packing her dishes without wrapping them first).