Choosing the right size moving truck rental is one of the most critical aspects to having a safe and pleasant DIY move. If you rent a moving truck that is too small, you may be in the midst of a moving nightmare. You’ll either have to unpack the truck entirely to exchange it for the next size up, or arrange alternate moving arrangements for the items that don’t fit. This is especially inconvenient and expensive when you’re moving cross-country. You can always tow a cargo trailer with your rental truck to avoid this hassle as another option. To decide what the right size moving truck is for you, start by asking the most important question:
How much stuff do you have?
Go through your home room-by-room and make a list of the major pieces of furniture you have. Include the large items like beds, dressers, dining room tables. Include any items that will not fit into a box. You also should consider your move: Is it in-town or one-way? For in-town moves, you may be more likely to pack less things and just place them in the truck loose, requiring more space in the back of your truck.
Once you have your list prepared, visit your local dealer, or go to their website. They will typically have guidelines to help you decide which size equipment best matches your needs. There are 2 common ways these will be broken down:
A.) By Number of Bedrooms: This is the simplest and easiest method for determining what size you need. Most customer feedback says this is how they chose their moving truck and that it got the job done right. The truck rental company will list their moving truck’s capacity in terms of bedrooms in your home for simplicity. Going along with the company’s general estimate saves time, but remember that they are only estimates based on the typical furniture in any given room. For example, one bedroom may consist of a queen sized bed, a dresser, and 2 nightstands. If the rooms in your home have a lot of furniture, you must assume that it will take up more space. If you are on the cusp between truck rental sizes, it is best to be safe and reserve the next size up. If you are unable to find a guide, here is a general starting point:
- Cargo van to 10′ moving truck: studio apartment
- 15-foot moving truck: two bedrooms or less
- 20-foot moving truck: two to three bedrooms
- 26-foot moving truck: four+ bedrooms
B.) By Cubic Feet: Instead of categorizing their truck sizes by number of rooms, some companies may offer the cubic feet measurement of storage for each truck. If you are one that wants to do the measurements and calculations. Then this is your best option. In this instance, it’s best to take the list you made, and insert the numbers into an online calculator. In addition to using an online calculator, you can use a general rule of thumb and allow 150-200 cubic feet per of truck space per fully furnished room. Remember, though, that this too is only an estimate. If your home is very full of furniture you will want to allow more space.
– Don’t forget about the items outside such as bikes, propane grills, and patio furniture. Consider adding a trailer to your moving truck for these items.
– Prepare for loading the truck by reading How to Load a Moving Truck.
– Consider adding coverage when renting your equipment.
– When in doubt, opt for the larger moving truck rental.
What are the different ways you have decided which size truck to get in the past. Have they been accurate? Let us know below in the comments section.
UPDATED: May 2, 2016 to incorporate the latest truck lineup offered by U-Haul.