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What Size Moving Truck Do I Need to Rent?

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If you're opting for a DIY move, the first thing you need to do is determine what size moving truck you need to rent in order to transport all of your belongings. If you don't plan well, you might end up with a truck which is not spacious enough to accommodate all your boxes. So, to save yourself the hassle, you need to learn how to choose the right-sized moving truck.

Rental Moving Truck Sizes

The size of the truck you rent depends on what you need to put in it, so here are some questions to consider when evaluating your moving load:

  • Am I moving any large furniture? Items like couches, sofas, futons, mattresses, dining room tables, dressers, desks, armoires, and bed frames all require a lot of space to be loaded properly. How many of these items you'll be moving will determine how big of a rental truck you require.
  • Am I moving any large appliances? Refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, and large electronics like big-screen TVs will demand a good deal of truck real estate and must be packed and wrapped thoroughly to prevent damage. The more of these items you have, the bigger the truck you'll have to rent.
  • How many boxes am I transporting? While this is a tough question to answer before you begin the packing process, use a rough approximation to judge how much space you'll need to reserve for moving boxes.

    For example, moving a one-bedroom apartment would mean a total of 25 to 40 boxes, while for a two-bedroom apartment the number may reach 40 to 60 boxes. Also, some people have more belongings than others, so the number of boxes you'll need will depend on what you'll be packing.

  • What is the size of my home? The size of your home is going to play a major role in determining what size truck to rent. For example, moving a five-bedroom house is going to require a much bigger truck than moving a two-bedroom apartment, so take this information into consideration when deciding on what size moving truck you'll need for your move: the bigger the home, the more stuff to move, the bigger the truck you'll need.
  • How far am I moving? If you're moving only a short distance, you might be able to use the same truck to make multiple trips and therefore won't need everything to fit in all at once. However, if you're making a long-distance move, you'll need to load everything onto the truck in one shot. This means that you'll need a bigger truck.

Types of moving trucks you can rent

Usually, there are several different kinds of moving trucks you'll be able to rent from rental companies. These are:

  • Pickup trucks : These trucks are ideal for small moves where you need to relocate just a couple of boxes along with your mattresses. The maximum weight that can be carried by these vehicles is around 2,000 pounds with an estimated volume of around 76 cubic feet.
  • Cargo vans : These vans are suitable for a small and local move whereby you're relocating from a studio apartment. Cargo vans have a volume of around 245 cubic feet with a carrying capacity of 4,000 pounds.
  • Box trucks : If your house is bigger than a studio apartment you'll probably need a box truck to move your belongings. These are the most common types of moving vehicles. Though they're more expensive than the other kinds of trucks, they'll still cost you far less than using a full-fledged professional moving service. These trucks are available in a variety of sizes to suit your needs.

Truck size comparison

Below you'll find a table to help you compare different kinds of trucks to figure out what size moving truck you need for your move.

Truck Size Dimensions Capacity
8-ft 7'9" x 5'2" x 1'9" Twin or full mattress, 3-4 furniture items
10-ft 9'11" x 6'4" x 6'2" 1 room, studio apartment
12-ft 12' X 6'6'' X 6'1'' 1-2 rooms, 1-bedroom apartment
15-ft 15' x 7'8" x 7'2" 2-3 rooms, 2-bedroom apartment
16-ft 16' x 7'7" x 6'6" 2-3 rooms, 2- to 3-bedroom apartment
17-ft 16'9" x 7'8" x 7'2" 3-bedroom apartment or 2-bedroom house
20-ft 19'6" x 7'8" x 7'2" 2- to 3-bedroom house
22-ft 21'11" x 8'1" x 8'1" 3- to 4-bedroom house
26-ft 25'11" x 8'1" x 8'1" 3- to 5-bedroom house

Moving truck size for one-bedroom apartment

On average, relocating the contents of a one-bedroom apartment will require you to rent either a 10-foot or 12-foot moving truck. These are the two smallest sizes available from most truck rental companies, but they will typically be large enough for your belongings.

  • A 10-foot truck is a small box truck with 402 cubic feet of space inside and is commonly used for studio apartments, dorm rooms, and one-bedroom apartments.
  • The 12-foot variation features increased capacity and almost double the volume, with 443-450 cubic feet of space. These larger trucks are used for larger one-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom apartments - perfect for those who are moving large pieces of furniture and appliances and need more space that what the 10-foot truck can offer.

Moving truck size for two-bedroom apartment

On average, relocating the contents of a two-bedroom apartment will require you to rent either a 15-foot or 16-foot moving truck.

  • With 764 cubic feet of space, a 15-foot truck has almost double the volume of the smallest truck available. They are used primarily for two-bedroom apartments but can also be used for larger one-bedroom apartments or condos.
  • A 16-foot truck is perfect for those who are moving large furniture and appliances. The 16-foot rental trucks can also be used for smaller houses, two- and three-bedroom apartments, condos, and smaller office relocations.

Moving truck size for three-bedroom apartment

On average, relocating the contents of a three-bedroom apartment will require you to rent either a 16-foot or 17-foot moving truck.

  • A 16-foot truck is one of the most popular sizes and features increased capacity, with more than double the volume of the smallest truck available. At around 800 cubic feet of space, these rental trucks are primarily used to move apartments with two to three bedrooms.
  • A 17-foot truck is perfect for those who are moving large furniture and appliances. These rental trucks can also be used for two-bedroom homes and feature around 865 cubic feet of space.

Moving truck size for three-bedroom house

A three-bedroom house would mean moving five to seven rooms' worth of furniture and boxes, so you'll probably need to rent a 22- or 26-foot truck.

  • A 22-foot truck can fit about three to five rooms of a house, so you will have to make multiple trips to bring all your belongings over from your old home to your new home. This truck has around 1,200 cubic feet of interior space.
  • A 26-foot truck is suitable if you are bringing your large appliances with you such as a washing machine, dryer, and fridge. These trucks can accommodate the contents of up to seven rooms or up to about 1,700 cubic feet. This truck size is the largest that can be rented for a DIY mover.

Moving truck size for four or five bedroom house

A 26-foot-long moving truck will accommodate the contents of a four- or five-bedroom home and you may not need a Commercial Drivers' Licenses (CDL) to drive it. This is often the largest truck size you can rent for a DIY move.

A 26-foot rental truck is designed to transport large loads and can generally accommodate around:

  • Volume: up to 1700 cu. ft.
  • Maximum load weight: 10,000 lbs.
  • Average dimensions: 25'11'' x 8'X1'' x 8'1'' (LXWXH)

Trucks for bigger moves

If all your belongings don't fit in the 26-foot truck, you may have to rent a much bigger truck. However, it's not safe for drivers without a CDL to drive such large trucks - and it may not even be legal to do so. In such cases, it may be better to hire professional movers than to risk your own safety.

Contacting a truck rental company

Once you figure out how many boxes you're going to be moving and taken inventory of all your large appliances and furniture, you need to find a place to rent a truck for your move. Your next step is to contact a local truck rental company to inquire about prices.

Follow the steps below to contact a truck rental company:

  • Provide a description of your belongings or your moving inventory. When you call or visit the truck rental company to speak with them about pricing and rental options, have a copy of your moving inventory available, or at the very least a list of the items you plan on moving. This will allow the truck rental representative to determine how much space you'll need for your belongings in order to find the perfect truck for your move.
  • Inquire about proper loading techniques. You'll be surprised just how much you can fit in the back of a moving truck if you pack it correctly. Believe it or not, there's a special sort of science in packing and loading a truck, and knowing where to put your boxes and furniture will help you to maximize every square inch of space you have. If this is your first move, you may not have that much experience in loading a truck; luckily moving professionals know the right methods for packing and loading and can help you devise the most efficient strategy possible.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you're unsure about any of the specifics regarding your truck rental - such as what the company charges for mileage or if there are any hidden fees - don't be afraid to ask the truck rental representative before making the decision to rent.

Things to remember while loading a moving truck

In order to keep your move safe and smooth, you need to load everything onto the moving truck properly. Remember the following things while loading your rental truck:

  • Disassembling large pieces of furniture will allow you to save a valuable amount of space.
  • To keep your belongings safe, load the heavier items first so they don't crush other pieces.
  • Always remember to place heavy furniture items like headboards and tables in an upright position.
  • Load the light-weight items last in such a way that they aren't crushed beneath any heavy objects.
  • Distribute the weight of all the packed items evenly to prevent them from falling onto each other during transit.

Robert Moreschi  Posted by Robert Moreschi on November 5, 2013

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