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What moving truck size do I need?

June 12th, 2017 - 11:07 AM

Trying to choose the right size moving truck?​

Look around your home and try to imagine all of your belongings stacked inside a moving truck. How much space will you need? Since moving in a rental truck requires you to determine space needs in advance, this is an important thing to figure out before making a reservation. If you rent a truck that’s too small, you’ll run out of room. But, getting one that’s too big means paying for unused space. To avoid these situations, take a closer look at different trucks to determine how much they can hold. 

what size moving truck is best

Moving truck sizes and capacities

The first thing you’ll want to do is research rental truck companies and see what truck sizes they offer. Knowing the available options (and how they compare to each other) will help you make the right decision.

Using room estimates to choose the right size​

A common way to pick a truck size is to reserve whichever vehicle the rental company says is best for the number of rooms in your home. Take a look at the chart below to see what’s recommended:

truck size chart

This seems pretty straightforward, but picking the right truck might still be confusing. For example, let’s say you’re moving four rooms. According to the chart above, you could go with a 15-foot U-Haul® truck or a 16-foot Budget® truck. Which one is best? And if you should get a 16-foot truck from Budget, is that the same as a 16-foot truck from Penske®

How much can a moving truck hold?

While room estimates are certainly a great starting point, it’s important to know that two trucks classified as the same size may actually have different dimensions. Below are the moving truck sizes offered by five rental companies and the interior dimensions (depth, width, height) of each truck, so you can better understand the loading space:


  • 10-foot – 9’11” x 6’4” x 6’2”
  • 15-foot – 14’6” x 7’8” x 7’2”
  • 17-foot – 16’9” x 7’8” x 7’2”
  • 20-foot – 19’6” x 7’8” x 7’2”
  • 26-foot – 26’5” x 7’8” x 8’3”


  • 12-foot – 11’8” x 6’3” x 6’1”
  • 16-foot – 16’ x 6’3” x 6’7”  
  • 24-foot – 23’10” x 8’ x 8’   


  • 12-foot – 12’ x 6’6” x 6’1”
  • 16-foot – 16’ x 7’7” x 6’6”  
  • 22-foot – 21’11” x 7’8” x 8’1”
  • 26-foot – 25’11” x 7’8” x 8’1”


  • 16-foot – 15’11” x 7’9” x 7’4”  
  • 26-foot – 25’10 x 8’1” x 8’1”  


  • 16-foot – 16’ x 7’6” x 7’6”
  • 26-foot – 26’ x 7’6” x 8’

Note: The information for Ryder and Enterprise was not found on their respective websites — company representatives provided the truck dimensions over the phone or through a website live-chat feature. 

As you can see, the 16-foot Ryder truck is 1” shorter, 2” wider and 10” taller than the 16-foot Penske truck. This equals 160 cubic feet of extra cargo space (there are 960 cubic feet in the Ryder truck and 800 cubic feet in the Penske truck, according to their websites), which is enough room for a few more boxes! Keep this in mind when checking prices — you may want to calculate the cost per cubic foot so you can make an accurate comparison.

Calculate which moving truck size you need

Choosing a truck size based only on room estimates or dimensions might not be the best way to go about it. After all, you may have more items in each room than the average person, and you probably don’t know the cubic footage your household belongings take up. To help make it easier to find the right truck size, use a room-by-room space estimator. Simply enter everything you own into the calculator to get a good idea of the cubic footage you’ll need.  

Of course, it’s still possible to get the wrong truck size no matter how careful your calculations are. How you load the truck combined with the unique shapes and sizes of items could mean ending up with too small of a truck, but playing it safe and renting a larger size than you need can mean spending more money on fuel. What if there was a way to get prices similar to truck rental without having to know in advance exactly how much space you’ll use?

Don’t worry about moving truck sizes — choose U-Pack

Instead of picking a truck size and hoping it works, try using a service that lets you have more control. U-Pack is a “you pack, we drive” moving service with flexible space options. We provide tools to help you estimate the room you’ll need, and then we make it easy to adjust as you load. Here’s how it works:

  • Get a quote based on the linear footage you think you’ll use in the moving trailer or the number of moving containers you think you’ll need (round up on these — you don’t get charged for containers you don’t use).
  • Load your belongings (we recommend loading high and tight to fit more things in the same space).
  • If you need more space, use it! You can use all of the containers you reserved, or take up more linear footage in the trailer and pay per extra linear foot used. We can deliver additional equipment if needed, and the price will adjust to reflect any extra room.
  • Need less space? That’s fine, too! We’ll reduce the final price and charge only for what you used.

Compare the U-Pack moving trailer to rental truck sizes to get an idea of the available space:

moving truck size compared to U-Pack

Note: These figures are for estimation only. You and the driver will indicate actual space used on your Bill of Lading.

Still have questions about truck sizes?

Because there are so many options to choose from, and many different ways to determine what you need, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out the right moving truck size. Make it easier by going with U-Pack, where you only pay for the space you use. If you have questions about how a U-Pack move works, or about what truck size you should get, give us a call at 800-413-4799 or leave a comment below.

Additional information​

U-Haul truck sizes

Ryder truck rental information

Moving truck FAQs

Compare U-Pack to truck rental

U-Haul® is a registered trademark of U-Haul International, Inc. Budget® is a registered trademark of Budget Truck Rental, LLC. Penske® is a registered trademark of Penske Truck Leasing Co., L.P. Ryder® is a registered trademark of Ryder System Inc. Enterprise® is a registered trademark of Enterprise Holdings, Inc. Use of third-party trademarks or registered trademarks does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by such third-party.