We’re definite that if you’re googling this question, you already have some aspects of your move figured out like where you want to move and how. While the checklist is huge and you might have multiple things figured out, a moving truck that doesn’t store all your belongings can cause a huge problem on your move day.

You do not want to be running around trying to figure out a way to get your belongings to your destination the day of your move, because there are so many other things to look after. There’s also a flip side – if you rent a truck that’s much larger than your inventory, you’re just paying for something you’re not even using!

With so many things to consider, let’s first take a look at everything you need to have a stock of before you look up what’s the right moving truck size.

Things To Consider Before You Look Up Trucks

1. The Size Of Your Inventory

You must do this step before you do anything ahead. Take a proper note of how large your inventory is, both the number, size and type of the items. Remember to include anything and everything that will be hauled in the back of the truck, from small lamps to heavy mattresses. What you can do is look at the number of rooms you have, because that can act as a rough indicator of the space the commodities inside will take once placed in a truck.

2. Packing

Considering how your items might be packed at this stage might seem absurd, after all, what’s its connection to getting a truck? But there is one, and one that’ll help you get a rough estimate of the cubic feet your belongings might occupy. Make a note of how many boxes you’ll be using to pack your items, and a sum of their sizes can be used to calculate the space you need. Don’t forget that the more you let smaller items stay loose, the more space it takes in a truck! At the same time, large items like large wardrobes or beds cannot be put into boxes, so make a note of the space they’ll occupy too.

3. How The Truck’s Holding Capacity Is Measured

Confused? Let us explain – a majority of the truck rental or moving companies you’ll find will measure how much their truck can hold in terms of cubic feet. So, if you’re able to determine your inventory in terms of the cubic feet it’ll occupy in a truck, this method will help. On the other hand, some companies might also give you another size measure if you aren’t an expert, and that’s according to the number of rooms in your house or apartment. For example, a bedroom might have a bed, a dresser, nightstands, and/or a television. In such a scenario, according to our research, a two to three-bedroom house might require a 16-ft. Truck.

Want to know more about such measurements and how much different trucks from different companies hold? We’ve given you a comprehensive list to make things easier for you.

Our Tip: Start looking for rental trucks in advance and book one in advance too. Even though big franchises like U-Haul might have a large fleet of trucks, not all dates are available!

What Are The Different Truck Sizes

Once you’re done getting a rough idea of your inventory, the next step is looking at different trucks and the size options that are available. Different moving/rental companies might have a slight variation in these, but we’ll give you an approximate of what standard truck sizes in the market look like with some examples.

1. Cargo Vans

Do you live in a studio or occupy just a room in an apartment? If that’s the case, you might want to look into renting a cargo van, since it’s extremely apt if you don’t have too many things to move. Irrespective of whether your bed is a queen or full size, cargo vans are recommended for studios and one-bedroom apartments that are smaller in size. You can expect the approximate space inside to be anywhere around 245 to 360 cubic feet with an interior length between 10” to 11”, and a capacity that can go up to 4000lbs. Cargo vans are also available with air conditioning, stereos and power brakes, and space for two passengers in the front.

Top Rated Cargo Van Rentals: Enterprise Truck Rental, National Car Rental, Penske Truck Rental.

Don’t Forget: Ask the rental company for the exact dimensions of the van. At the same time, these dimensions should also include those of the doors for ease with hauling and removal of your belongings.

2. Pick-up Trucks

If you just have a few commodities that you want to move like a mattress, dresser, or a few boxes, a pickup truck is what you need. Small and compact, pick-up trucks are cost-efficient and easy to maneuver. You can expect to have around 76 cubic feet of space for your belongings and can also store up to 2,000lbs worth of stuff. However, note that these measurements change based on the company you choose to rent it from, so be sure to check their websites or contact them to enquire about the same.

Top Rated Pick-up Truck Rentals: Enterprise Truck Rental, Budget Truck Rental, Alamo.

Are You A Student?: Pick-up trucks are also recommended for students who are moving dorms, since the number of belongings to be moved doesn’t amount to much.

3. Small-Sized Box Trucks

If you’re looking for moving trucks that can hold one to two bedrooms’ worth of belongings that won’t fit into a cargo van, we recommend you go for a small-sized box truck. These trucks are usually available in a size range of 10ft. to 12ft. and can carry around 2,700lbs to 3,600 lbs worth of stuff. Remember that the dimensions for these boxes might be different for different companies, so make a point to ask for those when you contact the moving/rental company. If you have numerous large appliances and furniture pieces, it might not be wise to go with this option, since things might not fit. In such scenarios, consider renting a medium-sized box truck.

Top Rated Small Size Box Truck Rentals: U-Haul Truck Rental, Budget, Penske.

Move Tip: Load large furniture first and then pack in the smaller items to optimize the space inside the box truck best.

4. Medium-Sized Box Trucks

If you’re planning to move furniture from a two to a four-bedroom apartment or a house, go with a medium-sized boxed truck. As expected, they can hold larger loads and are also used for long-distance moves with space for two passengers in the front. At the same time, this size is also optimal if you’re living in a smaller apartment, but have a king-sized bed because many small-sized box trucks do not have the size dimensions to store one. Medium Size box trucks are usually 15ft to 17ft in length and can hold approximately 4,300lbs to 6,385lbs worth of inventory. To give you an idea of the size in terms of boxes, a 16 ft. truck can hold around 250 medium-sized boxes!

Top Rated Small Size Box Truck Rentals: U-Haul, Enterprise Trucks, Penske.

Small Business?: Medium size trucks are usually enough to move all the belongings that a small business might have.

5. Large-Sized Box Trucks

Moving on to the biggest truck sizes you can find, these are for three and four-plus bedroom houses with a length of 20ft. to 26ft. What’s best about them is that they can also hold heavy appliances like washers and dryers and long mattresses like the California king mattress. With a capacity to hold anywhere between 5,600lbs to 12,00lbs, large box trucks are an efficient way to move a large inventory and can be filled with 500 medium-sized boxes. Even here you must be careful to ask the correct dimensions and capacity of the truck size, since companies have a varied number, and a little difference can create a lack of space for your items. So, it’s best to go with a box size that’s a little bigger than your estimate.

Top Rated Large Size Box Truck Rentals: U-Haul, Budget, Penske.

Did You Know?: Unlike any other moving company, Penske has 14 different truck sizes, but the only catch is that they’re all local movers.

In an unlikely scenario that you have more items than even the largest box truck can contain, it’s best to hire a moving service that offers a full-service move. Not only will they handle everything for you, but they also have the correct licenses and permits in place to handle such large trucks. If that’s way out of your budget, you can hire a trailer too. Companies like U-Haul, Penske, and Budget also have trailers to rent if need be.

See also: Best Moving Truck Rental Companies in the U.S.

What is The Average Cost of A Truck Rental

Now that you have a fair idea of what the market has to offer, let’s look at some costs. The average costs for a rental can vary depending on whether you just hire a cargo van or a large-sized box truck. What’s the rent bracket you ask? It’s approximately anywhere between $130 to $3,360. As it goes without saying, your rent will also depend on whether you’re moving short or long-distance. For long-distance moves, the rent will fall on the higher end, whereas it’ll be the opposite for short-distance moves.

So, the distance to be traveled and the size are taken into consideration while giving you a quote. To give you an example, we’ve found that the average cost for moving a one-bedroom apartment for a distance of 50 miles is $140, whereas this would increase if it were to move a five-bedroom house. You must also remember that costs vary depending on the location and time of the year. It is common knowledge that truck rental costs go down during the winter months, but that’s also not a safe time to travel, especially if you live in regions where it snows tremendously. So, we recommend you start contacting different rental companies and gathering quotes so that you have a clear idea of what is best for you.

There are also add-ons to consider that not all rental companies will include in your quote. These include insurance, mileage fee for short/local moves, extra supplies like packing or towing equipment, and gas/fuel costs. So, make it a point to go through this with the rental company you contact so that you can budget for the same efficiently.

You can use the following formula to calculate your costs – Truck rental price = rent + insurance fee + mileage fee + taxes + fuel/gas costs + additional equipment

Read our detailed article on average cost of moving truck rental

Some Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Size Moving Truck Do I Need Calculator?

Home SizeRecommended Truck Size
1-bedroom apartment10 to 16 feet
2-bedroom apartment12 to 22 feet
3-bedroom house16 to 22 feet
5-bedroom house22 to 26 feet

In the moving industry, according to a general rule of thumb, a fully furnished room will require 100 to 170 cubic feet of room in a truck. This could increase if your room is larger than average and is loaded with furniture.

Another way to calculate how much space your items will occupy is by using Penske’s moving truck size calculator where all you have to do is add the items you’re moving and you’ll be given a truck size that can efficiently hold that much stuff.

Also See: What is the Average Cost to Move a 3-Bedroom House?

2. What Size U Haul Do I Need?

If you’re planning to rent U-Haul’s truck for your move, the company has the following recommendations:

  • 15 ft. truck – for a 1 to 2 bedroom house
  • 17 ft. truck – for a 2 to 3 bedroom house
  • 26 ft. truck – for houses with or more than 4 bedrooms

3. What Is The Cheapest Day To Rent A Moving Truck?

A Tuesday, that too one that falls in the second or third week of the month. At the same time, summers are a peak season and prices are at their highest because schools are shut, giving families time to plan and carry their moves out.

4. How big is a 26-foot moving truck?

This massive moving truck can haul a lot of cargo! It’s 26 feet long and 8.5 feet wide, about the size of an average home living room or office cubicle. Inside dimensions are 1,800 cubic ft., with a gross vehicle weight capacity for 25999 pounds.

5. How much can you fit in a 16-foot moving truck?

Weighing in at a whopping 3,500 pounds and capable of carrying up to 250 medium boxes or one to 10 furniture items, the 16 ft. Medium Truck is an oversized version that includes load-bearing capabilities for its trailers!

6. Is a 26-foot moving truck big enough?

A 26-foot moving truck is big enough to move a four or more bedroom house.

7. How much can you fit in a 26-foot moving truck?

The number of items that your rental 26ft. trailer can hold will depend on how many medium-sized boxes and/or furniture pieces are moved at once. Still, the average estimate would be between 12,000 pounds (including 500 mediums) or 1 to 15 large pieces, respectively!

8. How much can fit in a 12-foot moving truck?

A 12-foot moving truck can carry up to 3,100 pounds of cargo. This includes 120 medium boxes or one to five furniture items.

9. How many cubic feet is a 16-foot moving truck?

A 16-foot long moving truck will have a total of 800 cubic feet.

10. Is it easy to drive a 26-foot moving truck?

Driving a 26-foot moving truck is an exhilarating experience. The first time, it may feel like you’re driving the length of two football fields, and there are times when your patience will be tested! There’s nothing quite as gratifying as finishing up with this huge accomplishment!

11. What should you not put on a moving truck?

You should never put highly flammable substances like gasoline, fuel oil, gas aerosols, etc., on a Moving truck.

12. How big is a large moving truck?

Some of the largest moving trucks for consumer moves are usually about 20 to 26 feet in length. They’re what you’ll want if your household consists of many possessions or if one has a two-bedroom home with loads of belongings, such as furniture, clothes, electronics items, etcetera!

13. How many cubic feet is a 20-foot moving truck?

1,000 – 1,013 cu. ft., depending on the model of your moving truck and its cargo capacity.


Whether it be moving cross country or just a few blocks away, if you DIY the process, it’s going to be much more cost-effective than hiring a mover. At the same time, the whole process can turn bitter quickly if you don’t make a correct judgment of the size of the truck you will need for your inventory. Not only will it lead to budgeting problems, but it can derail your entire move.

At the end of the day, we suggest you carefully analyze your inventory and talk to the people at the moving companies that are responsible for giving rental estimates. And remember, always go a teeny bit bigger which is always better than not fitting everything onto the truck.