What Size Moving Truck Do I Need?
Make the Right Decision for Your Moving Day Needs
So – you’ve found your new home, and you’ve started packing up everything you own into boxes. Great work! The more you pack now, the less you’ll have to worry about on Moving Day. Next up on your list of tasks? Figuring out how you’ll move all your stuff into your new home, and that means determining the size of the moving truck you should rent.
If you choose to hire a moving company to do everything for you, the company will provide the proper truck in its fleet as part of its estimate. But unless you have a fleet of close friends all with oversized trucks, you will need to rent a moving truck.
Why Does the Size of Moving Truck Matter?
Why exactly do you need a moving truck that’s the “right” size? The day will already be jam-packed with stresses about packing the truck securely, unpacking it safely, and ensuring you actually MOVE everything. The last thing you need to contend with on Moving Day is the actual moving capacity of the vehicle you rent.
For example, if you choose too small of a truck, you will end up either making multiple trips to move all your stuff to your new home, renting a second truck, or getting rid of stuff you wanted to move. Getting everything to your new home in one fell swoop will literally make your life easier. And if you choose too large of a truck, you run the risk of boxes and furniture slipping and sliding around in the truck, which could easily damage your possessions.
As simple as it might seem, selecting the right size of a moving truck might be the decision that ensures the success of your Moving Day.
What Types of Moving Trucks are Available?
There are three basic sizes of a rental truck, each with their own recommended range of abilities.
Small Trucks (10 to 12 feet in length):
You should only use this option if you currently live frugally in a studio or one-bedroom apartment. If you have plenty of help and don’t mind two trips, you could use this if you’re moving from one mid-sized apartment to another. Also, keep in mind that the rear wheel wells stick out in the back of many small moving trucks, which will impact your surface area.
Medium Trucks (14 to 17 feet in length):
These are the most common sized trucks rented out to DIY movers, as it’s used by people moving between some combination of apartment and/or small home. The only reason you should use this truck if you’re moving into a home larger than 1,200 sq. ft. in size is if you’re moving from a small apartment and don’t have lots of stuff already.
Large Trucks (20 to 24 feet in length):
This is the truck you should use if you’re moving from one average-sized home into another. Put another way, if you currently live in a three-bedroom house that’s moderately furnished (at minimum), you will need every bit of space offered by the large truck size.
Are there even larger trucks? Yes, but if you really do have that much stuff, we do recommend hiring a moving company, as you probably don’t have the necessary driving license required for such a vehicle.
How Do I Choose the Right Size?
You should start by asking the following questions as you prepare to select a moving truck for your possessions.
- How big is your current home?
- How big is your new home?
- How many items are you moving?
- How much room do your possessions take up in terms of volume?
- How far are you moving?
Most moving companies typically rate their moving trucks in terms of cubic feet and/or the number of rooms in your new home. While that’s a good rule of thumb, we tend to recommend that you defer to a larger sized truck – unless you know exactly how much room your stuff will take up in a truck. And let’s face it: most of us aren’t spatial wizards able to calculate cubic volume with relative ease.
So, what size truck should you choose? While everyone’s situation is different (and you do not need to meet every stipulation to rent a given truck), we do have these general recommendations
- 1-bedroom apartment
- 1 – 700 sq. ft. space
- 1 – 3,000 pounds and/or 400-450 cubic feet of possessions
- 5 or fewer pieces of furniture
- 50 or fewer boxes
- 2-bedroom home
- 700 – 1,200 sq. ft. space
- 3,000 – 4,500 pounds and/or 650-850 cubic feet of possessions
- 10 or fewer pieces of furniture
- 100 or fewer moving boxes
- 3-bedroom home
- 1,200 – 1,600 sq. ft. space
- 4500 – 6500 pounds and/or 900-1400 cubic feet of possessions
- 15 or fewer pieces of furniture
- 150 or fewer moving boxes
As mentioned before, if your possessions exceed our recommended levels for truck sizes, you should probably rent a professional moving company, as you might not be able to drive the largest size truck safely and legally.
Final Tips for Choosing the Right Moving Truck
Basically, you should operate under the assumption that you can’t make multiple trips to move your stuff and that everything needs to fit into the rental truck. Getting a larger size truck is rarely a bad idea, especially if you know you have lots of stuff, as it’s better to have a little too much space than not enough.
Lastly, if you still have questions about your move, we heartily encourage you to call your preferred rental company for recommendations, as they can provide the professional advice you need regarding the space you’re leaving, the space you’re moving into, and the number of possessions you have.
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