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Posted in Moving Essentials, Moving Preparation on September 5, 2022
Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

What Size Moving Truck Do I Need? Let’s Find the Answer to This Question

With all there is to do during the move, probably one of the last things on your mind would be choosing the right-sized relocation vehicle. However, making a wrong choice can greatly impact the whole process. So, what size moving truck do I need, you ask? We can help you select the perfect type of vehicle for your needs.

How big of a moving truck do I need? The answer will depend on the number and type of belongings you plan to bring. If you’re relocating to a one-bedroom apartment, you’ll probably need a cargo van or a 10-foot vehicle. A two- to three-bedroom home will likely require a 15-footer, and a four or five-bedroom house will probably need 26-foot storage. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to rent a bigger vehicle than you think you’ll need.

What Size Moving Truck Do I Need? How to Actually Pick the Right Size?

One of the first things to consider when relocating to another state and choosing the right vehicle capacity is your household inventory. See how many items you have, but also what they are – keep in mind that it’s not the same whether you have to relocate just a few boxes and move a piano. Once you get a better picture of your inventory, it’s time to search for different vehicle volumes.

Familiarize yourself with the capacity of trucks and their cubic footage. Once you do, it’s easy to find the right one for your needs. Most companies provide this information right away or are able to give you a straightforward answer once you contact them, so you don’t have to do any guesswork or exhausting research.

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What Should You Consider When Going Over Your Move?

Here are some things you need to know before choosing the right-sized vehicle:

  • How many rooms do you plan to move?
  • How many boxes do you need?
  • Do you possess big and bulky furniture, and if so, how much?

Some renting companies will list the number of rooms in a house and set the suitable vehicle capacity. While it can be time-saving to follow the company’s overall estimate, keep in mind that they are merely projections based on the standard furnishings in each room. You must consider that extra space will be needed if your rooms are filled with furniture. Note that it is always better to choose a vehicle with more capacity than you need than to risk not being able to load all of your belongings.

Long-distance movers loading furniture into the truck
If you're not sure what is the best-sized vehicle for you, don't hesitate to contact the rental company

What Different Types of Trucks Are There?

Now that you know how to determine which size is best for your move, let’s look at the different types of trucks available:

Box trucks

Box trucks are the most common type of relocation vehicle. They come in a variety of sizes, from 10-footers all the way up to 26-footers. They’re sometimes called “cube trucks” because of their square shape. If you’re relocating furniture and many other heavy items and need more power, choose a vehicle with a diesel engine.

Cargo vans

Most rental companies have cargo vans available. They are an excellent choice for smaller moves or if you just need a little extra space to pack your belongings. They provide enough space to hold the inventory of a one-bedroom apartment.

Pick-up trucks

Pick-up trucks come in a variety of sizes, from compact to full-sized, and can be a good option if you’re relocating just a few items. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to pack everything securely in the bed of the vehicle so it doesn’t shift around while you’re driving.

What Should You Know About Box Trucks?

The most typical relocation vehicles are box trucks. Even though they are more expensive than other truck kinds, they are still affordable for many. If you’re relocating to more than a one-bedroom apartment, you’ll likely need this type of vehicle. Typically, rental companies have at least two different box vehicle sizes, measured by the length of the box.

Small Box Truck Sizes

You should start with the 10- and 12-foot sizes if you’re relocating a one-bedroom apartment or smaller. Unfortunately, most king-size mattresses cannot be transported on these vehicles, but twin mattresses may, as well as queen and full ones. If you’re relocating to a new city alone and don’t have a lot of belongings, this may be a good choice.

Many fear this vehicle will be too small for their belongings, but they often overestimate their items. In order to make it all work, start loading the biggest and bulkiest items first, such as couches, mattresses, and other large furniture items, then add your boxes and any smaller furniture pieces. Here are some standard specifications for these small-sized trucks:

Length Capacity Weight limit
10 ft. One-bedroom or studio apartment Up to 2,800 lbs
12 ft. One-bedroom or studio apartment Up to 3,600 lbs

Medium Box Truck Sizes

Long-distance travels and bigger relocations should be handled with at least mid-size trucks. These vehicles provide much more capacity for your belongings and are more suited for extended road trips. They are the best solution for one to two-bedroom residences and condominiums. A king mattress can fit inside medium box trucks, which is a significant distinction between them and smaller ones. Here is what you can expect from different medium-sized vehicles:

Length Capacity Weight limit
15 ft. Two-bedrooms or less Up to 5,400 lbs
16 ft. Two-four rooms Up to 5,550 lbs
17 ft. three-bedroom apartment / two-bedroom house Up to 5,950 lbs

Large Box Truck Sizes

Twenty-plus-foot relocation trucks are the best solution for large moves with a lot of furniture and other bulky items. It’s also a good choice if you plan on relocating an office with a lot of equipment. If you’re having a lot of items moved, know that these trucks usually can hold up to 500 boxes – in the biggest of them, you can fit even eight standard rooms! Take a look at the usual capacity of large trucks:

Length Capacity Weight limit
20 ft. Between two and three-bedroom residences Up to 5,600 lbs
22 ft. Between three and four-bedroom residences Up to 10,000 lbs
26 ft. Between five and eight-bedroom residences Up to 12,000 lbs

Why Is It Important to Pick a Truck of the Right Size?

First of all, you want to make sure all of your stuff fits in the vehicle – if you want to have a smooth and stress-free move, leaving a portion of your longing behind is not an option. Second, you want to make sure that the vehicle can handle the weight of all of your stuff. If it is not designed to carry that much weight, you could damage the vehicle or your belongings or even hurt yourself.

On the other hand, if you pick one with too much room, your belongings will be thrown around so much that by the time you arrive at your destination, everything will be shattered or ruined. Therefore, when organizing a move, consider moving truck dimensions and types and choose the ones that suit you the best.

White glove movers packing a moving truck
Both too much or too little space can lead to a relocation disaster

How to Choose the Right Rental Company?

There are a lot of different places to rent relocation trucks, so it’s important to compare prices before you make a decision. In general, the cost of renting a relocation vehicle will depend on the size of the vehicle, the distance you’re traveling, and how long you need to keep it.

In the beginning, estimate the moving truck size you’ll need, but make sure the company you’re doing business with is trustworthy and reputable, as well – the last thing you need is to become a victim of relocation scams. Look at different reviews and recommendations, and don’t forget to check if the company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau.

If you’re not sure what vehicle size to choose, note that most rental companies will have sizing charts that can help you make a decision. If you’re still not sure, you can always call the rental company and ask for their recommendation. Once you find the vehicle and company that suits you the most, it’s time to start with the relocation day preparations.

How to Prepare for a DIY Move?

Relocation trucks can help you save on relocation costs if you have a low relocation budget. However, if you opt against hiring white glove movers, be prepared for several difficulties down the road and a lot more tasks on your to-do list.

First, relocation trucks can be difficult to drive, especially if you’re not used to driving a large vehicle. Before you hit the road, it’s important to familiarize yourself with it and practice driving it in an empty parking lot or another safe area. This way, you’ll be comfortable behind the wheel and won’t have to worry about getting used to the vehicle while trying to navigate your move. After all, driving across the country can be difficult, even in your own car.

Also, when preparing for a move, it’s important to get familiar with your route. Map out your route in advance and make sure to factor in any potential road closures or traffic delays. This will help you avoid getting lost or stuck in traffic and make your move go much more smoothly.

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You Must Know How To Pack All Your Belongings Safely

Since you won’t be getting packing services or any other white glove moving service, it’s important to pack fragile items and the rest of your belongings carefully in order to avoid common relocation mistakes. Additionally, when packing a relocation truck, be sure to pack heavy items towards the front and use blankets or other soft materials to cushion delicate belongings. If you’re relocating in winter or happen to move in the rain, you’ll also need to know how to protect your items appropriately.

Relocating to a new home itself can be stressful, and it’s easy to underestimate how long it will take to get everything done. When renting a relocation vehicle, be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to pack, load, and drive to your new home. If necessary, don’t hesitate to ask friends and family for help.

Of course, note that all of this hard work can be avoided if you opt to get long-distance moving services and let movers help you relocate efficiently and without a fuss.

Relocation trucks on the road
When you choose to move on your own, you must count on many driving hours

Call Your Long-Distance Movers – They Will Know What Size of a Truck You Need

Relocation on your own requires a lot of work, especially with a cross-country move. Not only do you have to answer the question, “What truck size do I need for moving?” but also choose the right company, do all the packing, heavy-lifting and loading, and drive all the way to your new home. If you want to simplify the process and secure the best relocation experience, getting help from a white glove moving company is the best solution. With white glove moving services, all exhausting relocation work won’t be your responsibility. You’ll be able to focus on other important tasks and let movers choose and load the vehicle that is the most suitable for your belongings.

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