What Size Moving Truck Will You Need?

Posted on November 15, 2017

moving truck size

When it comes to moving, it’s never too early to start doing your research and making plans. This is especially true when it comes to renting a moving truck. Finding out you’ve rented a truck that’s too small half way through loading it can really put a damper on things. Similarly, it can be frustrating to discover you’ve spent money on a larger truck than you actually needed. Having excessive empty space in a truck can also make moving more hazardous due to increased risk for things to shift in transit and potentially unbalance the load. It helps to know what size truck you’ll be needing for your move well in advance so you can begin packing accordingly.

Rental Truck Sizes

So, will you need a 12-footer, 26-footer or something in between? There’s a lot you’ll need to consider when it comes time to decide what size rental truck you’ll need, including things like weight and square footage. Here’s a rundown of commonly available rental truck sizes – and what they might be ideal for – to help make your decision easier.


The 12-foot moving truck is ideal if you’ll be moving one or maybe two rooms, like into a dorm room or studio apartment with no king size bed. Content-wise, the truck is great for 120 boxes or less, and only about one to five small pieces of furniture (bed, dresser, television, etc.) Specifications include:

  • Two seats
  • 10 feet of interior length
  • Carries 3,100 lbs.
  • 380 cubic feet of space


This is the most popular truck size. It works well for moving three to four rooms, or roughly a one-bedroom home. These trucks can carry about 250 medium-sized boxes and up to 10 mid-sized furniture items. Overall, if you’re moving into a space larger than 1,200 square feet, this mid-size truck might not be for you. Specifications include:

  • Two seats
  • 16 feet of interior length
  • Carries 3,500 lbs.
  • 830 cubic feet of space
  • Load ramp included


This is ideal for a family-sized move. The 26-foot truck is the largest rental truck commonly available to DIY movers. It’s perfect for moving into a two to three-bedroom house, or five to eight rooms, and it’s able to carry up to 15 average-sized pieces of furniture and 500 medium-sized boxes. If your new home could be considered small or cozy, this truck could be too large. Other specifications include:

  • Three seats
  • 26 feet of interior length
  • Carries 12,000 lbs.
  • 1,698 cubic feet of space
  • Load ramp included
  • Tow package included

Other Equipment You Might Need

Sometimes a truck isn’t enough, as is the case if you need to move your car or any other item too large to fit in the truck. Consider also renting a car carrier trailer or a tow dolly. The car carrier is recommended for all-wheel drive vehicles while a tow dolly works best for front-wheel drive vehicles. Other moving equipment that can prove helpful include hand-held dollies and furniture pads.

Additionally, you may want to acquire an auto tow protection plan if you will be bringing your vehicle along for the ride. This will help cover damage to your personal vehicle should it occur while being towed on the carrier or tow dolly. Common damages covered include:

  • Fire or explosion
  • Flood
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Landslide
  • Overturn of the rental truck or towing equipment
  • Collision

General Rules of Thumb

Some things to remember as you’re making your moving plans:

  • Sizing up is never a bad idea, especially if you’re moving more than 1,200 square feet
  • It’s better to have a little too much space than not enough
  • If you have questions or would like a recommendation specific to your move, definitely call ahead and inquire with the rental company – they can likely provide professional advice if you can tell them how many boxes and pieces of furniture you intend to move

We don’t have to tell you moving is a difficult process, especially for families. On top of the hassle of packing and loading, you also have to deal with the additional stress and uncertainty of beginning a new job or maybe attending a new school. Instead of rolling the dice on moving yourself, consider hiring professionals. Relocation experts can do the dirty work so you can focus on settling into your new home.

You may also be surprised at how affordable it can be, especially when you factor in the cost of renting a truck, buying your own packaging, all the labor hours you’ll put in and the potential cost of damaged or broken items. Pros are much less likely to make packing mistakes that result in destroyed possessions.

Union Transfer and Storage provides expert packing, loading and unloading, all while treating your prized possessions with the utmost attention and care. Contact Union Transfer Storage online or by calling (828) 209-0171 to set up your free in-home estimate.