Best one-way truck rentals

Should you go for U-Haul, Budget or Penske?

Compare reputable movers near you.

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    Whether you’re renting a truck for a local, interstate or cross-country move, you want a reliable vehicle from a company with a solid history and good customer reviews. We compiled a list of well-known one-way truck companies, including only those that focus solely on moving truck rentals. Of these, we chose the companies with the lowest rates, highest availability and good reviews on ConsumerAffairs.com as our favorites.

    Our picks

    More details about our top one-way truck rental picks

    Our top picks for one-way truck rentals are U-Haul, Budget Truck Rental and Penske Truck Rental. Though U-Haul is our top pick overall, Penske might be the best choice for long-distance moves, and Budget is known for its frequent discounts.

    Our top pick overall
    Sample 500-mile move quote
    $927
    Guaranteed pickup
    Yes
    Good for
    Flexible moves, low costs and wide availability

    U-Haul wins in many of the categories we compared. It has the most truck sizes, is available nationwide and offered the cheapest quotes for each of the three types of moves we compared. The company has five different moving truck sizes available for rent.

    Nationwide, you can rent a 10-foot, 15-foot, 17-foot, 20-foot or 26-foot truck. The 10-foot trucks work well for studios, and the 26-foot truck is suitable for four-bedroom homes. It also offers trucks for $19.95 a day if you’re moving locally. Keep in mind additional costs, though: environmental fees, taxes, mileage and gas.

    U-Haul has its fair share of fees, so make sure you fully understand your quote before signing up.

    Many reviewers on our site who’ve rated U-Haul highly mention the quality of customer service — like Courtney of Oregon, who said, “I have had to rent a few hauls over the past two months for work, and each representative I've spoken with has been wonderful. They've helped me move drop-off locations and pickup times, easily changed from one to two trucks, and every time it's been quick and seamless.”

    Our pick for long-distance moves
    Sample 500-mile move quote
    $1,090
    Guaranteed pickup
    Yes
    Good for
    Reliable trucks, guaranteed reservations and clear quotes

    Penske Truck Rental is a good option for those with higher budgets looking for reliable trucks and a guaranteed reservation. Unlike Budget, Penske guarantees the type of truck you pick up on moving day. This alone makes Penske worth considering.

    Penske Truck Rental generally has newer 12-foot, 16-foot, 22-foot and 26-foot trucks, so they’re less likely to break down on cross-country moves. The 22-foot and 26-foot trucks have a weight limit of 10,000 pounds. Penske is also upfront with its prices, and it’s easy to secure a quote online that includes all charges.

    Penske sometimes requires a deposit, and its long-distance rental costs can be hefty. It does require personal information before offering a quote. Its local and 500-mile move costs were slightly more expensive than U-Haul’s but cheaper than Budget’s, and its long-distance truck rental was the most expensive of the three.

    Happy reviewers on ConsumerAffairs mention the quality of Penske’s trucks and employees. Steve of Florida had this to say about a rental experience: “Penske trucks are clean, have cruise control, power windows and mirrors. The tank was full when I picked it up. It is actually 16 feet of floor space. ... Penske employees and customer service were great, unlike the other company.”

    Our pick for discounts
    Sample 500-mile move quote
    $1,424
    Guaranteed pickup
    No
    Good for
    Discounts and long-distance moves

    Budget Truck Rental isn’t the cheapest truck rental company, but its discounts help some customers slash costs significantly. The company doesn’t have as many pickup and drop-off locations as U-Haul — if you’re having trouble finding a location, you might try U-Haul instead.

    Budget has 12-foot, 16-foot and 26-foot trucks. The 12-foot trucks work well for studios or one-bedroom apartments, and the 26-foot truck can fit many larger homes. The company has discounts for students, military members, first responders and AARP, Motor Club of America and American Bar Association members.

    Budget wasn’t the cheapest or most reliable truck rental company we found. It also has fewer truck options than our other top choices. Budget doesn’t have guaranteed pickup, which means the truck promised on the reservation might not be the truck that’s available on moving day.

    Customers who’ve given Budget high ratings on ConsumerAffairs mention the ease of working with the company. Pat of Pennsylvania wrote:  “It was almost $1,000 cheaper than another company so I took a chance. Picking up the truck was no problem. The truck only had like 7,000 miles so there were no issues.”

    What to consider when booking a one-way truck rental

    A move of any distance — even if you’re loading and driving the truck yourself — can be an investment. Before deciding on the one-way truck rental you’re going to use, there are a few things you need to consider to make sure your move goes smoothly and you stick to your moving budget.

    • Pickup and drop-off locations: Arguably the most important thing to consider is availability in the area you’re moving from and relocating to. After a long day of moving, the last thing you’re going to want to do is drive a considerable distance to drop off the truck. Research pickup and drop-off locations before deciding on the best truck rental.
    Not all moving companies guarantee that the truck size you book will be available on the day you pick up. If that’s important to you, book with a company that has guaranteed pickup.
    • Truck size: U-Haul, Penske and Budget all have three or more truck sizes to choose from. Information on their sites will give you a good idea of what size truck you need based on how big your home is or how many items you have. Note that only Penske and UHaul have guaranteed pickups, meaning that you’re guaranteed to get the truck size you booked on the day of your pickup.
    • Availability: Truck rentals can book up fast during peak moving season (beginning of summer, fall and on weekends). If you plan to move during a busy time, check availability before deciding on a company, and book as early as you can.
    • Cost: The cost of a one-way truck rental will vary depending on the number of miles you drive it. When thinking about overall cost, don’t forget to factor in gas, insurance, fees and additional moving supplies you may need.

    » READ MORE: 8 cheap ways to move across the country

    How to load a moving truck

    Packing a moving truck can be labor-intensive, but we have some packing tips to simplify the process. Most importantly, make sure you get a truck that’s big enough for all your stuff.

    According to Mike Glanz, the moving division general manager for Porch Group: “The taller the item, the more interesting the packing becomes. We've seen people wrap these items — such as a tall vase or grandfather clock — in a rug, or buffer them with a combination of blankets and duct tape. A better solution is to take two boxes and create one suitably sized and easily packed carton.”

    To do this, he says: “Simply tape together (a) a dish pack and a 3.0 carton or (b) two 3.0 cartons — one on top of the other, like a clamshell. Place the breakable item within the clamshell and fill it with paper stuffing. Remember to pad the bottom and top of your shell well and pack it so everything inside sits firmly.”

    We've seen people wrap these items — such as a tall vase or grandfather clock — in a rug, or buffer them with a combination of blankets and duct tape.”
    — Mike Glanz, moving division general manager, Porch Group

    We recommend starting with the heaviest items when you load — and make sure to put anything you’ll need immediately upon arrival (or for stops along the way) at the very back of the truck for easy access. It’s also smart to go ahead and empty dresser drawers before loading, especially if the dresser is flimsy or unstable.

    Blankets, moving pads, moving straps and plastic wrap are good to have on hand for wrapping furniture and other fragile items in the truck — and keeping them still.

    » MORE: How to pack a moving truck

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      Alternatives to moving truck rentals

      Renting a moving truck is one way to save money and have more control over a move. Sometimes, though, it’s not as cheap as expected or worth the effort — there are benefits to working with professional movers.

      Professional moving companies can handle the difficult parts of moving, including packing and unpacking, and household chores like cleaning, furniture assembly and appliance installation. For those who still want to do some of the work of moving but not the driving, moving containers are a viable option.

      » COMPARE: Moving yourself vs. hiring movers

      Bottom line

      Whether you choose U-Haul for its low cost, Penske for its reliability or Budget for its discounts, make sure you understand the quote in its entirety.

      Some people aren’t happy with the cost of renting a one-way moving truck — prices are often higher than you might expect for a do-it-yourself move. If that’s the case and you can afford other options, consider hiring a full-service moving company or using a moving container service.

      » LEARN: What to know about moving quotes

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