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Best one-way truck rentals

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Written by Tom Rains
Edited by Justin Martino

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    budget moving truck

    ConsumerAffairs compiled a list of well-known one-way truck companies highly searched by consumers online. We only included companies that focus solely on moving truck rentals. We chose the companies with the lowest rates, highest availability and most five-star reviews on ConsumerAffairs.com as our favorite one-way truck rentals. Costs like fuel, insurance and moving supplies vary based on the nature of the move and consumer preferences.

    U-HaulPenske Truck RentalBudget Truck Rental
    Sample local move cost$91 (cheapest)$138$145 (priciest)
    Sample 500-mile move cost$927 (cheapest)$1,090$1,424 (priciest)
    Availability50 states49 states48 states
    Truck sizes5 sizes4 sizes3 sizes
    ConsumerAffairs 5-star reviews21165
    Guaranteed pickup
    U-Haul$91 (cheapest)$927 (cheapest)$2,525 (cheapest)50 states5 sizes21
    Penske Truck Rental$138$1,090$3,820 (priciest)49 states4 sizes16
    Budget Truck Rental$145 (priciest)$1,424 (priciest)$2,77648 states3 sizes5

    Note: Moving costs come directly from company quotes and include full coverage, a moving dolly and one dozen furniture pads for a move in June.

    Highest-rated truck rental

    u-haul logo
    • Sample 500-mile move quote: $927
    • Guaranteed pickup: No
    • Good for: Flexible moves, low costs and wide availability

    U-Haul wins many of the categories we compared. It has the most truck sizes, nationwide availability and the cheapest quote for each of the three moves we compared.

    U-Haul has five truck sizes: 10-foot, 15-foot, 17-foot, 20-foot and 26-foot. The 10-foot trucks work well for studios, and the 26-foot truck is suitable for four-bedroom homes.
    U-Haul’s commonly recognized $19.95 a day price is for local moves only. Plus, there are additional costs such as environmental fees, taxes, mileage and gas costs. Long-distance moves cost much more. Still, U-Haul had the lowest prices among top one-way truck rental companies. U-Haul costs are negotiable — a good thing to know for hagglers.
    Reservation process
    If everything goes as planned, U-Haul calls the customer the day before the rental to confirm the details of the move, but customers don’t always get the truck they asked for. This is the biggest drawback of U-Haul. Penske Truck Rental is a better choice for those who need a guaranteed reservation.
    What to consider
    U-Haul has its fair share of hidden fees. Make sure you fully understand your quote before signing up for U-Haul’s service. Also, know that the truck you reserve might not be the one you get on moving day.

    Our pick for guaranteed rentals
    Penske Truck Rental

    penske logo
    • 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 who are looking for reliable trucks and a guaranteed reservation. Unlike U-Haul and Budget Truck Rental, Penske guarantees the type of truck you pick up on moving day. This alone is a big plus and makes Penske worth considering.

    Penske Truck Rental generally has newer trucks, so they’re less likely to break down on cross-country moves. Penske has 12-foot, 16-foot, 22-foot and 26-foot trucks. The 22-foot and 26-foot trucks have a weight limit of 10,000 pounds.
    Overall, Penske has middle-of-the-road pricing. Its local and 500-mile move costs were slightly more expensive than U-Haul but cheaper than Budget Truck. Its long-distance truck rental was the most expensive of the three, but a reliable truck is essential for a long-distance move. Penske is upfront with its prices, which we like. It also doesn’t pressure you into adding features you don’t need.
    Reservation process
    It’s easy to secure a quote online that includes all charges. Penske does require personal information before letting you see the quote. The quote is exactly what you pay when you book your rental truck. The website is clean and easy to navigate.
    What to consider
    Penske sometimes requires a deposit, and its long-distance costs can be hefty.

    Our pick for discounts
    Budget Truck Rental

    budget logo
    • Sample 500-mile move quote: $1,424
    • Guaranteed pickup: No
    • Good for: Discounts and long-distance moves

    Budget Truck Rental wasn’t the cheapest truck rental company, but its discounts help specific customers slash costs. Budget Truck doesn’t have as many pickup and dropoff locations as U-Haul — if you’re having trouble finding a location, try U-Haul next.

    Budget Truck has fewer truck options than our other top choices. It has a 12-foot truck, 16-foot truck and 26-foot truck. The 12-foot trucks work well for studios or one-bedroom apartments. The 26-foot truck can fit many four-bedroom homes.
    Budget Truck wasn’t as cheap as we expected. However, the company has discounts for students, military members, first responders, AARP members, Motor Club members and American Bar Association members. If you need a long-distance truck rental and are eligible for discounts, Budget could be the cheapest option.
    Reservation process
    Like U-Haul, Budget Truck Rental doesn’t have guaranteed pickup. This means the truck promised on the reservation might not be the truck that’s available on moving day.
    What to consider
    Budget Truck Rental wasn’t the cheapest or most reliable truck rental company in our comparisons. U-Haul has better pricing, and Penske Truck Rental is more reliable. However, for those who live near a Budget Truck Rental or apply for discounts, Budget Truck Rental is worth considering.

    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 a professional moving company.

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

    Additional moving resources

    How much do movers cost?

    Moving yourself vs. hiring movers

    8 cheap ways to move across country

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      Bottom line

      Whether you choose U-Haul for its low cost, Penske for its reliability or Budget Truck for its discounts, make sure you understand every part of the quote and sign up for moving coverage. Some people aren’t impressed by the cost of renting a one-way moving truck — prices are often higher than expected. If that’s the case, consider hiring a full-service moving company or using a moving container service.

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