What Size Moving Truck Do I Need?

  1. Belongings Don't Fit? What Now?!
  2. Estimate Your Inventory
  3. Measuring a Truck 
  4. Understanding How to Maximize Your Space

1. Belongings Don't Fit? What Now?!

The most common truck rental catastrophes occur when movers choose a truck that is too small and does not fit all their belongings. This results in a complete lack of efficiency and ensuing stress. Ending up without enough space to move one’s things could definitely happen. So, another plan then must be devised to complete the task.

In a way like flooring installation, it is always more sensible to rent a truck larger than whats needed and then what the measurements appear to show. Additionally, a home that has a great deal of furniture will need to be larger than what is recommended for a number of rooms or square footage one has.

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2. Estimate Your Inventory

Depending on the company chosen, many truck rental companies provide an online instrument that will help in determining what size truck to purchase for the move. These online truck-size estimators help to organize self-movers, listing just about everything typically found in an average home categorically. There are check boxes for each room like the dining room, kitchen, bedrooms, and office/den, and within those room sections are check boxes for every furniture type along with a number-quantity checkbox for that item. A mover might also find it more convenient to speak with an experienced customer service representative who should be able to make a recommendation.

Moving Truck Sizes

When the measurements are presented in square feet, experts recommend to use the general rule of thumb that each room in a home equates to about 150-200 sqft.

3. Measuring a Truck

In most cases, truck rentals measure in cubic feet, and there are a few standard measurements that usually work for most movers. In most cases, there are approximately 3 cu. ft. in the space of a room, so that 8 rooms would fit inside of a 24 cu. ft. space truck. A 20 cu. ft. truck is generally able to hold 3 bedrooms full of room furniture, but this should be based firstly on the amount of furniture in each room. Rooms that have additional furniture, for example living rooms that have sectional sofas and a recliner, will require additional space.

There will usually be 3 and in some cases 5 truck size choices at a truck rental company.

Normally, companies recommend 10’ to 12’ trucks for a studio, and experts say these smaller trucks are best for local moves. The most popular truck sizes are the 14’-17’ medium-sized trucks which are great for 1 to 2 bedroom homes under 1200 sqft. These trucks on average deliver the best gas mileage. Additionally, when estimating measurements, don’t forget to account for any items and furniture in the backyard, like toys, bikes, and cooking grills.

4. Understanding How to Maximize Your Space

Reading information and tips about how to properly load a truck will help the move to run smoother. Trained, professional movers are aware of certain areas of the rental truck best suited to place electronics items for example. Pack furniture so that there are no gaps in between each item. This is the best way to avoid damage. Secure items with ties to prevent movement, and place the heaviest items in the front of the truck, which helps to stabilize the load. If a truck rental turns out to be too small after everything is packed inside, shipping and/or a door-to-door trailer moving might be a last minute option.

Moving Truck Size Do I Need



Kelly Gill

4 years, 1 month ago

Thanks so much for the information about what size moving truck I need. It really helped me save money on my move. I was thinking about hiring a full service moving company for my move, I am glad I didn't. I rented a truck that fit my move perfectly. Thank you.


Mike Cloney

3 years, 2 months ago

After doing a fair amount of research, I found that this moving truck rental company from Vancouver had a very good and accurate chart that told me what size moving truck I needed for my big move. Check them out:


Moving Company

1 year, 6 months ago

Thanks for the helpful tips.
Renting a moving truck is one of the most affordable ways to move. Commonly referred to as a do-it-yourself (DIY) move, a rental truck is a great option for both local and long distance moves. Although rental truck pricing is relatively simple to understand, there are also a lot of misconceptions as to how much a truck rental will cost.

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You did it. You paid the deposit, you signed the lease. The dust bunnies of yesterday are ready to relocate to the brand new hardwood floors and countless amenities of tomorrow. There’s a moment of relief, of exhalation, before the dreadful realization sinks in that now, all there is left to do is pack. Can’t be that hard, right? But why do you still have all those old binders from junior year at SC, and why did you insist on buying all the Barnes and Noble Classics on hardcover instead of just buying a Kindle? Pots and pans, easy enough, throw ‘em in a cardboard box. But what about Great Grandma Ruby’s crystal tea set? And the antique mirror that the packers chipped in the last move? You’re going to need help, but some things are just better packed yourself. Professional movers know their way around the job, but let’s face it, we can be anal about our prized possessions. Do yourself a favor, spare the material heartbreak and go buy a few of your own boxes and a roll of bubble wrap. Things like Mom’s Old Jewelry Box, the Framed Autographed Poster of Michael Jordan, all those treasures should probably be packed by you. If its valuable, fragile, or something you just want to keep your eye on during the chaos of a move, pack it on your own time and leave it for the movers to relocate. A little extra work for a lot of peace of mind is a small price to pay.

In American English, the word "truck" has historically been preceded by a word describing the type of vehicle, such as a "tanker truck". In British English, preference would lie with "tanker" or "petrol tanker".

A boat trailer is a trailer designed to launch, retrieve, carry and sometimes store boats.

The trucking industry has made a large historical impact since the early 20th century. It has affected the U.S. both politically as well as economically since the notion has begun. Previous to the invention of automobiles, most freight was moved by train or horse-drawn carriage. Trucks were first exclusively used by the military during World War I.   After the war, construction of paved roads increased. As a result, trucking began to achieve significant popularity by the 1930's. Soon after trucking became subject to various government regulation, such as the hours of service. During the later 1950's and 1960's, trucking accelerated due to the construction of the Interstate Highway System. The Interstate Highway System is an extensive network of freeways linking major cities cross country.

In the 20th century, the 1940 film "They Drive by Night" co-starred Humphrey Bogart. He plays an independent driver struggling to become financially stable and economically independent. This is all set during the times of the Great Depression. Yet another film was released in 1941, called "The Gang's All Here". It is a story of a trucking company that's been targeted by saboteurs.

In 1978 Sylvester Stallone starred in the film "F.I.S.T.". The story is loosely based on the 'Teamsters Union'. This union is a labor union which includes truck drivers as well as its then president, Jimmy Hoffa.

A moving scam is a scam by a moving company in which the company provides an estimate, loads the goods, then states a much higher price to deliver the goods, effectively holding the goods as lien but does this without do a change of order or revised estimate.

The interstate moving industry in the United States maintains regulation by the FMCSA, which is part of the USDOT. With only a small staff (fewer than 20 people) available to patrol hundreds of moving companies, enforcement is difficult. As a result of such a small staff, there are in many cases, no regulations that qualify moving companies as 'reliable'. Without this guarantee, it is difficult to a consumer to make a choice. Although, moving companies can provide and often display a DOT license.

AMSA wanted to help consumers avoid untrustworthy or illegitimate movers. In January 2008, AMSA created the ProMover certification program for its members. As a member, you must have federal interstate operating authority. Members are also required to pass an annual criminal back check, be licensed by the FMCSA, and agree to abide by ethical standards. This would include honesty in advertising and in business transaction with customers. Each must also sign a contract committing to adhere to applicable Surface Transportation Board and FMCSA regulations. AMSA also takes into consideration and examines ownership. They are very strict, registration with state corporation commissions. This means that the mover must maintain at least a satisfactory rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). As one can imagine, those that pass are authorized to display the ProMove logo on the websites and in marketing materials. However, those that fail will be expelled from the program (and AMSA) if they cannot correct discrepancies during probation.

The Federal Bridge Gross Weight Formula is a mathematical formula used in the United States to determine the appropriate gross weight for a long distance moving vehicle, based on the axle number and spacing. Enforced by the Department of Transportation upon long-haul truck drivers, it is used as a means of preventing heavy vehicles from damaging roads and bridges. This is especially in particular to the total weight of a loaded truck, whether being used for commercial moving services or for long distance moving services in general.   According to the Federal Bridge Gross Weight Formula, the total weight of a loaded truck (tractor and trailer, 5-axle rig) cannot exceed 80,000 lbs in the United States. Under ordinary circumstances, long-haul equipment trucks will weight about 15,000 kg (33,069 lbs). This leaves about 20,000 kg (44,092 lbs) of freight capacity. Likewise, a load is limited to the space available in the trailer, normally with dimensions of 48 ft (14.63 m) or 53 ft (16.15 m) long, 2.6 m (102.4 in) wide, 2.7 m (8 ft 10.3 in) high and 13 ft 6 in or 4.11 m high.

Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) are fundamental to the FMCSA's compliance program. The purpose of the CSA program is to oversee and focus on motor carriers' safety performance. To enforce such safety regulations, the CSA conducts roadside inspections and crash investigations. The program issues violations when instances of noncompliance with CSA safety regulations are exposed.   Unfortunately, the CSA's number of safety investigation teams and state law enforcement partners are rather small in comparison to the millions of CMV companies and commercial driver license (CDL) holders. A key factor in the CSA program is known as the Safety Measurement System (SMS). This system relies on data analysis to identify unsafe companies to arrange them for safety interventions. SMS is incredibly helpful to CSA in finding and holding companies accountable for safety performance.  

The basics of all trucks are not difficult, as they share common construction. They are generally made of chassis, a cab, an area for placing cargo or equipment, axles, suspension, road wheels, and engine and a drive train. Pneumatic, hydraulic, water, and electrical systems may also be present. Many also tow one or more trailers or semi-trailers, which also vary in multiple ways but are similar as well.

With the onset of trucking culture, truck drivers often became portrayed as protagonists in popular media. Author Shane Hamilton, who wrote "Trucking Country: The Road to America's Wal-Mart Economy", focuses on truck driving. He explores the history of trucking and while connecting it development in the trucking industry. It is important to note, as Hamilton discusses the trucking industry and how it helps the so-called big-box stores dominate the U.S. marketplace. Hamilton certainly takes an interesting perspective historically speaking.

Unfortunately for the trucking industry, their image began to crumble during the latter part of the 20th century. As a result, their reputation suffered. More recently truckers have been portrayed as chauvinists or even worse, serial killers. The portrayals of semi-trailer trucks have focused on stories of the trucks becoming self-aware. Generally, this is with some extraterrestrial help.

In 1933, as a part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal”, the National Recovery Administration requested that each industry creates a “code of fair competition”. The American Highway Freight Association and the Federated Trucking Associations of America met in the spring of 1933 to speak for the trucking association and begin discussing a code. By summer of 1933 the code of competition was completed and ready for approval. The two organizations had also merged to form the American Trucking Associations. The code was approved on February 10, 1934. On May 21, 1934, the first president of the ATA, Ted Rogers, became the first truck operator to sign the code. A special "Blue Eagle" license plate was created for truck operators to indicate compliance with the code.

The industry intends to both consumers as well as moving companies, this is why there are Ministers of Transportation in the industry. They are there to set and maintain laws and regulations in place to create a safer environment. It offers its members professional service training and states the time that movers have been in existence. It also provides them with federal government representation and statistical industry reporting. Additionally, there are arbitration services for lost or damaged claims, publications, public relations, and annual tariff updates and awards. This site includes articles as well that give some direction, a quarterly data summary, and industry trends.

Heavy trucks. A cement mixer is an example of Class 8 heavy trucks. Heavy trucks are the largest on-road trucks, Class 8. These include vocational applications such as heavy dump trucks, concrete pump trucks, and refuse hauling, as well as ubiquitous long-haul 6×4 and 4x2 tractor units. Road damage and wear increase very rapidly with the axle weight. The axle weight is the truck weight divided by the number of axles, but the actual axle weight depends on the position of the load over the axles. The number of steering axles and the suspension type also influence the amount of the road wear. In many countries with good roads, a six-axle truck may have a maximum weight over 50 tons (49 long tons; 55 short tons).

With the ending of World War I, several developments were made to enhance trucks. Such an example would be by putting pneumatic tires replaced the previously common full rubber versions. These advancements continued, including electric starters, power brakes, 4, 6, and 8 cylinder engines. Closed cabs and electric lighting followed. The modern semi-trailer truck also debuted. Additionally, touring car builders such as Ford and Renault entered the heavy truck market.