Penske vs U-Haul 2019: Comparing Moving Truck Rental Options

Penske vs U-Haul: Which DIY moving truck rental company should you trust to get your stuff from your old home to your new one?

Overall Opinion: You probably already know that U-Haul and Penske are two of the biggest names in moving truck rental. Either of them would be a great choice for your move, but our winner is Penske. It’s many truck sizes, affordable one-way rentals, and a huge fleet of newer, reliable vehicles make it our choice between these two. Read on for a full comparison of these two companies.

Penske vs Uhaul Winner

The name U-Haul is practically synonymous with moving truck. This is the company that pioneered one-way moving truck rentals after WWII. Since 1945, U-Haul has been giving budget-conscious movers a way to do the packing and driving themselves to save on costs, and those generations of experience have paid off. You’ve seen U-Haul’s white-and-orange trucks all over the place. It’s probably the best-known name in the entire moving industry.

But Penske is nothing to shake a stick at, either. The company has been in business since 1969, so while it’s not a pioneer like U-Haul, there are decades of experience here, too. Penske is known for being budget-friendly and high quality. They also offer numerous discounts for qualifying customers and have rolled into the digital age with an easy-to-navigate website.

Basically, choosing either of these companies wouldn’t be a bad idea.

But every move has its own logistics and needs. It takes careful research and consideration to choose the moving company that’s actually the best fit for what you need during your move.

If you’re stuck choosing between Penske and U-Haul, we hope to help. Read on for a comparison of both companies, from their pros and cons to their fleet sizes to their types of rental trucks, prices, and availability. Our hope is that, by the end of this article, you’ll have the knowledge you need to decide whether Penske or U-Haul is the right company to handle your move. Let’s get started.

Penske vs U-Haul: Pros and Cons of Both Companies

An overview of each company’s pros and cons is a good place to start. Here are the things we love (and the things we don’t) about both Penske and U-Haul.

Penske Pros and Cons

Penske Truck Rental     4.5 out of 5.0 stars

What we love: Let’s face it: Driving a moving truck isn’t the most environmentally friendly thing you can do. To make its business more sustainable, Penske offers low-emission trucks with fuel-efficient diesel engines. Their trucks also have maximum speeds to make fuel go further. That’s a truly standout feature, and we love it.

What we don’t love: There aren’t a ton of downsides to choosing Penske, but the biggest one is probably its availability. The company just isn’t as widespread as U-Haul. Plus, it only offers trucks, not trailers, so your options are a little bit limited there, too.

Penske Pros Penske Cons
  • DIY moves are generally the most affordable way to go, cheaper than full-service and container moving companies
  • One-way or round trip rentals available
  • Unlimited mileage on long-distance moves
  • Great discount program with savings for students, military, AAA members, and more
  • Easy-to-navigate website with transparent pricing for online bookings
  • Makes more of an effort to be green than most moving companies
  • New, high-quality trucks
  • You can pick up and drop off your truck at Home Depot if that’s more convenient than a Penske location
  • Guaranteed reservations, even if the person using the truck ahead of you doesn’t return it
  • Not as widely available as some other companies
  • Only rents trucks, not trailers
  • Round trip local moves aren’t the cheapest

U-Haul Pros and Cons

U-Haul     4.0 out of 5.0 stars

What we love: U-Haul is everywhere. It has locations in all 50 states, and in non-rural areas, there are often multiple locations close together, which means ultimate convenience — and a high likelihood you’ll be able to get exactly the right truck you need, even if your closest U-Haul shop is sold out of them.

What we don’t love: U-Haul gets slammed in customer reviews for tacking hidden fees onto moves, something no budget-conscious mover wants. The company is famous for offering day base rates of $19.99-$24.99, but that’s very rarely what you’ll end up paying after they add in things like environmental fees, fuel surcharges, cleaning fees, and taxes.

U-Haul Pros U-Haul Cons
  • DIY moves are generally the most affordable way to go, cheaper than full-service and container moving companies
  • One-way or round trip rentals available
  • Great nationwide availability
  • Multiple truck sizes and trailers available
  • Storage available
  • Easy-to-navigate website with online quotes available for most moves
  • Often adds hidden fees to moves
  • Reservations are not guaranteed
  • Limited mileage on long-distance moves, with high surcharges if you go over
  • Inconsistent services and reviews at different locations

Penske vs U-Haul: What Services Do They Offer?

Penske and U-Haul are both DIY moving companies, which means you get the most benefit if you’re willing to do most of the work yourself. They’ll hand over the keys to a truck, and then packing, loading, driving, and unloading are all up to you. It takes a lot of elbow grease, but it’s generally the most affordable way to move.

Penske U-Haul
Local, round-trip moves
One-way moves
Multiple truck sizes
Trailers
Moving and packing supplies Available at an additional cost Available at an additional cost
Packing and loading/unloading help Available at an additional cost Available at an additional cost
Roadside assistance
Vehicle shipping Yes, you can tow your car behind several of their trucks Yes, towing and car trailer packages are available
Insurance Included
Insurance Available to Purchase
Free Cancelation or Modification Up to 48 hours before your reservation Up to 24 hours before your reservation

It’s important to note that while all these services are generally offered, some online reviews complain about there being discrepancies in what services are available at different locations, especially for U-Haul. You should call locations near you ahead of booking your move to ensure the services you need are offered at your local Penske or U-Haul franchise.

Penske vs U-Haul: Availability

Penske and U-Haul are both nationwide companies with great coverage in the U.S., but U-Haul’s availability is slightly better. Here’s how they compare.

Penske U-Haul
Available in the U.S.? In 48 states All 50 states
Available in Canada? Yes Yes

What can’t be guaranteed is what’s available at every location. Truck and trailer inventory will vary, so whatever U-Haul or Penske location is closest to you may not have exactly what you need. You’ll have to call your local store to find out for sure what you can get.

Penske vs U-Haul: How Their Trucks and Fleets Compare

When it comes to the trucks and fleets that are available, U-Haul offers more options than Penske. However, we still think Penske wins this category. Here’s why.

Penske Truck Sizes and Fleet Information

Penske offers five different truck sizes, which is pretty standard in the industry. It only has trucks available, not trailers.

Penske’s largest trucks have diesel engines, which makes them slightly more fuel-efficient than the competition. But what really sets Penske’s trucks apart is that the company switches them out for new ones very frequently. The average age of a truck from Penske is just two years. That means they’re generally in good shape and reliable, so you’re less likely to break down en route to your new home. Just in case, though, Penske includes roadside assistance with all reservations.

Here are the trucks Penske has on offer.

 

High-roof cargo van 12-foot truck 16-foot truck 22-foot truck 26-foot truck
Best for Single pieces of furniture

Studio apartments

1-2 rooms 2-3 rooms 3-5 rooms 5-7 rooms
Dimensions 11’11” x 4’6” x 6’9” 12’ x 6’6” x 6’1” 16’ x 7’7” x 6’6” 21’11 x 8’1” x 8’1” 25’11” x 8’1” x 8’1”
Cubic footage available 364.5 cf 468 cf 780 cf 1,408 cf 1,664 cf
Weight limit 3,500 lbs. 3,100 lbs. 4,300 lbs. 10,000 lbs. 10,000 lbs.
Fuel type Gasoline Gasoline Gasoline Diesel Diesel

U-Haul Truck Rental Sizes and Fleet Information

Overall, U-Haul’s trucks are just not as high-quality as Penske’s. They’re turned over frequently, which means excessive wear and tear could be a problem. However, like Penske, U-Haul includes free roadside assistance with all reservations.

Additionally, U-Haul offers more options for truck sizes, as well as trailers, which Penske doesn’t offer at all.

Here are the trucks you can rent with U-Haul.

Pickup truck Cargo van 10-foot truck 15-foot truck 17-foot truck 20-foot truck 26-foot truck
Best for Single pieces of furniture Studio apartments 1-2 rooms 2-3 rooms 3-5 rooms 4-6 rooms 5-7 rooms
Dimensions 7’10” x 5’2″ x 1’9″ 9’6″ x 5’7″ x 4’8″ 9’11” x 6’4” x 6’2” 15′ x 7’8″ x 7’2″ 16’9” x 7’8” x 7’2” 19’6″ x 7’8″ x 7’2″ 26’5″ x 7’8″ x 8’3″
Cubic footage available 76 cf 245 cf 402 cf 764 cf 865 cf 1,016 cf 1,611 cf
Weight limit 1,897 lbs. 3,880 lbs. 2,850 lbs. 6,385 lbs. 6,160 lbs. 5,700 lbs. 9,010 lbs.
Fuel type Gasoline Gasoline Gasoline Gasoline Gasoline Gasoline Gasoline

And here are U-Haul’s trailer options.

 

Cargo Trailers Utility Trailers
  • 4’ x 8’
  • 5’ x 8’
  • 5’ x 10’
  • 6’ x 12’
  • 4’ x 8’
  • 5’ x 8’
  • 5’ x 9’
  • 6’ x 12’
  • 6’ x 12’ (with ramp)

Penske vs U-Haul: What Insurance Options Are Available?

One of the most stressful parts of a DIY move is having to do the driving yourself, especially if you’re not used to driving a large truck. Luckily, both Penske and U-Haul offer multiple insurance options so you — and your stuff — are protected in case of an accident.

The costs for these different insurance options vary depending on the specifics of your reservation, but it’s smart to budget between 5-10 percent of what you expect to spend on your truck for getting adequate insurance for the truck, your belongings, and yourself.

Penske Insurance Options

Penske has a wide variety of coverage options available.

Limited Damage Waiver (LDW) The most expensive insurance option (at about 10 percent of the cost of your reservation) protects you against any damage caused to the truck from accidents, including dents and scratches. It doesn’t cover you if the damage is due to you making a mistake while driving.
Liability (LIA) This plan covers damage to other vehicles if you cause an accident, up to the minimum amount required by the state you’re in.
Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI) This is additional protection over the state minimum for any damages if you cause an accident.
Cargo Insurance (CAI) This covers your belongings inside the truck in case of an accident or natural disaster. It does not cover damage caused during loading or unloading.
Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) This covers medical costs for the driver and passenger of a Penske truck in case of an accident.
Towing Insurance (TWI) This covers any vehicle you tow with your Penske truck, in the case of an accident and if any damage is caused during loading and unloading.

U-Haul Insurance Options

U-Haul, on the other hand, offers just two different insurance plans. Here’s what they include.

 

SafeMove Insurance SafeMove Plus Insurance
  • Covers accidental damage to your truck
  • $15,000-$25,000 in coverage for your belongings in case of an accident or natural disaster
  • $1,000 in medical coverage
  • $15,000-$25,000 in loss of life coverage
  • Covers accidental damage to your truck
  • $15,000-$25,000 in coverage for your belongings in case of an accident or natural disaster
  • $1,000 in medical coverage
  • $15,000-$25,000 in loss of life coverage
  • $1 million in additional supplemental liability insurance

Penske vs U-Haul: How Much Do They Cost?

We know moving is expensive, and you’re looking into DIY companies because you want to stick to a budget. The cost is a major concern for all movers.

It’s tough to say exactly how much a move will cost with either of these companies because of all the factors that go into pricing a move — the time of year, how much stuff you have, what size truck you need, whether you add on any services or insurance, fuel costs — even the days of the week can affect the cost of your rental.

Before you make any judgments or decisions based on the price of either of these companies, you should get a personalized quote from both of them. Luckily, they both make it fast and easy to get a price quote online.

With that said, we did gather some sample quotes to give you an idea of what you might pay.

Be sure to checkout our rental truck pricing calculator for a better idea on pricing.

Penske Quoted Costs

Penske is well-known for having no hidden fees, so we’re confident that the actual cost for these moves would be similar to the quotes they provided.

Cargo Van 12-foot truck 16-foot truck 22-foot truck 26-foot truck
Local move (round-trip) $199.99 plus $1.29 per mile $29.99 plus $0.79 per mile $29.99 plus $0.79 per mile Not available $49.99 plus $0.79 per mile
Mid-distance move (100-250 miles one-way) Not available $289 plus free unlimited mileage $289 plus free unlimited mileage $312 plus free unlimited mileage $312 plus free unlimited mileage
Cross country move (250< miles one-way) Not available $810 plus free unlimited mileage $810 plus free unlimited mileage $1,063.80 plus free unlimited mileage $1,063.80 plus free unlimited mileage

U-Haul Quoted Costs

U-Haul has been called out by reviewers for less-than-transparent pricing, so be careful with their quotes. Ask lots of questions and get everything in writing to help protect yourself from getting slapped with extra fees you’re not prepared for.

Also note that U-Haul doesn’t include unlimited mileage for one-way moves. The quoted prices come with a mileage cap, and if you go over that, you may end up with steep fees.

Pickup Truck Cargo Van 10-foot truck 15-foot truck 17-foot truck 20-foot truck 26-foot truck
Local move (round-trip) $19.95 plus $0.59 per mile $19.95 plus $0.59 per mile $19.95 plus $0.79 per mile $29.95 plus $0.79 per mile $29.95 plus $0.79 per mile $39.95 plus $0.79 per mile $39.95 plus $0.79 per mile
Mid-distance move (100-250 miles one-way) Not available Not available $301 $316 Not available $348 $395
Cross country move (250< miles one-way) Not available Not available $960 $1,012 Not available $1,112 $1,264

Penske vs U-Haul: Which One Is Right For Your Move?

Because of its transparent pricing, great customer service, and high-quality trucks, we would lean toward choosing Penske out of these two. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Penske is the right choice for your move.

Before choosing a moving company, you should compare as many options as possible — and that’s where we come in. Head over to moveBuddha to get instant online quotes from tons of moving companies all in one place.

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