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.
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
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|
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U-Haul Pros and Cons
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|
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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.
|Local, round-trip moves||✔||✔|
|Multiple truck sizes||✔||✔|
|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|
|Vehicle shipping||Yes, you can tow your car behind several of their trucks||Yes, towing and car trailer packages are available|
|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 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.
|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.
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 |
|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.|
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.|
And here are U-Haul’s trailer options.
|Cargo Trailers||Utility Trailers|
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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|
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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|
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.