Are U-Haul Trucks Good for Small Moves?

Are you moving a studio apartment or a one-bedroom home? As long as you aren’t moving appliances or bulky furniture, an in-town U-Haul truck rental is a smart and economical way to move into your new place. 

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At A Glance
  • More than 20,000 locations with prominent pricing
  • Rental options include everything from pick-up trucks to 26-foot moving trucks
  • Gentle-Ride Suspension add protection to avoid damaging your items during transit
  • U-Box moving containers available if you don't want to drive
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93% of users select this mover

While U-Haul is one of the best moving truck rental companies on the market, you still need to choose the right size moving truck for a small move. U-Haul has six truck options, but the smallest three generally make the most sense for one-bedroom moves.

If you’ve never moved with U-Haul Truck Rental before, don’t sweat it. In this guide, we’ll break down the costs of renting a pickup truck, cargo van, and 10-foot box truck from U-Haul.

Comparing U-Haul vans and trucks

So, how much can you fit in a small U-Haul? It comes down to the size of your current home and which U-Haul best fits your budget.

Option Cargo area (L x W x H) Move size Average pricing
Pickup truck 7’10” x 5’2″ x 1’9″ Studio apartment $39.95/day + $0.99 mile
Cargo van 9’6″ x 5’7″ x 4’8″ Small one-bedroom apartment, no large furniture items $19.95/day + $0.69 mile
10-foot box truck 9’11” x 6’4″ x 6’2″ One-bedroom apartment with some furniture or appliances, like a mattress and small dining room set $19.95/day + $0.89 mile

While this should give you a ballpark idea of pricing, every U-Haul sets different prices.
Get a free U-Haul quote on the company’s website for the most up-to-date pricing for your move.

The best U-Haul vans and trucks for small moves

U-Haul has so many options for small moves, but most people settle on one of three options: a pickup, a van, or a box truck.

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Pickup truck

Although they’re more car-like and easier to drive than vans and box trucks, pickups have one huge disadvantage — an open cargo area. You won’t have to worry about clearance height, thankfully, but you may need to tie down and cover your belongings with a tarp for inclement weather.

Other than the bed itself, they don’t have walls or a roof, which means:

  • You have a smaller usable cargo area
  • Your items are exposed to the elements, road debris, and bird droppings (yuck!)
  • There’s a greater chance of loss or theft 

With that said, if you’re only moving a few night tables and a dozen moving boxes for an in-town move, a pickup truck might be all right.

U-Haul moving truck specs

  • Gross vehicle weight (GVW): 6,700 pounds
  • Towing capacity: Up to 6,000 pounds
  • Deck height: Three feet
  • Seats for adults: Three
  • Fuel tank size: 34 gallons
  • Miles per gallon: Up to 19

Cargo van

Cargo vans are a little trickier to drive than pickups, but they come with many added benefits. Some movers say cargo vans are a better value because of their:

  • Enclosed cargo area
  • Safety
  • Security

Cargo vans work well for relatively small moves. They can hold the contents of a studio apartment, excluding large items like refrigerators or full-size sofas. However, they’re slightly less fuel efficient than a pickup and can’t tow vehicles.

U-Haul Cargo van specs

  • GVW: 9,000 pounds
  • Towing capacity: n/a
  • Interior volume: 245 cubic feet
  • Deck height: 2’5”
  • Adult seats: Two
  • Fuel tank size: 25 gallons
  • Miles per gallon: Up to 18

10-foot box truck

If you’re in a larger one-bedroom apartment with more furniture and appliances, 10-foot box trucks are probably the way to go.

As long as you pack them efficiently, 10-foot U-Hauls can hold a surprising amount of household goods. If you plan carefully, the truck can hold appliances, beds, dressers, and sofas.

The biggest downside is that the box trucks are a little trickier to drive. Their gas mileage isn’t as efficient as a truck or cargo van, so you can expect to pay more in mileage.

10-foot truck specs

  • GVW: 8,600 pounds
  • Towing capacity: 6,000 pounds
  • Volume: 402 cubic feet
  • Deck height: 2’5”
  • Adult seats: Two
  • Fuel tank size: 31 gallons
  • Miles per gallon: Up to 12

Small U-Haul trucks: Local vs. long-distance moves

U-Haul is a solid option if you’re moving the contents of a minimally furnished apartment across town. If you’re planning a local move to save money — and don’t mind doing some of the work — U-Haul is a smart way to save a few bucks. The trucks are convenient and affordable, and you can always rent moving equipment like dollies, tie-downs, EZ-Load Ramps, and moving pads to make everything go more smoothly.

However, U-Haul probably isn’t a fit for many long-distance moves. The longer you drive the truck, the more you pay for hotels, gas, tolls, food, etc. You also have to consider factors like:

  • Drive time
  • The risk of driving a large vehicle in cities, mountains, rain, ice, and snow
  • Your family’s comfort and safety
  • The cost of additional rental truck insurance
  • The possibility of breaking down in a remote area

If you’re moving over 100 miles, consider hiring one of the best long-distance moving companies in your area. Full-service movers are almost always more expensive than renting a truck and DIYing a move, but you can’t beat the safety and convenience. Play with the numbers with our moving costs calculator to see how much you can expect to pay for a long-distance mover.

Cost of U-Haul vans and trucks

U-Haul will usually cut you a deal if you book a larger vehicle because that means you’re traveling a longer distance. While a pickup truck might have higher upfront costs, it could still be more cost-effective than a van or truck if you can pull off a one-day move.

Ultimately, small move U-Haul pricing comes down to how much stuff you have, how far you’re going, and how long it takes you to get there.

Distance Average pickup truck pricing Average cargo van pricing Average 10-foot box truck pricing
50-100 miles $178.90 $108.90 $128.90
>250 miles $327.40 $212.40 $262.40
Over 300 miles $376.90+ $246.90+ $306.90+

 *All estimates are for a two-day rental

U-Haul cost factors to consider

As you can see, U-Haul pricing differs based on a lot of factors—and that’s just vehicle, distance, and time! Other factors affect pricing, too, including:

  • Fuel: According to AAA, the average nationwide price for a gallon of gas in February 2024 was $3.148. All U-Haul specs use the phrase “up to” when they mention mileage. For example, in ideal conditions, the 10-foot box truck gets “up to” 12 miles per gallon. But in real-world conditions, you might only get nine mpg, which will have a big impact on your final price.
  • Tolls: Do you plan to drive on the highway? Carefully plan your route! Some expressways will save time but could cost you more in tolls. Some tollways charge more for larger vehicles with additional axles, like U-Hauls, so don’t be surprised if your toll bill is higher than usual.
  • Mileage: On top of paying for gas, U-Haul charges you for every mile driven. U-Haul might not be the best fit for long-distance moves where mileage is higher.

How to choose the right U-Haul truck size

Small moves don’t require a lot of space, but even then, you still need to book the right-sized U-Haul for your move. Booking a truck that is too small could require additional trips and higher mileage costs while booking too much space could needlessly cost more and even damage your items in transit.

Here’s a breakdown of each U-Haul truck size to help you find the best option:

  • Pickups: Pickups are the easiest to maneuver and park in the city, making them a good option for moving in urban areas. They have the smallest cargo area, though, so they’re best for small loads with little to no furniture. U-Haul trucks don’t include loading ramps and have higher docks, so be prepared to lift items into the truck. If you’re loading heavy or bulky items, consider hiring one of the best labor companies for moving help. The last thing you want is a back injury!
  • Cargo vans: Cargo vans give you the benefit of an enclosed cargo trailer area, which is ideal for moving in the winter or while it’s raining. They can hold the contents of a small one-bedroom apartment, albeit with very few pieces of furniture. These vans include a cargo ramp and a low deck, making loading easier. They’re also fairly easy to drive, too.
  • 10-foot trucks: A 10-foot U-Haul is best for one-bedroom apartments with larger furniture, like a mattress and a full-sized couch. The additional space accommodates larger items and several boxes without cramming everything together. The loading ramp and enclosed storage area make 10-foot trucks ideal for local and longer-distance moves under 250 miles.

While pickups certainly have advantages, many movers prefer the enclosed space of a van or 10-foot box trailer. Since box trailers are a little trickier to drive and manage, cargo vans are often the best option for balancing cost, convenience, and driveability.

FAQs about U-Haul trucks for small moves

What is the smallest U-Haul truck?

The smallest available U-Haul truck is a pickup. It doesn’t include an enclosed cargo space and has a pretty high loading dock, but the truck is the easiest option to drive in the city.

What is the smallest U-Haul truck that can tow a car?

U-Haul pickup trucks can tow up to 6,000 pounds. While the cargo van can’t tow, the 10-foot box truck can also tow up to 6,000 pounds. A sedan weighs around 4,200 pounds, so you should be able to tow an average-sized vehicle without a problem.

Will a queen bed fit in a 10-foot U-Haul truck?

Yes, a queen-size bed can fit in a 10-foot U-Haul truck. The interior of a 10-foot truck typically measures around 9’11” x 6’4″ x 6’2″, which accommodates a queen-size mattress and bed frame. However, measure your specific bed and frame to ensure it will fit, especially if it’s a bulkier or a non-standard design.

How much does a U-Haul truck cost to rent?

Factors like vehicle type, distance, and move size play a role in U-Haul pricing. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $108.90 to over $375 for a two-day rental.

What are the rental requirements for a small U-Haul truck?

Every state has different requirements, but most U-Haul locations require you to:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Provide a credit or debit card for payment
  • Complete a rental agreement and adhere to U-Haul’s terms and conditions

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