Picking the right size moving truck seems easy. The first truck you see on the lot looks guaranteed to hold all your belongings. It’s huge and empty with plenty of room to stack your stuff. However, once you start loading it, you may discover you’re either short or have too much space – both can lead to problems.
If you choose a truck that’s too small, it could mean multiple unloads dreaded second trips. Conversely, if your truck is too big, your items may get damaged after tumbling around during transit.
That’s why it’s important to know how much room you’ll need before you rent a moving truck.
There are two main ways most rental truck companies measure what their trucks can hold: cubic feet and real-life approximations for their fleet.
Every rental truck holds a certain amount, usually measured in cubic feet. This measurement takes the entire expanse of the truck’s storage area into account. This measurement is helpful, but unless you’re an expert who knows how to pack from floor to ceiling for maximum efficiency, there will be something unaccounted for.
Besides cubic feet, most moving truck rental companies provide a real-life approximation for their fleet. For example, you may hear that a 20-cubic-foot truck can hold approximately three rooms of furniture. Keep in mind, these numbers are mere approximations. The reality is, the number of rooms a truck can hold depends on the quantity (and size) of items in each room.
Determining the Right Size Truck
A general rule of thumb is between 150-300 cubic feet of space per room on the moving truck. If you use this estimate, a 1,000-cubic-foot truck could handle three-plus rooms worth of items.
These approximations are based on the basic minimums for each room, which is not an exact science. For example, a living room comprised of a recliner and a television takes up less space than one with a sectional sofa and a love seat. Consider your belongings, including furnishings and décor, and any additional added bulk due to packing materials in order to create rough estimate that more accurately reflects your needs.
Then, compare your estimates to the moving truck company estimates to get a good idea of the truck you’ll need. Try to err on the side of caution and rent a moving truck that’s slightly larger than your estimation for a less stressful move.