U-Haul vs Budget for Long Distance Moving


U-Haul vs Budget for Long Distance Moving

U-Haul and Budget are two of the most popular truck rental companies for moving your home. If you’ve found this page, chances are you’re doing your due diligence and researching the best truck rental company for your long distance move.

So, is U-Haul or Budget better for long distance moves?

To answer this question, I researched two potential moves. One, going from Atlanta to Philadelphia is 775 miles which I would say qualifies as long distance. The other is Atlanta to San Diego which definitely qualifies as long distance (2,165 miles).

I looked at everything that I take into account when we are making a move ourselves. Cost, mileage and days included, supplies and locations. Hopefully, this article can save you at least a few hours of researching and gives you a jump start on setting up your move.

For this U-Haul vs Budget for Long Distance Moving comparison, let’s start with cost. After all, getting the best price on the truck rental is the number one deciding factor for the large majority of us.

Atlanta on a Map
The starting point for this fictitious move is our current home city – Atlanta, Georgia.
U-Haul vs Budget – Cost of Truck from Atlanta to Philadelphia
Company Truck Size Inside Dimensions LxWxH (Cubic Feet) Recommended For Ramp? Cost
U-Haul 10′ Truck 9’11” x 6’4″ x 6’2″ (387 cu. ft) Studio to 1 Bed No 511.00
U-Haul 15′ Truck 15′ x 7’8″ x 7’2″ (824 cu. ft) 1 Bed Home to 2 Bed Apt Yes 539.00
U-Haul 20′ Truck 19’6″ x 7’8″ x 7’2″ (1071 cu. ft) 2 Bed Home to 3 Bed Apt Yes 592.00
U-Haul 26′ Truck 26’2″ x 8’2″ x 8’3″ (1763 cu. ft) 3 Bed Home to 4 Bed Apt Yes 673.00
Budget 12′ Truck 10’0″ x 6’3″ x 6’0″ (380 cu. ft) 1 – 2 Rooms No 755.10***
Budget 16′ Truck 16’0″ x 6’3″ x 6’7″ (658 cu. ft) 3 – 4 Rooms Yes 755.10**
Budget 26′ Truck 26’0 x 8’1″ x 8’1″ (1698 cu. ft) 5 – 8 Rooms Yes 1403.10**

Move number two. Here are the prices for our trip from Atlanta to San Diego.

U-Haul vs Budget – Cost of Truck from Atlanta to San Diego
Company Truck Size Inside Dimensions LxWxH (Cubic Feet) Recommended For Ramp? Cost
U-Haul 10′ Truck 9’11” x 6’4″ x 6’2″ (387 cu. ft) Studio to 1 Bed No 1023.00*
U-Haul 15′ Truck 15′ x 7’8″ x 7’2″ (824 cu. ft) 1 Bed Home to 2 Bed Apt Yes 1076.00*
U-Haul 20′ Truck 19’6″ x 7’8″ x 7’2″ (1071 cu. ft) 2 Bed Home to 3 Bed Apt Yes 1184.00*
U-Haul 26′ Truck 26’2″ x 8’2″ x 8’3″ (1763 cu. ft) 3 Bed Home to 4 Bed Apt Yes 1345.00*
Budget 12′ Truck 10’0″ x 6’3″ x 6’0″ (380 cu. ft) 1 – 2 Rooms No 1105.20
Budget 16′ Truck 16’0″ x 6’3″ x 6’7″ (658 cu. ft) 3 – 4 Rooms Yes 1162.80
Budget 26′ Truck 26’0 x 8’1″ x 8’1″ (1698 cu. ft) 5 – 8 Rooms Yes 2034.90

*Price was looked up on 6/3/21 for a 6/25/21 pickup date. Cost always subject to change. For most recent prices, check U-Haul

**Price was looked up on 6/3/21 for a 6/25/21 pickup date. Cost always subject to change. For most recent prices, check Budget

Before we get into price comparison I want to briefly draw your attention to the truck sizes. Make sure you don’t get too caught up in the ‘Truck Size’ and look at the actual interior dimensions of the truck. For example, the 15′ truck from U-Haul actually has more cubic feet of space than the 16′ truck from Budget.

U-Haul easily has the advantage when it comes to price. The biggest discrepancy it between 26′ foot trucks where U-Haul’s is around half the price on both trips. If you’re moving a good size home and are opting for a big truck, U-Haul is an obvious choice based on the prices we pulled.

What’s Included with the Price of the Truck

Mileage

Dashboard Instrument Cluster

Budget gives unlimited mileage with all of their truck rentals vs U-Haul that gives a set limit of miles.

Having said that, U-Haul allows more than enough cushion that should cover 90%+ of all moves. For the Philly trip U-Haul gave us an extra 143 miles and for San Diego is was about 400. (Compared to the total miles between the two cities) This should easily cover picking up and dropping off the truck, getting gas and pulling off for a hotel stay.

However, if you know you’re going to have extra stops along the way (especially if they’re a bit out of the way) the unlimited mileage can come in really handy. For instance, maybe you’re stopping at a friend or relative’s house or making a pit stop at a storage facility. In those cases, it may be worth breaking out the Maps App and calculating mileage to see if unlimited is going to an advantage.

Days Allowed

The amount of days each company allows you to finish your move was very similar. In fact, both U-Haul and Budget gave us four days to pull off our Philly trip.

For the San Diego move, Budget gave us an extra day – 8 days vs 7 for U-Haul.

If you end up needing an extra day, U-Haul charges $40 extra per day vs $90 per day for Budget.

We’ve never had an issue with needing extra time to finish a move, but it’s always nice to have more time rather than less because you never know when inclement weather might slow your plan down.

Slight edge to Budget here just due to the extra day on one of the trips. Only slight though since U-Haul is much more forgiving if you end up needing more days than your initially allowed.

Moving Supplies

Neither company throws in any ‘freebies’ with the truck rental, but you can purchase extra supplies from each. Here’s a breakdown of what’s available at U-Haul vs Budget.

Moving Supplies
Item U-Haul Budget
Utility Dolly $10.00 N/A
Appliance Dolly / Hand Truck $12.00 $37.00
Furniture Dolly $10.00 N/A
Furniture Pads $10.00 / dozen $29.00 / dozen
Small Moving Box $0.99 N/A
Medium Moving Box $1.49 N/A
Large Moving Box $1.99 N/A
Sofa Cover $3.95 N/A
Flat Panel TV Box (up to 70″) $19.95 N/A
Medium TV Box (up to 40″) $14.95 N/A
Shorty Wardrobe Box $8.95 N/A
Grand Wardrobe Box $12.95 N/A

U-Haul offers pretty much everything you could possibly need for a move. In addition to everything in the above table, they also offer items like Mattress Bags, Stretch Plastic Wrap, Bubble Rolls and Packing Tape.

U-Haul’s pricing on their moving supplies are really good too. Their moving boxes are right on par with what you can expect to pay at a Lowe’s or Home Depot. Some items, like the TV Moving Boxes, are even cheaper than you’d find elsewhere.

Budget’s available moving supplies is limited to just a hand truck and furniture pads. And, honestly, I was pretty shocked by the price. If you picked up a Hand Truck and a dozen furniture pads (because you should get both), the difference in price is $44!

Due to the amount of options and the price, huge edge to U-Haul here.

Locations

U-Haul Location
U-Haul has over 21,000 locations across the US. The most of any truck rental company. (Photo Credit: EQRoy / Shutterstock.com)

U-Haul has over 21,000 locations vs around 3800 for Budget.

Why does it matter how many locations a rental truck company has?

The more locations a company has, the more chances that there is a really close and convenient pickup and drop off location. Obviously, this isn’t a guarantee. You should always check the nearest locations for your particular move.

I will say this though. After you’ve spent multiple days loading, driving and unloading a truck, the last thing you want to do is drive the truck another 30 minutes to drop it off. (And don’t forget someone is going to have to pick you up as well)

Return (Drop Off)

U-Haul makes truck returns easy. Pretty much every U-Haul location allows 24/7 drop off. This is a huge convenience. On more than one occasion I have found myself during a truck return well into the night.

On the other hand, Budget location hours are much more limited, with some places closed on Sunday and even Saturday. (To be honest, not totally sure how that would effect your ‘days allowed’ with the truck. I also noticed that if your truck is not returned by noon, Budget charges you for an additional day.

Final Thoughts

I’m pretty sure we’ve used Budget before. I think it was on our move from Miami up to Richmond. I always price check every available truck rental company so I was surprised when U-Haul seemed to be such a clear winner on our two ‘example trips’.

This was some years back, so it’s possible that U-Haul has just pulled that much ahead.

I will say this though, and this will be the last tip I leave you with. Once I get the initial online quote, I always call each place to see if they are willing the beat the best quote I found online. Not once has this not worked. I always end up with a price from someone that is a hundred or so dollars less than what I started with.

So, maybe Budget came down enough to beat out U-Haul and any other competitors. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t count anyone out until you ask.

I really hope this article has helped you make a decision for your move when it comes to U-Haul vs Budget for Long Distance Moves! Good Luck!

Ryan

I've been a college coach for going on 20 years now and that career has led Jen and I on quite the journey. We've lived in 7 different states and have moved a dozen different times. We've learned A LOT over the course of all those moves and we want to pass on our knowledge to help others going through the moving process.

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