UHaul vs Penske vs Budget (Who is Best?)


U-Haul vs Penske vs Budget

If you’re researching moving truck rental companies U-Haul, Penske and Budget for your next move, then you’re in the right place! Moving can be extremely stressful and part of that is trying to navigate what company to rent a moving truck from.

In this article I am going to compare UHaul vs Penske vs Budget in every category you can think of so you can make a more informed decision with which company you choose to use.

I’ve moved more times than I care to remember and the large majority of those were ‘do it yourself’ moves where Jen and I packed, loaded, drove and unloaded our own truck. (With the help of friends and family of course!) So, trying to get the best deal on a truck is something I’ve done about a half dozen times.

For this project, I set up two hypothetical moves. One local move. Moving from one side of Marietta, GA to the other side of Marietta, GA. This is actually a move we just did a little over a year ago. The second move is a long distance move, from Philadelphia to Marietta (which is just outside of Atlanta). This is also I move we personally did recently, a little over two years ago.

I compared truck sizes, price, allowed days and mileage, moving supplies, locations, return convenience and towing options. Pretty much everything you would possibly need to know.

Enough rambling from me. Let’s get started by looking at truck sizes and price, because let’s be honest, this is usually the number one factor for who you’re going to choose to go with.

First, let’s compare the local move:

U-Haul vs Penske – Cost of Truck for Local Move (Marietta, GA to Marietta, GA)
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 Bedroom No $19.95 + 0.99/mile
U-Haul 15′ Truck 15′ x 7’8″ x 7’2″ (824 cu. ft) 1 Bed Home to 2 Bed Apt Yes $29.95 + 0.99/mile
U-Haul 17′ Truck 16’9 x 7’8″ x 7’2″ (824 cu. ft) Home up to 2 Bed Yes $39.95 + 0.99/mile
U-Haul 20′ Truck 19’6″ x 7’8″ x 7’2″ (1071 cu. ft) 2 Bed Home to 3 Bed Apt Yes $39.95 + 0.99/mile
U-Haul 26′ Truck 26’2″ x 8’2″ x 8’3″ (1763 cu. ft) 3 Bed Home to 4 Bed Home Yes $39.95 + 0.99/mile
Penske 12′ Truck 11’11” x 6’x6″ x 6’1″ (450 cu. ft) 1-2 Rooms No $79.99 + 0.99/mile
Penske 16′ Truck 16′ x 7’8″ x 6’6″ (800 cu. ft) 2-3 Rooms Yes $79.99 + 0.99/mile
Penske 22′ Truck 21’3″ x 7’8″ x 8’1″ (1200 cu. ft) 3-5 Rooms Yes N/A*
Penske 26′ Truck 25’11” x 8’1″ x 8’7″ (1700 cu. ft) 5-7 Rooms Yes N/A*
Budget 12′ Truck 10’0″ x 6’3″ x 6’0″ (380 cu. ft) 1 – 2 Rooms No $59.99/day + 0.99/mile
Budget 16′ Truck 16’0″ x 6’3″ x 6’7″ (658 cu. ft) 3 – 4 Rooms Yes $59.99/day + 0.99/mile
Budget 26′ Truck 26’0 x 8’1″ x 8’1″ (1698 cu. ft) 5 – 8 Rooms Yes $149.99/day + 0.99/mile

Now the longer distance move, from Philadelphia to Atlanta:

U-Haul vs Penske – 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 Bedroom 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 Home Yes 673.00**
Penske 12′ Truck 11’11” x 6’x6″ x 6’1″ (450 cu. ft) 1-2 Rooms No 538.00***
Penske 16′ Truck 16′ x 7’8″ x 6’6″ (800 cu. ft) 2-3 Rooms Yes 565.00***
Penske 22′ Truck 21’3″ x 7’8″ x 8’1″ (1200 cu. ft) 3-5 Rooms Yes 605.00***
Penske 26′ Truck 25’11” x 8’1″ x 8’7″ (1700 cu. ft) 5-7 Rooms Yes 605.00***
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**

Price (Local Move)

U-Haul has the clear edge when it comes to pure price. Each company has a flat rate for the truck and then charges the same $0.99 per mile. U-Haul’s flat rate for the truck is around half the price of trucks of the same size from Penske and Budget. Just make sure to adjust the rental time from 6 hours to longer if needed. (more on this in a second in ‘days allowed’)

Price (Long Distance Move)

For the long distance move, from Philly to Atlanta, U-Haul and Penske are neck and neck. Depending on the size of truck you want, one of those two look to be the better deal. For this example, both beat out Budget by a pretty comfortable margin.

PRO TIP: Once you get your online quotes, I highly recommend calling each location to see if they can beat the price of their competitors.

I know some people are made very uncomfortable with trying to haggle or negotiate price. But, what I’m suggesting is not haggling by any means. Just call. Tell them the prices you currently have and are they able to beat it. Either they will or they won’t.

In my experience, almost every time I’ve called I’ve ended up with a better price. A few times this has saved me hundreds of dollars. Call. It’s worth it.

Days Allowed (Local Move)

U-Haul only allowed me to secure the truck for up to 24 hours when I got my online quote. They actually note that most families only need 6 hours for a local move.

If you are moving a smaller home or apartment using a, let’s say, 15′ truck then sure that seems reasonable. But, if you’re filling up a 26′ foot truck, that’s A LOT of work to get done in less than a day. Not saying it can’t be done, but you’ll need a decent amount of help.

So, what if you need more time with UHaul. On their website they state, “Equipment scheduling is based on available time frames ranging from one hour up to a 24-hour rental period. Some locations do, however, offer multiple day In-Town rentals on our trailer fleet. Check with your local U-Haul center.”

Penske allows 1 day for their local moves. Again, if you’re filling up a big truck, make sure you have some help and are fully organized and ready for your move before picking up your truck. Otherwise, you may need to inquire about what an extra day would cost.

Budget’s flat rate for the truck is a straight ‘per day’ price right up front. Get your move done in 24 hours and you’re good.

Days Allowed (Long Distance Move)

On the long distance move, Penske gets the edge here. Penske allowed me 5 days to make my move from Philly to Atlanta vs 4 days for both Budget and UHaul.

Also, be careful with your return time with Budget. On my online quote, any return times after noon tacked on an extra day charge. Something I would definintely pay close attention to.

If you do need an extra day, UHaul is the most forgiving of the three. An extra day with UHaul will cost you $40. Budget is $90 for an extra day and Penske is $100.

Mileage Allowed

On the cross town move, all 3 companies charge $0.99 a mile.

On the long distance move, Penske and Budget include unlimited miles. That’s pretty good peace of mind and one less thing to have to worry about. U-Haul gives you a set amount of miles, but it’s generally more than enough to get your move done with no issues.

For example, I got an extra 143 miles for the move to Philly. More than enough for picking up, dropping off and gas stops.

If you need to make a stop for whatever reason that’s way off course, then unlimited mileage starts to look more enticing.

Moving Supplies

Each moving company offers supplies that you can purchase along with your rental truck. All 3 offer an Appliance Dolly/Hand Truck and Furniture Pads (both of which we highly recommend getting). U-Haul offers a whole lot more.

Moving Supplies
Item U-Haul Penske Budget
Utility Dolly $10.00 N/A N/A
Appliance Dolly / Hand Truck $12.00 $25.00 $37.00
Furniture Dolly $10.00 N/A N/A
Furniture Pads $10.00 / dozen $25.00 / dozen $29.00 / dozen
Small Moving Box $0.99 N/A N/A
Medium Moving Box $1.49 N/A N/A
Large Moving Box $1.99 N/A N/A
Sofa Cover $3.95 N/A N/A
Flat Panel TV Box (up to 70″) $19.95 N/A N/A
Medium TV Box (up to 40″) $14.95 N/A N/A
Shorty Wardrobe Box $8.95 N/A N/A
Grand Wardrobe Box $12.95 N/A N/A

Not only does U-Haul offer way more supplies (this isn’t even the full list of everything you can buy through them), but their prices on things like boxes are very competitive with stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s. They’ll even deliver supplies you order when you rent your truck right to your house!

If you’re going to get supplies with your moving truck, the big edge here goes to U-Haul.

Locations

U-Haul has 21,000 locations across the US which is more than double the amount of locations for Penske (2500) and Budget (3800) combined.

Why is the amount of locations a moving truck rental company has important?

The more locations a company has, the bigger the chance there will be a super convenient location close to you for your pickup and drop off locations. Obviously, this isn’t a guarantee and every move will be different. You should still check to see that the company you’re thinking of going with has a location close to you on both ends of the move.

The last thing you’re going to want to do after you’ve finished a long multi-day move is have to drive the truck another 30+ minutes to a drop off location. Trust me.

Return (Drop-Off)

Speaking of the drop off location, I took a look at the drop off hours for the different potential locations for both moves.

U-Haul makes things really easy by offering 24/7 drop-offs at the overwhelming majority of their locations. This is extremely convenient because I’ve personally had to drop off a moving truck late into the evening after unloading all day.

Penske and Budget is a bit of crap shoot. It all depends on the location and they’re all completely different. This is especially true when it comes to the weekends. I saw locations that were open till 5, some noon and a few that closed on a Sunday. Pay close attention to store hours so you don’t end up getting stuck with an extra day because you unknowingly show up 45 minutes after they close.

Final Thoughts

In general, U-Haul is going to be the best option for most moves. The sheer size of U-Haul allows them to offer better prices, more moving supplies and more locations.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look though. We’ve personally never used Penske, but we have used Budget for two of our moves over the years. For those moves, Budget had convenient pick-up and drop off locations and they were able to beat U-Haul on price after I called (always call!).

I hope this article has helped arm you with good information to make your decision on a moving truck a little easier!

Good Luck with your move!

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.

Recent Posts