If you’re planning a big move, your head is probably spinning with all the decisions you need to make. Where is the nearest storage facility, for instance? And how many cardboard boxes will you need?
Well, we hate to break it to you, but there is one more thing you need to sort out before moving day, and that’s what size moving truck you’ll get.
But wait! Don’t pull your hair out—we’re here to help. In our guide below, we’ll lay out our best advice to help make choosing your moving truck size a breeze. Follow along to figure out what size moving truck you’ll need.
How to Determine What Size Truck You Need
When it comes to figuring out how to determine moving truck sizes, there are several methods you can use to get a solid estimate. Check out some of the tips and tricks below to get a better idea of the dimensions of a moving truck and how much space your belongings actually require.
Determine the Number of Bedrooms
Determining how to figure out what size moving truck you need involves estimating the number of bedrooms you’re looking to pack away. Obviously, if you’re just looking to move your guest room, that’s going to require much less space than if you’re packing up four bedrooms at once.
But if you’re moving a bunch of random items from different areas of your home, such as your garage, game room, and basement, try consolidating them to get a feel for how many rooms they fill up.
Below is a breakdown of roughly how many rooms each length of truck can accommodate. As you can see, there is some overlap, as this is just an estimate:
- One room: 10- to 16-foot truck
- Two rooms: 12- to 22-foot truck
- Three rooms: 16- to 22-foot truck
- Five rooms: 22- to 26-foot truck
Measure the Cubic Feet of Your Belongings
Another way to get a feel for how big of a moving truck you’ll need is to measure your belongings. Gather your belongings and use a measuring tape to find the length and width of the pile.
Once you determine the length and width, you can multiply those numbers together to get the square footage of your items. For instance, if you find the length is five feet and the width is five feet, then you’ll need roughly 25 square feet to accommodate your items. This information will help you narrow down which size truck is most suitable.
Consider the Weight of Your Belongings
Your belongings may only take up 25 square feet, but that doesn’t tell you anything about their weight. And believe it or not, the weight actually plays a big role in what size moving truck you’ll need. You see, moving trucks have weight limitations. Even if you’re not filling up the entire truck, your belongings could actually exceed the weight restrictions…which means you need to size up.
Obviously, you’re not going to place your belongings on a scale before moving day, but it is a good idea to consider how much your items might weigh. For instance, several boxes of clothing and seasonal decorations will weigh a whole lot less than the combined weight of your king-sized bed, 10-piece dining table setting, and pool table.
Check out the list below to see each moving truck’s estimated weight limitations:
- 8-foot pick-up truck: ~1,900 pounds
- 9-foot van: ~4,000 pounds
- 10-foot truck: ~2,800 pounds
- 15-foot truck: ~6,300 pounds
- 20-foot truck: ~5,600 pounds
- 26-foot truck: ~9,500 pounds
Use a Space Estimator
You might already be familiar with using a space estimator when determining what size storage unit you need, but did you know it can help with figuring out your moving truck size, too?
Our space estimator lets you check off what kind of items—and how many— you’re looking to store to help you estimate what size storage unit you would need based on square footage. Therefore, once you know how much space your belongings take up, then you can use that knowledge to pick the appropriate moving truck.
For example, using the storage estimator, you might enter that you’re looking to move your baby grand piano, two double beds, a bookshelf, and a sofa. The calculator then determines you will require at least 10×5 square feet (or 50 square feet). With those dimensions in mind, you’re better equipped to choose your moving truck.
Types of Moving Trucks to Consider
Now that you know how much space you’re working with, you can begin exploring all the professional moving truck sizes.
Pick-up trucks have an open truck bed and can sometimes tow additional cargo. They’re also the most fuel-efficient option on this list, offering the most miles to the gallon.
Cargo vans are the next size up. These are enclosed vehicles providing more space and higher weight limitations than the pick-up truck, but they do not offer a towing option. They are also #2 in fuel efficiency, coming in right behind the pick-up truck.
Box trucks refer to the moving trucks with enclosed spaces in the back. These trucks vary in length, including 10, 15, 20, and 26 feet long. Of course, the 26-foot box truck offers the most space of all the options.
All of these trucks are capable of towing. However, it’s important to note that box trucks have the lowest fuel efficiency, with some only offering as few as 10 gallons to the mile.
Tips for Choosing the Right Size Moving Truck
Now that you’re armed with a better understanding of moving truck sizes, follow some of these additional tips to make the most of your moving experience.
Break Down Larger Items
Want to save even more space? Break apart larger items so they take up less room in your moving truck.
Lots of furniture, especially those with legs, break down into smaller pieces. Bed frames, dining room tables, and pool tables are a great place to start. But when you go wild taking things apart, make sure to keep all the nuts and bolts together, so you know which piece goes with what. Place all the parts in a baggie, label it, and tape it to the respective piece of furniture so you can easily rebuild it later.
Use Packing Supplies to Consolidate Items
Packing supplies are your friends! Not only can they help protect your items during the move, but they can help you consolidate space, too. Place items in sealed cardboard boxes and use packing paper or bubble wrap around fragile items. Whatever you do, don’t just toss random items into your moving truck without the proper packing supplies—this can cause more headaches down the road.
Load Heavier Items First
If you want to make the most of the space in your moving truck, you might need to approach it like a game of Tetris. After all, you need everything to fit seamlessly together to take advantage of the space provided. To do so, begin by placing your heaviest items on the bottom and working your way up, putting the lightest items on top.
Think About How Far You’re Traveling
Figuring out the best (and most economical) moving truck option might involve some light mental math. Consider how far you’re traveling, each truck’s fuel efficiency, and current gas prices.
If you plan to move your items 15 miles across town, is it better to make one trip in a larger moving truck, or two trips with a smaller moving truck? In this scenario, it might make sense to make two trips, but if you’re driving 55 miles, then going with the bigger option is likely the better choice.
Consider Using a Moving Company
If math isn’t your forte or you simply don’t have the time to weigh all your options, you can always turn to a moving company to do it all for you. When you hire a moving company, they’ll assess your belongings and determine how big of a moving truck you need for your items. They’re the experts at estimating and making the most of space in their trucks. Not only that, but they’ll also pack up your items and move them for you!
Find Out More About Stor-It
Here at Stor-It, we understand figuring out how to estimate moving truck sizes is just one step in the moving process. From packing up your items to finding a place to store them, we know there’s a lot that goes into moving day, and we’re here to help.