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The Pros and Cons of Using A U-Haul for Your Move

If you’re planning to move in the near future, you may be weighing the pros and cons of a DIY move versus hiring professional movers. Many people who go the DIY route choose to rent U-Haul vans or box trucks to move their belongings. This article will explore the pros and cons of DIY moving, focusing especially on the advantages and disadvantages of using U-Haul vans and box trucks.

About U-Haul

Operating since 1945, U-Haul is the largest self-storage and self-move company in North America, with over 20,000 locations and a huge fleet of vehicles. It has become a household name for moving truck and van rentals. Its self-services include trailers, trucks, towing devices, and self-storage services across North America. Many people opting for a DIY move are drawn to U-Haul rentals because they allow convenient, cost effective access to a moving truck without the cost and responsibilities of owning one. 

With numerous locations across the US and Canada, customers can pick up and return their vehicles anytime. For customers who need temporary storage solutions, U-Haul offers self-storage units with security cameras and individually alarmed rooms as well as storage containers in a secure warehouse. Finally, for those who want to transport their car, U-Haul also offers towing services that are capable of towing cars on a car carrier. 

Pros and Cons of Using a U-Haul Van Rental to Move


  • Easier to park and drive. U-Haul vans are easier to park and drive than a rental moving truck. If you’ve opted for a DIY move, it’s important to know that U-Haul van rentals are much easier to maneuver and park than large truck rentals. They feel and drive much like your own vehicle. Conversely, box truck rentals are large, bulky and can be tricky to maneuver on narrow roads. Additionally, parking a large moving truck can be difficult, especially in a congested urban area. 
  • Unload from the sidewalk. Because many cargo vans come with sliding side doors, it is possible to load and unload your belongings from the sidewalk. If your move involves parallel parking or parking in a small space, especially in a busy urban area, renting a cargo van can be helpful. 
  • Access to height-restricted areas. Large box trucks may not be able to pass under low bridges or enter parking garages due to height restrictions. If you are unable to reach your location without passing under a low bridge or specifically want to unload from a low parking garage, you may need to rent a U-Haul van.
  • Ideal for very small moves. If you only need to move a few pieces of furniture or some boxes, you may not need to rent a large, difficult-to-drive moving truck or hire a professional moving company (though many people choose to do so for a multitude of reasons). According to U-Haul, their cargo van rentals are a great choice for anyone executing a small move. The company says their cargo van can fit a twin-sized mattress, spring box set, three seater sofa, two nightstands and several boxes. U-Haul indicates that a 9-foot cargo van is appropriate for an apartment or studio move. 
  • More fuel efficient. According to U-Haul, their cargo vans hold up to 25 gallons of gas and usually get 18 miles per gallon. This makes the cargo van much more fuel efficient than truck rentals, which are larger and require more gas when on the road. For comparison, U-Haul’s 10-foot moving truck rental holds up to 33 gallons and gets 12 miles per gallon, making it less fuel efficient than the cargo van.


  • Not suitable for medium to large moves. Because of their smaller, more restricted size, U-Haul van rentals are better suited for very small moves such as a dorm room or studio apartment moves, especially in urban locations where parking is difficult to find. U-Haul vans can’t accommodate much large furniture or exercise equipment, so they aren’t ideal for large residential moves. Even if you don’t have bulky furniture and belongings to move, if you have a lot to haul, a U-Haul van will likely require many trips back and forth. If you’re moving locally and only need to make an additional trip back and forth to move one or two-bedroom’s worth of items, a cargo van may still be doable. But, for most medium to large moves and even smaller longer-distance moves that require multiple trips, using a cargo van would make the move much more tiring, time-consuming and inefficient. Renting a box truck or hiring a professional moving company is the sensible move for medium to large size moves.
  • No tow-capabilities. While many of U-Haul’s truck rentals can tow trailers and cars behind them, their cargo van cannot. If you are executing a small move and need to tow something, you may want to consider renting a pickup truck that is capable of towing a trailer or personal vehicle rather than a cargo van which is not. For reference, a pickup truck has a towing capacity of 6,000 lbs, a 15 ft. box truck has a towing capacity of 10,000 lbs, a 17 ft. box truck has a towing capacity of 10,000 lbs., a 20 ft. box truck has a towing capacity of 7,500 lbs, and a 26 ft. box truck has a towing capacity of 10,000 lbs.
  • More difficult to load and unload. Loading and unloading cargo is more difficult in a cargo van than a typical box truck rental with a wide door or pickup truck with an open back. Cargo vans do come with nerf bars to make stepping up easier, they do not have the EZ load ramp feature that larger truck rentals do. If you intend to move large furniture or other heavy items using a cargo van, it is important to make sure you have the proper equipment and assistance to safely load and unload your items without causing damage or injury.

Pros and Cons of Using a U-Haul Truck Rental to Move

The primary advantage of renting a U-Haul truck rather than a U-Haul cargo van is space. Unlike smaller U-Haul cargo vans, U-Haul box trucks can handle greater loads. According to U-Haul’s website, the 10 ft. box truck is ideal for a one-bedroom apartment move, the 15 ft. box truck is ideal for a two-bedroom apartment or condo move, the 17 ft. box truck is ideal for a larger apartment and condo move, the 20 ft. box truck is ideal for a two or three-bedroom home and large apartment move, and the 26 ft. box truck is ideal for a large, three to five-bedroom home move. 

However, box truck rentals are significantly more difficult to drive and park, especially through narrow streets and busy urban areas with limited parking options. This can make navigating the move stressful and even dangerous. Box truck rentals are also more expensive than cargo van rentals.

Additional Considerations When Renting a U-Haul

Budget friendly option for local moves. Many people choose to rent a U-Haul because it is more cost effective than hiring a reputable, professional moving company. However, it’s worth noting the potential costs associated with a DIY move. Inexperienced (not to mention uninsured) movers can sustain personal injuries that come at a great cost. Due to a lack of expertise, tools and experience, DIY movers often also cause costly damage to their home and belongings during the moving process. Competitively priced professional moving companies like All Jersey Moving & Storage know how to safely transport your belongings so you don’t have to worry about expensive DIY moving damages.

Wide date availability. If you need to move at a specific date and time during the height of the busy moving season, renting a U-Haul will likely give you the availability you need. That’s because there are over 20,000 locations across the US and Canada. However, there are professional moving companies like All Jersey Moving & Storage that do their utmost to accommodate last-minute moving requests, even on weekends and during busy periods. If you prefer to use a moving company, try to book your preferred dates in advance, but don’t assume you have to tackle a DIY move without first seeing if your moving date needs can be accommodated.

Roadside Assistance. If you’ve decided to execute your own move, knowing that you have roadside assistance will give you peace of mind that you’ll have the help you need should you encounter trouble with your vehicle. U-Haul provides roadside assistance for every move.

Confusing price quotes and hidden fees. U-Haul’s price quotes can be confusing, with rental costs varying depending on the truck you are renting. Some factors like your move date, taxes, mileage, environmental fees, moving coverage, and other add-on services can increase your fees. 

Benefits of Using a Professional Moving Company

Many people getting ready for a residential move choose to hire professional movers to take care of moving their belongings. They do so because working with a moving company can help save time and reduce anxiety, as well as ensure their home and belongings will be safe and secure throughout the moving process. With a widely-recommended professional moving company like All Jersey Moving & Storage, you don’t need to worry about.

  1. Driving or parking a large moving truck rental.
  2. Sustaining an injury while moving your own belongings.
  3. Asking friends or family to assist with your move.
  4. Causing damage to your old or new home during the move.
  5. Causing damage to your belongings during the move.
  6. Making sense of confusing quotes.
  7. Not having enough room for your belongings in the moving vehicle.

And the list goes on…

Prefer to hire a professional moving company?

Some people don’t have the time or energy to execute a labor intensive DIY move. Many other people simply aren’t comfortable with the risks and liabilities involved in DIY moving. For people who feel the cons of using a U-Haul far outweigh the pros and for those executing larger scale moves, a professional moving company is a more appropriate choice. 

Whether you’re moving across the country, to a neighboring state, or simply down the street, All Jersey Moving & Storage has got you covered. 

All Jersey Moving & Storage is a mover with experience, knowledge and passion to plan and execute stress-free residential moves. We also have expertise and particular knowledge of moving specialized items like pianos, artwork, antiques and exercise equipment; provide containerized storage options and are experts at handling last minute and special moves.

Whether you’re moving within, to, or from New Jersey, around the corner or across the country, the All Jersey Moving & Storage team will help you from start to finish with excellent customer service and a stress-free move.

Contact us today for a complimentary moving estimate.

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