Best Cargo Van Rentals 2019

Here are the finest cargo vans for small moves, home projects, and anything else that life throws at you.
  • Best Overall
    4 out of 5 overall
  • Best Vans
    3.5 out of 5 overall
  • Best for Quick Projects
    4 out of 5 overall
  • Best for Low Prices
    3.5 out of 5 overall

Sure, you could shell out a small fortune to hire full-service movers for your upcoming relocation. And you could spend a bit more to have your new furniture delivered from the store. But why not save some money by doing it yourself?

Cargo vans can carry a surprising amount—think a queen-sized mattress, a desk, and a dozen boxes—and they are much easier to drive around in urban areas than a big, boxy moving truck. Cargo vans are also great for awkward, heavy materials like lumber and landscaping supplies.

So without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about the best cargo van rentals available.

Cargo van rentals comparison
Cargo van featuresU-Haul cargo vanPenske cargo vanHome Depot cargo vanBudget cargo van
Interior dimensions9 ft. 6 in. x 5 ft. 7 in.11 ft. 11 in. x 4 ft. 6 in.5 ft. 9 in. x 4 ft. 6 in.10 ft. 11 in. x 5 ft. 6.75 in.
Cargo volume245 cubic ft.404 cubic ft.277.7 cubic ft.284.4 cubic ft.
High roofNoYesNoNo
Insurance optionsStandard and premiumStandard and premiumNoneStandard and premium
Moving and packing supplies availableYesYesYesYes
Moving help available for hireYesYesYesYes
DetailsGet a QuoteGet a QuoteGet a QuoteGet a Quote
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Looking for a one-way cargo rental?
Do you need a cargo van to move into your dorm room at your out-of-state college? Well, unfortunately, most companies will not rent cargo vans for one-way trips.

You could look into long-distance movers who will move your stuff for you. Or you could settle for a small box truck. Most truck rental companies have a 10- or 12-foot box truck that’s cheap and available for one-way trips.

U-Haul: Best overall

U-Haul’s cargo vans are a great mix of affordability, convenience, and quality.

With more than half a century of experience and thousands of locations in all 50 US states, U-Haul is a major leader in the truck rental industry.1 But the company doesn’t just rent trucks. U-Haul also offers a 9-foot cargo van for smaller moves and projects around town.

U-Haul’s cargo vans are nice, but it’s really the company’s nationwide availability and wide variety of add-on services that make them our pick for the best overall cargo van rental. Just be sure to read the fine print on the company’s pricing policies.

Pros

  • Nationwide availability
  • Tons of add-on services
  • Newer van models

Cons

  • Pricing not transparent

U-Haul moving van features

U-Haul offers only one style of moving van. It’s a Ford model 9-foot cargo van that’s decked out for moving with wooden “rub rails” that help you slide that leather couch (or conceptual art piece you made for Burning Man) into position without damage.

While U-Haul doesn’t advertise every feature of its vans, reviews suggest that at least some of the newest models include backup cameras, two-way hinging doors (which give you more loading space), and extra-large side windows for greater visibility.

With 245 cubic feet of space, these vans have enough room to fit a queen-size mattress and box spring and more. They should work for moving a studio or 1-bedroom apartment. It may take a few trips, but it’s better than strapping stuff to the roof of your Corolla.

U-Haul cargo van rental details
Cargo van featuresDetails
Interior dimensions9 ft. 6 in. x 5 ft. 7 in.
Total cargo volume245 cubic ft.
High-roof model availableNo
Insurance optionsStandard and premium
Moving and packing supplies availableYes
Moving help available for hireYes
DetailsGet a Quote

One thing we appreciate about U-haul is that it has pickup trucks and small box trucks for rent as well. So if you find that the cargo van isn’t right for your project, you can always switch to a smaller or larger vehicle at the shop (assuming they’re available).

U-Haul pricing

We know you’ve seen the advertisements on the side of U-Haul’s trucks and vans: “$19.95 in town plus mileage and fees.” It’s a brilliant marketing strategy that has us all thinking “Hey, that’s pretty cheap” while we are waiting for the light to turn green.

But our biggest beef with U-Haul is that these advertised prices can be pretty misleading. Sure, it’s $20 to get started, but that doesn’t include extra insurance or supplies—and that “mileage and fees” part can add up really fast.

It’s easy to get a price estimate for your rental through U-Haul’s website, but you should always expect to pay a little bit more than what’s quoted.

U-Haul cargo van rental experience

When you book through U-Haul’s website, you can purchase all kinds of add-ons, like moving supplies, professional moving help, and additional insurance. You can also choose how you’d like to pick up your cargo van.

In some locations, U-Haul offers a self-pickup option that allows you to get your vehicle at any hour of the day using an app on your phone.

But be aware: When you rent a cargo van from U-Haul, the vehicle is not automatically insured. And the company makes sure you know just how much you’re liable to pay if you knock off the bumper ($1,491) or smash the windshield ($1,215).

If you want to avoid paying out-of-pocket for any damage that the vehicle receives (including damage that’s not your fault), then you might want to consider buying extra insurance from U-Haul or from your existing auto insurance provider.

Info Box icon
Does my existing auto insurance cover van and truck rentals?
Most auto policies have restrictions on the kinds of vehicles that are covered. Often times insurance companies will explicitly not cover rental box trucks. You might have better luck with a cargo van, but the only way to be sure is to call your insurance company.

Penske: Best vans

Renting a Penske van is like leasing a new Lexus, except you can move a three-piece sofa set with it.

If you’re looking for a huge, sleek, well-maintained cargo van you can show off to all of your friends (or at least to the maintenance worker who works on your house), then Penske is the way to go.

Penske prides itself on having one of the newest fleets of moving trucks and vans in the industry. And the company’s high-roofed cargo van certainly doesn’t disappoint. The biggest drawback with these classy vehicles is, as you might expect, the cost.

Pros

  • Highest quality vans
  • Good availability
  • Decent discounts

Cons

  • High prices

Penske moving van features

If there were a competition for the biggest cargo van, Penske would be taking home the trophy. With 404 cubic feet of cargo space, these vans can carry almost twice as much stuff as U-Haul’s cargo vans. And they come loaded with useful features.

Anyone who’s done a DIY move has probably climbed into the moving truck to try to rearrange things and then gotten stuck back there (basically like that movie 127 Hours). Well, Penske’s cargo vans have rear and side cargo doors that will make loading and arranging your stuff so much easier.

Penske’s vans also feature a cargo partition, because no one needs their loosely packed stuff flying into their face while they’re driving down the freeway.

Penske cargo van rental details
Cargo van featuresDetails
Interior dimensions11 ft. 11 in. x 4 ft. 6 in.
Total cargo volume404 cubic ft.
High-roof model availableYes
Insurance optionsStandard and premium
Moving and packing supplies availableYes
Moving help available for hireYes
DetailsGet a Quote

Penske pricing

The only thing bigger than Penske’s cargo vans are its price tags—zing! No, but seriously, renting Penske’s premium, high-roofed cargo van will likely cost you at least $100 a day plus mileage fees.

In fact, if you don’t need a cargo van for a very specific reason, you might be better off renting one of Penske’s smaller box trucks. The base price is about 1/5 the cost, and you’ll be able to hitch a trailer.

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Can I tow my car or hitch a trailer with my rented cargo van?
None of the cargo van rentals featured in this review are able to tow trailers or cars. In most cases you’ll have to upgrade to a box truck to be able to tow with your rental. Another option is to rent the cargo van and use a car shipping company to get your vehicle to its destination.

Another way to save money when you’re renting from Penske is to use one of the company’s many discounts.

Penske cargo van rental discounts:

  • AAA discount—save 12%
  • Military discount—save 10%
  • College student discount—save 10%

Penske cargo van rental experience

You can get a quote for your Penske cargo van rental using the company’s website. But unfortunately, you’ll have to give the company your personal info to complete the quote form. (And definitely expect a follow-up sales call from a Penske representative.)

If you decide to go ahead with your Penske rental, you can also make a reservation, purchase insurance coverage, and buy moving supplies online.

Conveniently, you can pick up and drop off Penske trucks as almost any Home Depot location. (Note: Penske cargo vans are not the same as the Home Depot branded cargo vans, which we are about to talk about . . .)

Home Depot: Best for quick projects

Home Depot’s first-come-first-served cargo vans are great for last minute moves and short jobs.

Do you need to pick up that washer and dryer that you just bought from someone on Craigslist? Are you having trouble loading that lumber you just bought into your Subaru? Maybe it’s time to head to Home Depot and pick up a cargo van for the afternoon.

Besides renting Penske-branded vehicles, Home Depot also has its own fleet of flatbed pickup trucks and cargo vans that can be rented by the hour. They aren’t the fanciest rentals around, but they’ll get the job done when you’re in a pinch.

Pros

  • No reservation required
  • Very cheap for the first 75 minutes

Cons

  • Not the highest quality
  • Must be 21 and have insurance to rent

Home Depot moving van features

Home Depot’s cargo vans aren’t the biggest. And they’re definitely not the nicest. But they offer plenty of space for small moves, home renovation projects, and for loading up that awesome desk you found on the side of the road.

Home Depot cargo van rental details
Cargo van featuresDetails
Interior dimensions5 ft. 9 in. x 4 ft. 6 in.
Total cargo volume277.7 cubic ft.
High-roof model availableNo
Insurance optionsNone
Moving and packing supplies availableYes
Moving help available for hireYes
DetailsGet a Quote

Home Depot pricing

Each Home Depot location will have its own unique hourly price structure for a cargo van rental. But generally, you can expect to pay around $19 for the first 75 minutes of use, and then about $5 for every 15 minutes after that.

That price does not include gas, and you are expected to return your vehicle with a full tank.

Compared to other cargo van rentals, this baseline price from Home Depot is quite cheap. But that price advantage goes down the longer you keep the vehicle.

If you keep your Home Depot cargo van for more than six-and-a-half hours, you’ll be charged the full-day rate, which ranges from $100 to $150 or more.

In short, Home Depot van rental is an amazing deal if you only need to use it for an hour or two. If you are looking for a longer-term rental, then you might want to look at other companies.

Home Depot cargo van rental experience

Home Depot branded cargo vans and trucks cannot be reserved online, but you can check to see what vehicles are currently available at nearby Home Depot stores. You’ll have to go into the store in person to complete the rental.

Some rental companies, like U-Haul, allow customers to rent vehicles once they’re 18 years old. But Home Depot’s policies are stricter than Utah liquor laws. Home Depot requires renters to be 21 years old and to have their own auto insurance policy.

Budget: Best for low prices

Turns out Budget is not just the name of the company but an accurate description too.

Renting a vehicle can easily be the most expensive part of your move. So saving even a fraction of the cost on your cargo van rental can be a big deal.

This is why we really like Budget Truck Rental. Budget provides the cheapest prices for cargo van rentals that we’ve found. But you might have to settle for an older vehicle model with fewer deluxe features.

Pros

  • Cheapest prices
  • Easy online reservations
  • Good availability

Cons

  • Lower-quality vans

Budget moving van features

Budget’s cargo vans are definitely not as big as Penske’s high-roofed models or as fancy as U-Haul’s newer 9-foot Ford vans. But they should be just fine for getting you and your stuff from point A to point B.

Budget cargo van rental details
Cargo van featuresDetails
Interior dimensions10 ft. 11 in. x 5 ft. 6.75 in.
Total cargo volume200 cubic ft.
High-roof model availableNo
Insurance optionsStandard and premium
Moving and packing supplies availableYes
Moving help available for hireYes
DetailsGet a Quote

Budget doesn’t advertise very many features of its cargo vans, which leads us to believe that the company offers different models at different locations. The best way to find out the exact details on rental vans is to call your local Budget location.

If you do find that Budget’s cargo vans don’t meet your needs, you can always rent a small box truck or a Ford pickup truck from the company instead.

Budget pricing

We may sound like a broken record here, but it’s true: Budget’s rentals are cheap.

We got a quote for a one-day cargo van rental, with an estimated driving distance of 50 miles, and the total came out to just $84.17. That’s even less than Penske’s daily base rate before adding mileage charges.

We really like that Budget allows you to estimate your mileage when you’re booking online and adds the cost into the price estimate. Other companies (we’re looking at you, U-Haul) don’t offer this, and it can lead to some surprises on your final bill.

Budget has a bunch of different discounts available for military personnel, firefighters, and other professionals. The company also advertises discount codes that anyone can use, so be sure to look around for those.

Money icon
Looking for other ways to save money on your move?
If you’re planning a household move and want to save money, but you’re nervous about driving a cargo van or box truck, you might want to look into moving containers. You just load up your stuff into a box and then someone else does all the driving for you.

Budget cargo van rental experience

You can reserve your Budget cargo van rental online. You can also choose from multiple insurance options, purchase moving supplies, and find professional movers on the company’s site.

When you pick up your cargo van, you’ll need to pay a $150 deposit that you’ll get back when you return the vehicle.

Recap

Whether you value convenience, luxury, simplicity, or affordability, there’s a cargo van rental out there for you.

If you’re moving your kid into their dorm room or schlepping your old range oven to the scrap yard, a cargo van can be your trusty steed. You just have to decide where to rent the van from. Here’s a recap of the best options.

Best overall: U-Haul offers a fleet of nice cargo vans that come equipped with plenty of helpful features. This, and the company’s nationwide availability, make the company a great choice for anyone who wants a van for a local move or project.

Best vans: Penske’s cargo vans are the luxury Land Rovers of the industry. They are well-equipped, well-maintained, and by far the most spacious of any of the cargo vans we reviewed. Naturally, they also cost the most.

Best for quick projects: Home Depot may not have the fanciest cargo vans or an easy-to-use online reservation system, but it’s a cheap and simple option for small, last-minute projects.

Best for low prices: Budget lives up to its name with cheap cargo van rentals. You could easily save $50 a day by renting through Budget, though your van may not be the crème de la crème.

These are the companies that we love, but we want to know what you think. Have you had a terrible experience with U-Haul or Budget? Want to wax poetic about how much you love a company that we didn’t feature on this list? Shout it out in the comments section below!

Sources

  1. AMERCO, “Company History