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How To Determine the Right Moving Truck for Your Move

How To Determine the Right Moving Truck for Your Move

Choosing proper transport is often overlooked as a factor while planning for moving. The right truck can reduce stress for you while the wrong choice can present more difficulties. Likewise, you will have to take multiple trips to carry your belongings if it is too small and you might struggle to park the truck if it is too big. 

Along with size, there is a number of other factors you will need to keep in mind while choosing the right truck. This article has discussed five things briefly to help you determine the right moving truck for your move. 

How To Determine the Right Moving Truck for Your Move

Cargo Capacity

The primary purpose of a moving truck is to carry your belongings from your current home to the new destination. Therefore, it is essential for the vehicle to have enough cargo capacity to fit those things easily. 

Truck Size

Typically, the trucks range from 10 feet to 26 feet in size. You can determine which of them is the most appropriate based on the number of items you have. 

Another way to estimate the best size for moving trucks is the number or type of rooms you are using at your present home. The smallest possible choice in this regard is the 10-feet truck that can accommodate items of a studio or a one-bedroom apartment. A 20-feet truck can be enough for apartments with 2-3 bedrooms, while the larger ones will be more appropriate for those with more bedrooms.

Load Capacity

The load capacities of moving trucks range from 3,000 lbs to over 10,000 lbs, which can cover items of 1 to 7 rooms. For moving the belongings of 1-2 rooms, you would need a truck with a cargo capacity of 3,000 lbs to 4,500 lbs. It is safer to book a truck with a 10,000 lbs capacity if the number of rooms in your current home is higher.

Loading Space

Weight is not the only factor that influences this decision. You will also need to keep the measurements of your furniture pieces and their bulkiness in mind. This is where the volume of loading space plays its role. 

If you live in a studio apartment or a one-bedroom apartment, you can choose a truck with less than 500 cubic feet of loading space. If you have over five rooms worth of items to move, the moving truck’s loading space needs to be more than 2,000 cubic feet. 

Parked moving truck packed with customer belongings during a move.
In determining the right moving truck, consider the weight and measurements of your furniture pieces and their bulkiness.

Cargo capacity at a glance 

Truck Size
No. of Rooms
Loading Space
Cargo Capacity
4-10 feet
>500 ft3
3100-3500 lbs
12-16 feet
800-1200 ft3
3500-4500 lbs
16-22 feet
1300-1600 ft3
4500-10,000 lbs
22-26 feet
1700-2000 ft3
10,000 lbs
26-53 feet
2500-4000 ft3
10,000 lbs

Towing Capability

If you own a car and don’t want it to drive it to your moving destination, you can transfer it in a moving truck along with the rest of your belongings.

To ensure a smooth transfer of your vehicle between the two places, pick a truck that comes with towing capability. It should have a tow dolly or a car carrier to carry out this task. In general, car carriers come with a slightly higher capacity and better features than tow dollies. 

Hydraulic Liftgate

Hydraulic liftgates are foldable metal platforms mounted to a freight truck or trailer. These are extended out while moving so that you can load the items on its platform and then lift them from ground level to the truck bed or truck’s tailgate. The same tool helps with unloading the items when you arrive at your destination. 

This way, you don’t have to manually carry the objects to or from your home and can complete the task faster with less effort. A hydraulic liftgate is especially important if you need to move heavier items like pianos, pool tables, or gun safes.

Moving truck with metal liftgate at the back
Metal liftgates are foldable metal platforms mounted to a freight truck or trailer used to load and unload items. (Credit: Cal-West Rentals, Inc.)

Door Type

The door may not seem like a big deal in general when you think of functionality and productivity. However, it does play an important role in a moving truck. 

Most moving trucks have swing-open rear doors which come in a variety of widths to accommodate different-sized items. They are a common choice because of their economical price point and maximum inside height clearance - the distance between the ground level and the truck’s lowest part. However, they are not the best choice for moving within the city since their outside clearance space is limited.  For tighter spaces, roll-up rear doors provide the most convenience. 

There are also trucks with side doors which may pace up the overall process. They come in swing and roll-up varieties as well, in addition to a slide-open design. 

Moving trucks with swing-open rear doors are the common choice because of their economical price, but there are not the best choice for moving within the city because of limited outside clearance space.

Number of Seats

Nearly all moving trucks come with two bucket seats or three bench seats. Smaller trucks of 10-16 feet can fit two people while the bigger ones can have three people. 

If you need a seating arrangement for four or more people, you could either split up in two separate trucks or take your own car to fit your whole family. Traveling in your car will also get rid of any towing needs and make it a comfortable ride for the children.

If you are struggling to fit everything or organize the items in your truck of choice, professional movers like PacWest can help. Generally, moving experts like them can sort out the organization of items most efficiently. They can utilize the cargo capacity and other features of your moving truck to its maximum capacity.