The cost of renting a moving truck can quickly add up, especially when you include the cost of fuel. Not everyone has the mind to drive a large moving truck on traffic-filled highways. However, one of the best cheapest ways to get your belongings to your destination is by using a trailer rental.
Trailer rental is a cheaper option to hiring a full-sized moving truck if you are moving locally, relocating your child to their college dorm, or moving your studio-sized apartment across town.
Additionally, moving trailer maybe your best option if you are looking for an alternative to move your car, aside from auto shipping due to your budget. Compared to moving truck rental, renting a moving trailer can help you haul your belongings with lesser expenses. This option can also include storage benefits for your relocation.
A moving trailer can be used to move your belongings to a storage center, whether you want to store them before you finally move or you just want to store the items away. If you are already a Budget and/or Penske customer, the duo offer affordable trailer rentals, however, with U-Haul, you have access to varieties of moving trailer whether you have a reservation or not.
Continue reading to understand our review of the best trailer rental companies.
Top 3 Trailer Rental Companies of USA
Although we researched over 10 companies, we screened the list to this number based on their affordability, reservation convenience, whether online or through an app, and nationwide availability.
Each company offers unique truck sizes, services, trailer sizes, and other features that make them remain on the list.
U-Haul remains one of the best options to consider for a cargo trailer and car trailer rentals due to its nationwide availability and numerous options in its fleet. From our review, it was discovered that U-Haul is the only company that offers enclosed trailer rentals that protect your possessions from weather and another element while in transit.
U-Haul allows customers to rent its moving trailer or tow dolly directly without first renting a moving truck. This ranks U-Haul above its competitors, who always mandate their customers to rent trailers tow dollies and moving trailers all at once.
It is also the only rental company on this list to offer car carriers, tow dollies, and moving trailers at once. The thirteen trailer options make the company stands out among its competitors. U-Haul said its trailers are user-friendly and light in weight, which allows you to use your own vehicle to move your possessions.
What is the Cost of a Rental Trailer from U-Haul?
There are varieties of factors that determine trailer rental prices, such as your locations for pick-up and drop-off, the season, and the day of the week. Typically, rental prices for local moves start at and increases from $14.95 based on the type and size of the trailer you rent.
The price for long-distance relocation is entirely different. The smallest rental moving trailer cost starts at $63 for an interstate move from Charlotte, NC, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Environmental fees and damage protection are included as extra fees. You can as well include cost for dollies, furniture pads, and other moving supplies in the additional cost.
Below are the factors that influence pricing given by U-Haul:
- Trailer type
- Trailer size
- Moving distance
- Gas mileage
In reality, the base rates given by U-Haul look unbelievable. U-Haul can increase your overall fee at the last minute by introducing costs for gas, damage protection plan, and so on. You can also check U-Haul’s official website for further information on its regular discounts.
Trailers offered by U-Haul and Price
(I) Cargo Trailers
For protection, this type of trailer is the best. Your possessions will be kept from weather and other elements such as debris all through the move and thereby giving you peace of mind. The cargo trailers also come with lockable doors to safeguard your belongings from theft.
- Maximum weight: around 1,600 lbs. (determined by the weight of your car’s curb)
- Can contain a few bulky pieces of furniture or a room’s worth of possessions
(II) Utility Trailers
This type of moving trailer is perfect for extra-large items such as your new gas grill and landscaping equipment. It is not advisable to load your Restoration Hardware together with your larger items as it may lead to breakage, which may cause you to incur other expenses.
With the EZ Ramp that comes with most utility trailer sizes, it is easier to slide onto the base instead of doing the heavy lifting. You can use tie-downs that come with the trailers to secure your belongings firmly because these are open trailers; hence, they can’t be locked.
- Maximum weight: around 1,900 lbs. (determined by the weight of your car’s curb)
- It can contain a few bulky pieces of furniture or a room’s worth of possessions if you are satisfied with its exposure to weather and other elements. Make sure the items to be conveyed can withstand these conditions.
(III) Tow Dolly
A tow dolly might just be what you need if you have a smaller vehicle and a limited budget.
However, this solution is only good for local relocations, as the wear and tear on the back wheels of your vehicle for a long-distance move would be too much to handle. Although a tow dolly comes cheaper compared to a motorcycle or car trailer, it is, however, doesn’t offer much protection.
The tow dolly will only support the front wheels of the vehicle instead of lifting it off the ground completely. You will be able to save your vehicle from adding up mileage as the back tired only drag on the road.
- Maximum weight: around 3,450 lbs. when towing a vehicle from the front wheel and 3,900 lbs. when towing a vehicle from the rear wheel
- Capable of towing your vehicle while you relocate
(IV) Auto Trailers
The auto trailers from U-Haul are capable of holding about 5,290 pounds. To understand this better, the weight of a Ford F-150, which is a heavy-duty vehicle is between 6,000 to 7,000 pounds. Confirm the weight of your vehicle to determine if it can be towed before making auto trailer reservation.
You can opt for motorcycle or car trailer rental to tow your vehicle if you don’t want to spend on auto shipping. Your car will be loaded on top of the moving trailer while moving to avoid wear and tear to your tires. This is why we recommend car trailer rental for a long-distance relocation, i.e. a move that involves 300 miles and above.
- Max weight: around 2,400 lbs.
Capable of towing Motorcycles and mopeds
Make sure you arrange for a pre-tow inspection of your vehicle before your moving day as U-Haul mandates it to be done by its technicians. For more info about U-Haul services, read our comprehensive reviews on U-Haul.
- Cargo trailers come with lockable doors
- Trailer rental policy is very flexible
- Trailers feature an EZ Ramp
- Look out for hidden fees
- Poor tow dolly for long-distance
You have many chances of finding a nearby Budget branch as the company has its rental locations in over 2,300 places in the country. It presents you the opportunity to dedicate more time to your relocation and lesser time in tracking down a moving trailer.
However, you will have to rent a 16 ft. or 24 ft. Budget rental moving truck before you can move your personal vehicle. The Budget is best for consumers that are ever conscious of price.
The company offers reasonably low rates as well as discounts to reduce your total cost even though it only allows customers to rent a car dolly or a car trailer together with an existing moving truck booking. The rates get even cheaper when you are moving on a short distance.
Both utility cargo trailers and enclosed moving trailers are not available with Budget.
What is the Cost of Budget Trailer Rental?
The cost of rental for the moving truck is also added to the cost of trailer rental through Budget. Take a move that involves towing a small SUV on a short distance in Charlotte, NC, for example. You would be paying $29.99 daily as base costs for a 16 ft. moving truck.
Adding a tow dolly or a car carrier would add $45/day and $55/day, respectively, to the cost. You will also be responsible for additional fees for moving supplies such as hand trucks, furniture pads, protection plans, and so on.
Trailers offered by Budget
(i) Car Trailers
Your car will be secured above the ground on Budget’s car trailers and placed on an attached trailer behind your rental moving truck. Just like Penske, you are not allowed to attach a moving trailer from Budget to your own vehicle, and another limitation is that you are only allowed to attach a Budget car trailer to its 26 ft. moving truck.
Budget Truck Rental budgets the lowest weight capacity among all the three rental companies discussed here, even though its trailer weight limit can be reasonably compared to that of others.
- Max weight: around 4,055 lbs.
- Capable of transporting four-wheel drive as well as all-wheel drive vehicles
- Maximum width: 6’ 7”
(II) Two Dolly
The tow dollies from Budget are similar in operation, design, and functionality to that of Penske and U-Haul. The function of the tow dolly is to limit additional mileage on your vehicle regardless of which rental company you select, even though not as effective as a car trailer.
However, the uniqueness with Budget’s tow dollies is that they are only available for 1-way relocations. However, the major benefit of the Budget is its affordability, especially when you are eligible for its discounts.
- Maximum weight: around 3,330 lbs. when driving a vehicle from the front wheel and 3,600 lbs. when driving a vehicle from the rear wheel, all-wheel or 4-wheel drive.
- Capable of hauling front-wheel-drive vehicles
- Maximum width: 6’ 4”
- Offers very low rates
- Offers discounts
- Tow dolly can only be used for one-way moves
Penske is known for its positive reputation in customer service and transparency. It is recognized as a company that represents the features and values it advertised. With Penske, what you see is what they give you, and that is not easy to come by in the rental industry.
For instance, Penske assures of reservations for any truck size of your choice as well as pick-up location. This can also be offered by other rental companies, but it will come at an additional cost. The only limitation with Penske is that it only offers car trailers, but other trailer types are not included.
Another limitation is that it only allows its trailers to be towed behind its rental truck and no other truck or vehicle is allowed to do so. Read our comprehensive review on Penske for more info.
What is the Cost of Penske Trailer Rental?
Just like other companies that offer on moving truck rentals, rates can fluctuate at any time, so being able to move when you like is a benefit for those moving on a budget. The base price for rental of a 16 ft. moving truck is $399 for a local move in Charlotte, NC.
An additional $99 will be charged for renting a car tow dolly while $109 would be charged by car carrier. Penske offers discounts to Veterans, members of AAA, active military and college students as well as promotional codes to reduce the rental cost.
Trailers offered by Penske
(I) Car Trailers
Car trailers from Penske are best used for vehicles with all-wheel or rear-wheel drive because their weight limit is lower than that of U-Haul. Find out if Penske is the right option for your vehicle before you make a reservation.
Your vehicle will be held firmly by the 3-point-tie-down system on Penske’s car trailers to avoid shifting. The availability of ramp on the car trailer also makes loading of items very easy.
- Max weight: around 4,050 lbs.
- Capable of transporting front-wheel-, four-wheel-, and all-wheel-drive vehicles
- The car trailers are front-wheel, four-wheel, and all-wheel drive.
(II) Tow Dolly
Penske only allows car dollies to be pulled behind its moving truck just like its car trailers. However, Penske’s car dollies have her weight limit than U-Haul’s, contrary to its car trailers. This might be why you would prefer Penske over U-Haul if you have an over-weight vehicle.
- Max weight: around 4,300 lbs.
- Capable of transporting front-wheel drive vehicles
- The tow dollies are only four-wheel drive
- Good reputation for customer service
- Transparent pricing
- Ideal for cars that have all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive
- Assures reservations
- Offers Maximum weight limit
- More costly than U-Haul
Safety Tips when Pulling a Trailer
Make sure you observe some safety precautions before you enter the road with your moving truck and trailer. Although driving a moving truck can be easily accomplished, however, towing a trailer can pose a greater challenge. Some of the vital safety and clearance precautions have been highlighted by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and it goes thus:
- Going through the rules guiding driving with a trailer in your state’s Driver’s Handbook. For example, the right-hand lane is designated for those driving with a trailer in some states.
- Performing a pre-transport check. Carefully check to be certain the trailer is firmly connected to the hitch before you begin towing. Make sure you also confirm the condition of the signals and brake lights.
- Before you enter the road, make sure you practice driving and backing up in a nearby open parking garage. The DMV advised that you turn the wheel in the opposite direction of your route when backing up the trailer.
- They also advised that you confirm the towing capacity of your vehicle before you start moving.
- To avoid collision with pedestrians, other drivers or, obstacles when turning, make sure your turn is wide enough before you turn the car that is towing a trailer.
- Be sure to confirm the clearance of a trailer before towing. For example, you don’t want to get to a tunnel or bridge before you find out that your trailer or moving truck rental won’t fit successfully. This is to avoid being stuck or hitting anything in the tunnel or under the bridge.
- Make sure you keep an appropriate distance from other vehicles when driving. Carefully pull the trailer to avoid damaging the hitch and the trailer itself. This is known as Jackknifing and is described by the DMV as a situation where the angle between your attached trailer and your vehicle is not up to 90 degrees (also known as the sharp turn). According to the DMV, you can slowly reverse the car and maintain the turning of the steering wheel to the lowest to avoid this situation.
Useful Tips for Packing a Rental Trailer
Everything in life can be done in both the right and wrong ways, and this also includes packing a moving rental trailer. Avoid moving damaged belongings. Follow these tips:
- Make sure you rent the appropriate size. You may end up breaking items when you rent an undersized trailer.
- Disassemble your furniture before loading. Prevent scratches from the surface by wrapping with blankets.
- Boxes that contain fragile stuff are to be placed on bulky, heavier furniture and boxes.
- For quick unloading of the moving truck, label your moving boxes by room as you load them.
FAQs about trailer towing
What does it cost to rent a cargo trailer?
The majority of cargo trailer’s basic models from U-Haul (the only company with cargo trailer) begin at $14.95. The date of your move and the details will determine your pricing, whether to be up or lower.
Can my personal car tow a trailer?
It depends on your car. Typically, some cars are not made to carry on this task and these include:
- Luxury cars
- Antique cars
- Smaller cars like and coupes
- Electric cars
Check if your car can be used for towing by researching it via Google. You can also make use of the tool on Penske and U-Haul’s website to determine if your vehicle can be used for towing.
If you are looking to tow your vehicle, note that vehicles that have low front end don’t usually have the adequate ground clearance to accommodate a car carrier ramp or tow dolly.
You will not be able to use your car for towing without side-view mirrors and working lights even if it has towing capabilities.
Is trailer available for rental with Budget?
No, it is not. However, you can rent tow dollies and car carriers from the Budget after renting its moving truck.
Is trailer available for rental with Penske?
No, it is not. However, you can rent tow dollies and car carriers from Penske after renting its moving truck.
How do I tow dolly or drive a moving trailer safely?
There are certain things you need to know before you can start towing a trailer. This is a phrase that so many people have passed through.
Below are our best tips:
- Check your lights: Make sure the brake and signal lights on the car and the trailer are working perfectly before you hit the road.
- Adjust your mirrors: Make sure your trailer is visible enough in your side mirrors and regularly check to detect any swaying or hitch-related issue.
- Don’t exceed 55 mph: It is advised to drive slowly when towing is involved. Always be ready to move to the slow lane and drive defensively.
How do I drive a moving trailer or tow dolly safely?
Driving a towing trailer, just like driving a moving truck is a new undertaking to most people, and there are certain things you need to know before you can safely drive it. Consider the following:
- Check your lights: Check the brake and signal lights on the truck or car you are driving as well as the trailer you are towing to make sure they are functioning well before you start the trip.
- Adjust your mirrors: Make sure you can see your trailer in your side and maybe rear-view mirrors and regularly check on it to ensure it is not swaying or coming unhooked.
- Do not drive more than 55mph: When you are towing while driving, moving slower is better, drive defensively, and always maintain your cruise on the slow lane.
Can I tow a trailer with my car?
This depends on your car. In general, there is some type of cars that are not fit to tow objects. These include:
- Luxury cars
- Antique cars
- Smaller cars like coupes and hatchbacks
- Electric cars
Google search your type of car to discover if it has tow-capability. You can check websites of companies like U-Haul and Penske for tools that will inform you whether your car has this feature or not.
Renting a U-Haul trailer 1-way or round trip, which is cheaper?
Your situation will determine the answer to this. For long-distance moves, 1-way truck rental is a cost-effective option than a round trip. For instance, you will pay about $269 to rent a 20ft truck from U-Haul to move to Indianapolis from Chicago based on U-Haul’s online estimate. That includes two days of rental and around 221 miles.
Is mileage charged for U-Hail trailers?
U-Haul doesn’t charge mileage for its trailers. Rental rates are subjected to change at any time, so we recommend that you check your reservation immediately to lock in the rate. If you are moving in-town, you must return the trailer to the original pick-up location.
Can a 5’ by 8’ U-Haul trailer accommodate a king-size bed?
A king-sized mattress will fit well in the 6’ by 12’ U-Haul trailer due to the tallness of the mattress. In the United States, this mattress cannot lay flat in the back of a truck.
What is the weight of a 6’ by 12’ trailer?
When empty, the 6’ by 12’ single axle enclosed moving trailer weighs 1,200 pounds; in contrast, an empty 6’ by 12’ tandem axle weighs 1,800 pounds. That additional 600 pounds in a trailer of similar width and height is so much important to consider when checking the quantity your vehicle can transport safely.
U-Haul is the best when it comes to trailer rentals and if you have flexibility in your budget and relocation dates. Just be watchful for the hidden charges. Penske and Budget are also nice options, especially for car transport as they come cheaper compared to U-Haul and also in some cases have higher weight limits.
The Budget offers more affordable prices, while Penske provides the most weight limits. However, the decision will mostly be determined by price and availability.
Although U-Haul is present in all 50 states in the country and offers many services, you can be sure of availability when making reservations, and it will make sure you pay any last-minute fees.
Check the summary below:
- Enclosed moving trailers and auto carriers and trailers are available in its offer
- Widely known for hidden fees and poor customer service
- Allows trailer rentals without a moving truck
- Only car trailers and tow dollies are being offered
- Pricing dependent on days and mileage
- Offers budget-friendly rates
- Only car trailers and tow dollies are being offered
- Its tow dollies have the most weight limits
- Pricing dependent on the availability
Be free to check our list of best truck rental companies if you think your move requires more than a trailer to choose the right, reputable, and reliable truck rental company for your moves.