How to Choose the Right Size U-Haul Trailer Rental

U-Haul trailers are some of the most versatile and affordable rental equipment you can find. With a wide range of trailers including open Utility Trailers, enclosed Cargo Trailers, and vehicle towing equipment, you’ll find a trailer for any job you need to get done. But with all these options, it can get overwhelming to determine what size trailer you need to rent, especially at the start of your search. So, we’ve come up with some general guidelines to help you to choose the U-Haul trailer size that’s right for your move.

U-Haul Trailer Sizes and Types

The first thing you’ll need to figure out is what type of trailer you’ll need for the items you’re moving. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of trailers and what you can expect to be able to load in each trailer based on how U-Haul customers typically use them.

Cargo Trailers

Whether you’re moving locally in-town or making a cross country move to a new city, towing a Cargo Trailer is one of our most affordable options to move your household goods such as furniture, boxes, and other valuables. These enclosed trailers offer protection from weather and damage on the road and come with lockable doors to ensure your belongings are safely secured. Cargo trailers come in a variety of sizes, including the 4' x 8' Cargo Trailer, 5' x 8' Cargo Trailer, and 6' x 12' Cargo Trailer, with the room to hold cargo ranging from a twin size bed to an L-shaped couch.

Utility Trailers

These flatbed trailers offer more flexibility with what you can haul using their open design that is perfect for large, bulky, and odd-shaped items. Popular for hauling materials for DIY projects and home renovations, landscaping and gardening equipment, and anything else that just might not fit in a moving truck or enclosed trailer due to its size. Utility trailers can range in sizes from the 4' x 7' Utility Trailer and 5' x 8' Utility Trailer all the way to up our largest capacity open trailer the 6' x 12' Utility Trailer. Two models come equipped with ramps for ease of loading, the 5' x 9' Utility Trailer w/ Ramp and the 6' x 12' Utility Trailer w/ Ramp.

Vehicle Towing Equipment

With four towing devices to choose from, we have the perfect size trailer for towing disabled vehicles, show cars, golf carts, and even motorcycles. You can use U-Haul towing equipment for everything from hauling recreational vehicles on a day trip to towing your primary vehicle across the country to save on mileage. If you’re looking to tow a car, the Tow Dolly and Auto Transport are your best choices. However, if you want to tow a more specialized vehicle you can rent the Motorcycle Trailer or the Ramp Trailer for long distance towing.

How Much Weight Can A Trailer Hold?

Now that you know what type of trailer suits your load, you’ll need to determine how much weight the trailer can hold using your vehicle’s towing capabilities. This will not only help narrow down which trailer sizes you are able to pull, but also how much you can load onto the trailer itself.

To figure out how much your vehicle can tow you’ll need to find two numbers: your hitch system rating and your vehicle’s maximum towing capacity. Your hitch system rating is determined by the weight rating of your hitch, hitch ball, and ball mount. The lowest rating from those parts is your hitch system rating. Your vehicle’s maximum towing capacity should be listed in the vehicle’s owner’s manual. Once you know how much your vehicle can tow, we subtract the empty weight of the trailer to determine how much weight the trailer can hold safely. (NOTE: this can be different from the trailer’s maximum load depending on your vehicle’s towing capacity and hitch system rating.)

What Size U-Haul Trailer Do I Need?

Once you’ve narrowed down which type of trailer will work best for your move and determined your vehicle’s towing capabilities, you should have a good idea of what size trailer you need to rent. Depending on the move you are making, there are a few more things you’ll want to consider before deciding on what size trailer to choose.

You’ll want to keep in mind that the weight and size of the items you are carrying can significantly affect how you are able to load the trailer and thus what trailer size you should choose. Regarding weight, while you may choose to rent a larger trailer thinking you can fit more items into one trip, the weight of the items may significantly limit how “full” you are able to load the trailer. For example, if you are loading heavier items like tiles for a home renovation project, the individual weight of each tile can be very heavy. So, you’ll want to be sure not to fill up your entire trailer with stacks of tiles to move them all at once and instead take a few lighter loads with the trailer only partially loaded.

Regarding size, if you are hauling a light-weight paper mâché statue, the weight of the object could be comparatively little making you consider a smaller trailer size, but the size of the object itself could require you to choose a large or open trailer to fit it in its entirety safely.

Remember when choosing the size of your trailer you should always be thinking in terms of what cargo you are carrying. You should consider the size and shape of the objects you are loading onto the trailer, as they can affect what trailer size and type will best suit your move. And always pay attention to weight of your load. Don’t rely solely on eye-balling how full the trailer appears or if you can squeeze a few more boxes onto it.

For a quick and easy breakdown of every U-Haul trailer size and type, take a look at our visual Trailer Size Guide below. If you want more detailed information, you can find individual trailer’s dimensions, features, and weight capacities on the product pages for trailers and towing equipment.

Trailering Tips:

  • Always load your trailer with 60% of the weight in the front half of the trailer closest to your car.
  • Don’t forget to secure your load to the trailer with tie-downs. This will prevent the load from shifting in transit.
  • Prepare for your towing equipment rental by learning how to load an Auto Transport, Tow Dolly, or Motorcycle Trailer.
  • While you can always use your own vehicle to tow a U-Haul trailer, consider adding your trailer onto a moving truck rental for larger moves.
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