How To Choose The Right Size Rental Truck

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

Read about 'How To Choose The Right Size Rental Truck' on USAVE, the place for all things car rental.

Renting an unfamiliar vehicle can be a little daunting particularly when you are unsure about what you might need. Choosing the right size rental truck or van for the job is a bit like getting the right tool for the job it will mean the difference between completing the job cost-efficiently and blowing the budget and making the job more time-consuming.

Taking some time to figure out exactly what you need is the key to hiring the right vehicle, that’s why we have created this handy guide to the things you should consider thinking about what size rental van or truck you might need.

Types Of Trucks And Vans For Hire In NZ

Before choosing the size of your rental truck or van you will need to decide which type of vehicle best suits your situation. Sometimes hiring a van can be an alternative choice if you only have a small amount of things to move or are only going a short distance, however, trucks do provide a more flexible internal space and are sometimes much easier to load and unload. This leaves you with three main choices commonly used for transporting items around in New Zealand – the cargo van, flat deck trucks and box body trucks.

Cargo Truck

Cargo Vans

Cargo vans come in a range of sizes, the most common being your standard size cargo van (much like an average 10 seater minibus) and much larger transit cargo vans which are designed for commercial use or as people movers. Vans can be a great alternative if you only have one or two things to move or are just transporting a small number of boxes. Some common things you might use a van for are when transporting;

  • A single bed
  • Set of drawers
  • Washing machine
  • Sofa
  • Clothing and belongings
  • A small number of boxes

Flat Deck Trucks

Sometimes referred to as a ‘dropside truck’, a flat deck truck has a large deck with short sides that are either removable or fold down to allow easy access or transportation of oversize items. This type of truck is useful for transporting a wide array of things but is obviously dependent on weather conditions or using covers to protect these items in transit. Some common things you might use a flat deck truck for are when transporting;

  • Trampolines
  • Children’s playhouses
  • Vehicles
  • Firewood
  • Pets and animals
  • Dog houses
  • Timber
  • Spa pools
  • Outdoor furniture

Box Body Trucks

Box body trucks have a fully enclosed deck with rear doors and sometimes include a hydraulic tail lift to make loading and unloading easier. These types of trucks are used everywhere from transporting freight and goods to moving house or office all around New Zealand. Some common things you might use a box body truck for are when transporting;

  • Household furniture
  • Office furniture
  • Beds and bedroom furniture
  • Boxes
  • Clothing and belongings
  • Home gym equipment
  • Household appliances
  • Home delivery of everything from food to furniture

Moving Truck

What Size Truck Or Van Should You Hire?

Now that you have decided what type of truck you need, one of the most important decisions when hiring a truck or van is deciding on the size. Too big and you or your stuff is rattling around in there and you end up paying too much for the rental, too small and you’re looking at any number of extra trips, or squeezing everything in like sardines.

While it’s always best to review the sizing of the vehicle in person before booking, or checking out the specific internal of deck dimensions on the website. We have put together this handy guide to get you started with choosing the right size truck or van for your next job. 

Van Size Guidelines

When looking at renting a van, the sizes are usually indicated by seat numbers. So you would normally expect to see 12-Seater, 10-seater, and 8-seaters for example. Even though this is not an exact measurement this does give you a good visual idea of the size of the interior and is particularly useful if your cargo is of the human kind!

However making sure you fit all of your intended passengers in is just the beginning – you also have to fit in their luggage so always check the luggage space available and maybe leave room for an extra seat or two as added space.

If humans aren’t your intended cargo then other ways van rental companies may describe their vans are as a ‘Cargo Van’. Cargo vans also come in different sizes and are in fact often the exact same sizes as the people mover kind but without all the seats.

Moving Van

How Big Are Cargo Vans In NZ?

Cargo vans are often referred to in slightly different terms such as ‘Hightop Cargo Van’, ‘Large Cargo Van’, and ‘Transit Cargo Van’. These terms give some broad indication of the sizing but the easiest way to determine the difference between the vans is to look at the hire price. The cheaper priced rental vans will be the smallest, up to the most expensive which will be the largest.

  • Cargo Van. Generally refers to the smallest size cargo van (equivalent to a 10- seater), a good example is a courier van or building contractors van. The typical interior dimensions of a regular cargo van are around 2.8m long x 1.5m wide x 1.35m high.
  • Hightop Cargo Van. The same size as the smaller cargo van but with more headroom, a good example is your budget camper van rental. The typical interior dimensions of a hightop cargo van are around 2.8m long x 1.5m wide x 1.5m high.
  • Transit Cargo Van. A much larger van with a longer wheelbase (equivalent to the 12-seater minibus), these size vans are often used commercially or for transporting people. The typical interior dimensions of a transit cargo van are around 3.3m long x 1.75m wide x 1.85m high.

Truck Size Guidelines

When it comes to truck rental sizes it is a bit trickier than renting a van. The trucks you will encounter will have a much larger range of sizes and are often identified using obvious features such as flat decks, open side, dropside, and box body. See more above on choosing the right style of truck for your purpose, but for now, let’s talk sizing.

All good hire companies will give approximate measurements for the deck or volume of their trucks for hire. This information should be readily available on their website or if you give them a quick call.

Dimensions of the box body trucks are likely to be the most difficult to visualise as they are always given in the volumetric measurement of cubic metres or m3. A cubic metre is a space that is 1m wide x 1m long x 1m high. If you need to convert cubic metres into imperial measurements see below for a handy guide or read on for more on box body truck sizes.

  • 10 cubic metres = 353 cubic feet
  • 20 cubic metres = 706 cubic feet
  • 30 cubic metres = 1059 cubic feet
  • 1 metre = 3.28 feet
  • 1 metre = 39.37 inches
  • 50cm =19.68 inches

Truck Driving On Street

How Big Are Box Body Trucks In NZ?

See below for 4 commonly encountered sizes of rental trucks here in NZ, please keep in mind the following examples of what you might fit into a box body rental truck are given as a guide only, what you will actually fit will, of course, depend on your furniture sizing, number of items, and any oversized or ungainly items that may take up added space. 

1.  10m3 Trucks

A 10m3 truck is ideal for small jobs or if you are only moving a short distance and don’t mind adding in a few extra trips back and forth. This smaller size truck will offer you more space than a van and easier access to load and unload its contents. Always get the hydraulic tail lift option if available, this truck can be driven on a normal full Class 1 Drivers Licence.

How Big Is a 10m3 Truck?

The typical interior dimensions of a 10m3 truck will be around 3m long x 1.8m wide x 2m high give or take 10-20cm here and there.

What Fits In A 10m3 Truck?

Expect to fit the contents of a small 1 bedroom flat or studio apartment, which may include items such as;

  • Queen size bed and box base
  • Fridge
  • Washing machine
  • Sofa
  • Small table with up to 4 chairs
  • An assortment of boxes

OR – One medium set of bedroom furniture from a flatting situation which may include;

  • Queen size bed and base
  • Headboard
  • Chest of drawers
  • Bedside tables
  • Desk and chair
  • An assortment of boxes

OR – The contents of a small office which may include items such as;

  • Up to 80 boxes (if boxes only, based on box size of 50cm x 50cm x 50cm)
  • Desks and chairs
  • Storage cabinets
  • Electronic equipment (computers, monitors, printers etc)

2.  15m3 Trucks

A 15m3 truck is a good size truck for an apartment or one-bedroom house. This size truck is still easy to manoeuvre/park and drive and will fit down narrow driveways or streets. Always choose a hydraulic tail lift option if available, this truck can be driven on a normal full Class 1 Drivers Licence.

How Big Is A 15m3 Truck

The typical interior dimensions of a 15m3 truck will be around 4m long x 2m wide x 2m high, give or take 10-20cm here and there.

What Fits In A 15m3 Truck?

Expect to fit the contents of a 1 bedroom house or small apartment, this may include a selection of items such as;

  • King size bed and box base
  • Fridge
  • Washing machine and dryer
  • Small lounge suite or two small sofas
  • Small table with up to 4 chairs
  • An assortment of boxes

OR – One large set of bedroom furniture from a flatting situation including;

  • King size bed and base
  • Headboard
  • 2 x Chest of drawers
  • Bedside tables
  • Desk and chair
  • Larger personal items such as a surfboard, computer, TV etc.
  • An assortment of boxes

OR – The contents of a small office which may include items such as;

  • Up to 120 boxes (if boxes only, based on box size of 50cm x 50cm x 50cm)
  • Desks and chairs
  • Storage cabinets
  • Electronic equipment (photocopier, printers etc)

3.  20m3 Trucks

Whether you are moving office across town or shifting house between cities a medium sized 20m3 truck is the ideal choice for many people looking to hire a truck. While being large enough to contain most of your possessions, it is also still a manageable size for driving, parking and backing. Always choose a rental truck with a hydraulic tail lift if possible. This size truck can be driven on a normal full Class 1 Drivers Licence.

How Big Is A 20m3 Truck?

The typical interior dimensions of a 20m3 truck are around 4m long x 2m wide x 2m high, give or take 10-20 cm here or there.

What Fits In A 20m3 Truck?

Expect to fit the contents of a 2 bedroom home, apartment or small 3 bedroom house, this may include a selection of items such as;

  • King size bed and box base
  • 1 -2 single beds
  • Fridge
  • Washing machine and dryer
  • Small to medium lounge suite or two sofas
  • Medium-sized dining table with 4-6 chairs
  • An assortment of boxes

OR – One extra large set of bedroom furniture from a flatting situation including;

  • King size bed and base
  • Headboard
  • 2 x Chests of drawers
  • Freestanding wardrobe
  • Bedside tables
  • Large desk and chair
  • Gym equipment
  • Other pieces of furniture from around the flat
  • TV and cabinet
  • An assortment of boxes

OR – The contents of a medium sized office which may include items such as;

  • Up to 160 boxes (if boxes only, based on box size of 50cm x 50cm x 50cm)
  • Multiple desks and chairs
  • Storage/filing cabinets
  • Electronic equipment (photocopier, printers etc)
  • Reception area furniture

4.  30m3 Trucks

A 30m3 Truck is considered a large moving truck. It will carry a significant amount of furniture and belongings and significantly reduced the amount of trips you will have to make meaning it is a good option for longer distance moves between major cities or islands in New Zealand. However, being a larger truck it is more cumbersome to drive and will require the driver to have a full Class 2 Truck Drivers Licence.

How Big Is A 30m3 Truck

The typical interior dimensions of a 30m3 truck are around 6m long x 2m wide x 2m high, give or take 20-30 cm here or there.

What Fits In A 30m3 Truck?

A 30m3 truck is ideal for a regular sized 3-4 bedroom home. Depending on your ability to stack it well and how much furniture you have – expect to fit an assortment of the usual household items which may include;

  • King size bed and box base
  • 2-3 single beds
  • Large double door fridge
  • Washing machine and dryer
  • Lounge suite and coffee table
  • Dining table with 6-8 chairs
  • Other pieces of furniture from around the home (side tables, shelving, display cabinets etc)
  • TV and cabinet
  • An assortment of boxes

OR – The contents of a larger office which may include items such as;

  • Up to 240 boxes (if boxes only, based on box size of 50cm x 50cm x 50cm)
  • Multiple desks and chairs
  • Storage/filing cabinets
  • Meeting room table and chairs
  • Reception chairs and furniture
  • Electronic office equipment (photocopiers, printers etc)

Delivery Van

If you are still unsure about what size rental truck you need give the team at USAVE Truck and Van Rental a call and they will be able to help you decide!