A Couch Can Fit Into a Cargo Van, Here’s How to Do It

A typical 9’ cargo van usually available to hire from rental companies such as U-Haul has inside dimensions of 9’6″ x 5’7″ x 4’8″ (L/W/H) and so can be used to move:

  • Small Couches
  • Queen Sized Beds
  • Medium Sized Tables
  • Medium sized Wardrobes
  • Sectional Sofas
  • Appliances
  • Chairs
  • Filing Cabinets

Cargo vans are becoming increasingly popular with people who are moving, especially if they are moving from a small apartment. This is because they are easier to load than full size vans, easier to drive, and can hold a surprising amount of freight.

Although there are compact cargo vans available, full size cargo vans are usually used for moving purposes. Often referred to as 9’ cargo vans, these full size vans are usually the ones available to hire from rental companies such as U-Haul.

These vans are ideal for moving apartments, dormitories, or offices.


Ease of Loading a Couch Into a Cargo Van

One of the reasons cargo vans are becoming popular for moving is that they are easier to load than box vans which were traditionally used. Whereas a box van will only have one door at the back, a cargo van has both a back door and a side door.

One thing that you have to be careful of when loading a couch is that you load the weight evenly. With a cargo van, you can start loading from the side door and then switch to the rear door, ensuring the load is evenly spread.

With a larger box van, if you do not have enough freight to fill it, there is a tendency to load everything on the back. This will result in the load being uneven and perhaps unstable.

It could also lead to all the weight being placed on the rear axle instead of sharing it over all axles.

Even in a cargo van, it is best to not load right up to the rear door in case it inadvertently opens while you are driving.

The best method of loading your cargo van is therefore to load the larger items to the front, such as a couch and then place other items around them.


Protecting the Couch From the Weather and Theft

Although a cargo van is usually more compact and smaller than most box trucks, it does have solid sides and rear, the same as a box truck.

This means that while a pick-up truck may be as easy to load asacargo van, the pick-up truck does not offer the same security or protection from the weather as a cargo van does.


Payload of a Cargo Van is Enough for a Couch

The payload is the amount of weight which can be loaded on any vehicle.

Every vehicle, including cargo vans, will have a GVWR which is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, its the maximum weight of the vehicle plus its payload.

Neither the GVWR nor the payload of a cargo van should ever be exceeded.

As well as ensuring the payload is not exceeded, care should be taken to ensure none of the individual axle weights should be exceeded either. The load should also be secure to ensure that it does not move during transit.

However, as an average 3 seater couch is 150 pounds (68kg), this will not be a problem if you are carrying just a couch, but you will probably be carrying other things as well.

If the couch moves inside the box van, damage may only be caused to the freight as the cargo area is separate from the driver’s cab.

In a cargo van however, as there is no permanent partition between the driver and the cargo area, as well as damaging the other things you are carryingt, loose cargo could also make contact with the driver.

To avoid this from happening with a loaded cargo van which could result in an accident, it is recommended to place a net between the driver and the cargo section.

As most cargo vans are smaller and less powerful than box vans, they cannot carry as much payload. As furniture items such as couches and tables are relevantly light, this is not a big concern when moving apartments. What is of concern though is the space available to load your belongings.


Moving a Couch Between Apartments

Although many rental firms may only offer one size of cargo van to rent there are several different sizes available to buy or perhaps rent from a different rental company.

Obviously there are many different makes of cargo van, and each make may come in varying sizes, but most can be placed in one of three groups:

  1. Compact cargo van
  2. Full size cargo van
  3. Heavy duty cargo van


The average sizes and payloads for these groups are:

Compact Cargo Van

  • Interior Dimensions (L x H x W) – 83″ x 52″ x 48″
  • Payload – 1,480lbs

Full Size Cargo Van

  • Interior Dimensions (L x H x W) – 126” x 65” x 55”
  • Payload – 3,700lbs

Heavy Duty Cargo Van

  • Interior Dimensions (L x H x W) – 126” x 56” x 55”
  • Payload – 4.080lbs

If you have some tall furniture to move as well as a couch, there is one other option sometimes available, and that is a high roof cargo van. Although it has a payload of 3.700lbs and width of 55” the same as a full size cargo van, its length is 143” and its height is 76”, making it suitable for carrying larger furniture.


The Sizes of Different Couches

Often the largest furniture items are couches and beds.

Couches – Couches come in a variety of styles and sizes, but smaller ones will fit in a cargo van.

Although the different styles may add extra size to the arms, the average seat size for different couches are:

Armchair (One Seat)

  • Width 36”
  • Depth 38”
  • Height 34”

Loveseat (Two Seats)

  • Width 63”
  • Depth 38”
  • Height 34”

Three Seats

  • Width 90”
  • Depth 38”
  • Height 34”

Four Seat

  • Width 117”
  • Depth 38”
  • Height 34”

The average single or 2 seat couches will fit in a compact cargo van, but for 3 or 4 seat couches, you would have to use a full size cargo van.

There are of course 5 or 6 seat couches, but unless they are sectional, they will not fit in any size cargo van and so would need a larger box van.                                                          


Beds – Most bed frames can be dismantled for transit, and so the main concern is the size of the mattress. The average sizes for mattresses are:

Single Mattress

  • Length – 75”
  • Width – 30”

Twin Mattress

  • Length – 75”
  • Width – 38”

Queen Mattress

  • Length – 80”
  • Width – 60”

King Mattress

  • Length – 80”
  • Width – 76”

This means that while a compact or heavy duty cargo van could fit a single or twin mattress, a full size cargo van could also fit a Queen mattress.

A King size mattress would not fit in any of these, and you would struggle to fit it even in a high roof cargo van.



Moving home or changing jobs are considered to be the most stressful activities people experience. On top of that stress moving a home or office can also be expensive. Some expense can be saved though if you use a cargo van instead of the traditional box van for your move.

If your furnishings will fit in a cargo van, using one for your move can certainly be financially beneficial. First, as a cargo van has a door on the side as well as rear doors, it is easier to load. Also, in many States a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is not required to drive most cargo vans.

These two factors combined mean that you may not have to hire a professional driver and if you are physically strong, may even be able to load the van yourself with minimum assistance. For safety reasons, it’s advisable to have someone with you though.

The relative ease with which a cargo van can be loaded or offloaded will not only save you money but can also save you time.

Over the past few years, cargo vans have become increasingly popular. Most of that popularity is among small business owners who find them cheaper to operate and more suitable for their particular business than larger vans.

Hiring cargo vans from vehicle rental businesses is also increasing in popularity, and this is often due to people using them to move location.

Some rental companies may only offer one size cargo van for rent, but others offer several different sizes.

As traffic laws vary from State to State, if your move includes crossing any State lines, you should check the regulations for cargo vans in any State you will drive in or through.

Regardless of what type of van you use for your move, you should always ensure that the couch and other items you are carrying are secured properly and the total load does not exceed the vehicle’s maximum payload.

When reaching your arrival point, you should always park somewhere with ample space to discharge your load without blocking traffic or pedestrians.

Author: Kenneth Graham

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