Should you use moving blankets when you move?
Yes, absolutely. Without any exception. Seriously.
Moving blankets, frequently referred to by many as “furniture pads”, are as critical for your move as boxes and tape. I’m going to explain why, where to get them, and some more important stuff you probably didn’t even know about moving blankets. (Including where to get cheap moving blankets.)
What exactly are moving blankets and do they make a difference?
A moving blanket is a (usually) thick and heavy piece of cloth that helps protect your furniture against nicks and dings and major league scratches throughout a big, bumpy move.
A single, $12 moving blanket could save hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars in damages. (Just imagine your naked flat-screen TV getting poked by your dresser.)
But what else do they do?
Moving blankets are also the best way to keep dust and dirt from getting into your washer and dryer, your refrigerator, your piano, your microwave oven … you name it. Moves are crazy.
On top of this, they give unmatched protection from things in your boxes that have dust on them. You may not be concerned about a few scratches on your old barbeque grill, but that Weber has the potential to damage whatever is packed next to it on the truck.
Moving blankets make things easier to move. Especially with professionals on the scene, moving a big, heavy object that’s been properly wrapped with moving blankets or that needs to safely travel on hardwood floors has the same effect as dragging something on a mat. See?
Your couch, washing machine, dresser, or basically most heavy pieces of furniture are not only safer, but a heck of a lot easier to transport.
Added safety during transport
Movers like to think of themselves as Tetris champions, but even the best pack jobs in the world feature little spaces in between your stuff. These tiny spaces are sometimes what causes shifts during transport. The highest-rated movers are pros at “plugging the gaps” with moving blankets – especially if there are any pads left over. It’s like insurance on top of insurance.
Where Can I Get Moving Blankets?
Full-Service movers often provide them for you. Truck rental companies like U-Haul, Budget and Penske offer moving blankets for rent. Other than those options, you’ll likely need to buy them, especially for labor-only jobs.
But don’t worry, your options for purchasing moving blankets are virtually endless. Here are some of the best resources we’ve found. (All of them offer a variety of moving blankets; pay attention to size and weight in addition to price when making your decision.)
Amazon – ~$51.49 for Sure-Max 8-pack Moving & Packing Blankets – 80″ x 72″ (40 lb./dozen).
~ $61.99 for Sure-Max 12 Moving & Packing Blankets – Pro Economy – 80″ x 72″ (35 lb./dozen weight)
New Haven – $44.50 for 4-pack of 5.5 lb. blankets
U-Boxes – $65 for 6 Deluxe Blankets (plus many other interesting types/quality).
US Cargo Control – These are tougher quality.
Supreme Pads (8 lb.) for $178/dozen. ProMover (7 lb.) $172.50/dozen. Performance (6.25 lb.) $150/dozen. 3.5 lb. Pads for $70/dozen.
Plus “moving skins” for as little as $3/piece, 72×80 inch.
U-Pack – 12 Deluxe Pads (5.4 lb.) for $120 (Yes, you can buy from the movers, but it’s more expensive. But there’s free shipping, at least.)
Please note that some types of moving blankets, besides “furniture pads”, are also referred to as “burlap pads”, “moleskin pads”, or simply “skins”. Those types of blankets are appreciably thinner and lighter than regular furniture pads, and are mostly good for sturdier items from the garage and the shed. (They are also often smaller than your standard furniture pad, buyer beware.)
Should I rent moving blankets instead of buying them?
The cost of moving blankets to own can make renting them seem like a no-brainer. But if you do rent, there are a few things to know.
- Pads for rent are rarely of the size and quality you’d want or expect
- Rented pads have very likely been used many, many times, which can further degrade the pads’ quality. Also, any rental agreement will stipulate that you return your pads in the same condition you received them or you have to buy them (likely at an overblown price)
- Outside of UHaul, Budget and Penske, you may be hard-pressed to find someone who even rents moving blankets. You’ll need to be near one of those businesses
As a last resort, give the online marketplace a shot. Check eBay or Craigslist for a possible great deal on used (or maybe even new or never used) moving blankets.
Does the weight of the furniture pad matter?
Price can be one indicator of the quality of a pad, but a much better indicator of quality is how heavy it is.
Durable, quality pads weigh in at around 5.5 lb. each, sometimes more. Cheaper ones are lighter, around 3.5 lb. – and they are noticeably thinner and therefore perhaps not up to the task of complete protection. Lighter pads might be a good option for your sturdier garage items, though.
At your local U-Haul store, U-Haul will be happy to sell you overpriced, individual pads that weight something like two pounds apiece. (Good luck with that.)
Protip: Thick paper pads are one cheaper alternative. But while more versatile, I wouldn’t necessarily trust my most expensive items to them, given the choice.
How many moving blankets will I need?
There’s a rule of thumb floating around out there that says “you need a dozen pads for every five cubic feet of truck space.”
Great! So, uh, what’s the rule of thumb for figuring out how many cubic feet of truck space your stuff needs?
Instead, do this: go through your home with a piece of paper and a pencil and note every item to be wrapped, starting a running tally of how many pads you’ll need by assigning at least one to each major item.
A standard furniture pad measures 72 x 80 inches, so larger pieces of furniture like a couch will require more than one pad. If you aren’t sure whether a piece will require one or two or more, just mark it with an extra pad. Better to have too many than too few. (Just like cardboard boxes, we always end up needing more than we think.)
Here’s a handy reference list for tallying up your pads:
1 Furniture pad items: Nightstand, small bookcase, dining room chair, flat-screen TV, microwave
2 Furniture pad items: Larger bookcase, headboard/footboard, upholstered chair, smallish kitchen/dining room table (one for the tabletop and one for the legs, once you remove them)
3 Furniture pad items: Entertainment unit, armoire, large kitchen/dining table (two for the tabletop and one for the legs), loveseat, washer, dryer, refrigerator
4 Furniture pad items: Sofa, piano, hot tub
It shouldn’t take long before you get the hang of eyeing up your furniture and putting together a final tally.
Can I substitute shrinkwrap for moving blankets?
Shrinkwrap, those huge rolls of stretchy sheet plastic movers use to form a sort of protective cocoon around a piece of furniture, is safe to use on cloth upholstery but can do irrevocable damage to leather or even wood if left for long periods of time, especially under extreme temperatures.
It’s a solid addition to furniture padding, however. Though not cost-cutting, covering furniture in moving pads before wrapping it up in shrinkwrap is a great way to guard against shrinkwrap damage and makes your stuff extremely grippable.
Please note: When padding a piece of furniture with a glass surface, professional movers will often tape or shrinkwrap a piece of cardboard over the part of the pad covering the glass. This is a clear warning that there is glass under that pad!
Can I just use old blankets instead of moving blankets?
Customers often want to know if they can just use old dirty blankets to wrap their furniture. Our answer is yes, but we have a better idea.
Wrap your furniture in clean moving blankets. Then save your old musty blankets for your dirty, greasy, dusty garage and outdoor items. Also, if you just want to keep from making a mess of the moving blankets you just rented or bought, consider covering your barbeque grill, bicycle, garden tools, etc. in plastic before pad-wrapping them.
Because at the end of the day, moving blankets are just way safer than blankets. Remember, movers are typically not in the furniture pad selling business, but they are in the not-breaking-your-stuff business.
Are using moving blankets difficult?
The good news is that if you get movers, they will expertly wrap everything before smartly hauling it out onto whatever you’ve got.
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If you don’t have help though, the most crucial thing is to wrap your pads securely so your furniture doesn’t start slipping out of your hands. Packing tape works, but you’ll need a lot of it. Instead, the big rubber bands some movers use can be a bit more expensive than tape, but they are pretty versatile and reusable.
And in terms of sheer effectiveness, shrinkwrap + moving blanket is king. Used correctly (which is not hard), shrinkwrap will keep that pad firmly in place, allowing you to get a good grip on the corners and edges of your furniture. Shrinkwrap really sticks to your hands too, giving you even more control.
Protip: It is much easier to handle and haul a shrink-wrapped piece of furniture with your bare hands than with gloves on. (Sorry, winter moves.)
Will my stuff be safe with moving blankets?
So now you’re rolling like the pros, furniture all padded up and protected for the truck ride ahead. But take note: don’t think you’re home free just because you got your furniture safely onto the back of the truck!
If your stuff is tipping and slipping all over the place back there, those moving blankets aren’t going to be enough to save your furniture. This is why so many people opt to have vetted movers do the heavy lifting and loading for them.
If you want to totally DIY it though, go for it! Just be sure to make like a mover and get yourself plenty of pads.