Renting a car can be stressful, especially when you’re trying to save money on your trip. There are so many rental car companies and search engines out there that it’s hard to find the best car rental sites. How do you know if you’re getting a good deal?
After multiple combined decades of travel all over the globe, the team here at TravelFreak put our heads together to create this list of the best car rental websites out there.
Here are the top 10 car rental sites you should know about.
1. Rentalcars.com: Best Car Rental Website Overall
This first one is pretty easy to remember. Rentalcars.com is owned by the same company as Booking.com and is a search engine for finding the best rental car prices.
Rentalcars.com searches dozens of the major car rental companies (as well as smaller local companies) to give you tons of options to choose from. They make it easy to find affordable rental cars without having to dig through pricing for each individual rental car company.
There are a few things that make Rentalcars.com stand out from many of the other rental car sites out there.
First off, they show you the total price right there front and center. I love this kind of transparency as many other rental companies only show the price per day, excluding fees.
In my experience, the car rental prices you find on Rentalcars.com are consistently among the lowest prices on the market. If you’re looking for the best car rental deal, this is a great choice.
2. Priceline: Cheapest Rental Car Website
Let’s face it, one of the main reasons you’re here is because you’re trying to save cash on a rental car. While no single rental car site is going to have the best price 100% of the time, but some do better than others at saving you money.
In my searches to compare pricing, Priceline has most frequently found the lowest prices. That’s great news for you, but how do they do it?
Priceline was one of the first companies to introduce “opaque rentals” where you can get a fantastic deal, but you don’t know the provider or car type until you pick up your car (you also typically don’t get free cancellation). You may get a tiny econo box, or you may get a giant Suburban. It all depends on what is available at pickup time.
While that may sound odd at first, it’s a fantastic way to save cash as long as you aren’t picky about the specific car type. Basically, if you’re flexible on the specific car, Priceline can negotiate a lower price with rental car companies.
On their site, you’ll see these called “Express Deals” or “Suppliers Choice.” The biggest downside with choosing this type of special rental deal is that it is typically non-refundable.
Of course, if you prefer to choose what type of car you get, you can still do that, and Priceline offers great prices there as well.
3. Expedia: Best Car Rental Booking Site
Expedia is probably the most well-known name among online travel agencies. They’ve built a huge business around offering easy online searching and booking for hotels, flights, rental cars, and more.
If you want a streamlined, easy process for booking rental cars (plus find the best prices), Expedia has their booking process dialed-in. Unlike some other sites on this list that only search and track rental car prices, Expedia lets you pay for your rental car directly through their website. You can even pay for car rental insurance straight through Expedia.
If you are reserving your flights or hotels through Expedia, things get even better, since you can get a cheaper rental car by bundling your travel expenses together.
So what are the downsides? Well, Expedia doesn’t always find all the same discounts and coupons as you may get from other sites like AutoSlash, so you may not always find the lowest rental car costs.
4. Kayak: Best Car Rental Search Site
Unlike Expedia, Kayak is a metasearch engine that searches major car rental companies, online travel agencies, and local rental locations to show you options and prices for car rentals.
That means you can’t book a car directly through Kayak and have to go off-site to specific rental car websites to make your payment and reservation. While this isn’t as convenient, it does mean Kayak isn’t limited to searching rental car companies that work with them directly, so you get a much wider range of options (and often better prices as a result).
Within the search results for Kayak, you’ll see options to book rental cars directly from rental car companies, through online travel agency sites, or even from car-sharing sites like Turo.
One other downside is that there is no option to purchase rental car insurance online through Kayak. Again, you’ll have to do that through whatever provider you choose from their list.
If you’re looking to find deals for your entire trip, Kayak also lets you search flights and hotels. I’ve had good luck finding inexpensive flights through Kayak, so it’s worth checking out!
5. AutoRentals.com: Best Car Rental Comparison Site
If you like digging into the numbers to find the best prices for car rentals, a detailed comparison site can show you a wide range of providers and let you compare prices across the entire range.
AutoRentals.com is the holy grail for comparison shopping. Like Kayak, pulls info from rental car companies and travel agencies to let you compare pricing. However, you can also reserve your car directly through their site (unless you choose an option through a different travel website, in that case, AutoRentals.com will redirect you automatically). Also unlike Kayak (or any other site I’ve seen), they don’t just show you a long list of rental car options.
Instead, when you search for rental cars on AutoRentals.com, you see a big matrix (or table) of prices from dozens of different rental and booking companies. While it can look intimidating at first, this rental car pricing matrix is really a fantastic way to compare prices across different car rental companies.
Each row represents a different car type/size (e.g. compact, midsize, SUV, etc.). Within each row, AutoRentals.com will highlight the best deal for that category.
So, if you want to do some research and comparison before you rent a car, AutoRentals.com is a great resource.
6. AutoSlash: Best Car Rental Deals
Odds are, you’d love to get the best price possible on your next rental (if not, we must be from different planets).
AutoSlash works a little differently from most other sites on this list. First, you enter your trip information, and then they ask you to enter a bunch of other information to see if they can find any deals. You put in your credit card type, any memberships you have (like AAA or Costco), and frequent flier programs you’re a part of.
Instead of instantly displaying a search engine page with rental options, AutoSlash sends you an email to view your search results. I’ve found it typically takes less than 5 minutes to get the email.
With this unique deal-finding system, I’ve found that AutoSlash often gives me the best price (though not 100% of the time).
Once you get your email, you can book your rental directly through AutoSlash. They have options to pay now or pay at pickup. Paying now typically gets you a lower price, and they still offer free cancellation up until 48 hours before your pickup time.
Is it less convenient? Sure. I don’t love that they have to send you an email for your quote. Still, AutoSlash is worth checking out if you’re looking for discounts.
7. Turo: Best Peer-to-Peer Rental Car Site
Turo is offering an alternative way to find a cheaper car rental. Think of it as the Uber of rental car deals. Unlike a traditional car rental company that has a fleet of company-owned vehicles, Turo lets ordinary people list their personal cars for rent.
The benefit of Turo is that you can often find better cheap car rentals than you would get from a car rental agency. Individual car owners are able to choose their own list price, which means you’ll be able to save money on your rental cost.
Depending on your location, there may be a huge range of rental car types available. Rental car companies typically own fleets of specific models, but since Turo lets people list any car they own, you can find anything from compact economy cars to luxury convertibles to lifted Jeeps.
There are a few downsides to using Turo to rent a car.
First, many of the car rentals available will need to be picked up from the owner. That isn’t great if you’re flying in and need a car to get around. It’s not a huge deal though, because there are many cars available for airport pickup. You just have to make sure that’s an option.
Second, since owners set their own terms (to an extent), you’ll find different restrictions from one rental car to the next. Some cars have limited mileage allowances, and others have unlimited mileage. Some provide discounts for a weeklong rental.
If you’re looking to rent a car, Turo is a fantastic alternative to a normal rental car company. You can almost always find better prices. Make sure you check where you can pick up your car and read the fine print.
8. DiscoverCars.com: Best Best Car Rental Aggregator Site
Here’s another website that searches through dozens of car rental agencies to show you a wide range of options and prices.
DiscoverCars.com is an aggregator search site that pulls together lots of choices so you can shop and compare.
One thing unique about DiscoverCars.com is that they display a rating system on their search result page. Each agency that appears gets an overall score from 0-10. If you hover over the score, you can see a breakdown of their rating over seven different categories including “car cleanliness” and “efficiency of the rental agents”. It’s great to be able to compare not just prices, but also the quality of the rental company.
Beyond that, DiscoverCars.com is pretty similar to other sites on this list. It’s easy to reserve and pay for your car, and most cars come with free cancellation.
9. Auto Europe: Best Car Rental Site for Europe
Planning a trip to Europe? While it’s definitely possible to get around relying only on public transit, you may prefer the comfort and independence of driving a personal car.
Trying to rent a car in Europe may seem intimidating at first, but fortunately, Auto Europe makes it easy to find and reserve car rentals anywhere in Europe.
Similar to AutoRentals, Auto Europe searches dozens of different rental agencies and shows you a matrix of prices to choose from. It highlights the lowest price in each category, making it easy to compare shops.
I also love that the matrix shows the total price for your entire trip instead of the daily rate, which often excludes taxes and fees.
Once you select a rental company and specific car category, Auto Europe even gives you options to add on extras like car seats or GPS devices (you’ll have to pay for those at pickup).
When you rent a car through Auto Europe, you automatically get liability insurance with options to purchase additional rental car insurance directly through the site. The insurance prices vary between rental locations and the car rental company you choose. Unfortunately, I’ve found their prices to be pretty high, so you may be better off getting car coverage through your travel insurance (which you should definitely have, by the way).
10. SIXT: Best Luxury Rental Car Site
If you prefer to ride in style, luxury rental cars can be an appealing option for your trip. Who doesn’t like the idea of cruising around a new city in a BMW Z4 during your vacation?
SIXT specializes in offering luxury car rentals around the world. Unlike the other sites on this list, SIXT doesn’t work with the normal car rental companies like Hertz or AVIS. Instead, they operate their own fleet of luxury vehicles that are available for you to rent.
No, you are not going to find the cheapest car rentals in the world, but traveling in a luxury sports car is an experience worth remembering (and paying a little more for). And you can actually find some surprisingly low prices if you look. What’s better than getting a rental car deal on a luxury experience?
One thing to know is that SIXT rental cars are not available in all airport locations. When I searched for Salt Lake City (my nearest major airport), there weren’t any options. They do have rental locations available in most larger cities though.
SIXT is definitely a unique car rental company, and if you’re just looking for cheap car rentals, it’s not for you. But if you’re a car person and want to try out a snazzy ride, it’s definitely worth it.
How to Find the Best Car Rentals
We’ve looked through ten different rental car companies, but how do you know which one to choose? Here are some tips to find the best option for your next car rental.
Know What You Want
Booking rental cars isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. Different people have different priorities, and it’s important to know what you want when looking for a rental car company.
For many people, finding the best deal possible is the top priority. If that’s the case, less traditional sites like AutoSlash, Turo, or Kayak might be good options since they can often find lower prices.
If convenience is more important to you, you may want to stick with a more established and full-featured car rental company like Rentalcars.com or Expedia. They let you reserve your car directly through their site and even have options for buying insurance when you check out. Plus, you can use the same company to reserve flights and hotels!
Or maybe you’re picky about the type of car you drive or want a more luxurious ride. In that case, SIXT is a great option for their luxury car rentals. You can also find a wide range of luxury vehicles on Turo.
Compare Rental Car Prices
This may seem obvious, but you should compare prices across multiple car rental companies. Tools like AutoRentals.com are great for comparing across companies, but even they won’t show every deal that’s available, so shop around.
Make sure you take things like taxes and fees into account. The best sites will show you the total price including taxes and fees, but not all of them do.
Sign Up for Rewards Programs
A few websites like Priceline and Expedia have their own rewards program that lets you save up rewards points for car rentals, hotel stays, and flights.
By creating an account with these sites, you get access to discount codes and can often find the best price that isn’t available otherwise.
Read the Fine Print
Whenever I book rental cars, I make sure to understand the policies of the rental to know what I’m getting. Often the best deals have restrictions or limitations that you need to know about.
It’s always worth taking a few minutes to read the fine print to see what you can and cannot do.
Does a rental agency offer free cancellation? Are there any extra taxes and fees? Do you need to return the car with a full tank? Is there a mileage limit?
Why Trust TravelFreak?
Here at TravelFreak, our goal is to give you the best recommendations possible to help you get out there and explore the world. We are all avid travelers ourselves, and we know first-hand how frustrating it can be trying to find an affordable rental car. We want to help.
I wrote this article to give you the absolute best tools to save money (and reduce stress) when you’re renting a car for your trip. To create this list of the best rental car sites, I searched relentlessly through dozens of the top sites, testing them out and comparing prices.
I did a deep dive so you don’t have to. You can be sure that the sites on this list will help you find the best rental car prices and streamline your experience.
Rental Car Sites FAQs
What are the best car rental sites?
What is a cheaper way to rent a car?
To find a cheaper rental car, compare pricing across multiple sites and look for private deals.
Is it okay to rent a car with Turo?
Turo can be a great way to earn passive income if you have a vehicle you don’t drive often.
What is the most popular rental car company in the USA?
Enterprise is the largest and most popular rental car company in the USA.