When searching for a powerful pickup truck, you’ll likely come across many acronyms and abbreviations. You’ll hear the word “ton” a lot when talking about truck sizes. For personal use, this means a 1/2 ton, 3/4 ton, or 1 ton pickup. A used GMC Sierra 2500 for sale, or even a lesser vehicle like a RAM 1500, will likely be advertised as a 3/4-ton or 1-ton truck on the dealer’s or seller’s page. But can you explain everything? You need a vehicle that can work hard, pull and haul heavy loads, and survive in harsh conditions, but you aren’t sure how powerful a truck you actually need.
Larger ton capacities typically result in higher truck prices, so it’s crucial to strike a balance between investing in the features you’ll actually use and avoiding unnecessary spending. This isn’t usually an issue for drivers of smaller vehicles used for daily travel, but it is something to think about if you’re in the market for a heavy-duty truck (HD trucks, get it?). This is especially important if you rely on your truck for a living. Explaining the differences between 1/2, 3/4, and 1 ton trucks.
A Quick Review of GVWR
The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is often discussed alongside a heavy-duty truck’s towing and carrying capacities during evaluation. Gross vehicle weight rating is shortened to GVWR. It refers to how much weight, including the vehicle itself, can be carried without causing any problems. A vehicle with a GVWR of 9,000 pounds can have an additional 5,000 pounds of weight added to it if it weighs 4,000 pounds empty. There are a number of reasons why it’s crucial to stay inside these parameters. For starters, you might get a ticket if you don’t. Not following these instructions can cause serious problems for your truck and put you in risk. Keep in mind that the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating also accounts for the weight of passengers, thus the total load capacity will decrease as more people are added to the cab.
The 1/2-Ton Truck
We can now categorize the various truck sizes after realizing how crucial it is to not exceed the maximum advised weight limitations. Half-ton pickups can typically tow between 9,000 and 10,000 pounds and carry up to 3,000 pounds in the bed. You may be wondering, “Why the heck is it called a half-ton?” This moniker dates back to the days when the maximum weight capacity of 1/2-ton trucks was just 1,000 pounds (exactly half a ton). The car’s moniker has endured despite the fact that it no longer accurately describes its capabilities since that trucks are much more robust.
Most 1/2 ton pickups use the number 1500 in their name to indicate their size. If you need a truck for occasional hauling and towing, a 1/2 ton is a good choice. It’s a common pick for truck owners who use their vehicle for daily transportation as well as occasional towing and hauling. The GMC Sierra 1500, RAM 1500, and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 are all 1/2-ton trucks.
The 3/4-Ton Truck
The 3/4-ton truck has a payload capacity of 4,000 pounds and a towing capacity of 14,000. The term comes from the days when 3/4-ton trucks could only tow 1,500 pounds. Those in the farming, construction, or industrial areas, who rely heavily on their truck’s towing and hauling skills, are better suited to the 3/4-ton truck than the 1/2-ton truck. This is a more rugged truck that isn’t ideal for daily driving or commuting thanks to its increased towing and hauling capacities of 4,000 and 1,000 pounds, respectively, above the 1/2-ton truck. The name of this truck typically includes the number 2500 to indicate its size and capabilities. The GMC Sierra 2500 HD, Ram 2500, Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD, and Ford F-250 Super Duty are all examples of 3/4 ton pickups.
The 1-Ton Truck
The 1-ton truck is the largest vehicle available to the general public. The 1-ton truck, like the others on this list, gets its name from earlier models that could tow exactly one ton, or 2,000 pounds. 1-ton trucks today can pull up to 36,000 pounds and carry as much as 6,000 pounds (powertrain allowing). The 1-ton truck is designed for professionals and entrepreneurs who often engage in heavy-duty towing and hauling. It’s also great for towing large vehicles like recreational vehicles or boats up steep hills. A 1-ton truck’s name will typically include the number 3500 to indicate its size and capabilities. One-ton trucks include popular models like the RAM 3500, Ford F-350 Super Duty, Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD, and GMC 3500.
Beyond the 1/2-Ton, 3/4-Ton, and 1-Ton Trucks
Just so we’re clear, truck sizes don’t stop here. Smaller and larger consumer trucks exist. There is a “class” that trucks belong to as well. All of the aforementioned fall within Class 2A or Class 3. Class 1 trucks have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 6,000 pounds, whereas Class 4 trucks have a GVWR of 14,001 to 16,000 pounds.
Class 1 trucks include the Honda Ridgeline and the Chevrolet Colorado, among others. Trucks like these are typically utilized as commuter vehicles because of their small size and ease of handling. RAM 4500 and Chevrolet Silverado 4500 HD are examples of class 4 trucks. Those who don’t regularly engage in heavy carrying or towing for a living aren’t usually seen behind the wheel of one of these vehicles. They are more likely to be part of a company’s fleet of trucks than someone’s personal vehicle.
Find the Size That’s Right for You
Getting the correct truck for towing and hauling your belongings safely depends on knowing the distinctions between different truck sizes. If you’re not sure what your typical towing and hauling demands entail, it’s a good idea to think about the largest and heaviest goods you’ll be moving on a regular basis. Avoid disaster by purchasing a truck that can handle all of your loads without ever going above the GVWR.
Similarly, if you know you won’t be using all of your truck’s horsepower, there’s no need in shelling out more money for a more robust model. Don’t overinvest in features you won’t use or that you don’t need because they come with a larger price tag (and typically worse fuel economy). The good news is that it’s easy to shop around and compare all of these sizes because several of the leading truck manufacturers, like Chevy, GMC, and Ford, make trucks in each of these sizes. You may select the ideal truck to meet your daily problems if you take the time to consider what you need it for.