1/2 Ton, 3/4 Ton, 1 Ton Trucks: What Does It All Mean?
If you have been shopping for trucks, then you may have heard of the terms ½ ton, ¾ ton, and 1-ton trucks.
So what do these terms mean, and what type of capabilities do each of these trucks have?
Here, we will take a look at the different types of trucks and compare their various capabilities.
Want to learn more about trucks before making a decision? Check out our post on truck and cab bed sizes here.
Table of Contents
- What Is GVWR?
- What Is a ½ Ton Truck?
- What Is a ¾ Ton Truck?
- What Is a 1-Ton Truck?
- What Does 1500 Mean on a Truck?
- Best Car Deals by Category
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is GVWR?
GVWR stands for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. This rating describes the maximum total safe weight of the vehicle. For example, let’s say that the truck's curb weight is 5,000 pounds, and the GVWR of the truck is 8,000 pounds. That means that the truck can safely add 3,000 pounds to its weight and still function normally. Exceeding the GVWR of a truck can not only get you a ticket, it can also endanger yourself and your passengers. Therefore, it is important to adhere to a vehicle GVWR.
What Is a ½ Ton Truck?
A ½ ton truck is a truck that is used for light-duty hauling and towing work. The term ½ ton truck came from the fact that older ½ ton trucks could haul up to 1,000 pounds. Modern ½ trucks can exceed this amount. However, the term ½ ton truck remains. Usually, a ½ ton truck can haul about 3,000 pounds in its bed and tow up to 9,000 to 10,000 pounds depending on the powertrain.
Who Should Buy a ½ Ton Truck?
A ½ ton truck is an ideal choice for those who primarily use their vehicle as a daily driver and only occasionally use the vehicle for hauling and towing duties. Also, a ½ ton truck is an ideal choice for a blue-collar worker who likes to have fast access to their tools in the truck bed.
½ Ton Truck Examples
Some of the best ½ ton trucks include:
Check out our top picks for the best full-size trucks and the most reliable full-size trucks.
What Is a ¾ Ton Truck?
A ¾ ton truck is a heavy-duty truck that is popular by many trade workers who use their trucks on a daily basis for heavy towing and hauling work. These vehicles are called ¾ ton pick-ups because older model ¾ ton trucks could haul up to 1,500 pounds in their bed. Today, ¾ ton trucks can easily haul up to 4,000 pounds in their truck bed and tow up to 14,000 pounds depending on the powertrain.
Who Should Buy a ¾ Ton Truck
A ¾ ton truck is an ideal choice for someone who intends to use their truck for hauling and towing on a daily basis. For instance, a tradesperson who works on construction sites can make great use of a ¾ ton truck. Also, those who own a boat trailer or an RV will want to consider a ¾ ton truck.
¾ Ton Truck Examples
Some of the most popular ¾ ton trucks include:
Check out our top picks for the best heavy-duty trucks and the most reliable heavy-duty trucks.
What Is a 1-Ton Truck?
A 1-ton truck is generally the largest and most powerful truck available. The term 1-ton truck comes from the fact that old 1-ton trucks could haul up to 2,000 pounds in their bed. Today, modern 1-top trucks can easily haul up to 6,000 pounds and tow up to 36,000 pounds with a diesel powertrain.
Who Should Buy a 1-Ton Truck?
A 1-ton truck is an ideal choice for a tradesperson who will do heavy hauling and towing for their vehicle. Also, a 1-ton truck is ideal for those who will be doing their hauling and towing up steep grades due to the powerful engine in 1-ton trucks. Finally, a 1-ton truck is a great choice for those who want to tow large boats and large RVs.
For even greater hauling power, consider a dump truck.
1-Ton Truck Examples
Top-selling 1-ton trucks include:
In search of the ultimate work truck? Check out our picks for the best dually trucks here.
What Does 1500 Mean on a Truck?
Several automakers use 1500, 2500, and 3500 labels for trucks. Essentially, these numbers correspond to how many tons the vehicle can haul.
- 1500 trucks can haul about a half-ton of materials. (ex. Chevrolet Silverado 1500)
- 2500 trucks can haul about a three-quarter ton of materials. (ex. GMC Sierra 2500HD)
- 3500 can haul about one ton. (ex. Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD)
Essentially, 1500 trucks are “light-duty trucks” while the other two are considered heavy-duty. Therefore, 1500 is suitable for daily driving and light hauling work, whereas the 2500 and 3500 are more often used for service workers.
Best Car Deals by Category
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a payload on a truck?
The payload of a truck is the amount that the truck can hold in its bed. In general, a 1/2-ton truck can carry a payload of up to 3,000 pounds. A ¾ ton truck can carry a payload of up to 4,000 pounds. Finally, a 1-ton truck can carry a payload of up to 6,000 pounds.
Are there trucks smaller than a 1/2-ton?
The United States uses commercial truck classifications according to a truck's GVWR. ½ ton trucks are classified as Class 2a and are the second-lowest rating. The lowest rating is Class 1. Class 1 trucks have a GVWR under 6,000 pounds. Trucks under the Class 1 rating include Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, Ford Ranger, Honda Ridgeline, Jeep Gladiator, and Nissan Frontier.
Are there trucks larger than 1-ton?
The United States puts all 1-ton trucks in Class 3 based on the GVWR range of 10,001 to 14,000 pounds. There are actually 5 classifications beyond Class 3. For instance, Class 4 trucks with a GVWR from 14,001 to 16,000 pounds include the Chevy Silverado 4500HD, Ford F-450 (Chassis Cab), and the RAM 4500. Larger trucks include Class 5 trucks such as the Chevy Silverado 5500HD, Ford F-550, and RAM 550. Trucks larger than Class 5 are mostly commercial-only trucks.
How much can a ½ ton truck tow?
A ½ ton truck can tow up to 10,000 pounds based on the type of powertrain that they are using. A diesel powertrain will usually allow the truck to tow more.
How much can a ¾ ton truck tow?
A ¾ ton can tow up to 14,000 pounds based on its powertrain. Generally, a diesel powertrain will allow the truck to tow on the higher end of the range.
How much can a 1-ton truck tow?
A 1-ton truck can tow up to 36,000 pounds based on its powertrain. Generally, a diesel powertrain will allow the truck to tow on the higher end of the range.
Can a ½ ton truck haul a fifth wheel?
While truck manufacturers advertise that their ½ trucks can haul a fifth wheel, it is not recommended. A fifth wheel is an RV with a hitch and a rear axle. This creates major stress on a ½ ton truck’s limited towing capacity.
Can a ¾ ton truck haul a fifth wheel?
A ¾ ton should have the power to tow many types of fifth-wheel RVs. However, you will want to reserve the larger fifth-wheel RVs for 1-ton trucks.
Can a 1-ton truck haul a fifth wheel?
A 1-ton truck will have the towing capability and the power to tow most fifth-wheel RVs.