Updated at: 27-07-2023 - By: Lucas

If you’ve been shopping for a new pickup truck, you’ve probably heard the terms half-ton, three-quarter-ton, and one-ton trucks. These terms must be hard to understand for someone who doesn’t know much about trucks and how to classify them.

So, what do these words mean, and how do they describe what each truck can do?

What Does Truck Tonnage Refer To?

What Is A Half-Ton

Based on how much they can carry, pickup trucks and SUVs are grouped as half-ton, three-quarter-ton, or one-ton. When people talk about 1/2-Ton, 3/4-Ton, and 1-Ton trucks, they mean that they can carry 1,000, 1,500, and 2,000 pounds, respectively.

But these are just general categories that don’t tell you how much a truck can carry!

By definition, a truck’s payload is the most weight it can carry in both the cabin and the bed. It includes the weight of the people or things in the cabin, the weight of the things in the bed, and the torque weight.

The torque weight is the weight that a trailer puts on a tow hitch when it is being pulled.

Before, a truck’s tonnage was a measure of how much weight it could carry. One tonne was 2,000 pounds, so a three-quarter-ton car could only carry 1500 pounds of people, cargo, and trailer weight.

Since then, the language has changed, but manufacturers have kept the taxonomy so that customers can quickly find out what a truck they want to buy can do.

Most half-ton trucks can now carry up to 2,000 lbs. of cargo. The same is true for 3/4-ton trucks, which can carry up to 2 tonnes and in some cases even more than 1 tonne.

It’s hard to understand why you can’t trust the name of the payload classification. So, a buyer needs to check either the gross vehicle weight rating or the published payload rating to know for sure how much a truck can really carry.

Read on to learn about the different kinds of trucks and compare what they can do.

What Is a Half-Ton Truck?

Most pickup trucks look like this one. You might also call them full-size pickups or light-duty pickups.

Most people who buy these cars use them for personal or light business purposes. A normal half-ton truck can haul furniture or pull small trailers.

They have a lot of the comfort features that passenger cars do. Because of this, they are very easy to drive.

It can carry about 3,000 pounds in its bed, and with the right powertrain, it can tow between 9,000 and 10,000 pounds.

Ford F-150

Ram 1500

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

GMC Sierra 1500

Nissan Titan

Toyota Tundra

F-150 Raptor Ford

What Is a Three-Quarter-Ton Truck?

What Is A Half-Ton-2

The three-quarter-ton truck is called “heavy-duty” because it can haul and pull a lot of weight. The 2500 series pickup trucks is another name for them.

Most of the time, the 250 or 2500 in their names stands for the model in the series.

Most of them run on diesel and have automatic transmissions, but they can also have big gasoline engines. Even though they have more capabilities, they are still made to be driven.

It can haul about 4,000 pounds in its bed, and with the right powertrain, it can pull nearly 14,000 pounds.

It’s a good choice for a construction worker who needs to move their tools and building supplies. It can also help when pulling a boat or RV trailer.

Ford F-250 Super Duty

Ram 2500

Chevrolet Silverado 2500

Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD

GMC Sierra 2500

GMC Sierra 2500HD

Nissan Titan XD

What Is a One-Ton Truck?

The one-ton truck is made with the ability to haul and pull things as its top priority. Some of them can pull just over 35,000 pounds. They have brakes for the trailer, two wheels in the back, and bigger engines.

The number “350” or “3500” refers to the model of the truck in the series.

There are no one-ton trucks made by Nissan or Toyota. The highest class of pickup trucks that are sold through consumer dealers is the one-ton class. If a business buyer wants something bigger, they have to go to a different dealership.

It can haul about 6,000 pounds in its bed, and with the right powertrain, it can tow almost 36,000 pounds. It can be helpful for people who want to pull big boats and RVs.

It’s also a good choice for a businessperson, especially if they live in an area with steep hills.

Ford F-350 Super Duty

Ram 3500

Chevrolet Silverado 3500

GMC Sierra 3500

Heavy Duty Dodge Ram 3500

Ram Cab Chassis

Trucks Larger Than One Ton

Some companies need trucks that can carry more than what a one-ton truck can. For these companies, some manufacturers make special trucks.

Even though the vehicle is good for towing and hauling, it is usually not comfortable to drive.

They have model numbers that start with “450” or “4500,” and the higher model numbers usually come with special equipment.

Examples of Trucks That Exceed One Ton

Ford F-450

Ford F-550

Ford F-650

Ford F-750

Chevrolet Silverado 4500 HD

Chevrolet Silverado 5500 HD

Chevrolet Silverado 6500 HD

Ram 4500

Ram 5500

Trucks Smaller Than a Half Ton

Small pickups, compact pickups, and midsize pickups are all names for them.

Compared to full-size pickups, they are smaller, can’t pull as much or carry as much, and have a lot less power.

They are, however, easy to park and use less gas than full-sized pickup trucks.

Examples of Midsize Trucks

The Chevy Colorado

Ford Ranger

GMC Canyon

Honda Ridgeline

Jeep Gladiator

Nissan Frontier

Toyota Tacoma

How to Choose the Best One-Ton Truck for Your Business

1. Payload Capacity

Think about how much weight it will need to carry. It’s better to go with a higher number so you can avoid being disappointed in the future.

2. Towing Capacity

If you plan to pull trailers and dollies, it’s better to be safe and give a higher number.

3. Fuel Type

You should buy the truck you need based on the fuel you plan to use. The terrain you plan to drive on and whether or not you need the truck to pull something will also help you choose a fuel type.

Diesel trucks are more expensive and heavier than gas-powered ones. It also needs more maintenance, even though it may be cheaper in the long run, depending on how many miles you drive each year and how you drive.

4. Estimated Annual Mileage

If you drive between 30,000 and 35,000 miles a year, a diesel truck is a better choice. But, depending on your needs, you might have to do more research.

5. Cost

This totally depends on how much money you have, but there are still great options that won’t break the bank.

6. Cab Configuration

There are different ways the cab can be set up, such as:

The normal cab (two front doors)

The longer cabin (two front doors and smaller half doors)

The staff cab (four equal full-size doors to carry more people)

7. Drivetrain

Choose the drivetrain based on where you live and how much you plan to haul or pull. Here are some of the different types of drivetrains you can choose from:

back-wheel-drive: (RWD)

front-wheel-drive (FWD) (FWD)

four-wheel drive (AWD),

two-wheel drive (also called 42)

four-wheel drive (4WD, 4×4)

8. Single Rear Wheels (SRW) Or Dual Rear Wheels (DRW)

Depending on the GVWR of the truck you want, your choice may already be made. Trucks often come with DRW when the GVWR is high.

9. Snow & Ice Applications

This option is only useful if you live in a place where it snows or if you often drive in a place where it snows.

10. Truck Bed Length

This will depend on what you want to carry on the bed of your truck. If you need to move long pieces of wood, you might want to think about getting a long bed.

What Is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating?

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is the actual weight of a trailer or truck, including its body and equipment, fuel and fluids, occupants, and loaded payload weight at the time of measurement. It stays the same because the people inside can change and a car with less fluids and fuel is lighter.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, or GVWR, is the maximum weight that a car can weigh while still being legal to drive. This weight is set by the federal government and the car’s original manufacturer. Most of the time, the rating is permanent and includes the gross vehicle weight (GVW).

The GVWR is important because it usually tells you what class a vehicle is in. As a buyer, you should pay close attention to the GVWR because there may be rules and licences you need to follow to drive a certain class of vehicle.


Trucks come in different sizes, so which one you choose will depend on what you need. The 1500, 2500, and 3500 names are just ways for different truck makers to show how much a truck can carry and how much it can pull.

Even though it’s not always true for modern cars, people are used to it and it’s easy to understand. But it’s important to remember that the bigger the number, the stronger the truck.