Whether you need a heavy-duty truck for work, or you plan to tow your camper, it’s essential to evaluate the best trucks for towing. With every manufacturer looking to claim the title as The Best, how do you tell which one is worthy of your money?
We’ve evaluated the top sources to find you the best trucks for towing according to the experts.
2018 Ford F-150
U.S. News & World Report lists the 2018 Ford F-150 at the top of their Best Trucks for Towing list. This has been a winner for numerous years in a row and is a fan favorite. It’s no wonder that it continues to be one of the best-selling trucks in America.
It currently features one of the highest towing capacity in its class but has some exceptional hauling ability as well. The max towing is rated at 13,200 pounds. Aside from that, it’s also one of the most efficient with 25 mpg highway gas mileage figures.
It’s rugged and capable of handling your toughest workload, but also offers drivers with a full line of technology for the downtime. The interior seats are also supportive and spacious, ideal for the whole family.
Let’s face it; you don’t always need the most rugged truck on the market. Sometimes you just want to take your girl into town for a night out. The Ford F-150 gives you the best of both worlds.
2019 Ram 1500
Completely redesigned for 2019, the Ram 1500 made the Best Trucks for Towing list in second place. Its max towing is rated at 12,750 pounds, which is only slightly less than the F-150. The base model has a V6 engine that produces 305 horsepower, but you’ll want the V8 with 395 horsepower for the best results.
While the new Ram 1500 features a luxurious cabin and plush seating, you’ll want to be wary of the fuel economy. It seems to use a little more fuel than the other options, but Ram enthusiasts don’t appear to mind.
2018 GMC Sierra 1500/2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Tied for third place in the Best Trucks for Towing list is the 2018 GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado. Clearly they have many of the same characteristics since they are essentially the same truck. Both have a 12,500-pound max. towing rating for superior performance.
The Sierra has an upscale cabin and low starting price. It also received excellent safety ratings and comes with some new tech features like the seven-inch touchscreen. With all the good, there’ve still been some complaints regarding the handling ability.
The Silverado, on the other hand, received high marks for luxury, comfort, hauling and towing. The base model comes with a six-speed automatic transmission, but you’ll want to invest in the eight-speed instead. It’s built with better gear spacing, ideal for towing.
2018 Nissan Titan XD
Edmunds also chimed in with their picks for the best trucks for towing. Some of their top picks were the same as U.S. News & World Report, but there were a few others that surprised us. One of the best additions is the 2018 Nissan Titan XD.
It does have lower payload and tow ratings than some other heavy-duty pickup trucks. With that said, it’s built solid, offers superior braking performance and comes with the unique five-rail cargo tie-down system.
The maximum towing capacity with the 5.6-liter V8 engine is 11,600 pounds, but upgrade to the 5.0-liter V8 and you see that number jump to 12,640 pounds. There’s also a diesel engine that is less expensive than the gasoline models. Plus, there’s even an off-road trim available with the diesel engine.
Of course, if you desire luxury instead, you’ll want to sit behind the wheel of the Platinum Reserve model, which is an upgraded version. It costs less than many of the other luxury models, but it’s made with higher-end materials.
2018 Ram 2500 Diesel
Most people who plan to tow heavy loads look toward a diesel model. The Edmunds list offers some diesel solutions for the best trucks for towing. What’s unique about the Ram 2500 Diesel is that it comes with an inline-six instead of the typical V8. Even still, the towing capacity is at 17,980 pounds which places it with the other comparable trucks but allows for better fuel economy.
It’s also the only heavy-duty on the market with an available manual transmission. Choose the Off-Road package and you gain access to Bilstein shocks plus a protective transfer case skid plate.
2018 Ford F-250 Super Duty Diesel
Yes, the gasoline version of the F-250 offers 385 horsepower with a maximum tow rating of 15,700, but you can take that up a notch with the diesel model. The powerful 6.7-liter V8 provides 450 horsepower, 935 lb-ft of torque and out-tows the gasoline version any day.
It even beats the Silverado 2500HD with its maximum towing capacity of 18,000 pounds. Aside from its towing ability, it also offers a compliant ride and tranquil interior.
Picking the Best Trucks for Towing
Modern pickup trucks offer the comforts of a car along with the ability to tow large hauls. That’s what makes them attractive to most people. The average consumer isn’t exactly sure what to look for when evaluating the different options. There are some things you’ll want to consider when shopping for the best trucks for towing.
Typically, asking yourself some simple questions helps to reveal the truck that’s right for you.
The best place to start when looking to purchase any new vehicle is to read through the customer reviews. Choose some trusted sources like we did and see what their top picks are.
You must choose a pickup truck that can handle your trailer’s total weight. Make sure you know these numbers prior to starting your search. While some people claim it’s okay to tow above that rating occasionally, we recommend picking a truck that features more than what you need.
Light Duty vs. Heavy Duty
There are some light-duty trucks that have towing capacities over 10,000. Normally, someone with a big trailer, gooseneck, or fifth-wheel will do better with a heavy-duty truck instead. Obviously, you have to consider how often you’re going to use it. If you plan to go camping twice a year, then paying the extra few thousand might not be worth it for you.
There are other times when a light-duty truck might work. If you only tow a light utility trailer or small boat, then a light-duty pickup should be sufficient to your needs.
Gas or Diesel
This is the biggest question to answer when buying one of the best trucks for towing. Diesel is the clear winner when it comes to towing capacity. They also provide lots of low-end torque which offers you some better efficiency at the higher speeds.
Diesel engines usually are only available in a heavy-duty pickup, with some exceptions. It’s important to note that they also frequently make the price jump significantly. If you aren’t towing anything most of the time, it might not be worth the extra cost to you.
On the other hand, if you tow often, then the investment might be a good option. Some of the newer diesel trucks also offer some better fuel efficiency which might save some money at the pump.
Do You Need a 4×4?
Having a 4×4 truck is handy and useful for pulling a trailer. What many people don’t realize is that a four-wheel drive truck often has a lower towing capacity than their two-wheel drive competitors. That’s because of the extra weight the four-wheel drive adds to the pickup.
They also tend to be less fuel efficient when compared with a two-wheel drive pickup. While the towing capacity might be less, you could end up in a world of trouble trying to get up the slippery boat ramp or a hill with loose gravel with your two-wheel drive truck. Even driving on soft ground could mean trouble for these vehicles.
If you can handle the lower towing ability, the four-wheel drive pickup is your more capable option. Any of those above situations should be no issue for your 4×4. Even with the trailer in tow, you should be able to climb right out of a sticky situation.
If you plan to go off-road at all, you have no better option than a four-wheel drive pickup truck.
Picking the best truck for towing goes beyond what the tow capacity is. There are many more factors to involve in the decision-making process. With so many factors to think about, it’s crucial you take the time to make the choice that works best for your needs; not necessarily what the popular reviews are.
The only time that the numbers should trump your other needs is if you’re pulling heavy trailers on a consistent basis. The best trucks for towing are the ones that are rated to haul your load and offer the solution to your other needs as well.
Don’t forget –once you purchase the best truck for towing – make sure you protect it with Durabak. We have more than 18 colors to fully customize your vehicle with. Our weather-resistant, waterproof and durable formula can’t be beaten. Just ask the United States Navy who they trust.