Aside from just wanting a big truck, c If you regularly haul heavy materials like lumber or concrete blocks, it makes sense to get a vehicle that can tote the weight without struggling on hills.
The same logic applies to anyone that regularly pulls a heavy trailer along with several other reasons. You know why you need a big truck, so we’ll stop assuming.
That said, don't overestimate your need for a full-size truck. They cost more money and require more fuel to operate plus maintenance can get expensive as well. You don't need a big truck to pull a personal watercraft or a boat that weighs under 5,000 pounds. Most mid-sized SUVs can do that job and save you money on monthly payments and fuel. So, consider your needs against your wants before you buy one.
To help you choose the best full-size truck, we’ve developed a list of the top-rated and best-selling full-size trucks. The following list is not ordered, so see the buying guide section for details on which truck is the best overall along with which trucks might make certain jobs more manageable. We chose most of the vehicles on the list based on popularity and customer opinions.
However, we didn’t assume a truck was reliable just because people liked the one they bought or the manufacturer said it was a good truck. We looked at every detail and did the math ourselves. We let customer opinions carry a lot of weight, but we also looked at towing and capacity along with any recalls or other common problems. So, let’s get to the list.
Best Full-Size Trucks Available
Keep in mind that we didn’t list these in any kind of order, so check the buying guide for details that may sway your decision or help you make one. Each truck in this list comes with a mini-review. The mini-review only includes details that pertain to a full-size truck, so they aren't complete reviews. Follow the link for each truck to get the full information about each vehicle.
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Many people argue that GMC and Chevrolet trucks are the same things, and those people are wrong. The same company owns both products, and they use a lot of the same parts, contrary to what your parts dealer says, but they are different. So, we're including GMC trucks in this list because they compete with their sister company in many ways since GMC got created to meet business sector demands.
The two GMC trucks that made our list are the Sierra 1500 and HD models. The basic 1500 starts at $35,145 and climbs to over $60,000 with convenience and towing packages added to the truck. The 2500 HD is about $4,000 more and can reach $70,000 with heavy-duty addons. GMC trucks are built to work and typically endure more than other trucks in their class by a small margin.
Choosing between the 1500 and the 2500 HD comes down to how you plan to use the truck. For most of us, the 1500 will handle all our yard work and home improvement jobs while still taking the boat to the lake on weekends. If you’re after a work truck to move heavy loads, get the 2500 HD with a towing package.
It's hard to find negative comments or reviews on either of these GMC trucks. That's one reason we included them on the list. GMC trucks tend to cost a little more than other trucks except for Fords, but they're built with working in mind. General Motors created the GMC brand to handle business needs instead of public needs. That's why you can't buy a GMC car. Only trucks and other utility vehicles.
Chevrolet Silverado HD 1500, 2500 and 3500
This is a reliable truck with a proven track record for reliability and toughness. You can get either version of the truck with a Duramax diesel engine and up to 910 pounds of torque which should pull anything you hook to the truck. The Duramax engine can produce up to 445 horsepower as well. There's no arguing this is a powerhouse and will probably handle most jobs.
The basic 2500 with no options starts at $37,600, and the 3500 is available beginning at $42.500. You can get several towing packages installed from the factory including a fifth wheel. These trucks are built for work from their locking rear differentials to their steel frames. You can also get them with some nice perks like built-in 4G Wi-Fi, and a Bose sounds system.
The 1500 is less powerful than the other models, but it's a good truck for anyone that needs a truck but doesn't need the extra hauling and towing capacity of the 2500 and 3500. The 1500 starts at $28,300 but may reach prices closer to $48,000 if you get all the options and add a towing package. However, it's unlikely you need the extras. If you do, the 2500 and 3500 are better choices anyway.
Chevrolet has a proven record of making reliable vehicles, and they haven't had many problems with recalls or customer complaints. Most of their recalls were related to minor issues like faulty wiring that may prevent the vehicle from starting which is more of an inconvenience than a safety concern. The Silverado is an excellent choice for anyone that needs a tough work truck.
Dodge Ram 1500 and 2500
Dodge trucks are known for their powerful engines like the HEMI and the Cummins diesel. It's hard to argue against their power. The engine and transmission combination in their heavy-duty trucks allow for pulling loads up to almost 22,000 pounds. Most things you need to pull from heavy loads of materials to large equipment won't be an issue for this truck.
The basic truck with limited options begins at $33,395. Expect to add at least another $10,000 to that for a towing package and the biggest engine available. Still, that's affordable by today's work truck standards, and you'll get plenty of work out of this truck. You can also get plenty of perks added to the truck to make your drive more pleasant including a touchscreen display to control almost everything.
If you don’t need a truck for heavy-duty work, the Dodge 1500 offers plenty of power and towing capacity for everyday use such as towing a work trailer or large boat. It starts at $31,795 but rushes toward $40,000 when you start adding options. If you need to move heavy loads, get the 2500 instead of the 1500. The price difference isn’t enough to make the decision difficult.
Dodge had some issues in the past with poorly made transmissions. Diehard dodge fans will argue that fact, but the problem left a little stain on Dodge’s reputation. However, their heavy-duty trucks come with an Aisin 6-speed transmission which has a reputation for reliability and toughness. If you like the truck, you can count on it getting the job done.
Ford F-150 and Super Duty Trucks
Like Dodge and Chevrolet, Ford trucks have a long reputation of being reliable work trucks. The fans of the three make up the longest and largest vehicle rivalry in history. There’s no arguing Ford trucks can compete with any truck on the market as a work truck. You can get them with a variety of heavy-duty gas or diesel engines along with any type of towing package you can imagine.
The basic F-250 starts at $33,150, and the F-350 is about $1,000 more usually. It'll add roughly $12,000 if you get the biggest diesel engine for these models along with the most robust drivetrain. The F-450 is a dual-wheeled version of these trucks that offers more towing and hauling capacity along with a Power Stroke V8 diesel engine. Choosing one depends on how much weight you need to move.
If you’re in the market for a full-size truck but don’t need to move massive objects or haul heavy loads, the F-150 may be an excellent option. It starts at $28,155 and climbs to nearly $70,000 if you get the Limited or Raptor editions. That said, you can get it for around $35,000 with all the options you’ll need for work around your property or small construction jobs.
People that drive Ford cars and trucks like them overall. Ford has suffered through a few recalls in the past, but most were about misconfigured vehicles instead of safety issues. Ford’s engines and transmission are regarded as reliable by owners. Ford trucks cost about 10 percent more than similar vehicles in its class as well except for the F-150 which is more competitively priced.
Most people probably don’t think about Nissan when they think about full-size trucks because cars come to mind. However, the Nissan Titan is a small powerhouse that can handle a lot of tough jobs. The Titan can produce 390 horsepower and enough torque to tow up to 10,000 pounds. That qualifies as a work truck in our book.
The basic version of this truck starts at $30,590, but it's cost at least another $8000 to get the heavy-duty drivetrain and towing package installed at the factory. This truck is best suited for smaller jobs like towing trailers under 20 feet in length and hauling smaller loads like sod or fertilizer. It won't handle bigger jobs like towing heavy equipment very well.
People that own this truck say it’s perfect for everything from taking a large boat to the ocean or towing trailers to job sites. However, you can increase the Titan's payload by adding the optional Cummins diesel engine to it and some drivetrain tweaks. Both of these options are available from the factory and add about 2,000 pounds of towing capacity bringing the total to around 12,000 pounds.
Like the Nissan, Toyota doesn't always conjure images of a full-size work truck, but the Tundra is squashing that stereotype. It's a big truck, and the Limited model can haul around 1,600 pounds and tow up to 10,000 pounds while carrying five passengers. The oversized 38-gallon fuel tank means you have to stop less on your drive.
The basic version of this truck starts at $33,320, but it will cost $47,000 if you want the more powerful version of this truck including the larger fuel tank and towing package. That said, this truck isn't suited for towing large equipment like tractors or hauling heavy loads of construction materials unless you regularly haul less than 1,600 pounds or need to pull smaller equipment under 10,000 pounds.
Owners of this truck love it, and they claim it can compete with any truck in its class. The Chevrolet, Ford, and Dodge trucks can carry and tow more than the Tundra, so if you need to move more weight, you may want to consider a different truck. The Tundra is best for household hauling or towing boats that may be too large for mid-size trucks or SUVs to handle.
Your Full-Size Truck Buying Guide
Every truck on our list comes with plenty of options to keep you comfortable and entertained while you're in the vehicle. Your choice shouldn't be about perks and options if you need a full-size truck. However, if you just want one, make sure you pick a good color. For anyone looking at these trucks for work or farm duty, answer the following questions to help narrow down your choice:
Towing and hauling a load are different things and you need to decide which one you plan to do most often. It’s easier for a truck to move a load that’s in its bed than it is to pull a trailer. Any heavy-duty truck on the list can haul and pull most loads between 12,000 and 18,000 pounds combined. Any regular duty truck on this list can handle pulling loads under 10,000 pounds.
If you need to haul people or luggage, we recommend going with the crew cab. It's annoying to climb in and out of extended cab trucks, and you can't fit much gear in there. Crew cab trucks work the best for most needs but examine your daily routine and work habits to decide which one to get since the price goes up a good bit when you jump from a regular to a crew cab.
Extreme temperatures affect everything, but diesel engines perform poorly in cold climates, especially as they get older. It takes longer to start a diesel in the cold, and it may reduce its towing performance as well until the engine is warmed up. In places where the roads are hilly or in the mountains, get a heavy-duty truck with a diesel engine for peak performance and plenty of towing torque.
Decide on your budget before you talk to the car sales team. Their job is to sell you a vehicle and maximize their commission, not sell you the best vehicle for your needs or one you can easily afford. That said, your budget may affect how much work your truck can do for you. For price and fuel economy, the Nissan Titan and the Ford F-150 are the best truck choices, but they have less power.
The Chevrolet 3500 and the Ford F-450 are probably the strongest trucks, but they come with much higher price tags. However, if you need a truck like that, you may have to find a way to make the payments to get the work done. The Dodge Ram 2500 is a little cheaper and comes close to matching the torque produced by the 3500 and the F-450.
It all comes down to your specific needs. For instance, if you need to pull a 30-foot trailer filled with home building tools and some lumber, you can easily get by with any truck on the list except the Toyota and Nissan trucks. However, if you need to haul lawn care equipment and a couple of employees, the Toyota and the Nissan will do the job and save you money on fuel.
Some Final Notes
Make your final decision on what you need or will need in the future. A cool name or paint color won’t get the job done. Examine your needs and determine exactly why you need a truck before you pick one. It’s better to save on fuel economy if you don’t need a heavy-duty truck, but it’s also a good idea to get a heavy-duty truck if your future may include heavy towing or hauling needs.
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Last update on 2021-06-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API