Exactly how much does a half-ton truck weigh?

Ford F-150 truck

It’s either the best bar bet in the world or the worst vaudeville routine ever: How much would you say a half-ton truck weighs?

Listen, I took a little math back in high school, and I know that in these United States of America, a ton equals 2,000 pounds. Therefore, ergo ipso facto, I’d be willing to bet good money that a half-ton truck tips the scales right at 1,000 pounds. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

But if I took that bet, I’d be eating crow and buying the next round.

Let’s look at America’s favorite half-ton truck of the last half century or so: The Ford F150 for instance. 

A fully loaded 2022 Ford F150 weighs in between six and seven thousand pounds GVWR. That’s 3+ tons according to my public school match! What in the wide wide world of sports is up with that?

That’s fully loaded, though, and I’m not talking about AC, automatic transmission, and premium floor mats. The F150’s GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) is how much it weighs fully loaded with the family, the kids, all the passengers, the dogs, the groceries, and all those bags of mulch you’ve been carrying around since spring.

Completely empty with nothing in it but a full tank of gas and the sweet, sweet smell of freedom, the F150 is going to weigh around five thousand pounds. 

Five thousand pounds equals two and a half tons. 

Two and a half tons is greater than a half ton.

Ford F-150 truck towing camper

So why in the name of Wilmer Valderrama is a truck that weighs two or three tons called a half-ton truck?

When truck people refer to half-ton, three-quarter-ton, and one-ton trucks, what they are referring to is the payload… how much stuff you can stuff into the truck… kind of.

Back during World War II, the military wanted to standardize the trucks they bought from different manufacturers and placed their massive orders according to the payloads they could carry. The war effort completely dominated industrial output and planning, and once the war ended, the half-ton, three-quarter-ton, and one-ton designations rolled over into the commercial sector and set the modern American truck market on the path it’s been on for 70 years.

In 1948, Ford designated its half-ton truck as the F1, its three-quarter-ton as the F2, and the one-ton heavy-duty truck as the F3: what you know now as the F150, F250, and F350.

Once Dodge and GM followed suit with similar naming systems for their pickups, the die was cast. The problem is inflation!

Over the last 70 years, the power and payload capacities of trucks have improved dramatically and today’s trucks can carry much, much more than their 1940s-era categories.

The half-ton Ford F150 can easily haul 1,500 to 2,000 pounds depending on which model you order.

So a half-ton truck is called a half-ton truck not because of how much it weighs but because of how much it can carry except it can carry a lot more than a half-ton. Got it?

The tonnage descriptor has basically just grown into shorthand to differentiate the three different sizes of full-size trucks

Ford has the half-ton F150. Dodge and Chevrolet have their 1500s.

The three-quarter-ton F250 compares and competes with their 2500s.

And the big daddy, heavy-duty, one-ton Ford F350 goes head to head with the Ram 3500 and Chevy’s Silverado 3500HD

2019 Ford Ranger Fx2 Package 007

So is a Ford Ranger a half-ton truck or a quarter-ton?

Well, that kind of depends on who you ask. 

It’s not really a half-ton truck even though it can easily carry close to a ton. The pocket-rocket Ford Maverick has a payload rating of over three-quarters of a ton. 

Ford smaller trucks are officially categorized as Class 1 Light Duty trucks because they have GVWRs under 6,000 pounds, but if you want to call them quarter-tons, you can probably find some old-time truck enthusiasts to back you up.

Whether you need a half-ton, three-quarter-ton, or one-ton heavy-duty truck, come experience the Gary Crossley Difference

Or a quarter-ton truck that can carry a ton, we’ve got you covered.

Right now, we have trucks on the lot, just waiting for you to take them home. New Fords, plus used Chevy and Ram Trucks, Toyotas, and Nissans ready for immediate delivery.

We have new Fords arriving every single day.

If you know what you want, we can order you the exact new Ford truck you’ve been dreaming of and maybe save you a little money in the process.

And we absolutely, positively guarantee no matter which truck you end up buying at Gary Crossley Ford, working with us will always be…. Wait for it….

A ton of fun!

See what we did there?



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