How Much Weight Can A 1500 Truck Hold In The Bed?


Knowing your truck’s capabilities is vital when you have to carry heavy loads. But, sometimes, the terms can get confusing. Many of the ratings we use today are outdated, working only there as titles.

As the engineering behind these vehicles improves, so does their capacity. This article will explain how much weight trucks can carry and what these terms really stand for. 

How Much Weight Can A 1500 Truck Hold In The Bed?

A 1500 truck has a payload of up to 3,000 pounds. According to industry standards and classifications, these trucks fall under the half-ton category, or Class 2.

These classes use older references, which is why the payload capacity doesn’t match the type. The vehicles in this category are designed for daily driving. Their payload is respectable, but they handle well in highway conditions. 

One particular detail that you might have noticed is the capacity compared with the terms and categories. To explain this, let’s look at a fundamental concept.

In the US and Canada, a ton is 2,000 pounds. So, half-ton trucks supposedly haul 1,000 pounds, three-quarter trucks 1,500 pounds, and so on. 

It’s worth highlighting that the Class 2 category has two subcategories. The trucks in this article fall under the Light Truck ranking, which is the 2a category.

Meanwhile, those known as the three-quarter-ton are in the Light/Medium truck category. The “one-ton” trucks classify as Medium trucks. 

The history of these names is an article in itself. So, we won’t go too deep into the past. For now, we can tell you that these terms were initially used in the Military during World War II, and then they migrated to commercial use.

It’s unclear when and where the terms stopped directly related to how much weight the trucks could carry. But some historians agree that somewhere in the ’60s and ’70s.

So, what are some of the brands that have the famous 1500 trucks? These include the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500, Ford F-150, Honda Ridgeline AWD, Nissan Titan, Ram 1500, and Toyota Tundra. And, in the next section, we are going to talk about their payloads in detail. 

How Much Weight Can Each Brand Of Half-Ton Truck Hold? 

Like we’ve mentioned above, there are several trucks out there that fall into the half-ton category. The following table shows the weight a half-ton truck can hold and the average bed volume. 

It’s worth highlighting that we’re mentioning the highest payload capacity. The bed volume is respective to this figure. Other combinations can lead to different results. 

MakeModelHighest Payload Capacity (pounds)Bed Volume (cubic feet)
HondaRidgeline AWD158034
NissanTitan165061
ToyotaTundra173083
ChevroletSilverado 1500228082
Ram1500230063
GMCSierra 1500243072
FordF-150332577

There are some surprising results in this table. For one, though the Toyota Tundra has one of the biggest beds on the list, it’s only third in terms of payload capacity. Another aspect worth mentioning is that the Honda Ridgeline seriously lags behind in both aspects. The Ridgeline isn’t a working truck, and its diminutive bed is evidence of this. 

The Ford F-150 is one of the best performers on this list. Not only it has the highest payload capacity, with an impressive 3,325 pounds, but it has a respectable 77 cubic feet of cargo area, one of the biggest here. 

The Silverado and Sierra are identical in construction. The Silverado and the Sierra differ in payload capacity by about 150 pounds, with the Sierra coming out on top. 

General Motors, the parent company for both brands, focuses the Chevy more towards the working crowd. The Silverado outperforms in towing capacities, as 

What Are Other Truck Sizes?

As we’ve seen, the terms no longer fit the actual capacities. There are other terms, which we’re going to explain in this section. Plus, we’re going to give some details on each of the vehicles we’ve listed. Let’s start with the “three-quarter” ton trucks. 

Three-Quarter-Ton Trucks

Initially, these would have a maximum payload of 1,500 pounds or three-quarters of a ton. But, as technology has improved, these numbers have increased considerably. So, currently, Three-quarter-ton trucks have a maximum payload of about 4,000 pounds. 

These fall into the Class 2B category. Since these are still considered light/medium trucks, they handle well in everyday driving. But you can put them through tougher challenges than their smaller counterparts.

Some examples of Three-Quarter-Ton pickups are the Ford F-250, Chevrolet Silverado 2500, GMC Sierra 2500, and Ram 2500. 

One-Ton Trucks 

These trucks are made for hard work. Most users won’t need these capacities. But it’s always good to know that they can carry heavy loads without getting into issues with Commercial Driving Licenses or CDL. 

By the way, we’re dealing with bigger trucks in this section. Keep in mind that, with such vehicles, you might have to use a CDL, depending on the conditions you’re driving. So, if you want to know the specific situations in which you might have to have a CDL, check out our article on the topic

Some of the One-Ton trucks available in the US market are the Chevrolet Silverado 3500, the GMC Sierra 3500, the Ford F-350, and the Ram 3500. 

Most of these have payloads that average 5,000 pounds, but the Ford F-350 has an impressive 7,850 pounds of payload capacity. Some vehicles might require special packages to have the highest performance available. 

So, we’ve seen what a half-ton truck can do. But, there’s a specific detail about payload capacity you need to take into consideration. We’ll explain it in the following section. 

What Does Payload Capacity Mean?

When you’re talking about payload capacity, you refer to the maximum amount of weight you can add to a truck. But, this capacity is in addition to the vehicle’s curb weight. 

So if, for example, you’re carrying four passengers, you need to factor this additional weight onto the payload capacity. 

In fact, when you read the fine print (we mean the very, very fine print), you’ll see that the advertised capacity is in ideal conditions. 

Some manufacturers promote payload capacities in scenarios that are almost impossible to achieve. For example, they consider just one driver, no additional cargo (such as tools or luggage), and only the payload. 

So, what can you do to better understand your truck’s capacities? One excellent source is the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), which developed a standard. 

Their SAE J2807 results from thousands of tests and simulations to see whether a truck can carry or tow a specific load. You can look for your vehicle on the J2807 and confirm its performance. 

here’s a quicker way to have an approximate payload capacity. For this, you’re going to need your vehicle’s GVWR, which is how much weight your truck can carry inside it (such as driver, passenger, and cargo). 

You can find this information in a plaque around the driver’s position, be it on the door frame or near the seat. 

Then, you’re going to need your Curb Weight, which is how much your truck weighs when it’s empty. It has no passengers, driver, or cargo. But, it has a full tank of gas and all the fluids necessary to operate. 

Then, all you need to do is subtract the Curb Weight from the GVWR, and you have your vehicle’s maximum payload capacity. 

GVWR-Curb Weight = payload capacity. 

The great thing about this equation is that you can add other factors, like a light trailer. All you need to do is factor those into the equation. 

1500 Roundup

Many people have asked how much weight a 1500 truck can carry on its bed. This article answers this and gives you more information that’s vital to understanding a vehicle’s payload. 

Historically, trucks used designations to show how much weight they could carry. A half-ton truck could carry 1,000 pounds; a three-quarter-ton truck 1,500 pounds, and a one-ton truck 2,000 pounds. 

But, as vehicles improved and capacities increased, these rankings weren’t precise anymore. They were, however, an exciting and easy way to inform the buyers of a truck’s capacity. So, eventually, manufacturers used them as categories. 

Trucks now fall under a different category system, which uses the GVWR. But you can still find a lot of people referring to their trucks as half-ton, or full-ton, for example. 

Some manufacturers use approximate values in their names. For example, the Silverado 1500 initially could fit about 1,500 pounds, but it has increased over the years. Ironically, as we’ve explained in this article, some half-ton trucks can carry a ton or more. 

In fact, the Ford F-150 can carry an impressive three tons. In the past, it would’ve been in a category on its own. 

So, yes, the terms have changed. So have the trucks’ capacity to carry more cargo. Next time you’re looking to buy any of the pickups we mentioned here, be sure to read this article. This way, you can better understand what indeed is the payload capacity. 

Kern Campbell

I've had a passion for four-wheel-drive vehicles since I was a kid riding in the back seat of my Grandfather's Jeep Grand Wagoneer. I have owned a lot of vehicles over the years. They each have their pros and cons and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you so you can find the vehicle that's just right for your needs.

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