Ford F-150s are some of the most common pickup trucks in the world.
It can be confusing today when people discuss whether or not a truck is a half-ton, a full size, or a 1-ton truck.
The terms half-ton, three-quarter-ton, one-ton, light-duty, heavy-duty, full-size, and medium weight are all ways in which trucks are described.
But what do all of these mean?
Over time these terms have changed so this article is going to walk through the official definitions and the current definitions of these terms.
Half-ton trucks are defined by the amount of extra weight they can carry (being 1000 lbs).
Though the Ford F150 can hold up to 3,700 lbs in some cases, it is classified by Ford as a half-ton truck. Ton rating is classified by the amount of weight a truck can carry. Over history, truck ton ratings have no longer followed the specific weight capacities
The maximum weight a truck can carry called the payload capacity.
In this article, we will break down the meaning and calculation of payload capacity.
What is payload capacity
Payload capacity is the amount that your truck can safely carry. This includes all weight in the cabin and the bed. This is calculated by using the GVWR and the curb weight (Firestone).
The GVWR is the gross vehicle weight rating which is the total weight determined by the manufacturer that a single truck can safely handle. In layman terms, this is the maximum weight that your truck plus cargo can have.
The curb weight is the raw weight that a vehicle has in its stock form. This means it has 0 passengers, an empty tank, and no extra modifications.
So a payload is defined as any extra weight that your vehicle carries aside from its basic form.
Payload capacity is calculated by subtracting the curb weight from the GVWR.
Payload capacity = GVWR – Curb Weight
It is important because there are many safety concerns that include ruining your suspension. There can also be significant legal ramifications for going above the payload capacity.
You cannot have the gross vehicle weight ever exceed the GVWR.
If you are trying to figure out how much weight your truck can hold you need to take into account the number of people you are carrying and any other changes you’ve made to the truck.
This means that if you need to know how much weight your truck can hold, you will want to use this equation:
GVWR – Curb Weight – Passenger Weight – Modifications = Weight your truck can carry
For more information and examples on payload capacity, check out What Does a Half-Ton truck mean?
Payload capacity is not the same as towing capacity. Payload capacity only refers to the amount of weight put on a truck. This does include the tongue weight (the weight on the hitch from a trailer) and any other passengers, cargo, and extra modifications.
Read this to understand the difference between payload and towing capacity.
What is ton rating?
The basic ratings of 1/2 ton quarter ton and 1 ton truck refer to the amount of weight in the form of payload capacity.
It is important to note that these size ratings do not refer to the weight of the truck.
Ton rating can be broken down into three main groups: half-ton quarter ton and 1 ton.
A half-ton truck is not one that weighs 1000 lb and a one-ton truck is not one that is 2000 lb.
The weight rating refers to the payload capacity rather than the weight.
A half-ton truck is a truck that can carry an additional 1,000 lb to a space weight.
Though this is the formal definition, many half-ton, quarter-ton, and one-ton trucks can actually hold more than these individual ratings.
Today the ton rating is not as defined as it used to be. ton rating is now more defined by The manufacturer rather than the actual specifications.
Though the ton rating is somewhat flexible and its current reporting their vehicle weight classes in categories that are more defined.
These classes are categorized by the GVWR.
These are the weight classes identified by Energy.gov by GVWR.
READ HERE for more information on ton weight ratings and what other trucks are classified as such.
Is the Ford F150 a half ton truck?
Historically the Ford F-150 is considered a half-ton truck. Because Ford classified this truck as a F150, it fits into the half-ton family.
Ford uses the number 150 to indicate their half-ton trucks. The Ford F150, however can carry between 1,705 and 3,325 lbs.
So by technical definition, the Ford F150 is a three quarter ton truck at the minimum and over a one ton truck at the maximum.
To look into more details about the payload capacities of the Ford F150 by trim, this article is for you!
Interested in just knowing how much the Ford F150 weighs?
Ford truck rating meaning
As mentioned before the ton rating isn’t very specific anymore to the actual payload capacity.
Manufacturers use different numbers to assign ton ratings.
Half-ton trucks usually have a number of 150 or 1500 in the name and are considered full-sized trucks.
Quarter ton trucks usually have a number of 250 or 2500 in the name and are categorized as medium-weight trucks
One-ton trucks have a number including 350 or 3500 and are classified as the heaviest trucks.
Any truck with a higher rating than this is typically used for commercial purposes rather than consumer.
Ton rating is completely independent of towing capacity and only refers to the amount of weight that can be carried on a truck.
Historically a half-ton truck could carry 1000 lbs, but today most trucks classified as half-ton trucks can carry a full ton or more.
Today the ton rating is more determined by the manufacturer in the number they designate for the type of truck they want to market which uses 150, 250 and 350 to identify half-ton, quarter-ton and one-ton trucks.
The Ford F150 is considered a half-ton truck even though with certain trims and packages it can carry up to 3,700 lbs.
Before you assume your F150 can carry this much, check out the specific payload capacity of your Ford F150 here.