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How Much Can the Most Popular Trucks Really Tow?

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As technology grinds forward and consumer trucks get larger and larger, tow capacity has reached some truly staggering heights over the years. We can see that today’s trucks are listed with specs that span up to over 40,000 pounds of possible tow capacity, but what does that really look like? In this article we’re breaking down some of the top performers in the 2023 class of pickups. We’ve got all the info you need on what makes each truck special, including its maximum potential tow capacity. In addition to the raw figures, we’re roughly equating the towing capabilities of these trucks with some of the heaviest objects—real and fictional—that we think they’d be capable of pulling.

2023 Ford F-150 | Max Tow Rating: 14,000 Pounds

The 2023 Ford F-150 continues to uphold its legacy as a leader in the full-size pickup truck market, blending rugged capability with modern technology and comfort. As part of the fourteenth generation, introduced in 2021, this model year carries forward the F-150’s reputation for versatility, offering a wide range of powertrains including V6, V8, turbocharged options, and the innovative PowerBoost hybrid for those seeking a balance between power and fuel efficiency. The 2023 F-150 is designed to meet diverse needs, from the work-oriented XL trim to the luxurious Limited and the off-road-focused Raptor. Ford also emphasizes technology and convenience, equipping the F-150 with advanced driver assistance features, a user-friendly infotainment system, and unique options like the Pro Power Onboard generator. With its combination of performance, technology, and comfort, the 2023 Ford F-150 solidifies its position as a versatile and dependable choice in the competitive pickup truck segment.

With 14,000 pounds of tow capacity, the F-150 would be able to haul a t-rex on the small to medium size (the biggest ones are thought to have reached 15,000 pounds, which would be just out of reach). 

2023 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 2500HD | Max Tow Rating: 18,500 Pounds

The 2023 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and GMC Sierra 2500HD continue to be stalwarts in the heavy-duty pickup truck segment, offering robust towing and hauling capabilities combined with advanced technology and comfort features. These trucks are designed to meet the demanding needs of those requiring exceptional performance for work or play, featuring powerful engine options including a potent 6.6-liter V8 gasoline engine and a formidable 6.6-liter Duramax diesel V8 that delivers impressive torque for towing. Both the Silverado and Sierra 2500HD models boast a range of configurations and trim levels, from the work-ready base models to the luxuriously appointed High Country (Chevrolet) and Denali (GMC) trims, catering to a wide array of preferences. The 2023 models also emphasize connectivity and safety, with state-of-the-art infotainment systems and a suite of driver assistance features to enhance the driving experience. Whether for heavy-duty work tasks or sophisticated daily driving, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500HD offer a compelling blend of power, luxury, and technology.

In theory the Silverado/Sierra models should be able to handle pulling an adult elephant without too much trouble—just as long as the elephant is willing to go along for the ride.

2023 Ford F-250 Super Duty | Max Tow Rating: 22,000 Pounds

The 2023 Ford F-250 Super Duty fortifies Ford’s presence in the heavy-duty truck segment, delivering an impressive combination of strength, technology, and sophistication. Designed to tackle demanding tasks with ease, the F-250 is equipped with robust engine options, including a high-torque Power Stroke® V8 Turbo Diesel and a powerful 7.3-liter V8 gasoline engine, ensuring it meets a wide range of performance needs from towing heavy loads to navigating challenging job sites. The 2023 model year brings enhanced features and technology, with advanced towing assistance systems, a modern infotainment setup with connectivity options, and a suite of safety features that elevate the driving experience. Available in a variety of trims from the practical XL to the luxurious Platinum, the F-250 Super Duty caters to diverse tastes and requirements, offering comfort and convenience without compromising on the rugged capabilities that define Ford’s Super Duty lineup.

We know that the real-life podracers created for filming certain shots of Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace weighed upward of 3,500 pounds, incorporating real jet engines into their design. Sebulba’s iconic podracer was one of the larger crafts in the field, and based on large jet engine estimations, we guess that a large podracer about that size would have weighed in just shy of the 22,000 max tow capacity of the F-250 Super Duty.

2023 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 3500HD | Max Tow Rating: 36,000 Pounds

The 2023 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD and GMC Sierra 3500HD stand at the pinnacle of heavy-duty performance, designed to meet the most rigorous demands of towing, hauling, and durability. These trucks are engineered to deliver unparalleled strength, with a focus on maximizing towing capacity and payload capabilities. Both models offer robust powertrain options, including a commanding 6.6-liter Duramax diesel V8 engine paired with an Allison® transmission, renowned for its exceptional torque and reliability. The 2023 iterations continue to push the envelope in technology and luxury, featuring advanced driver assistance systems, cutting-edge infotainment technologies, and upscale interior appointments across various trim levels. From the workhorse base models to the top-of-the-line High Country and Denali trims, the Silverado and Sierra 3500HD provide a blend of functionality and comfort, making them suitable for the toughest jobs as well as daily driving. With their formidable capabilities and sophisticated features, the 2023 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 3500HD are truly designed to conquer the most challenging tasks in style and comfort.

If you happened to pass by a trucker broken down on the freeway in your Silverado/Sierra 3500 HD, you could not only pick them up but also haul their trailer. We can’t recommend trying it, obviously, but on paper you’d have the tow capacity.

2023 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty | Max Tow Rating: 37,090 Pounds

The 2023 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty sets a high bar in the heavy-duty pickup truck segment, combining formidable towing and hauling capabilities with an unmatched level of luxury and technology. This model year continues Ram’s tradition of offering a strong lineup of engine options, including the renowned Cummins 6.7-liter Turbo Diesel, which delivers exceptional torque for maximum towing power. The Ram 3500 stands out not only for its workhorse abilities but also for its refined interior, featuring high-quality materials, advanced infotainment systems with the latest connectivity options, and a suite of safety features that enhance driver confidence. Available in multiple trim levels, from the practical Tradesman to the opulent Limited, the 2023 Ram 3500 caters to a broad spectrum of needs and preferences, ensuring there’s a configuration for every type of user. Whether it’s for demanding commercial use or luxurious personal transport, the 2023 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty excels, offering a perfect blend of performance, comfort, and sophistication in the heavy-duty truck market.

Based on virtual reality models constructed by fans, we think the Dune Ornithopter (pictured above in an interpretation based on the books) would be towable for the Ram 3500 Heavy, although a few bits and pieces might have to be stripped from it just to make sure everything’s up to code.

2023 Ford F-450 Super Duty | Max Tow Rating: 40,000 Pounds

The 2023 Ford F-450 Super Duty represents the zenith of Ford’s heavy-duty truck lineup, delivering unparalleled strength and capability for the most demanding towing and hauling tasks. Engineered to conquer tough jobs with ease, the F-450 Super Duty is powered by robust engine options, including the formidable Power Stroke® V8 Turbo Diesel, known for its massive torque output and efficiency. This model year enhances the F-450’s already impressive performance with advanced towing technology, such as the Pro Trailer Backup Assist and Trailer Reverse Guidance, making even the most challenging towing tasks more manageable. The interior is equally impressive, offering a blend of functionality and luxury with high-quality materials, cutting-edge infotainment, and connectivity features, alongside comprehensive safety technologies. Available in a range of trims from the utilitarian XL to the plush Platinum, the 2023 F-450 Super Duty caters to a wide array of user needs, ensuring that whether it’s for commercial use or personal luxury, drivers have access to a top-tier heavy-duty truck experience that’s hard to match.

At a whopping 40,000 pounds the F-450 has the most impressive tow capacity on this list, and that’s why it’s the only one that would have a chance of towing a stonehenge rock. At an average weight of 25 tons the stonehenge boulders actually exceed this trucks’ maximum capacity, but presumably a smaller 20 ton rock would do alright being pulled behind the F-450.