If you are planning to buy a pickup truck, one key decision that you will need to make is choosing a long bed vs short bed. Depending on your needs and preferences, this decision can be more important than you think!
The main differences between a long bed and a are the cargo capacity and overall length. Long beds offer more hauling capacity with a longer cargo area, while short beds provide better maneuverability and are more suitable for daily driving and parking in tight spaces.
If you’re wondering which is right for you, take these factors into consideration.
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Pickup Truck Bed Lengths
When you begin considering truck beds, you may assume there is only long and short length.
Actually, this is not quite true!
In fact, most models of pickup trucks come with a standard bed length, meaning this is what can be found on most of its models.
While the dimensions of course vary among bed lengths, the difference may not be as great as you would think.
For example, if you find a truck with a short bed, this means its bed is about 5’8″ (five ft eight inches) long, which may or may not be long enough for you depending on what you may be hauling at some point.
As for a standard bed on a pickup truck, this is generally around 6’5″ in length, making it about nine inches longer than a typical short bed.
Though initially, this may not sound like much of a difference, it can be substantial if you will be hauling larger items such as furniture.
Finally, a long bed is one that has a bed measuring 8′, which should give you ample room to haul almost anything you wish.
Should you be planning on using your pickup as a work truck, having a longer bed can come in very handy.
Before you make your final selection of a truck, always check with the dealer or measure the bed yourself, since the dimensions can vary by a few inches from one manufacturer to another.
Is a Short or Long Bed Better?
As for whether a short vs long box is better, here are some advantages associated with each type.
Short Bed Advantages
First of all, shorter beds are much easier to maneuver when on the road, and is also easier to squeeze into tight parking spaces in smaller parking lots.
If you have a tight budget to purchase your new pickup truck, keep in mind that shorter bed trucks are usually somewhat cheaper than those with long beds.
Thus, if you don’t expect to be doing lots of hauling, strongly consider saving money by going with a shorter bed.
Finally, short box pickup trucks are often bought by families!
Along with being more budget-friendly, most short bed trucks still offer enough room in the bed and cab for everyone to have lots of head and legroom, as well enough room to haul camping equipment, sporting goods, or other stuff!
Long Bed Advantages
Now that you know some advantages of short bed pickup trucks, let’s examine the flip side and learn about why a longer bed truck may be best for you.
Perhaps the biggest advantage long beds have over a short bed involves hauling capacity.
In most cases, pickup trucks with long beds tend to have more powerful engines, making them better at hauling large loads in their beds as well as campers or other types of trailers.
Should you own a camping trailer or other large trailer, strongly consider a long bed truck.
When you have a longer bed truck, you almost never have to worry about whether or not you’ll have enough room to haul anything you wish. Be it furniture, lumber, ladders, or virtually anything else, a long-bed truck fits the bill every time!
As a final advantage that tends to surprise some people, long bed trucks tend to handle better when on the road. Since the truck is longer, its wheels are set farther apart from one another, giving it a bit more balance on uneven roads.
Are Long or Short Beds Better for Towing?
Chances are that since you are preparing to buy a pickup truck, you don’t plan to have it just stay parked in your driveway. Instead, you plan to have it on the road doing many tasks, one of which will be towing campers and trailers!
But before you buy your truck, remember these factors that go into whether a long or short bed pickup truck is best for towing.
While a short bed vehicle that is properly equipped can safely tow a smaller travel trailer, most drivers agree with us that there is no contest when towing with a long bed versus a short bed truck.
Along with having more power and torque, a long bed pickup truck has a much longer wheelbase, giving it the extra stability needed to tow a large trailer down the highway at higher speeds without feeling like it’s a battle all the way to your destination.
Should you own a fifth wheel, you should definitely get a long bed pickup truck. Since a fifth-wheel hitch will take up lots of space in a truck bed, having a longer bed will still leave you plenty of space for hauling cargo.
Also, having a long bed will mean you won’t need a sliding hitch for your fifth wheel. This will be welcome news to you, since these hitches are expensive, take up lots of space in your truck bed, and are also very heavy.
By owning a long bed, you automatically have more separation between the back of your truck and the front cap of the fifth wheel.
Pickup Trucks with the Longest Beds
If you now find yourself leaning towards buying a long bed pickup truck, your attention is now turning to which makes and models offer the longest beds.
If so, we’ve found a few trucks that are very popular with drivers, offer tremendous hauling capacity and power, and have some of the longest beds on the market today!
First, there is the Dodge Ram 1500.
Featuring an 8′ long bed, your Ram 1500 can come with as much as 702 horsepower and a whopping 8,290 pounds of towing capacity.
However, if you are buying new, you’ll need to specifically request the long bed, since this is deemed to be an extra for the Ram 1500.
Next, we bring you the Chevrolet Silverado 1500.
If you need a couple of extra inches for your hauling, this truck’s bed measures 8″2″ long, just nosing out the Ram 1500. Combine this with a maximum towing capacity of 36,000 pounds of trailer weight, and you have a truck with sheer brute strength.
Like the Silverado, the Nissan Titan also has a bed measuring 8’2″ long, and is considered to be a bit more stylish than Chevy or Dodge.
Also very powerful, this can be a good option if you want a truck that looks good hauling or driving around your city.
If simplicity is more your style, the Toyota Tundra and its 8′ long bed may be the perfect truck for you. If you want the optional long bed, you’ll need to request it from the dealer, and you’ll also likely need to buy an upgraded double-cab truck, so keep this in mind.
At 420 horsepower and an impressive 20 miles per gallon, the GMC Sierra can give you an 8′ bed that will let you haul almost anything. However, the long bed is not available on all Sierra models, so you may have to work a bit to find the model that meets your needs.
Finally, no list of powerful pickup trucks with long beds would be complete without mentioning the Ford F-150, the best-selling pickup in America for well over three decades.
With its 8′ bed, reputation for durability, and power that is as good as any other truck mentioned here, you’ll also be glad to know the longer bed option on this truck is not as expensive as some others.
Truck Bed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is a 5-foot pickup bed big enough?
This will depend on what you plan to use your truck for on a day-to-day basis. If you expect to be doing little if any hauling of big items, a smaller bed such as this should work fine.
However, if you want to haul a camper or expect to be hauling large pieces of furniture or other items that are heavy and bulky, you may want to consider a truck with a larger bed.
Can a Short Bed Convert to a Long Bed?
Yes, a short bed can be converted to a long bed version. But to do so, you should find a long bed that is ideally from the same truck you currently own.
By doing so and trusting the job to an experienced body shop, this job can often be done in no more than one or two days.
Whether you go short bed vs long bed for your pickup truck, we have no doubt your F-150, Silverado, Ram, or another model will get a good workout on a daily basis!