The Best 1-Ton Trucks
Towing, payload, power, and price.
Calling anything the "best" is a big claim, and one that shouldn't be taken lightly. With that in mind we've taken care to pull together a list of not the best overall 1-ton trucks, but rather which trucks are the best in each of six categories. These claims are not subjective; instead, they are based on manufacturer-provided specifications. Let's dig in.
Best 1-Ton Truck: Towing
Currently, there is a bitter battle for the title of top towing champ. Ford's 2020 F-450 Super Duty is rated to tow a maximum of 37,000 pounds, while GM's Silverado 3500HD and Sierra 3500HD pickups can tow a maximum of 36,000 pounds. If you believe that Ford's F-450 plays in the 1-ton segment, then it is the best. However, if you lean toward placing the F-450 in a class above, then the GM trucks take the prize. For comparison, Ram's maximum towing effort for 2021 is 35,100 pounds, which in reality isn't that far off.
Best 1-Ton Truck: Payload
Payload is an interesting number, as it's directly related to curb weight and the gross vehicle weight rating. Because of this, gasoline-powered pickups tend to have the highest payload capacity due to a lower curb weight. Ford offers the highest payload in its gasoline-powered F-350 Super Duty at 7,850 pounds. The 2021 Ram 3500 is second, offering 7,680 pounds of payload capacity, while the 2021 Silverado and Sierra 3500HD trail with 7,442 pounds of payload capacity.
Best 1-Ton Truck: Horsepower
When it comes to 1-ton horsepower, Ford holds the title for both gasoline and diesel. Ford's optional 7.3L gasoline V-8 produces 430 hp, while its 6.7L Power Stroke diesel churns out 475 hp. GM's 6.6L gasoline V-8 produces 401 hp, and its 6.6L Duramax diesel puts out 445 hp. Ram comes mid-pack with a 410 hp 6.4L gasoline V-8 but trails with only 400 hp being produced by its high-output Cummins I-6 diesel.
Best 1-Ton Truck: Torque
Horsepower is great and all, but torque is what really gets the work done, and Ford offers the most of it. The F-350 Super Duty packs a punch with its 6.7L Power Stroke diesel V-8 pumping out 1,050 lb-ft of torque. Not far behind is Ram's 3500, which when equipped with the high-output Cummins I-6 diesel churns up 1,000 lb-ft. GM trails with just 910 lb-ft of torque from its 6.6L Duramax diesel V-8.
Best 1-Ton Truck: Warranty
No matter which brand you choose, rest assured that it will come with a decent warranty. All offer a standard 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty on gasoline engines, and 5-year/100,000-mile warranty on diesel powertrains. All offer body corrosion warranties and some form of roadside assistance. Being so similar, we'd recommend digging deeper into the fine print before making a purchase decision.
Best 1-Ton Truck: Cost
This is where things get fun Ram's 3500 starts at just $35,545 for the most basic Tradesman model. A Ford F-350 Super Duty XL will start at $35,745. And Chevy's Silverado 3500HD begins at $35,800.
Adding the Power Stroke diesel engine to a Ford F-350 will add about $10,500, while Chevy's 6.6L Duramax diesel is about a $10,000 option. On Ram trucks the standard Cummins engine comes at a cost of $9,400, while the high-output Cummins diesel will set you back $12,200.
On the high end, checking all the boxes will bring the Ram 3500 to a total of $93,895. A Ford F-350 Super Duty Limited can ring up to a total of $93,205. A Chevrolet 3500HD High-Country is a relative bargain at just $80,335 with all of the boxes checked.