What Trucks Can Tow 15,000 lbs?

For many drivers, trailering is not an everyday experience. However, for some outdoor and commercial activities, having the towing capacity to pull a 15,000-pound fifth wheel or travel trailer is very convenient. So what trucks are up to this gargantuan task? We've done the research for your reading pleasure.

At a minimum, you will need a properly-equipped 3/4-ton truck to pull trailer weights in the 15,000-pound region. However, properly-equipped 1-ton trucks with higher tow ratings can do the job more easily and safely. Some examples are as follows:

  • Chevrolet Silverado HD Trucks
  • GMC Sierra HD Trucks
  • Ford Super Duty Trucks
  • Ram Heavy Duty Trucks

Would you like to know more about the powerful trucks that you can rely on for heavy-duty trailering? Do read on, because we'll take a closer look at some of the most popular ones today.

Truck & RV trailer, What Trucks Can Tow 15,000 lbs?

How Big Of A Truck Do I Need To Pull 15,000 Pounds?

Towing capacity to pickup trucks is somewhat like top speed to performance cars. In addition to payload capacity, a truck's tow rating shows us how well-built it is for its intended design.

Because of the sheer weight, power, and safety concerns, the ability to tow trailer weights of 15,000 pounds or more is reserved for serious trailering activities. Some truck owners want the grunt to haul large bumper-pull and fifth-wheel trailers. Others want that pulling power for their hauling, construction, or logistics businesses.

If you need to tow 15,000 pounds, some popular full-size trucks like the Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan may not be for you. Even the best-in-class, 14,000-pound tow rating of the Ford F-150 is not enough. With this workload, you will need to go at least one step higher.

In this article, we will be discussing the 3/4-ton and 1-ton trucks that can handle the towing requirement that we need. We will also be touching on some commercial trucks from the same manufacturers.

Ford F-Series Super Duty

Ford F-450 Super Duty

The Ford Super Duty line consists of the 3/4-ton F-250, the 1-ton F-350, and the 1.5-ton F-450 trucks. Mainly because of their popular light-duty half-ton brother, the F-150, the Ford F-series trucks consistently lead America's large pickup truck sales.

The Ford Super Duty models have several engine options. However, they can achieve their maximum towing capacities using the proper towing package and the 6.7-liter Powerstroke diesel engine.

F-250 Super Duty

  • Conventional (bumper-pull) towing capacity - 20,000 pounds
  • Gooseneck and 5th-wheel towing capacity - 22,800 pounds

F-350 Super Duty

  • Conventional (bumper-pull) towing capacity
    • 15,000 to 21,200 pounds for single rear wheel (SRW) trims
    • 18,000 to 21,000 pounds for dual rear wheel (DRW) trims
  • Gooseneck and 5th-wheel towing capacity
    • 22,800 pounds for SRW trims
    • 35,750 pounds for DRW trims

F-450 DRW Super Duty

  • Conventional (bumper-pull) towing capacity - 24,200 pounds
  • Gooseneck and 5th-wheel towing capacity - 37,000 pounds

Ford Commercial Trucks

Aside from the F-Series Super Duty trucks, Ford also has chassis cab trucks used mainly for commercial operations. Among these are:

  • F-350 Chassis Cab
  • F-450 Chassis Cab
  • F-550 Chassis Cab
  • F-600 Chassis Cab
  • F-650 Chassis Cab
  • F-750 Chassis Cab

As long they use the Powerstroke diesel engine, all of these Ford commercial models have conventional and 5th-wheel/gooseneck towing capacities higher than 15,000 pounds.

Chevrolet Silverado HD Trucks

Chevrolet Heavy Duty pickup truck lineup

The Chevrolet Silverado is the best-selling workhorse pickup truck from the General Motors group. Even though the Silverado nameplate is most famous for its half-ton 1500 model, the bigger HD models still contribute significantly to sales performance.

The whole Silverado line sells over half a million units per year in America alone.

Although the Silverado has a V8 gasoline option, it can only achieve its maximum towing potential using the famous 6.6-liter Duramax diesel powerplant.

Silverado 2500 HD

  • Conventional (bumper-pull) towing capacity
    • 14,500 for regular and double cab trims
    • 18,500 pounds for crew cab trims
  • Gooseneck and 5th-wheel towing capacity - 18,510 pounds

Silverado 3500 HD

  • Conventional (bumper-pull) towing capacity
    • 14,500 for SRW trims
    • 20,000 pounds for DRW trims
  • Gooseneck and 5th-wheel towing capacity - 36,000 pounds

Chevrolet Silverado Chassis Cabs

Like Ford, the Chevy Silverado line also has Chassis Cab models designed specifically for upfitting to commercial purposes. Because of their tough construction, the Silverado Chassis Cabs are well-suited for industries such as agriculture, construction, power, and telecommunications.

All Silverado Chassis Cabs have the 6.6-liter Duramax engine as well as an Allison transmission. Because of this combination, all of the following models have conventional and 5th-wheel towing capacities north of 15,000 pounds.

  • Silverado 4500
  • Silverado 5500
  • Silverado 6500

However, if these Silverado Chassis Cab models are converted to vehicles that maximize their payload capacities, then their towing capacities may decrease.

GMC Sierra HD Trucks

GMC Offers the Sierra 2500 HD in street, off-road and commercial models

Although it comes from the same General Motors group, the GMC Sierra is more luxurious than its Chevrolet Silverado cousin. However, don't let the Sierra's comfort and technology features make you think that it lacks the grunt. The Sierra is also a true Duramax truck.

Like the Silverado line, the GMC Sierra also has a half-ton 1500 model. However, only the 3/4-ton Sierra 2500 and the 1-ton Sierra 3500 have the towing capacity that we need.

Sierra 2500 HD

  • Conventional (bumper-pull) towing capacity
    • 14,500 for regular and double cab trims
    • 18,500 pounds for crew cab trims
  • Gooseneck and 5th-wheel towing capacity - 18,510 pounds

Sierra 3500 HD SRW

  • Conventional (bumper-pull) towing capacity
    • 14,500 for regular and double cab trims
    • 20,000 pounds for crew cab trims
  • Gooseneck and 5th-wheel towing capacity - 21,500 pounds

Dually Sierra 3500 HD DRW

  • Conventional (bumper-pull) towing capacity - 20,000 pounds
  • Gooseneck and 5th-wheel towing capacity - 36,000 pounds

Unlike the Silverado HD line, the Sierra HD does not have chassis cab models. This is understandable because the Sierra caters more to the more luxurious pickup truck buyers.

RAM Heavy Duty Trucks

Last but definitely not least on our list are the RAM Heavy Duty trucks. Like the previous brands, the RAM brand also gets its clout mainly from its half-ton 1500 model. However, its Heavy Duty models give the best towing performance.

Not to be outdone by Ford and GM, the RAM trucks also have very potent powerplant options. Although RAM's 6.4-liter gasoline V8 Hemi engine is no slouch, its 6.7-liter Cummins I6 diesel achieves the best towing capacity.

Because RAM's official site does not distinguish between its trucks' conventional and 5th-wheel towing capacities, we can only share the maximum trailer weight rating.

RAM 2500 Heavy Duty

  • 6.4-liter V8 Hemi gasoline - up to 17,080 pounds
  • 6.7-liter I6 Cummins diesel - up to 19,990 pounds

RAM 3500 Heavy Duty SRW

  • 6.4-liter V8 Hemi gasoline - up to 17,650 pounds
  • 6.7-liter I6 Cummins diesel - up to 25,120 pounds

Dually RAM 3500 Heavy Duty DRW

  • 6.4-liter V8 Hemi gasoline - up to 17,760 pounds
  • 6.7-liter I6 Cummins diesel - up to 34,120 pounds

RAM Chassis Cabs

Like the previous automakers, RAM also has chassis cab models for customizable upfitting. By themselves, all RAM Chassis Cab models have enough capacity to tow 15,000 pounds. However, their pulling power can vary depending on their upfitting.

  • RAM 3500 Chassis Cab
  • Dually RAM 4500 Chassis Cab
  • Dually RAM 5500 Chassis Cab

How Do You Tow Properly?

Semi-truck towing a boat on the interstate, California

Towing is one of the most strenuous activities that you can do with your truck. Because of the added weight and trailer movement, your truck's engine, transmission, and frame are all put to the test. Moreover, towing increases your road presence and risk for accidents.

So how do you tow properly? Here are a few tips.

  • Drive slower - Towing a trailer requires additional braking force. Try to drive slower than you would when you're driving an unhitched truck.
  • Go easy on the accelerator - Sudden launches cause great strain as well as excessive heat for your engine and transmission. Moreover, sudden lurches can displace or shift your trailer's cargo or equipment.
  • Don't stomp or mash the brakes - Just like with sudden launches, you should also avoid sudden braking. You can wear out your braking system very fast, and you may also lose control of your trailering rig.
  • Increase awareness - Be extra mindful of your fellow drivers. Your rig is big and heavy, and because of this, you can cause a lot of unintended damage. Always make it easy for other drivers to notice you and anticipate your driving intentions with your lights, horn, as well as hand signals.
  • Avoid sudden turns or swerving - With the trailer attached, you will have a greater overall length as well as a bigger turning radius.

Wrapping Up

Truck & RV trailer

To tow a 15,000-pound trailer, you will need at least a properly-equipped 3/4 ton truck or bigger. However, 1-ton trucks can do the job better for recreational activities, and commercial trucks can do the job better for business activities.

If you want to get advice on the best truck for your specific heavy trailering purposes, then you may want to visit Ford, Ram, GMC, or Chevy dealers.

Thank you very much for reading. We hope we were able to help you understand more about trucks that can tow 15,000 pounds or more.

If you would like to find more interesting articles about towing and other automotive topics, do browse this site.