If you are in the market for a Ford pickup truck, you are likely curious about the differences between the F150, F250, and F350. Here we have compiled the ultimate head-to-head guide comparing the features and differences between of the F150, F250, and F350 trucks.
What are the differences between the F150, F250, and F350 trucks? The F250 and F350 belong to the Super Duty series of Ford trucks, designed to maximize towing capacity and maximum payload. The F150 series is a popular choice amongst drivers looking for trucks that you can use for both utility purposes and city driving purposes.
In this guide, we will touch base on the different engine options offered by each type of pickup truck. We will also discuss the differences in the transmission systems of the trucks as well as differences in the maximum towing capacities of the trucks and the maximum payloads of the trucks.
I hope that this guide will help you decide which F-Series best suits your needs.
Comparing the F150 vs F250 vs F350 differences
The F-Series trucks definitely have a lot in common, but the F150, F250, and F350 differences are what set them apart when it comes time to determine what truck you want. I am going to explain first about what’s under the hood in each model.
Later, I will explain the sizing, trim packages and other features.
Let’s take a look at all three models, starting with the F150 differences.
If you buy an F150, it will be included with one of the following engines:
- 7L EcoBoost V6 engine / 325 hp / 400 lb.-ft torque.
- 3L Ti-VCT V6 FFV engine / 290 hp / 265 lb.-ft torque.
- 5L EcoBoost V6 engine / 375 hp / 470 lb.-ft torque.
- High Output 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine (Available In SuperCrew, Limited trim) / 450 hp / 510 lb.-ft torque.
- 3.0L Power Stroke V6 (diesel) engine / 250 hp / 450 lb.-ft torque.
- 5.0L V8 engine / 395 hp / 400 lb.-ft torque.
The maximum payload varies depending upon which engine your truck is outfitted with.
The maximum payload of an F150 ranges from around 1700 lbs. with the 2.7L EcoBoost (depending upon cab) to around 2140 lbs. with the 5.0L V8.
Maximum conventional towing capacity
The maximum conventional towing capacity also varies depending upon which truck is outfitted with.
The maximum conventional towing capacity of an F150 ranges from around 7,600-8,400 lbs. with the 2.7L EcoBoost and up to 9,700 lbs. with the 5.0L V8.
If you buy an F250, it will be included with one of the following engines:
- 2L V8 engine / 385 hp / 430 lb.-ft torque.
- 3L V8 engine / 430 hp / 475 lb.-ft torque.
- 7L Powerstroke Diesel V8 engine / 475 hp / 1,050 lb.-ft torque.
The maximum payload of the F250 is significantly higher than the maximum payload of the F150.
The maximum payload of the 4×2 F250 ranges from 3,550 lbs. to 4,260 lbs. depending upon the type of cab you choose. The maximum payload with the 4×4 drivetrain Of the 4×4 F250 ranges from 3,040 lbs. to 3,820 lbs.
Maximum loaded trailer weight towing ratings
The maximum towing capacity of the F250 varies from around 12,900 lbs. with the 6.2L V8 up to 15,200 lbs. with the 6.7L Power Stroke Diesel V8 if you are towing a conventional trailer.
The same goes for towing gooseneck and fifth-wheel trailers where the 6.7L Power Stroke Diesel Engine is capable of towing significantly more weight than the 6.2L Gas V8.
If you buy an F350, it will be equipped with one of the following engines:
- 2L V8 engine / 385 hp / 430 lb.-ft torque.
- 3L V8 engine / 430 hp / 475 lb.-ft torque
- 7L Powerstroke Diesel V8 engine / 475 hp / 1,050 lb.-ft torque.
The maximum payload of the F350 ranges from 2,890 lbs. to 7,850 lbs. depending upon which setup you choose. Regular cab trucks come with significantly greater maximum payloads than crew cab trucks.
Dual rear wheel (DRW) trucks are capable of handling much heavier payloads than single rear wheel trucks (SRW).
Maximum conventional loaded trailer weight tow ratings
The maximum conventional loaded trailer weight tow ratings of the F350 trucks range from 13,100 lbs. to 15,000 lbs. with a single rear-wheel (SRW) truck and from 13,300 lbs. to 21,200 lbs. if you are rolling with a dual-rear-wheel (DRW) truck.
You see similar differences in the tow ratings of the different engine options if you are hauling gooseneck or fifth-wheel trailers.
A dual-rear-wheel F350 can haul a gooseneck or fifth-wheel trailer with a tow rating of up to 35,400 lbs. if you have outfitted it with a 6.7L Power Stroke diesel V8.
Which F-Series Ford truck is best for towing or hauling?
The best Ford pickup truck for your needs largely depends on how much towing and hauling you are planning on doing. It’s one of the key differences when comparing the F150 vs F250 vs F350.
- The Ford F350 will be your best option if you are routinely hauling heavy trailers such as fifth-wheel recreational vehicles or gooseneck trailers. The F350 comes in dual rear wheel (DWR) configurations as well, which hold the advantage of having a greater maximum payload and towing capacity than single rear wheel (SWR) configurations.
- If you are not planning on maxing out the towing capacity of the Super Duty Trucks, then you should go with the F250, which is more fuel-efficient than the F350.
- There is a negligible difference in the headroom and legroom of the F250 and F350, so don’t seek out the F350 if you don’t need its massive payload and towing capacity.
- You should also be aware that some states may require F350 owners to register their trucks as commercial vehicles with the states.
- In addition to possibly coming with higher vehicle registration fees, F350 trucks can also come with higher insurance rates.
- The key takeaway: You should take into consideration what towing capacity you actually need before selecting an F350 truck over an F250 truck.
How do fuel costs of Ford F-Series trucks compare?
The Ford F150 does not come with a diesel engine option. The most fuel-efficient engine option for the Ford F150 is the 2.7L V6 engine, which runs at 20 mpg city/ 26 mpg highway in the 4×2 model, the 4×4 model with the same engine runs at 18 mpg/23 mpg.
- The 3.3L and 3.5L 6 cylinder engines have a slightly lower fuel efficiency rating than the 2.7L V6 engine.
- The 5L V8 engine runs at 15 mpg city/ 21 mpg highway with the 4×4 drivetrain.
- With the 4×2, the 5L V8 engine runs at 16 mg city/ 21 mpg highway.
Both the F250 and the F350 trucks come with the option to roll with a diesel engine.
The 2020 F250 and F350 truck also come with the option of a 7.3L V8 engine, which has been designed with a variable displacement oil pump, with fuel economy in mind:
- Variable displacement oil pumps control how hard the pump works by syncing the pressure and volume requirements of the system with the demands of the engine dictated by engine temperature, loads and engine speeds
- When variable displacement oil pumps began hitting the markets in 2014, it was estimated that they could improve fuel efficiency by 3%-5%
You can also put a diesel engine under the hood of your Ford F250 or F350. Diesel fuel contains approximately 10-15% more energy than gasoline, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Diesel engines can go around 20% to 35% farther on a gallon of fuel than their gasoline counterparts.
The other advantages of diesel engines include:
- Better towing capabilities than gas-powered engines. They build up more torque at low speeds
- The sticker price of the vehicle may not be that much higher than the gas-powered Ford trucks
- Diesel vehicles typically have better resale value
Fuelly is a website and app that helps users track their gas mileage over time. The average reported miles per gallon rating of the F250 sits around 13-14 mpg. The average reported miles per gallon rating of the F350 sits around 12.5-13 mpg.
The key takeaway: The F150 is the better choice for suburban and urban drivers compared to the super duty trucks (F250 and F350), particularly if you are not expecting to have to haul heavy loads.
The Ford Super Duty trucks are excellent for reaching high towing capacity. The super duty trucks come with the option of putting a Diesel engine in the truck. Diesel trucks are also good for putting on high mileage over highways.
What are the advantages of Dually Fords?
Unlike the F150 and the F250, the F350 comes in a dual rear wheel configuration (also known as a dually).
If you are in the process of buying a truck, you will want to know about the differences between trucks with single rear wheels and trucks with double rear wheels. Dual rear wheels may better fit your needs versus single rear wheels.
Dual rear wheels (duallys) offer the following advantages:
- Increased safety while towing:
- If one wheel happens to blow out while you are on the highway, you have a better chance of getting your cargo safely where you need to get it
- Increased stability
- The dual rear wheels distribute the payload of a wheel more evenly than single rear wheels.
- Dual rear wheels contribute to greater resistance to windy conditions
- Increased maximum payload and maximum towing capacity
- Dual rear wheel trucks come with significantly greater maximum payload ratings and maximum towing capacities than their single rear wheel counterparts
- Dual rear wheel trucks work well with gooseneck trailers and fifth-wheel trailers
Here are the disadvantages of dual rear wheels:
- Higher maintenance costs due to more wheels being needed
- Vehicle registration costs
- You may have to register your dual rear wheel truck as a commercial vehicle even if you only use it for personal uses
- A decrease in fuel economy
- Dual rear wheel trucks cost more than their single rear wheel trucks
- More difficult to maneuver than single rear wheel trucks
- The wider and heavier body is more difficult to park and drive on narrow roadways
- A less comfortable ride than single rear wheel trucks if you are not towing a trailer
- Greater tire wear
- Not only do you have to buy more tires for dual rear wheel trucks, but the rear tires of the trucks themselves also wear down faster than the rear wheels of single rear wheel trucks
- Dual rear tires have to be rotated more often in order to evenly distribute wear and tear
The benefits of dual rear wheel trucks, such as the DRW F350, outweigh the negatives if you are routinely towing heavy trailers. If you are looking for a truck to drive daily, the F150 is likely the best fit for you.
Transmission differences in the F150 vs F250 vs F350
- 6-speed automatic transmission
- Only available with the 3.3L V6
- 10-speed automatic transmission
The 10-speed automatic transmission systems manufactured by Ford are designed to output smoother shift transitions in towing situations. With the 10-speed automatic transmission, you see a 20% drop in RPM (revolutions per minute) between shifts.
The tight ratio spread with respect to gear shifts is designed to keep the engine closer to peak power output during times of full-throttle acceleration.
- The 8th, 9th and 10th gears are called the “overdrive” gears. They are designed to better the fuel economy and acceleration of the vehicle as well as improve the towing performance.
- The 10-speed transmission in the F150 offers Tow/Haul and Sport Mode options that employ the 9th gear as an alternative top gear of sorts.
The end result is a seamless transition between gears as you tow a trailer down the highway.
Also, the 10-speed transmission system is reported as being not much heavier or bulkier than the 6-speed transmission system. This is because the new transmission system does not contain any cast-iron parts.
In the F250 and F350:
- TorqShift 6-speed transmission with tow/haul mode
- HD 10-speed transmission
The 2020 Ford Super Duty Trucks are designed to have higher maximum payloads and greater towing capacities than models from previous thanks in part to new transmission technologies.
The 10-speed heavy-duty (HD) automatic transmission system is paired with both the new 7.3L V8 and the third generation 6.7L Power Stroke diesel engine.
Motortrend notes that the new 10-speed automatic transmission system helps to keep operating in its so-called “peak efficiency island” of 1,500 to 2,500 rpm. In other words, the new 10-speed transmission comes with smoother transitions between gear shifts over the 6-speed transmission system.
Not only should smooth transitions between gear shifts make your ride more comfortable, but it should also make towing heavy trailers a more efficient process. Ford designed its new transmission systems with the intent to deliver on the increased comfort and fuel economy demands of modern drivers.
Do updated transmissions increase fuel economy and driver comfort?
It may be too early to tell as the true quality of the changes may not be apparent until consumers put more mileage on the 2020 class.
However, it should be pointed out that the 10-speed automatic transmission system in the Super Duty trucks has been designed specifically for the Super Duty trucks themselves.
The 10-speed automatic transmission system in the Super Duty trucks shares only 7% of the components also seen in the F150 10-speed automatic transmission system.
Motortrend estimates that the 10-speed transmission system in the Super Duty trucks may skip gears less often than the 10-speed transmission systems in the F150 series of trucks do.
The 10-speed automatic transmission system fits in the same amount of space that the 6-speed transmission system does and only weighs 3.5 pounds more. This new transmission system also supports multiple driving modes including normal, tow/haul, eco , slippery, deep sand and snow
Another aspect of the components in the Super Duty trucks that separates them from the components in the F150 trucks is the live-drive power takeoff. This component comes as an optional feature in the Super Duty trucks.
The live-power takeoff scales up the gearing powering the oil pump so that the idler gear can deliver power for functional components such as a hydraulic pump used for dump trucks.
Just as was the case with previous years’ models, the power takeoff component works the same regardless of whether the truck is moving or stopped.
How good is the new 7.3L V8 engine in the Super Duty trucks?
The 2020 model year Ford Super Duty trucks come with the option of putting Ford’s new 7.3L V8 engine under the hood. The 7.3L V8 comes as a new alternative to the 6.2L V8, which has a horsepower of 385 hp and a torque of 430 lb-ft.
Here’s how this engine in the F250 and F350 stacks up against the V8 engines in the F150:
- The V8 engine option in the F150
- 5L V8 engine
- Horsepower of 395 hp
- Torque of 400 lb-ft.
- The V8 engine options in the F250 and F350
- 3L V8 engine
- Horsepower of 430 Hp
- Torque of 475 lb-ft.
Features of the 7.3L V8 engine
- The new 7.3L V8 engine is not much larger than the 6.2L V8 engine, though it is currently the largest V8 engine in its class in terms of displacement, according to Motortrend.
- Unlike the 5.0L V8 in the 2020 F150, the 7.3L V8 engine has a port injection rather than a direct fuel injection.
- Ford included a port injection in the new engine rather than a direct fuel injection system, likely with cost in mind.
- The anticipated higher-load, lower-speed duty cycle of the Super Duty truck engines doesn’t justify the increased expense associated with a direct fuel injection system.
- Also, the new 7.3L V8 has a cast-iron block and forged steel crankshaft built to handle heavy-duty loads.The engine has been strengthened with four-bolt and cross-bolted main bearings.
Why is horsepower and torque so low in the 7.3L V8 engine?
You might be concerned about how low the torque and horsepower of the 7.3L V8 engine of the Super Duty trucks are.
Coming in with a horsepower rating of 430 hp, the horsepower rating of the V8 engine is significantly lower than the horsepower rating of the Diesel engine, which has a horsepower rating of 475 hp.
Auto experts say that you should not be worried about being underwhelmed by the power output of Ford’s new 7.3L V8 engine.
The low power output of Ford’s new 7.3L V8 engine is no cause of concern for several reasons:
- The focus of the design is likely to achieve more low-end torque rather than purely producing tons of power.
- Engines with good low-end torque are typically preferred for towing and hauling purposes.
- Truck motors are often built with heavy-duty parts that you don’t want to damage by revving too hard.
- Low maximum power output and low torque output can offer the advantage of causing less stress on the engine since it will compression ratio be lower.
- The compression ratio was of an engine is how much the fuel mixture is compressed prior to ignition.
The bottom line
The new 7.3L V8 engine for the Ford Super Duty trucks comes with lower power and torque output in order to both maximize the durability of the engine and the performance of the truck during towing and hauling operations.
The engine options of the Ford F250 and Ford F350 further highlight the intended purposes of the super duty trucks.
The Ford Super Duty truck series has been designed with maximizing towing performance over other uses. If you are not regularly towing heavy trailers, the F250 and F350 trucks will not be as useful to you.
The engines of the Ford F150 series have a power output and torque output designed well for the purposes of daily use as well as regularly towing trailers that have lower towing capacity requirements such as boats and campers.
The trim levels will be the same regardless of whether you buy a Ford F150, F250 or F350.
The trim levels available in both F150 and super duty Ford trucks, ranked from lowest to highest in price are:
- King Ranch
The Ford Raptor trim is only available in the F150 series.
The features of each trim level are similar for both the F150 series and the super duty series. The big difference is with the engines available.
The more affordable trims of the F150 series come equipped standard with either the 2.7L V6 or the 3.3L V6 engine.
The King Ranch and Platinum trims of the F150 series come equipped standard with the 5.0L V8 engine while the Raptor and Limited trims come equipped with High Output 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine.
The limited trim of the Ford Super Duty series comes equipped with a 6.7L Power Stroke Diesel.
The interior features will be the same whether you are buying an F150 vs F250 or vs F350. They all come with the same cab sizes with the cab size options being:
- Regular cab
- With no rear passenger seats
- Extended Cab
- With rear passenger seats that have less legroom than the seats at the front of the cab
- Supercrew cab
- With spacious passenger seats at the rear of the cab
Truck bed options
The truck bed options will differ slightly between the F150 and the super duty (F250 and F350) trucks.
- The F150 trucks come with the option of either a short, standard, or long bed.
- The F250 and F350 trucks come equipped with a standard-sized truck bed that is slightly larger than the standard bed offered in the F150 series.
The front suspensions of the F150 and the Super Duty trucks differ in the type of suspension that they have at the front end of the truck.
- The F150 series of trucks use an independent front suspension.
- The F250 and the F350 trucks come equipped with a solid front axle.
The main difference between an independent front suspension and a solid front axle is that in the case of independent front-end suspension systems, the two front tires move independently.
This feature makes the F150 trucks better suited for street driving as well as off-road driving. Independent front end suspension systems are designed to maximize comfort.
Solid front axle suspension systems are considered to be more durable and easier to repair since they have fewer moving parts that can potentially break down.
A solid front axle is typically made of iron rather than aluminum. A solid front axle can be easier to steer and less susceptible to changes than independent front end suspension systems. This system is better suited for towing and hauling situations.
Wrapping up the F150 vs F250 vs F350 differences
In this head-to-head guide, we’ve covered the meat-and-potatoes of each Ford F-Series truck, in an effort to help you quickly see the differences between them. While you can dress each of them up similarly, the main differentiators are how much you plan to tow and where you plan to drive.