best truck for towing 5th wheel

The 6 Best Trucks For Towing 5th Wheel

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A fifth wheel can be quite bulky and heavy, thus you will need highly capable and reliable tow trucks to pull 5th wheel rigs. To make your buying decision as painless as possible, we have handpicked the 6 ​​best trucks for towing 5th wheel for your money.

This list offers something for everyone, including 5th wheel trucks for heavy as well as light towing jobs, those packed with safety features and comfortable cabin that would make perfect daily commuter when you’re not towing, both gas and diesel engine models, plus some affordable ones.

At the end of this car reviews, you will find the most important buying criteria when searching for the best fifth wheel towing truck for your needs.

6 Best Trucks For Towing 5th Wheel 

1. Ford F-450 Super Duty: For Heavy 5th Wheels

Towing Capacity: 37,000 pounds

Pros

  • Made for extra heavy towing jobs
  • Superior traction
  • Robust towing platform
  • The ultimate camera system making towing much safer

Cons

  • Much more expensive than the smaller F-350, F-250 and F-150
  • Heavy body (although aluminum), thus unimpressive MPG
  • Doesn’t fit regular car washing facilities
best truck for towing 5th wheel
The Ford F-450 Super Duty is among the most powerful pickups that can tow the heaviest loads on the market. Photo: Ford

If you need a heavy duty pickup to tow a fully equipped luxury 5th wheel that would double as a well-rounded vehicle for daily commuting, the Ford F-450 Super Duty might be the best truck for towing 5th wheel. As part of Ford’s new Super Duty truck line, this model is Ford’s largest non-commercial truck catered for those who need that extra towing capacity. 

With an impressive towing capacity of 37,000 pounds, this one-ton truck should be sufficient for towing the heaviest luxury 5th wheels on the current market. Contributing to this impressive towing capacity is the fact that the F-450 has four rear wheels and constant All Wheel Drive to deliver the best traction. On top of that is its beastly 6.7-liter Power Stroke Diesel V-8 engine that produces 475 horsepower and 1,050 pound-feet of torque.

Not just a beastly machine, the F-450 has a surprisingly elevated interior for a truck made for heavy towing. The ride is smooth and quiet, plus there are numerous driver assist features, making it also an ideal commuter for daily driving. There are also various options and special trim packages so that you can customize your pickup even further. 

Note that the F-450 is at least $15,000 more expensive than the smaller F-350, F-250 and F-150, but you’re paying for solid towing performance as well as a more luxurious cabin. 

2. 2019 & 2020 GMC Sierra 3500 HD: For Heavy 5th Wheels

Towing Capacity: 

  • 2019 model: 23,100 pounds
  • 2020 model: 35,500 lbs 

Pros

  • Diesel engine option available
  • Special trailering camera system
  • Rugged build
  • Strong braking proficiency
  • Ample cabin space

 Cons

  • Limited off-roading capabilities

The GMC 3500 HD promises a comfortable and quiet drive in a spacious cabin. RVers particularly appreciate its special trailer-ing camera system, although this is a dealer-installed accessory. You get a trailer-mounted camera plus left and right-hand side-view mirror cameras for a complete view and clearance of your GMC and the fifth-wheel.

Another noteworthy offering is a diesel engine option. You get the standard 6.0-liter V8 gas engine that produces 360 horsepower along with 380 pound-feet of torque, or the optional Duramax 6.6-liter turbodiesel that makes the most of this truck’s 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque.

Although paling in comparison with the F-450 above in terms of towing capacity at 23,100 pounds, the 2019 GMC Sierra 3500HD is one of the best gas truck to pull a 5th wheel if you’re buying used. That said, its towing capacity is more than decent, and if you need a more heavy duty pickup, you can opt for the 2020 model instead, with a rating of up to 35,500 lbs.

The 2020 model also boasts above-par safety features that include the OnStar® & GMC Connected Services capability, hitch guidance, hitch guidance with hitch view, HD rear vision camera, and StabiliTrak, stability control system with Proactive Roll Avoidance and traction control. All in all, the 2020 GMC Sierra 3500HD is also pleasant to drive daily when you’re not towing.

3. Ram 3500: For Heavy 5th Wheels

Towing Capacity

  • 30,000 pounds
  • 35,100 pounds with optional dual rear wheels

Pros

  • Powerful gasoline and diesel engines
  • Stiff, towing-friendly assembly
  • Power Wagon off-road trim still available

Cons

  • Less spacious rear seat

In the heavy duty category, no list of the best truck for towing 5th wheel is complete without the 2020 Ram 3500. Crowned 2020 Truck of the Year, the Ram 3500 is a capable towing machine. Ram 3500 boasts a massive towing capacity of 30,000 pounds. When paired with dual rear wheels, this beast can tow up to 35,100 pounds while ensuring a comfortable ride. 

It also offers both the base gas V-8 engine and a powerful turbo diesel engine as an option, which costs $11,795 more than the base version. 

The standard gas engine in the 3500 is a 6.4-liter Hemi gasoline V-8 capable of 410 hp and 429 lb-ft. Its powerful turbodiesel engine, the legendary 6.7-liter Cummins I-6, puts out 370 hp and 850 lb-ft. If you want a bit more performance still, you can equip your Ram 3500 with a high-output 6L to 7L Cummins diesel I-6 to get an impressive 400 horsepower and 1,000 lb-ft of torque. 

The Ram 3500 conveniently comes with a factory-installed hitch and includes an array of safety and driver assist features on options such as blind-spot monitoring with trailer coverage, forward collision monitoring, active steering assist, and adaptive cruise control. Four Wheel Drive is also available.  

4. Ford F-150: For Light 5th Wheels

Towing Capacity: 8,000 pounds

Pros

  • Superb off-road capability
  • An all-around daily commuter when not towing
  • An array of options available 
  • Heavy-duty drivetrain 

Cons

  • Limited towing capacity
  • Real-world fuel mileage sometimes is lower than EPA rating

The Ford F-150 is for sure one of the most popular half-ton trucks in North America. While the F-150 is made for towing lightweight fifth-wheels less than 8,000 pounds, it offers a well-rounded driving experience whether you’re towing or on a daily errand, and whether you’re on-road or off-road. This means if you only need to tow a small 5th wheel, you’d get a lot of value out of the F-150 when you’re not camping as well. 

On top of excellent off-road capability, the F-150 is loved for its powerful engine and a brilliant suspension system that ensures safe, easy handling on different terrains. This light-duty pickup also comes with a wide array of safety features to make daily driving and towing more bearable, including blind spot monitoring system, lane keeping assist, safe backing system and more. 

5. Nissan Titan: Safety Feature-Rich

Towing Capacity: 9,400 pounds

Pros

  • Diesel engine 
  • A good family-sized daily commuter 
  • Many safety features to make long towing trips easier
  • Excellent off-road capability

Cons

  • Unimpressive fuel economy

If you find towing a gigantic 5th wheel on long trips tiring, you would find the 2020 Nissan Titan one of the best truck for towing 5th wheel. It has the most standard safety features in its class to make towing less stressful, including backup camera, emergency braking, pedestrian detection, cross-traffic alert, parking sensors, and much much more. 

The standard large 8-inch control screen makes it easy to monitor your towing setup. Plus, it also has excellent packages and upgrades to cater for all needs, including keyless entry and remote start. 

Its towing capacity of 9,400 pounds, coming from a 5.6-liter V8 diesel engine, means that the Nissan Titan is made for lightweight and mid-size fifth-wheels. The Titan is ideal for camping off the beaten paths, since it is praised for its amazing off-road capability, especially if you opt for the Titan Pro-4X. 

Another addition you’d love is the 100,000-mile full warranty, which is by far unmatched by any other truck on the market.

6. Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD: Affordable Diesel Truck

Towing Capacity

  • 2018 model: 13,000 to 14,500 lbs
  • 2020 model: 18,500 pounds

Pros

  • Affordable in the diesel-powered category
  • Swift speeding and can handle steep terrains

Cons

  • Sub-par interior quality and styling (although the 2020 model is decent)
trucks to pull 5th wheel rigs
Photo: Chevrolet

The 2018 Silverado 2500HD is not exactly cheap, but when compared to other trucks with similar towing capacities, it is certainly an affordable diesel pickup for fairly heavy towing jobs. Furthermore, with the 2018 model, you can buy used for less, making this truck one of the best used diesel truck for towing fifth wheel. 

What’s special about this truck is its ability to handle high speeds and steep roads while maintaining stability and comfort. While the 2018 model can tow up to 14,500 pounds, decent for mid-size 5th wheels, the 2020 model has better torque and power, with towing capacity of 18,500 pounds. 

And although the 2018 model offers less than impressive interior styling and sub-par materials, the 2020 model is vastly improved in this aspect. In addition, the 2020 Silverado 2500HD is even more apt at towing heavy 5th wheel trailers, thanks to the host of high tech safety features, including a stability control system, steering assist, extra powerful braking, and more.


Buying Criteria: Best Truck For Towing 5th Wheel

When shopping for the best truck for towing 5th wheel, you should also consider the following factors to make a wise investment:

Gas vs Diesel

To buy a gas-powered or a diesel-powered truck is one of the most common debates. Gas-engine 5th wheel trucks are more common, cheaper, and have better fuel economy when not towing. They are also easier and cheaper to maintain and fix. Gas engines also weigh less than diesel engines, which means a gas-powered truck will have a higher payload capacity, all else being equal. 

Despite a lower payload capacity, a diesel engine is made for heavy towing, producing significantly more torque. Trucks with diesel engines are often substantially more expensive, costing at least $10,000 more than the equivalent models with gas engines. And while maintenance also costs more for this type of truck, diesel-powered trucks last longer and hold their value longer. They can last well beyond 200,000+ miles, while this is quite rare for a gas engine.

Dual vs Single-Rear-Wheel 

If you only need to tow a small, lightweight trailer, a single-rear-wheel-drive truck would do the job. They are compact enough to squeeze into an average-sized parking space. 

Meanwhile, if you need to tow heavier loads, you’d need a dual truck for extra payload and towing capacity, all the while maintaining a smoother ride. 

Towing Capacity

You can find this rating in the truck’s owner’s manual. Most fifth wheels weigh between 12,000 and 15,000 pounds, but many luxury, fully-equipped 5th wheels well exceed 20,000 pounds, so make sure your truck is rated to safely tow that much weight.

Additional Note: Here, a legit question arises: if you have the option, should you buy the truck first or the trailer first. If you camp year round, then you should choose the fifth wheel first to make sure you get everything you want in your second home on wheels, and then choose a truck that is rated to tow that 5th wheel’s weight. 

But if you only camp occasionally and also need a truck for daily errands, pick the truck first, then the 5th wheel. Of course, before buying the truck, determine whether you want a lightweight, a mid-size or a full-size trailer, then pick your truck accordingly. 

Also, please pay attention to your truck tires. Make sure you equip the best truck tires for towing and check on them regularly before any road trips with your fifth wheel towed behind

Payload Capacity

On top of towing capacity, pay attention to payload capacity as well. You should find this rating on a yellow sticker on the inside the driver-side door jam. 

This rating refers to how much weight your truck can hold in the cabin and on its bed, including passengers, cargo, attachments, plus the trailer’s tongue weight in case you’re towing, which is the weight of the trailer pushing down on the trailer hitch.

Note that a diesel engine weighs at least 900 pounds more than a gas engine, thus gas-powered trucks usually have higher payload capacities than the diesel counterparts.

Bed Length

Although often overlooked, a truck’s bed length is important when you’re towing a fifth wheel. The shorter the bed length, the smaller the turning radius, which means it’s harder to maneuver the towing setup in tense handling situations. Thus short-bed trucks often need sliding hitches to allow for tight maneuvering.

Long-bed trucks allow for easier maneuvering, and often have higher payload and towing capacities on top of better traction and less sway. In addition, longer beds means more hauling and storage space for fuel boxes and some camping gear. Bed-wise, trucks are divided into:

  • Long beds – eight feet: Trucks with eight feet long beds have the best traction with minimized sway.
  • Medium beds – six feet: Although having less turning clearance, trucks with medium-sized beds are still easy to maneuver and park. 
  • Shorter bed – four feet: The least ideal when towing, but short-bed trucks are the most light-weight and easy to drive around in when you are not towing.

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