Long Bed vs Short Bed Trucks: An In-Depth Guide

Long Bed vs Short Bed Trucks

Unsure whether to get a long bed or short bed pickup truck? This comprehensive guide will walk ya through the key differences, pros and cons, and things to consider when deciding between long bed vs short bed trucks, pardner.

Truck bed length be one of the most critical factors to mull over when buying a new pickup. But should you git a long bed or short bed truck? Let’s mosey through all the nitty gritty details to help inform your decision, buckaroo.

A Quick Overview on Long Bed vs Short Bed Trucks

Long bed trucks have bed lengths ranging from 6-8 feet long. Short bed trucks have smaller 5-6 foot beds. Full-size pickups like the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, Ram 1500, etc. offer both long and short bed options. Compact/mid-size trucks like the Toyota Tacoma, Honda Ridgeline tend to only come with short 5-6 foot beds.

So what’s the difference between these two bed length options and which one is right for you? Keep on reading, partner!

The Key Differences Between Long Bed vs Short Bed Trucks

There are some notable pros and cons to weigh up when looking at long bed vs short bed pickup trucks. Here are the major differences:

Longer Load Space

The most obvious difference is that long bed trucks have longer pickup beds, typically 1-2 feet longer. This expanded capacity enables you to haul bigger and longer items. Short beds max out around 72 inches (6 feet) while long beds can extend over 8 feet long.

Enhanced Towing Capabilities

Long bed trucks tend to provide better stability when towing heavy loads. The longer wheelbase helps improve balance and control when pulling trailers or 5th wheel RVs. Short bed trucks can feel a bit more unpredictable swaying back and forth.

Better Maneuverability

Short bed trucks have tighter turning radiuses enabling them to more easily navigate through traffic and fit into tight parking spaces. Long beds are tougher to maneuver in constricted areas due to the extended length.

Improved Accessibility

With short beds, it’s simpler to reach over the sides of the bed to access items. You can also fully open the tailgate flush with the rear bumper rather than having it hang off the end.

The Advantages of Choosing a Long Bed Truck

Here are some of the notable benefits that come with selecting a long bed pickup:

Carry Longer Cargo

The extra foot or more of bed space allows you to transport items like ladders, PVC piping, lumber, kayaks, and other lengthy objects that may not fit in a short bed. This comes in handy for contractors, handyfolk, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Better Towing Stability

As mentioned earlier, the longer wheelbase typical of long bed trucks enhances stability and control when towing heavy loads like boats, RVs, equipment trailers, and more. This makes it safer and easier to handle big trailers.

More Flexibility for Truck Bed Accessories

With the additional real estate of a long bed, you’ve got more room flexibility to install truck bed accessories like bed covers, cargo racks, toolboxes, or even a truck camper. You can customize it to suit your needs.

Higher Resale Value

Research indicates that long bed pickup trucks tend to hold their value better over time compared to short beds. If you plan to eventually sell or trade in your truck, the long bed likely offers better return on investment.

The Advantages of Choosing a Short Bed Truck

While long beds have their perks, short bed trucks also boast some nice benefits:

Increased Maneuverability

Short beds allow for easier navigating and parking in tight spaces thanks to a smaller turning radius. Driving downtown or parallel parking is much simpler without several extra feet of truck bed hanging off the rear.

Improved Accessibility

As mentioned earlier, reaching over the sides of short bed trucks is much easier thanks to the compressed size. You can also fully open the tailgate when parked since it doesn’t hang off the end.

Fit More Parking Spaces

Those extra feet of a long bed mean you may hang out of regular parking spaces. Short beds have no issue fitting within the lines at most spots.

Sporty, Modern Styling

Short bed truck styles align with the sleeker, more modern aesthetic of crew cab pickups. For some, this is simply a nicer looking, proportional style.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Long Bed vs Short Bed

When deciding between long bed vs short bed for your next truck, here are some of the most important considerations:

How Will You Use the Truck Most?

Think about your most common truck uses. Will you frequently need to haul long cargo like ladders or lumber where the extra length would help? Or is it more for daily driving and commuting where maneuverability matters more?

What Are Your Towing Needs?

Do you plan to tow heavy 5th wheel RVs or large equipment trailers where the long bed’s stability is beneficial? Or just lightweight utility or popup campers where a short bed works fine?

Are You Adding Truck Accessories?

If you plan to outfit your truck with a tonneau cover, toolbox, or cargo racks, the long bed may provide more flexibility. But if adding a truck camper, short bed leaves the tailgate accessible.

Do You Value Resale Value?

As mentioned earlier, long bed trucks hold value better over time. If having the highest resale value down the road is a priority, long bed wins out.

Comparing Long Bed vs Short Bed Measurements by Truck Model

It’s also helpful to look at the specific long bed vs short bed dimensions offered for different pickup truck models. Here are some examples:

Ford F-150

  • Short Bed = 5.5 foot
  • Long Bed = 8 foot

Toyota Tacoma

  • Short Bed = 5 foot
  • Long Bed = 6 foot

Chevy Silverado 1500

  • Short Bed = 5 foot 8 inches
  • Long Bed = 6 foot 6 inches

GMC Sierra 1500

  • Short Bed = 5 foot 8 inches
  • Long Bed = 6 foot 6 inches

RAM 1500

  • Short Bed = 5 foot 7 inches
  • Long Bed = 8 foot

Nissan Titan

  • Short Bed = 5 foot 6 inches
  • Long Bed = 6 foot 6 inches

So as you can see, the short bed vs long bed lengths vary slightly across truck makers and models. Make sure to look at the specs of the exact truck and bed length options you’re considering.

The Bottom Lines – Choosing Between a Long Bed vs Short Bed Truck

Deciding between long bed vs short bed trucks largely comes down to weighing your priorities in terms of:

  • Cargo Hauling Needs: Long beds provide bigger cargo capacity while short beds offer better maneuverability.
  • Towing Requirements: Long beds tend to have better stability for heavy towing while short beds can still tow moderately sized loads.
  • Truck Accessories: If adding lots of accessories, the long bed spaciousness provides more flexibility.
  • Daily Driving: For frequent parking, tight spaces, commuting – short beds are often easier to live with.
  • Resale Value: Long beds typically hold value better over the long run if this is a priority.

Take the time to carefully assess your pickup truck needs and uses to determine if a long bed or short bed best fits your lifestyle. Weigh how the pros and cons apply to your specific situation.

And be sure to look at the exact bed length specs of the particular truck make and model you’re interested in, since the long vs short measurements can vary across manufacturers.

Hopefully this detailed long bed vs short bed truck comparison has provided a comprehensive overview of the factors to keep in mind when making this pivotal truck decision. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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