Short Bed vs. Long Bed Trucks | Which Are Better?

A question as old as the pickup trucks themselves – should the next purchase be a short or the long bed?

There’s really no straight forward answer to that, so down below I’ll try my best to explain both sides of the types.

Note: in my book, I consider any truck with shorter than a 8 foot bed a short bed.

Short bed pickup advantages

Easier to maneuver

Image by Rjluna2 via Wikimedia Commons

Because short bed trucks have shorter wheelbases, any sort of turning, backing up or even parking is less of a challenge to do.

*Modern pickups often times come already equipped with 360 cameras, therefore the parking aspect becomes much easier on the longer vehicle; that being said, it’s still not on the same level as a short box.

Not to mention, it will fit in places such as garages, car washes far more frequently than a long bed.

In other words, this is a better commuter, daily driver.

More of a family option

To give an example, a GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab, in other words, a full four door type truck can only be bought in the standard or short box configurations.

This means that if you’ll want all of the vehicles passengers to be as comfortable as possible, chances are the long bed type pickup truck is off your list.

Cheaper

Now because the pickup is shorter, it can sometimes be cheaper. That doesn’t always hold true to every truck out there, but you can often times get a better deal for a short bed.

For example, the Ford F-150 SuperCab with a 6.5 foot bed costs 1,300 dollars less than the 8 foot type (at least at the time of writing this article).

Off-roading beast

A shorter vehicle can outperform the longer one just about any time in situations where the terrain gets really intense, so is the case for pickups. It’s also simply safer to do the same on a short bed as there’s less of a chance to high center, so there’s that.

If you feel like the off-roading factor is a must but you still lean more towards a long bed, you can still get great results by installing a lift kit there.

Long bed advantages

More space, more hauling capacity

Image via Pxhere

Considering that the bed is larger, it’s not a surprise that you’ll be able to carry more, and in some cases, a lot more cargo.

This is definitely a very important feature, especially if you have a job which requires you to transport even the largest of equipment.

Will remove the need to tow a trailer that often, as now you have a bit more space.

Putting a tool box on this sort of pickup truck is also a far better idea than doing the same on a short box, as it won’t cut out as much of the available space.


Having additional space in the back helps in more than just work. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, a long truck makes even more sense as you will be able to haul things like camping gear, quads, motorcycles or really anything you wish with a lot less headache when compared to a short one.

Seriously, if your goal is to have a camper, cap installed on there, living inside a 8 foot box is going to be considerably more comfortable.

Handles better

The reason why that’s the case is because the vehicle is simply longer.

The wheels sit further apart from each other, therefore any road unevenness won’t be as noticeable in a long bed.

The choice for towing RVs

If your goal is to eventually end up towing a fifth wheel camper, the best option is hands down a long bed pickup. Short beds can do so too, but you’ll need to get a slider hitch instead of a regular one just to get more clearance, which can be difficult to operate.

Not to mention the thing will be substantially more stable when towing a big ol’ camper, as the footprint is wider in this case.

In short, when things go down to towing, a longer box truck is really the only way to go – the selection of trailers you’ll be able to pull will be significantly bigger (as the payload on a long box is a bit bigger), not to mention, the fuel tank sizes increase too.

What about the resale value?

When it comes to how much money can you get back, if you will ever want to sell the thing in future, it really boils down to your local market.

If you live in a place where there is a ton of farming presence, or in short, the country, the long bed will certainly hold its value for better than a short bed.

The same can be said about the short beds as well. If you dwell in more urbanized areas, the short bed will probably be a better choice when it comes to this.

Summary

Personally for me a long bed is always the number one choice, and that has a lot to do with how it looks.

But seriously, i would rather have more space than trade it off for more agility during day to day rides.

With that being said, that’s only my sole opinion.

Shorter bed pickup trucks are vastly more popular than the long kind, particularly so if you live closer to the city, and there are certainly reasons for it.

I’ll tell you this: if you never owned a pickup before, I’d highly advise first going for the short bed kind.

You rarely can go wrong here, and if you ever feel in need for that extra space, the option for a long bed is always there; a bed extender can work great, too.

3 thoughts on “Short Bed vs. Long Bed Trucks | Which Are Better?”

    • Well, these types of conversions are definitely done, as seen in particular on the Dodge Mega Cab.

      But it is certainly not of the easiest swaps you can do, simply because the longer box wouldn’t fit on the frame as is.

      It’ll need to be extended, which is a major job by itself, considering it requires really good welding.

      Reply
  1. Looking at a regular cab Ram 1500 short bed with the 5.7 Hemi built up. Would have liked to know mpg increases if any cutting out significant weight and length from the truck. Thnks Joe

    Reply

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