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Is a Ford F-150 Big Enough For Your Towing Needs?

The Ford F-series has been one of the most popular selling trucks for decades. If you’re looking for a versatile truck designed to get the job done, the Ford F-150 should be a top consideration. For a truck built for towing and working hard, is the F-150 towing capacity actually enough for you? Lets find out.

What Does Towing Capacity Mean?

The term towing capacity refers to the maximum weight a vehicle can safely pull with a trailer. To calculate the towing capacity, the vehicle manufacturer subtracts the truck’s curb weight from the gross combined vehicle weight rating

While your truck may be capable of towing more, this number is the maximum amount your truck can safely pull. Exceeding this number can be dangerous, illegal, and cause premature wear and tear on your vehicle.

Tom Talks About Trucks & Towing - Our Experience and Tips on Towing Heavy

What’s the F-150’s Towing Capacity?

Depending on which model and year you select, the F-150’s towing capacity ranges from 8200 lbs to an astounding 14,000 lbs. To get the upper end of this capacity, you’ll need to upgrade to the 400-hp twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 engine. 

Even if you “settle” for the 5.0-liter V-8, you get 13,000 lbs of towing capacity. However, if eco-friendly is important to you, the hybrid F-150 can tow up to 12,700 lbs.

When you combine the impressive towing capacity with the 1840-3250 lbs of payload capacity, it’s no wonder the Ford F-150 is a popular choice for truck enthusiasts.

Pro Tip: Join the debate over what is the best truck! We compared Ram Versus Ford Versus Chevy.

Black Ford F-150 parked in front of trees.
A Ford F-150 has a towing capacity between 8200 lbs and 14,000 lb.

The Benefits of Towing with a Ford F-150

Despite the massive amounts of towing and payload capacity, when you choose the Ford F-150, you’re getting a workhorse. This truck knows more than just how to work hard. It also knows how to work efficiently with MPGs of 20 city and 26 highway.

This beast has functionality in mind. Using the cab of your truck as a mobile workspace has never been easier, with the large center console functioning as a large flat workspace. You can even order your F-150 with fold-flat front seats to call your truck home for the night on some overlanding adventures. 

Upgrading to an onboard generator means you’ll have power for tailgate parties or work at your job site.

Ford F-150 towing small pop up camper
Take your Ford F-150 on your next RVing adventure.

The Disadvantages of a Ford F-150

Even though the Ford F-150 is touted as a strong work truck, it’s quite small and frail compared to its larger companions. The entire truck is closer to a passenger vehicle than a true work truck when comparing the frame, drivetrain, and axles. This makes it a much more comfortable drive, but if you plan on heavily modifying or using it for daily heavy tasks, you might need to look at a larger 250,350 or 450 series.

When you’re investing in a truck, you want a vehicle that can get the job done during the day and look good for a date night. However, the entry-level F-150s seem better suited for work. The basic interior lacks a luxury feel, and there are very few in-cab amenities. For a more comfortable, recreational ride, you’d want to upgrade to a higher-end model.  

The problem with these higher-end models is that they’re costly and add weight to the truck. The more features you add, it detracts from the weight that the truck can actually tow. This equates to a lower F-150 towing capacity.

Did You Know: If you want to stay eco-friendly while on the go, Ford F150’s also come in a hybrid model! Read more about how The 2021 Ford F150 Hybrid Can Power Your RV.

Ford truck parked at a campsite for towing a camper
Ford F-150’s are great for towing travel trailers, pop-up campers, motor boats, and smaller trailers.

How to Know If You Have the Max Tow Package for Your Ford F-150

The best way to verify your F-150 has the max towing capacity is to use the VIN to confirm the specs on your truck. You can use a VIN decoder to see all the information or check the documentation that came with your truck.

An F-150 with the max tow package will have a few key upgrades that make it capable of delivering maximum towing performance. This package includes an upgraded electronic rear axle, massive 36-gallon fuel tank, and built-in trailer brake controller. 

You should also expect to find a 4-pin/7-pin wiring harness, a receiver hitch, and engine oil coolers to provide the best towing experience.

Ford F-150 parked in sand
Make memories with your Ford F-150.

What Kind of Camper Can an F-150 Tow?

If you’re hoping to tow a camper with an F-150, you’ll want to stick with small to mid-size travel trailers at most. Pop-up campers, motor boats, and smaller trailers are all great options.

While the F-150 has a towing capacity capable of carrying far more, the payload capacity will be your limiting factor. Larger travel trailers and fifth wheels will likely put too much weight on the truck itself and put you over your payload capacity. 

Pro Tip: Learn more about how the Ford F150 Hybrid Can Power Your RV.

F-150 Towing | Ford How-To | Ford

Is the Ford F-150 Right For You?

This is an excellent truck for those seeking a daily driver and a vehicle to tow a camper on weekend camping adventures. You can make plenty of memories with your friends and family. It has plenty of towing capacity to haul trailers for getting work done around the house, but also for a relaxing weekend at your favorite campground. 

Yet, if you’re looking to tow heavier travel trailers, fifth wheels, and work loads, you might be disappointed with the towing capacity of this smaller work truck. So, consider your needs before weighing the pros and cons of a Ford F-150. 

Do you see the Ford F-150 as a truck you’d consider? Drop a comment below!

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Steve Hericks

Sunday 31st of October 2021

I have a 2018 F150 with Max Tow package. I bought it specifically to tow a 7k lb enclosed utility trailer. Several other things that significantly improve towing that come with the Max Tow are; larger front sway bar, an auxiliary transmission cooler, a larger engine radiator (because both oil and trans coolers are coolant exchange type) and several electronic devices that bear some discussion. 1) "The Roll Stability Control system has two gyroscopic sensors that measure vehicle roll and turning rates. By selectively braking and adjusting engine power, the Trailer Sway Control system is able to maintain trailer control and help prevent sway, resulting in improved stability and providing greater driver confidence." 2) Smart Trailer Tow Connector reports information on lighting, brakes and power consumption experienced by the trailer connection. 3) Pro Trailer Backup Assist is a machine vision enhancement of the backup camera that watches the angle of the trailer neck and, knowing the length of vehicle and trailer, can much more effectively back in coordination with driver input.

Steve Felt

Sunday 31st of October 2021

Just bought a 2012 F-150 for my Wolf Pup TT and it does a great job. I also have a WDH that was added for my Acura MDX and it’s smooth as silk at just over 4000 lbs

Robert J Zachrich

Sunday 31st of October 2021

Thanks for the informative article. I just bought the F150 Hybird with the Max Tow Package and it is one of the best purchases I made. It rides like a car and tows my Jayco x17z like it is not even there.

Mortons on the Move

Tuesday 2nd of November 2021

Glad to hear it!