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Truck Bed Size and Length Comparison

Chad Kirchner
by Chad Kirchner
April 17, 2019
4 min. Reading Time
2018 Ford Super Duty rear three quarter ・  Photo by Ford

2018 Ford Super Duty rear three quarter ・ Photo by Ford

When work needs to get done, people who do that work often choose a pickup truck as the tool to help them. These days, trucks are more family-focused than ever — but there’s still a capability element that comes with a truck that an SUV just can’t provide. What is that element?

The bed. That’s right, the pickup truck bed is what makes a truck a truck. It can be used for all sorts of things, like lugging lumber to a job site, bringing a new washing machine home from Home Depot, or hauling a snowmobile up to the mountains on the weekend. Like the pickup truck itself, the bed isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on many factors, the bed can vary in both length and the amount of stuff it can hold inside it. So how do you sort it all out? 

Here’s a guide to help you understand the differing bed lengths and which trucks are available with each bed size.

Truck Bed Sizes Explained

Pickup truck beds, or boxes, come in a variety of lengths depending on the truck and the needs of the customer. The longer the bed, the more you can put in it. It’s not that simple, though, because not every single truck is available with every single bed length. When you go truck shopping, you see them described in two different ways. 

A long bed, or long box, is the longest and biggest bed you can get for the truck. Sometimes these beds are 8 feet long, while other times they are only 6 feet (more on that later). A short bed, or short box, is the smaller of the two beds. Some buyers will specify a bed by the actual foot length, but it’s common to see the long and short designation.

 Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Truck Bed Size Dimensions

The total size of a truck bed is the length of the bed times the width of the truck. The rear wheel well takes up some of the overall volume, but they all generally fall into a similar amount of space independent of who makes the truck.

The Ford F-150 with the 8-foot bed, or long box, has a bed cargo volume of 77.4 cubic feet. The short bed, which in the case of the F-150 is 5.5 feet long, is 52 cubic feet. Most of the competition will be similar. The newest Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra are engineered to maximize bed volume by rethinking the bed's design. Their short bed has 62 cubic feet of cargo volume. For those curious about other trucks' bed volumes, each manufacturer’s website will list it in the specifications section.

 Photo by General Motors

Photo by General Motors

What is the standard size of a truck bed?

Before trucks became family haulers, nearly every truck sold had an 8-foot bed with a regular cab (no rear seat). That is no longer the case. But there are still standard sizes depending on how big of a truck you purchase. For a mid-size truck like the Chevrolet Colorado or Ford Ranger, the short bed is 5 feet long and the long bed is 6 feet long. Some mid-size trucks will let you choose either regardless of cab size, while others will make you pair the smallest bed with the biggest cab.

In full-size trucks like the Ford F-150 or RAM 1500, the short box is standard on the crew cab trucks, while buyers of a regular cab can opt for the short bed or an 8-foot long bed. In heavy-duty trucks like the Silverado 2500 HD or Ford Super Duty F-250, 8-foot beds are often the standard and can even be purchased on the biggest cabs. That might make for a long truck to drive and maneuver, but it gives buyers the most versatility for passengers and cargo.

 Photo by General Motors

Photo by General Motors

Longest Truck Bed by Length

The longest truck bed you can buy is 8 feet long. All of the major truck makers offer at least one version of their truck with an 8-foot bed. On a Ram Heavy Duty crew cab with the 8-foot bed, the overall length of the truck is nearly 22 feet long! The new Silverado 3500 HD, with the 8-foot bed, is even longer at 266 inches.

For maximum cargo volume in the bed, the Silverado and Sierra HD trucks also are intelligently engineered like the 1500 versions'. That means they have a total of 83.5 cubic feet of volume, which is up an impressive 7.1 cubic feet over the last generation of the truck.

 Photo by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Photo by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Shortest Truck Bed by Length

Mid-size trucks are going to have the smallest beds, with the shortest being at 5 feet in length. They may vary an inch or two depending on the manufacturer, but the Nissan Frontier's short bed is a mere 59.5 inches long.

There was a time in the past where trucks, like the Explorer Sport Trac, had a tiny 4-foot bed. Unless we see the return of more compact pickup trucks, expect 5 feet to be the shortest.

 Photo by Nissan

Photo by Nissan

Truck Bed Buying Advice

Remember, when you go to the dealership you may find only the most popular configurations in stock. You might not see a regular cab truck with a short box, or a crew cab heavy duty with the long box. That doesn’t mean you can't get them.

General Motors, RAM trucks, and Ford all let buyers custom-order a truck from the factory if the dealer doesn’t have what the customer wants. You are, of course, limited to what you can order, but the less-popular configurations are still available. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, see if it’s something you can order. A savvy dealer will offer you a discount on an ordered truck just like they would with selling on one the lot.

 Photo by Ford

Photo by Ford

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a bed size for your new truck. Bigger beds add to the length of the vehicle, meaning it might make it more difficult to park in certain places. But owning a truck, with the versatility it offers, is an experience like none other. Many people who add a truck to their garage will replace that truck with a new one.

All of that is because of the bed, and the varying options they have when it comes to choosing one.

 Photo by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Photo by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles


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