Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red 2024 Ford F-150 XLT parked and angled left.

Choosing the Right Truck: The Ford F-150 or F-250?

You want a hard-working, full-size truck, so it should be easy enough to find one, right? That’s what you think until you do something like search “best full-size truck” online and discover a thousand different opinions about which one is best and none of those opinions necessarily tell you which one will actually work well for what you need. Because at the end of the day, that’s what matters most: not winning the horsepower or towing capacity battle, not providing you with giant wheels that make getting into the truck a monumental task, but delivering the functionality, features, and (yes) capability that meets your needs.

With all of this being said, let’s say you’ve looked at what’s out there and decided that a Ford truck is right for you. That’s great, but before you head to your nearest Ford dealer, there are some important things for you to still figure out. It’s true that the Ford F-Series has been the best-selling truck in America for more than 40 years, but that includes multiple options for pickups. Looking at two of them, the Ford F-150 and the F-250, we can see that they have a lot in common but also plenty of things that set them apart from each other. So, let’s take a closer look at these two trucks to try to figure out which one will best meet your needs.

Engine Options for These Two Trucks

There’s no doubt that Ford makes some of the best engines in the auto industry—it’s one of the things they sell their vehicles on, and it’s been a major part of their success over the last century. They also tend to offer quite a few different engine options on some of their vehicles, which is probably most evident when looking at the F-Series trucks. There are some notable differences between what you can get with both of these pickups, which also translates into how capable they are—though we’ll get into that more below.

Looking at the 2024 Ford F-150, it has six different engines available, though we’re only going to worry about five of them—the high-output supercharged V8 is only offered with the Raptor R model, and if that’s the one for you, then you likely already know it. The F-150’s starting engine is a 2.7L turbocharged V6 with 325 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, which is followed by a 5.0L V8 with 400 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. From there, you can choose between two 3.5L V6 engines: a turbocharged option with 400 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque, or a high-output version that delivers 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. Finally, there’s an available 3.5L PowerBoost turbocharged hybrid V6 that puts out 430 hp and 570 lb-ft of torque, providing the most power for the F-150.

The 2024 Ford F-250 has four engines on offer, giving you fewer options but ultimately more muscle. Here, we start with a 6.8L V8 engine with 405 hp and 445 lb-ft of torque, followed by a 7.3L V8 that offers 430 hp and 485 lb-ft of torque. For greater power, there’s a 6.7L Power Stroke turbo diesel engine that delivers 475 hp and 1,050 lb-ft of torque or an incredible high-output version of this diesel that gives you 500 hp and a massive 1,200 lb-ft of torque. You can see this is more than double the torque of any of the F-150 engines we looked at, with greater horsepower, too. This is part of what makes the F-250 a Super Duty truck and worthy of its position as one of the most powerful pickups in the Ford lineup.

Towing and Payload Capacities

After seeing all that power and the differences between the two, we naturally wonder what that means in terms of capability. Obviously, the F-250 can get greater horsepower and torque, which you can certainly feel when driving uphill or accelerating while pulling a heavy load behind you, but what about maximum capacities? Let’s quickly look at what these two trucks can do when properly equipped:

  • 2024 Ford F-150 Max Payload: 2,445 lbs
  • 2024 Ford F-150 Max Towing: 13,500 lbs
  • 2024 Ford F-250 Max Payload: 4,268 lbs
  • 2024 Ford F-250 Max Towing: 23,000 lbs

So yeah, there’s a significant difference there. We can see the maximum payload rating for the Ford F-250 is almost double that of the F-150 (it’s about 75% greater payload to be more precise), which is pretty massive. The difference in towing is equally pronounced, with the F-250 managing about 70% greater towing capacity than the F-150 can handle. I should note that this is for fifth wheel or gooseneck towing; however, even when it comes to conventional towing, the Ford F-250 can haul up to 22,000 lbs behind it. This could easily be the biggest deciding factor for you regarding which of these trucks can handle what you need from it, so think carefully about your towing and payload requirements.

A black 2024 Ford F-250 Tremor driving on a dusty trail after visiting a Ford dealer.

Configuration Options—Cab Size and Bed Length

Capability isn’t everything when it comes to figuring out which truck is right for you. Ultimately, you’ll be living with and driving this pickup every day, so you need to choose something that functions for you in every way you need. Consider the cab size: you have three options with both of these trucks: a Regular Cab, a larger SuperCab, and a Crew Cab that gives you the most room inside your pickup. That’s all well and good, but you also have to think about the length of the bed you want with your Ford truck.

The F-150 gives you tons of options for how you pair these three cab sizes with different bed lengths: you can get any of these three cab sizes with a 5.5-foot bed, a 6.5-foot bed, or an 8-foot bed. Going with an F-250, however, restricts your choices: the Regular Cab is only offered with an 8-foot bed, while the other two options can be paired with either a 6.75-foot bed or the 8-foot bed. That means you can’t get an F-250 with the shorter bed length, and you have fewer configuration options available to you in general. This might not matter much if you know you need the towing power of the F-250, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

Interior Features and Options

The Ford F-150 is generally a more livable pickup with superior options for your daily routine and the kinds of things you expect from your truck. You have a lot of the same trim levels available for both of these pickups, but there are some key differences between them. For example, the 2024 F-250 comes with an 8-inch infotainment display as the standard feature with a 12-inch screen available.

Every 2024 Ford F-150, on the other hand, comes with the larger 12-inch infotainment screen, standard, so you get an enhanced overall driving experience. You can get incredibly refined options with the F-250 like the Limited model that features a wireless charging pad, B&O Unleashed 14-speaker sound system, and leather seating. Something like the Ford F-150 Platinum gives you just as much luxury, but it potentially fits better into your daily routine.

A red 2025 Ford F-150 Sport towing a trailer across a snowy bridge.

Which Ford F-Series Truck Is Right for You?

The answer to this question ultimately comes down to what you’re looking for from your truck and which best hits the mark. If you want a daily driver with great features inside and out, plus the maximum towing and payload capacities of the F-150 meet your requirements, then it’s likely your best choice.

On the other hand, if you need greater capability than the F-150 can deliver, then the Ford F-250 is the way to go—or consider something like the F-350 if you need even more robust capacities. At the end of the day, there’s a reason the Ford F-150 is so popular: it’s a fantastic everyday truck that works for a wide range of drivers, plus you have things like the Tremor and Raptor models that take off-road performance to the next level. But if you need something with greater capability, then it’s time to check out the Super Duty trucks.