What are the differences between heavy-duty, medium-duty, and light-duty trucks?

  1. Gross vehicle weight rating
  2. Truck classifications
  3. Truck duties


The world of trucks and trucking isn’t as simple as it seems. When the word truck comes to mind, we either think of pickup trucks or large utility vehicles. Trucks are perhaps the most well-known utility road-going vehicles for transporting loads or goods from one place to another. Truck brands like Foton Philippines sell a wide array of commercial vehicles with different specifications and towing abilities. This ability to tow heavy loads is one of the most renowned characteristics of a truck.

Trucks come in many sizes, types, classifications, and even duties. While you may see trucks of similar builds doing different kinds of tasks, each class of truck is segregated into the types of work they’re designed to do. Let’s dive into more details with the following:


Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

Trucks are usually classified based on their gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). This is an important number to know for truck drivers. The GVWR of a truck is not a truck’s weight — it’s the total weight limit of a specific vehicle which includes the vehicle’s base curb weight plus any load that the vehicle will carry. This includes the weight of accessories, the passenger, and objects it will load or tow. In short, it’s the total weight limit set by the manufacturer.

Why should this number be respected? Loading a truck beyond its GVWR is dangerous. Overloading the vehicle can and will compromise safety. An overloaded truck will be subject to brake failure, suspension damage, and added engine strain. All of these will shorten the longevity of your vehicle’s components.


Truck Classifications

Truck Classifications

Foton Philippines and other automotive brands have trucks for sale in the Philippines that range from class 1 to class 8. Here are all the different classes and what types of trucks fall under them.

In total, 8 classes separate trucks into different weight groups. Class 1 and 2 are your typical consumer vehicles, so for our purposes, we will focus on Class 3 trucks and above.

  • Class 3 trucks are typically used as commercial trucks. These trucks have a GVWR of 10,001 lbs to 14,000 lbs. These include city delivery trucks, box trucks, and heavy-duty pickup trucks.
  • Class 4 trucks are usually heavier versions of class 3 trucks with a GVWR of 14,001 lbs to 16,000 lbs. They’re also made to carry heavier loads than those that fall under class 3 trucks. These types of trucks are the lightest of the medium-duty trucks. Here you have bucket trucks, city delivery trucks, and walk-in vans.
  • Class 5 trucks are a step above Class 3 and 4. These have a GVWR of 16,001 lbs to 19,500 lbs. Larger bucket trucks and city delivery trucks fall under this truck classification.
  • Class 6 trucks are the heaviest of the medium-duty trucks. Vehicles have a GVWR of 19,501 lbs to 26,000 lbs fall under this classification. Here you have your school bus, rack truck, single-axle truck, and beverage truck.
  • Class 7 trucks are the lightest of the heavy-duty trucks, with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs to 33,000 lbs. These trucks are vocational trucks that are meant to do lighter tasks than its heavier counterparts. Trucks under this class are furniture trucks, city transit buses, truck tractors, and refuses.
  • Class 8 trucks are the heaviest of all truck classes. Trucks that have a GVWR of 33,001 lbs and heavier fall under this class. Vocational and industrial trucks are a usual vehicle that falls under this class. Here you’ll find dump trucks, sleeper cabs, truck tractors, and cement trucks.


Truck Duties

Truck Duties

All the 8 classes of trucks are grouped under 3 truck duties; light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty — all of which are designed for specific tasks. In theory, you can make a heavy-duty truck do the job of light and medium-duty trucks, but that would deem excessive and inefficient. Heavy-duty trucks are simply too big. You’ll only be wasting fuel and taking up too much road space. It’s impractical for heavier duty trucks to do the task of lighter duties when they can do more strenuous tasks.

Light-duty trucks are mainly used to tow passenger vehicles or carry payloads up to 3,500 to 4,000 pounds. Simply put, they are a means for a person to travel. Most people use light-duty trucks as personal towing trucks to transport goods or furniture.

Like its light-duty cousins, medium-duty vehicles are designed to do tasks such as picking up and delivering payloads, towing vehicles, or transporting merchandise. But since medium-duty trucks have a higher GVWR than light-duty vehicles, they can also be utilized as small dump trucks and more commonly, light garbage trucks.

Heavy-duty trucks are the strongmen of the trucking world. Designed to carry over 34,000 lbs., these trucks are solely used for commercial utilities. Trucks with such weight thresholds are designed to transport lumber, building materials, mining goods, and other oversized loads.


Key Takeaway

If you’re thinking of starting a trucking business or a business wherein a truck is needed, you need to know about the different classifications of trucks and the tasks they can perform. The number of trucks for sale in the Philippines has rapidly grown due to the increasing activity of businesses. Knowing what duty of truck to use lets you know what’s best needed for the job.