Before buying a truck, the size of the truck bed must be considered a priority. Right now in the market, there are three popular sizes to choose from 5-foot, 6-foot, and 8-foot.
So, if you pitted them against each other, which one would come out on top among the 5 foot vs 6 foot vs 8 foot truck bed?
In 5 foot vs 6-foot vs 8 foot truck bed, the 5-foot truck bed would be an excellent choice for maneuverability, fuel efficiency, look, and parking. 8 feet is great for storage capacity, ride quality, towing capacity, and stability. Whereas, the 6-foot truck bed has all of the characteristics but on a more moderate scale.
When comparing two or more products, a short comparison does not do the reader justice. So, in the following sections, you will find a detailed comparison between all three truck beds.
5 Foot vs 6 Foot vs 8 Foot Truck Bed: Short Comparison
The choice of a new truck bed will actually depend on how you will be using your truck. Thus, many factors will have to be considered before choosing the best possible truck bed size.
|Less space, less storage
|More space, better comparatively
|57 inches (approx.)
|57 inches (approx.)
|63 inches (approx.)
|23.75 sq feet
|28.5 sq feet
|42 sq feet
|Bumpy ride because of lesser weight on the suspension system
|Smoother ride as the weight load capacity is more.
|Smoother ride as the weight load capacity is more
|Less space leads to an uneven distribution of load, resulting in decreased stability.
|Better distribution of load resulting in average stability
|High cargo load capacity leads to high stability.
|Low towing capacity due to smaller size and lower weight limit
|Moderate towing capacity
|High capacity because of size and better weight limit
|Needs a smaller space to park
|Needs a larger parking space
|Needs a larger parking space
|Shorter size indicates better maneuverability.
|Low maneuverability because of large size
|Consumes less fuel
|More Fuel Consumption than 6-foot
|Highest fuel consumption
|Price and maintenance cost is comparatively lower
|Moderate price and cost
|A slightly more price and cost compared to the other two
A longer truck bed would allow more storage capacity. The extra foot or two might not seem like much, but in reality, it can make a huge difference.
The 5-foot and 6-foot truck beds are usually 5.5 feet and 6.5 feet, respectively. While the 8-foot truck beds are approximately 8 feet and 2 inches.
Also, the width of the 5-foot and the 6-foot is approximately 57 inches, whereas, the 8-foot truck beds are 64 inches wide.
After reading up until this part, you might think, “Is a 5 foot truck bed big enough?”
Although 5-foot truck beds are comparatively shorter than 8-foot truck beds, they still might be enough if you do not have to carry large or bulky items. Also, 5-foot truck beds have other benefits, such as maneuverability and fuel efficiency.
Also, some of you may think, “Do I need an 8-foot truck bed?”
The 8-foot truck bed size would be the most practical choice for carrying around lots of equipment. It can accommodate long items such as lumbar support or even a queen-size mattress.
So, a shorter truck bed length does not leave you with many options storage-wise.
Winner: 8-foot truck beds.
The ride quality of trucks does not directly depend on the truck bed length. However, it may impact it indirectly.
It is the suspension system of the truck that determines how smooth the ride will be. It can be affected by the truck bed length.
However, due to the shorter length of the truck bed, the suspension system of a 5-foot truck bed may not be as robust as that of a 6 or 8-foot truck bed.
Shorter vehicles generally have a shorter wheelbase, which can lead to a rougher ride. A shorter wheelbase means that the distance between the front and rear axles is shorter, which can result in a more reactive and less stable ride.
But if you experience rougher rides all the time, you should get your suspension system or brake system checked.
Winner: 6 or 8-foot truck beds.
The truck’s stability gets affected by the lower center of gravity and the even distribution of the weight load.
Because of its small, rigid structure and comparatively lower height, the 5-foot truck bed tends to have a lower center of gravity. This improves the overall stability of the truck. However, if the weight load on the truck bed is unevenly distributed, the truck may become unstable.
On the other hand, longer truck beds, such as 8-foot or 6-foot truck beds, have their centers of gravity higher up. But the high weight capacity and tire pressure make up for it.
So, if the weight is evenly distributed, the truck bed length will not affect the stability of the truck.
Towing Load Capacity and Payload Capacity:
Larger truck beds have higher towing and payload capacities compared to smaller truck beds. But this will depend on the specific make and model of the truck.
For example, an 8-foot truck bed may have a higher towing capacity and payload capacity compared to a 6-foot or 5-foot truck bed
Along with this, in a longer truck bed, like the 8-foot or the 6-foot, the gooseneck ball is further away from the cab of the truck. Because of this, it’s less likely that your truck will make sharp turns. This makes carrying the load much easier and less risky.
Winner: 8-foot truck bed.
Since the 5-foot truck bed is much smaller than the 8-foot or 6-foot truck bed, you do not have to worry about parking it. Storing a truck with a 5-foot bed is much easier, and you can even park it in really tight spaces.
On the other hand, parking a 6-foot or an 8-foot bed truck can be a hassle, as you will need a larger spot.
Winner: 5-foot truck bed
This is where the trucks with a 5-foot bed really outshine the other two sizes. The smaller size makes it simpler to drive. Also, for the same reason, it is much more comfortable to maneuver it on narrow roads.
Even for off-road driving, the 5-foot truck bed is better as it can be easily driven on bumpy roads and steep corners.
As for the longer truck beds, they would not be a good choice for off-road trails. Because of the huge gap between the front and rear wheels, these long trucks often get stuck in rough terrain. In such cases, it’s very tough to recover.
For driving in urban areas, a 6-foot might not be too bad, but driving an 8-foot truck could be a pain if the roads are too shallow.
Winner: 5-foot truck bed
A smaller truck bed size may have a lower weight capacity compared to longer truck beds. But there is a bright side to this as well.
As the truck does not carry as much weight, the vehicle’s internal components do not have to bear the same pressure. That translates to higher fuel efficiency. Meaning a smaller truck needs less fuel as the engine does not have to carry the heavy load.
On the other hand, a 6 or 8-foot truck bed will put much more stress on the engine. This requires more output from the engine, which is why the engine requires more fuel.
Winner: 5-foot truck beds.
A truck with a smaller bed, such as the 5-foot, costs a couple of hundred dollars less than a truck with a longer bed, like the 6-foot. The same principle applies when you compare the prices of a 6-foot and an 8-foot truck bed.
Note that the price of a truck bed does not only depend on its length. Materials, brands, and specific models also come into consideration.
Another thing is a truck bed cover. There are different types of truck bed covers to choose from, if you want to install one. In an obvious sense, a larger truck bed cover will cost more than a smaller one.
Apart from the slightly higher price, the maintenance costs of longer truck beds are also higher compared to shorter truck beds. A high load means more stress on the engine and other internal parts. This calls for higher fuel consumption and more frequent engine maintenance.
Winner: 5-foot truck beds.
Which One Is Better- 5 Foot vs 6 Foot vs 8 Foot Truck Bed?
Now that we have covered all the important factors about the three different truck bed sizes, it’s time to decide on one.
A 5-foot truck bed is excellent for driving around as it consumes less fuel and has high maneuverability. If you need to continuously drive on bumpy roads, a 5-foot truck bed is a must. Also, even for city driving, it could be a fine choice for driving around on narrow roads.
Plus, if you are on a budget, the price and maintenance costs of a 5-foot truck bed are a bit lower than those of a 6-foot and an 8-foot truck bed.
But if you have to carry around a large amount of load on a regular basis, there is really no choice other than the 8-foot truck bed. Since the heavy weight of the load can take a toll on your engine and internal components, you need a heavy-duty truck.
However, if you are someone who does not want to sacrifice any of these features, you can opt for the 6-foot truck bed. It has all the features of a 5-foot truck bed and an 8-foot truck bed but on a moderate level.
No matter which truck you finally choose, to use it to its utmost potential, you must take proper care of it. If not, you may face some serious problems over time, such as your truck starting and then dying immediately.
Also, to take special care of your truck bed, you can use truck bed coatings, which will protect the surface against damages, scratches, and such.
So, ultimately, the choice would purely depend on what you require and how you plan to get the most out of your truck.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Can you sleep in a 5-foot truck bed?
You can sleep in a 5-foot truck bed, but it may not be the most comfortable option. But the limited space in a 5-foot truck bed may make it difficult to stretch out or get a good night’s sleep.
What is the standard truck bed size?
A 6- or 6.5-foot-long truck bed is considered a standard truck bed size. But in some cases, a 6-foot truck bed is a standard “shortbed,” and a 7-foot truck bed is regarded as standard.
Why Are Short Bed Trucks So Popular?
Short-bed trucks are more popular because they are easier to maneuver and fit into tight spaces than long-bed trucks. Also, the price and maintenance cost of a short bed is much lower, which is another reason for their popularity.
When choosing between a 5-foot vs 6-foot vs 8-foot truck bed, it’s important to consider your specific needs and priorities.
For those who need a more maneuverable truck or prioritize fuel efficiency, a 5-foot bed may be more suitable. People who frequently tow or transport large loads might want a 6- or 8-foot bed.
But also consider your engine capabilities, because a longer truck bed will demand more from your truck engine.