dodge ram 1500 vs 2500 vs 3500

Ram 1500 vs 2500 vs 3500: Which is Right for You in 2023?

When it comes to buying a truck, one of the biggest questions that many truck buyers have is whether to choose the Ram 1500, 2500, or 3500.

These three popular models from the Ram truck lineup have a lot in common, but they also have some key differences that can make one model more suitable for your needs than the others.

The Ram 1500, for instance, is the lightest of the three models, and it’s designed for people who need a reliable truck for everyday use. 

Ram 2500 and 3500, on the other hand, are built for heavy-duty applications. 

They come with more powerful engines, larger cabs, and stronger suspensions to handle the toughest of jobs.

Choosing between these three Ram trucks can be overwhelming, especially if you’re unsure what factors to consider. 

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you make an informed decision. 

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 trucks and highlight the key factors to consider when choosing between them. 

So, whether you’re a business owner, a contractor, or a weekend warrior, read on to find out which Ram truck is the right choice for you.

1. Comparison: 1500 vs 2500 vs 3500

SpecificationRam 1500Ram 2500Ram 3500
Max Towing Capacity (lbs)12,75020,00037,100
Max Payload Capacity (lbs)2,3004,5207,680
Engine Options3.6L V6, 5.7L V8, 3.0L V6 diesel, 6.2L V86.4L V8, 6.7L I6 diesel6.4L V8, 6.7L I6 diesel
Horsepower305 – 702370- 410410 – 420
Torque (lb-ft)269 – 650429 – 1,075429 – 1,075
Max Gasoline Engine MPG231717
Max Diesel Engine MPG292222
Cab OptionsRegular, Quad, CrewRegular, Crew, MegaRegular, Crew, Mega
Bed Lengths (ft)5’7″, 6’4″, 8′6’4″, 8′6’4″, 8′
Base Price (2023)$37,410$44,675$46,780

2. The Ram 1500 – Affordable, convenient & stylish

2023 Ram 1500. Credits: Ram
2023 Ram 1500. Credits: Ram

Ram 1500 is a full-size pickup truck known for its capability and refinement. It is available in various trims and configurations to suit various needs, from daily driving to occasional towing.

In terms of features and specifications, the Ram 1500 is equipped with a 3.6-litre V6 engine that produces 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque.

Higher trims offer additional engine options, such as a 5.7-litre V8 engine that produces 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque or a 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V6 engine that produces 260 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque. 

Furthermore, the light pickup is also equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive is standard, with a four-wheel drive option to choose from.

When it comes to performance, the Ram 1500 can tow up to 12,750 pounds when properly equipped. 

Depending on the configuration, its payload capacity ranges from 1,430 to 2,320 pounds. 

As for the fuel economy, the truck offers up to 23 mpg on the highway, making it one of the most fuel-efficient full-size pickup trucks on the market.

Lower towing and payload capacity but higher MPG.

2023 Ram 1500. Credits: Ram
2023 Ram 1500. Credits: Ram

Compared to the Ram 2500 and 3500, the 1500 offers lower towing and payload capacities but better fuel economy and a lower price point. 

The truck can tow over 20,000 pounds, while the Ram 3500 can tow up to 37,100 pounds when properly equipped. 

The Ram 2500 has a payload capacity of up to 4,010 pounds, and the Ram 3500 can carry up to 7,680 pounds. 

However, both models have a lower fuel economy and a higher starting price than the Ram 1500.

The Ram 1500 is ideal for those who prioritize fuel economy, daily driving, and occasional light hauling or towing. 

Its comfortable and refined interior makes it an excellent choice for those who spend a lot of time in their vehicle. At the same time, its towing and payload capacities are still competitive for occasional use. 

Overall, the Ram 1500 is a versatile and well-rounded pickup truck that offers a good balance of capability and comfort.

Avoid this Ram 1500 years when buying a used truck.

The Ram 1500 is ideal for various uses, from daily commuting to light hauling and outdoor adventures. 

With its impressive fuel efficiency and smooth ride, the Ram 1500 is perfect for those who want a comfortable and efficient vehicle for daily driving.

For those who need to haul small trailers or cargo, the Ram 1500 offers impressive towing and payload capacities, making it a versatile choice for work and play.

With its advanced technology features and comfortable interior, the Ram 1500 is also an excellent option for long road trips or family vacations. 

Whether you need to tow a camper to the beach or enjoy a smooth ride to your destination, the Ram 1500 can handle everything.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Ram 1500 offers optional features like all-terrain tires, skid plates, and tow hooks, making it an excellent choice for off-road adventures. 

If you are exploring mountain trails and cruising along sandy beaches, the Ram 1500 can easily take you there.

We have a complete guide on improving towing capacity for Ram 1500 trucks.

3. The Ram 2500 – Haul and tow with confidence

2023 Ram 2500. Credits; Ram 2500
2023 Ram 2500. Credits; Ram 2500

We just had a close encounter with Ram 1500, a light-duty style hunk. And now the next in the lineup comes Ram 2500. This heavy-duty pickup truck is designed for tough jobs. 

It comes with a 6.4L V8 engine that produces 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. 

There is also a 6.7L turbo diesel engine that produces 420 horsepower and 1,075 pound-feet of torque. 

The Ram 2500 has an 8-speed automatic transmission with short-shift mapping for easy handling. 

It also features four-wheel drive, and there are various trims to choose from, including Tradesman, Big Horn, Laramie, Limited, and more. [You will like this Ram Tradesman vs Big-Horn comparison]

The Ram 2500 has a maximum towing capacity of 20,000 pounds and a maximum payload of 4,520 pounds. 

3500 offers various body styles, including regular, crew, and mega cab, and comes with a range of features, including a 12-inch touchscreen, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Ram 2500 has a higher towing and payload capacity than 1500 but lower than 3500.

2023 Ram 2500 off-road. Credits: Car&Driver
2023 Ram 2500 off-road. Credits: Car&Driver

The Ram 1500 can pull up to 12,750 lbs when properly equipped, whereas the Ram 2500 can pull up to 20,000 pounds. 

Apart from that, the Max payload score for Ram 1500 is 2,300 lbs compared to 4,520 lbs of 2500.

When you tally these numbers with Ram 3500, the mega-machine racks in 35,100 lbs of towing and 7,680 lbs of max loud without a sweat.

The winning number for 1500 is its fuel economy. With 26 MPG on the highways, the 1500 series is at least 7-9MPG more efficient than the Ram 2500s at 19 MPG. Yes, Ram 3500 scores worst of three at 17 MPG on average. But you can always make use of these tips to get maximum MPG off your truck.

It is ideal for heavy hauling, towing, and off-road adventures. 

How to Increase The Towing Capacity of RAM 1500 Truck?

With its high towing and payload capacities, the Ram 2500 is a popular choice for those who need to tow large trailers or haul heavy equipment. 

It is also a perfect choice for off-road adventures, with features like four-wheel drive, skid plates, and off-road tires available. Browse our recommended off-road tires for Ram trucks here.

The Ram 2500’s powerful engine options make it easy to handle challenging terrain and heavy loads. 

Besides, the Ram 2500’s comfortable interior and advanced safety features make it a great choice for long road trips or daily use on job sites.

Learn more with this comprehensive guide on Ram 2500 compatible years.

4. The Ram 3500 – Power horse that goes the distance

2023 Ram 3500. Credits: Motortrend
2023 Ram 3500. Credits: Motortrend

It is a heavy-duty truck (heavy-heavy duty compared to 2500) designed for exceptional towing and payload capacity. 

The 3500 is available in different trims and configurations, including Regular Cab, Crew Cab, and Mega Cab. 

The truck is equipped with a 6.4-litre V8 engine that delivers 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque. It also has a 6.7-litre turbo diesel engine that provides 420 horsepower and 1075 lb-ft of torque. 

Moreover, the Ram 3500 comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and is available with rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.

The Ram 3500 has a towing capacity of up to 37,090 pounds and can carry a maximum payload of 7,680 pounds. 

It is equipped with a fuel tank size of up to 31 gallons, depending on the configuration. 

The interior of the Ram 3500 is spacious and comfortable, with features such as a Uconnect® infotainment system with an available 12-inch touchscreen and an available 17-speaker Harman Kardon® sound system.

Ram 3500 offers unbeatable towing and payload capacity compared to the 1500 and 2500 variants.

Ram 3500 interor. Credits; Motortrend
Ram 3500 interor. Credits; Motortrend

The Ram 1500 has a maximum towing capacity of 12,750 lbs and 2,320 lbs for payload. Ram 2500, on the other hand, is better than this at 19,680 and 4,520 lbs for towing and payload, respectively.

The Ram 2500 and 3500 are less fuel-efficient, with an EPA-estimated 13-17 mpg in the city and 18-23 mpg on the highway.

In terms of price, the Ram 1500 is the most affordable, with a starting price of around $37,410. The Ram 2500 starts at around $44,675, and the Ram 3500 starts at around $46,780.

The Ram 3500 is ideal for those who need to tow heavy loads or carry large payloads. 

It is often used in commercial work, such as construction, agriculture, and transportation. 

The truck’s towing capacity makes it suitable for hauling large trailers, such as horse trailers or RVs. 

The Ram 3500 can also handle extreme off-road conditions, making it ideal for those who need to travel off the beaten path.

5. How to Choose between Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500

dodge ram 1500 vs 2500 vs 3500

Ram is a famous truck brand that offers a range of trucks to cater to different needs. 

1500, 2500, and 3500 are three of its most popular models. While they may look similar at first glance, they have several differences that set them apart.

1500 is the lightest of the three Ram trucks, making it a good choice for daily commutes, light towing, and hauling needs. It has a maximum towing capacity of 12,750 pounds and a payload capacity of 2,320. 

The Ram 2500 is larger and has a higher towing capacity of up to 19,680 pounds and a payload capacity of 4,050 pounds, making it a good choice for heavy-duty hauling and towing needs.

3500, on the other hand, is the largest and heaviest of the three trucks and can tow up to 35,100 pounds, making it perfect for commercial and heavy-duty applications.

When choosing between Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500, there are several factors to consider. 

First, you need to consider your budget and how much you are willing to spend on a truck. 

The Ram 1500 is the most affordable of the three, while the Ram 3500 is the most expensive.

Next, consider the purpose of the truck. If you plan on using it for daily commuting or light hauling, the Ram 1500 may be the right choice. 

But if you need a truck for heavy-duty towing and hauling, the Ram 2500 or 3500 may be a better option.

Also, consider how frequently you will use the truck and your driving preferences. 

If you plan on using the truck as your primary vehicle, the Ram 1500 may be a better option as it is more comfortable and easier to handle- not to mention better MPG. 

But if you are using it for commercial or heavy-duty purposes, the Ram 2500 or 3500 may be more suitable.

And finally, consider your personal style and preferences. Ram trucks come in different trim levels and packages that offer different features and amenities. 

Choose a model that fits your personality and lifestyle.

Make sure you test-drive them all.

test driving

When test-driving and comparing Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 models, pay attention to their towing and hauling capabilities, engine power and efficiency, handling, and comfort features. 

Again, ensure you choose a model that meets your specific needs and preferences.

Over to you!

So there you have it. The Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 have unique features and capabilities. Selecting the right one depends on various factors, such as your budget, purpose, driving preferences, and style. 

1500 is an excellent option for daily use and occasional towing, while the Ram 2500 and 3500 are ideal for heavy-duty work and frequent towing.

My final recommendation is to carefully evaluate your needs and preferences before deciding. Consider test-driving and comparing different Ram models to better understand which one best suits your requirements. 

I hope this article on the comparison of the top 3 Ram trucks helped you with clearing confusion. If you still have a question or two, don’t forget to ask in the comment below.

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