What Is the Difference Between a Pickup and a Semi Truck?

When it comes to commercial vehicles, the terms ‘pickup truck’ and ‘semi truck’ are often used interchangeably; however, there are distinct differences between the two.

Size: The most obvious difference between a pickup and a semi is size. A pickup truck is much smaller than a semi truck, with an average length of 18-20 feet.

Semi trucks are much larger, with an average length of 40-50 feet.

Cab Design: Another difference between pickups and semis is their cab design. Pickup trucks have a cabin for the driver and passengers, while semis have an open-air cab that sits atop the cargo bed.

Towing Capacity: Pickup trucks generally have smaller towing capacities than semi trucks because of their size. The average pickup truck can tow up to 10,000 pounds, while semi trucks can tow up to 80,000 pounds or more.

Engine Type: The engines in pickups and semis are also different. Pickups usually have gasoline engines that can produce up to 400 horsepower, while most semi trucks have diesel engines that can produce up to 600 horsepower.


The differences between pickups and semis are quite clear when it comes to size, cab design, towing capacity, and engine type. While both types of vehicles are useful for hauling cargo and transporting people, they serve different needs depending on the job at hand.

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Stephen Dunn