Long Bed vs Short Bed: Which Should You Choose?

When getting a pick up truck, you should really take into consideration what kind of bed you’re going to get with it. Will you get a long bed or a short bed? And even before that, you need to consider how your choice of truck bed will be compatible with how you plan on using the truck. Confused? Read on and learn more about how these different size beds can serve your needs.

How Big are Long Beds and Short Beds?

As the name suggests, there is a quite a difference in the size of long beds in comparison to short beds.

While there is no universally established standard measurement for truck bed size categories, short beds usually come around 5 feet 8 inches or roughly 1.73 meters long while long beds are 8 feet or 2.44 long.

This variation in size can lead to a world of difference depending on how you plan on utilizing your truck. Not only that, you also have to take the area or location you plan on using the truck into consideration before choosing which truck bed size you want. 

How do Long Beds and Short Beds Compare Against Each Other?

Of course, these different sized beds would not have been made if they each did not serve their own unique function. It all depends on how you plan on using your truck.

Some purchase trucks for professional purposes such as moving cargo or transferring heavy equipment. Some purchase trucks for outdoor adventures such as camping and travel. 

In this section, we will dive deeper into each aspect that will affect how these trucks work for you in order to make sure that whichever one you may choose, you get the most out of your decision.

Size and Capacity

Of course, if you’re looking to get more out of the truck space-wise, you should be looking at long beds more. 

Their greater size allows you a great deal more space which can be vital if your purpose in a truck is to haul great amounts of cargo from one place to another. This will save you on trips, gas, money, and other resources. 

Their size also allows you store more of your own personal items such as tools, spares, and the like. With a long bed, you probably won’t need to worry about storage at all. 

However, bigger isn’t always better. Short beds may not have the same amount of space or capacity in holding items as long beds do, but it can be more accommodating in tight-fitting areas. 

Short beds can still hold a great amount cargo at the same time they fit better in conventional parking spaces, garages, and tight roads. This could be of great benefit for those living in areas with less open roads or spaces. 

Handling and Maneuvering

While it may look a little bit intimidating, long beds can also handle roads a little bit more. This is because their lengths allow for greater space in between wheels creating a bit more balance as you would have with a short bed.

Having said that, it might also take a while for most drivers to get used to the length. Because of their size, certain maneuvers such as U-turns can be a bit more tricky so a certain level of skills and proficiency may be required when driving a long bed.

Short beds, on the other hand, don’t have this problem as their size isn’t really that different as compared to conventional vehicles. Given that, they fit into roads easily and are a breeze to maneuver.

Towing

Long Bed vs Short Bed: Which Should You Choose?

Long beds generally have a higher towing capacity thanks to the greater stability provided by longer wheelbase. You can also move more things around without needing additional equipment or accessories to help saving you weight, money, and space. Especially if you own a fifth wheel hitch. 

This area is probably where short beds come up, well, short. The limited space in the bed area generates limited separation that can put the vehicle at greater risk of damage when towing.

To address this, those who are looking to use the short bed truck for towing may rely on the use of a sliding hitch to create much needed separation. This hitches can be quite pricey, heavy, and take up more of the already limited space your truck bed has. 

Camping

Outdoor activities such as camping are made all the better with your trucks. You can tow campers, store lots of gear, and even pop up a truck topper and make your own little makeshift mobile tent right in your truck bed.

Long bed trucks are especially great for the adventures due to its ability to tow fifth wheel campers such as RVs. Aside from that, you also get a lot more space to store bikes, tents, and other gear that can boost the whole camping experience.

Short beds aren’t that bad either for those who are into lighter camping activities. If heavy duty RVs aren’t your slice of pie, smaller travel trailers can easily be connected to trucks with this type of bed.

While it might not have the same amount of space as you would have with a long bed, you can still store a solid amount of gear and materials even with a camper connected. 

Price

If you have a few extra bucks to splurge on a truck, then you can go right ahead and buy yourself a truck with a long bed. 

Trucks with this bed size may be a bit pricier than its shorter counterpart but if the benefits and functionalities that it provides sound like things that you could not do without, then don’t think twice and go for the long bed.

However, if you’re not really looking for anything truly heavy-duty and are looking for a more budget-friendly truck, short bed trucks are the one for you. Usually these are more or less $100 cheaper than their long bed counterparts so you get similar functionality and keep a little bit more money in the bank.

Which is the Better Choice: Long Bed or Short Beds?

Long Bed vs Short Bed: Which Should You Choose?

Because you are thinking of buying a truck, it would be safe to assume that you are expecting to have something that can handle a little bit more. In this case, long beds are the obvious choice.

Undeniably, these truck beds offer the most benefits and most adaptable functions that would be expected by a truck owner. The ample space, the tow strength, and overall stability and balance provided when driving is undeniably superior to that of its shorter counterpart. 

Sure, you may have to get used to maneuvering it but it should be a piece of cake once you get some time behind the wheel.

Aside from that, the price difference isn’t really that shocking. You may even end up saving more money, time, and energy by choosing to go for a long bed. So ask yourself, what is a couple hundred or more bucks to the benefits it may bring? 

That being said, long beds are best utilized by those living in open areas with ample road space or those who spend a considerable amount of time moving numerous or heavy cargo from place to place.

However, this does not mean that short beds can be completely taken out of the picture. This kind of truck bed is still capable of so much and offer similar functionality despite its smaller size.

Short beds are also great for families that live in urban areas and do not really require a heavy-duty vehicle. They are also a little bit more budget friendly and can save you a little bit more money on the purchase

Can I Convert My Short Bed into a Long Bed?

Now what if you already own a truck and now want to convert from having a short bed into a long bed? Well, this is certainly possible.

Keep in mind that It would take a lot of effort and money to stretch out the frame in order to allow your short bed truck to accommodate such a change. 

To start with, you would have to go to an experienced body shop and make sure that they find a long bed that is compatible with if not the same truck that you wish to convert. Basically, you have to find a donor vehicle to provide a new bed.

This process should take roughly one or two days to complete depending on the shop that you choose to work with.

On the other hand, if you own a long bed and wish to convert it to a short bed, that can be done too. 

Instead of acquiring parts from a donor vehicle, what usually happens is that parts of the truck bed frame are removed with the use of several power tools and the bed structure is completely adjusted to fit the now much smaller space.

Both procedures can take a whole lot of time and resources, so you may just want to choose your truck bed size wisely and avoid this whole scenario.

Conclusion

Regardless of whether you do go for the long bed or take a shot with the short bed, you should always keep in mind and consider what you want out of the vehicle and how you’re going to use it.

Do your research and think heavily on which type of bed you choose. While long beds may certainly offer more functionality, at the end of the day, your activities, environment, and use of your truck is what is most important when you choose your truck bed.

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