Do you need the 2021 Ford F-150 or the F-250? After you take a thorough inventory of your trucking needs, check out our comparison guide. We’ll help you choose the Ford pickup truck that’s right for you, whether that’s the light-duty, full-size F-150 truck or the heavy-duty Super Duty F-250.
Although you can end up spending more on the heftier F-250, both Ford trucks have similar starting prices. The F-150 MSRP range starts at $37,000, and the F-250 starts at $37,820.
If you’re shopping for greater luxury and power, though, the F-150 can cost you upwards of $74,600. With the F-250, the upper end of the MSRP range jumps to $84,390.
Power and Performance
Although the F-150 isn’t as powerful as the heavy-duty F-250, it’s still powerful enough for most drivers. It also offers five engine options, so you can really hone your performance to deliver as much power, fuel economy, and speed as you desire. Depending on configuration and equipment, the 2021 F-150 can tow up to 14,000 pounds. Max payloads reach 3,325 pounds. These are best-in-class figures for a light-duty truck, but the heavy-duty F-250 gives you even more muscle.
If the F-150 can’t handle your everyday trucking needs, that’s when it’s time to think about choosing the F-250. There are three F-250 powertrains, two of which are gas-powered and one of which is diesel. Depending on body style and equipment, diesel-powered F-250s can tow up to 20,000 pounds of conventional trailer. With a gooseneck or fifth-wheel setup, that figure jumps to 22,800. With the more powerful gas-powered V8 engine, the F-250 can haul max payloads of 4,260 pounds.
Body Configurations and Trim Models
The 2021 Ford F-150 is available with one of three cabin styles: regular, SuperCab and SuperCrew. Depending on body style, shoppers can choose from three bed lengths, the standard 6.75-foot bed, the long 8-foot bed, and the short 5.5-foot bed. The F-150 also offers extra levels of luxury, with six trim models. The Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and top-tier Limited models are loaded with goodies, including leather upholstery and heated-and-ventilated power-adjustable front seats.
With the F-250, you can choose from the same three cabin styles however, there are only two available bed sizes. The F-250 Super Cab and SuperCrew are available with either a 6.75-foot bed or an 8-foot bed. The regular cabin is paired with the long, 8-foot bed. The F-250 is available in the same six trim levels as the F-150, so you can add as much luxury as you see fit.
After it was redesigned for the 2021 model year, the F-150 offers more high-tech features than ever. Its newly available Pro Power Onboard system acts as an onboard electric generator to charge everything from camping gadgets to power saws. The new Active Drive Assist system offers hands-free driving on thousands of miles of pre-mapped highways. Then there’s the new Tremor package, which upgrades your off-road experience with adventure-friendly features, like all-terrain tires and a revised suspension.
The F-150 also offers the latest version of Ford’s infotainment system, Sync 4. It’s updated to include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. It still comes standard with an 8-inch touch screen, but now you can opt for a bigger, 12-inch central touch screen.
Every F-150 also includes technology that helps you avoid an accident: lane departure warning and forward collision mitigation. And all but the base F-150 model feature extra protection, with blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, and rear automatic braking.
Although the Pro Power Onboard and Active Drive Assist systems aren’t available for the F-250 — at least not yet — you can add the Tremor package for a surprisingly nimble off-road performance.
Another thing these Ford trucks have in common is the Pro Trailer Backup Assist package and Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera Systems. The former helps you guide a trailer in the desired direction, and the latter adds a range of cameras for maximum visibility.
The 2021 Ford F-250 also has yet to upgrade to the Sync 4 infotainment system, but it's Sync 3 technology will serve you well, with an 8-inch touch screen and available navigation. You should note, however, that Sync 3 utilizes the wired versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The heavy-duty F-250 also doesn’t offer quite as many safety aids. Blind-spot monitoring is standard on all but the base model and, as with the F-150, adaptive cruise control is available on upper trim levels. However, the F-250 doesn’t offer forward collision mitigation or lane keeping technology.
Your Best Ford Truck
When you’re choosing between the 2021 Ford F-150 and F-250, you really need to think about how much you need to tow and haul. If the F-150 can handle your towing and hauling needs, it’s the truck you want. The newly redesigned F-150 offers lots of tech upgrades, including hands-free driving and the latest infotainment gear.
On the other hand, if you require a stronger truck, then you’re going to need the F-250. Choose this truck for its hefty diesel towing capabilities or its extra-strength, gas-powered V8 hauling performance. Although the F-250 doesn’t offer quite as many high-tech features, it does supply plenty of body style configurations, luxury options, and smartphone-friendly gear.