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When it comes to looking at the best truck for snow plowing, stick to Ford, Chevy, or Ram as they all offered a factory-installed plow prep package.

Best Trucks for Snow Plowing

2023 Ram 1500 with Snow Plow Package - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com
2023 Ram 1500 with Snow Plow Package - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com

With the winter season coming in hot, so to speak, those of you in snowy climes may be wondering what the best truck for snow plowing is. There are a host of reasons you may need, or want, to hook a plow up to your truck. Perhaps you have a long driveway. Perhaps you live in a rural area that doesn’t see a city plow very frequently – or ever. Maybe you’re looking to start up a snow-plowing business. After all, combined annual revenues for the snow and ice management industry are in the neighborhood of $20 BILLION, so why not grab a slice of that pie?

Your intended use of a snow plow is an important consideration before you get started. Hanging a plow off the front of a truck adds an immediate weight imbalance. Obviously, the gigantic dump truck-mounted plows clearing the interstate are not going to work on a Ford Ranger from a simple weight perspective – the rear wheels would be barely touching the pavement. So, you need to ensure your pickup can handle the added load of a plow up front without dramatically altering how it drives.

Given that, we can break down this best truck for snow plowing discussion into two general categories. For light personal use, like clearing a few driveways or cutting a path to the main drag for your rural neighborhood, the full-size family of trucks like a Ford F-150 will get the job done. For those planning to start a small business that involves long hours of plowing parking lots and the like, your best bet is the ¾-ton heavy duty trucks segment occupied by the likes of Ford’s Super Duty lineup.

2020 Chevrolet SIlverado 3500 with snow plow - media.chevrolet.com
2020 Chevrolet SIlverado 3500 with snow plow - media.chevrolet.com

The main reason for this segmentation is back to the front-end load. A plow measuring roughly 7 ½ – feet across will weigh around 500 pounds. Moving up to an 8-foot-wide plow can bump that weight up to some 800 pounds. For a handful of driveways here and there, a smaller plow is ok but for the bigger jobs, a larger plow simply moves more snow faster. So, make sure the gross vehicle weight rating of your truck, an easily found manufacturer spec, can handle the weight of the plow to avoid overly stressing the front suspension and decreasing braking effectiveness.

Though the midsize segmentTacoma, Ranger, etc. – can technically handle small plow jobs, by sticking to the ½-ton segment and above, you can find vehicles with manufacturer-installed snow plow prep packages and make life easier. On that note, we’ll skip over the Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra as they do not offer this option.

Some additional criteria to keep in mind include four-wheel-drive, which is essentially required gear to avoid getting stuck. Visibility while plowing is critical, so features like heated exterior mirrors and a rear window with defrost is a good idea. Since we’re going to be looking at used trucks, keep an eye on mileage as plowing will add stress to the overall vehicle, particularly the transmission, so it helps to start with a lightly used vehicle.

And be sure to check out our Winterizing Tips and Mountain Driving Best Practices articles as they provide a lot of information that is relevant to our snow-plowing conversation. With all that in mind, let’s look at the best trucks for snow plowing.

2019 Ford F-150

2019 Ford F-150 - media.ford.com
2019 Ford F-150 - media.ford.com

Part of the 13th generation of Ford’s venerable pickup, the 2019 F-150 offered a Snow Plow Prep package that you’ll want. Some manufacturers fit an uprated alternator in their plow packages to handle the added electrical load that comes with running controls, a pump, and possibly lighting. Ford instead adds a Snow Plow Mode button on the instrument panel to disable the 110-volt outlet, fog lamps, and heated seats, which sheds load and allows the truck to function with the standard alternator.

As well, the 10-speed automatic transmission has a Snow-Wet mode that lends a hand in low-grip situations. Other features include electronic shift-on-the-fly 4WD and a relay to activate the plow controls. This package was only available with the 5.0L V8 power plant which, like all 2019 F-150s, came with plow-friendly systems like a blind spot monitor. For more on this best-seller, check out our Best Full-Size Trucks rundown.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 

2020 Chevrolet Silverado - media.chevrolet.com
2020 Chevrolet Silverado - media.chevrolet.com

For their fourth-gen Silverado, Chevy also offered a Snow Plow Prep package that adds considerably more upgrades versus the F-150. It brought a beefier 220-amp alternator, power feed for backup juice and roof light, a high-capacity air filter, an auxiliary transmission oil cooler, heavy-duty front springs, and underbody skid plates. Skip the turbocharged four-cylinder motor and stick with a V8 or the Duramax turbodiesel engine to enjoy ample low-end grunt. Chevy’s standard Tire Fill Alert is a nice amenity if you need to fiddle with tire pressure at night, in a snowstorm.

2020 GMC Sierra 1500

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 - media.gmc.com
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 - media.gmc.com

The 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 is a close cousin to the Silverado and deserves an honorable mention here. It shares running gear and the same plowing package, but if you have more money to spend, the Sierra offers more bells and whistles. The digital rearview mirror adds visibility when backing up and the adaptive ride control is a nice nod to comfort when bouncing around in icy conditions. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to save some money, look over this list of Best Towing Trucks under $20,000 as they will offer quite a bit of snow plow-friendly characteristics.

2021 Ram 1500

2021 RAM 1500 - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com
2021 RAM 1500 - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com

2021 was the first year a 1500-series Ram could be outfitted with a factory-installed snow plow package. Like Chevy, the plow-prepped Ram comes with a 220-amp alternator to handle the extra electrical load, but also adds a power sliding rear window with a defroster, a boon for seeing what’s behind you when the weather gets wild.

Like Ford and Chevy, this package requires at least a V8, though the 3.0L turbodiesel V6 could also be optioned. A big upside to going the Ram route is the availability of air suspension. This is something neither of the other manufacturers offers and is renowned for its cushy ride.

2019 Ford F-250  

2019 Ford F-250 - media.ford.com
2019 Ford F-250 - media.ford.com

For those planning to plow in a more commercial sense, the ¾-ton or heavy-duty pickups offer a more robust platform to work from that will more easily handle larger plows without losing significant maneuverability. The other draw to trucks like a Ford F-250 is the availability of serious power.

For example, a 2019 model with the 6.7L PowerStroke turbodiesel makes a heady 935 lb-ft of torque. Though not necessary for a quick driveway job, you’ll be happy to have the extra oomph if you’ve got a salt spreader mounted in the bed and find yourself navigating a mall parking lot filled with wet snow. In Super Duty form, the plow package adds a second alternator as well as heavy-duty springs.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 - media.chevrolet.com
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 - media.chevrolet.com

Chev’s line of ¾-ton pickups can be found with a factory plow package that came with a front end designed to facilitate easy removal of the air dam and skid plate, to make mounting of plow hardware easier. When running the 6.6L V8 under hood, which provides an ample 464 lb-ft of torque, this package came with dual alternators, a provision for a roof-mounted beacon, underbody shields, and heavier-duty front springs.

2021 Ram 2500

2021 RAM 2500 - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com
2021 RAM 2500 - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com

In the best truck for snow plowing conversation, the fifth-gen Ram 2500 series takes the cake for best package nomenclature. Unlike the bland “Snow Plow Prep” moniker found elsewhere, Ram names their heavy-duty offering the “Snow Chief” when so equipped. It was pricey at $845, but along with the excellent name came a 220-amp alternator, limited-slip differential, auxiliary dash switches, clearance lamps, off-road tires, and transfer case skid plates. And for those looking to brag, the 6.7L Cummins turbodiesel in high-output form is rated for an even 1,000 lb-ft of torque.

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Niel Stender

Niel Stender grew up doing replacement work on his 1990 Cherokee and 1989 Starion, so it’s not surprising that he would put his mechanical engineering degree from the University of New Hampshire to use in the car world as a vehicle dynamics engineer. Now engineering sentence structures, his writing infuses his auto experience with his time in marketing and his sales experience. Writing about cars for close to a decade now, he focuses on some of the more technical mechanical systems that are found under the hood and throughout a vehicle.

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