2021 Ford F-250 Towing Capacities

The 2021 Ford F250s had a lot of the same specs when it came to towing capacity that we saw with the 2020 models and were able to achieve a maximum rating of 22,800 lbs.! You did have to have the proper engine equipped in your truck, along with the correct axle ratio and an optional tow package equipped on the vehicle in order to achieve the highest ratings.

On the low end, these trucks had a 12,200 lb. maximum capacity rating, which was a difference of 10,600 lbs., so you really want to make sure you have the proper equipment installed, which I go into what those were in this article.

I recommend that you read through your owner's manual and that you follow all of Ford's requirements and recommendations.

2021 F-250 Overview

Overall Towing Capacity: The 2021 Ford F250s had quite an impressive towing capacity, that ranged from 12,200-22,800 lbs. That is more than a 10,000-pound gap and some of the highest ratings available came from the diesel engine that was offered and there were also optional tow packages available, that really boosted your capacity.

Engine Options: There were three different engine options available for the 2021 models and these were the same three engines that were offered for the 2020 models, which were the 6.2 L engine, the 6.7 L diesel engine and the 7.3 L engine.

The 6.2 L engine and the 7.3 liter engine we're both gasoline-powered engines, while the only diesel option was the 6.7 L engine. The diesel option did have the highest overall capacity ratings in the chart, especially when paired with one of the two optional packages that were available for trucks that had this engine equipped.

Axle Ratios: There were four different axle ratios available for these model year trucks and these were the same axle ratios that we found for the 2020 models.

Each engine option had two different axle ratios that were available and for the 6.2 L engines a 3.73 or 4.30 axle ratio were the two choices you had. If we look at the 6.7 L diesel engine, we can see that a 3.31 or a 3.55 axle ratio is offered and for the 7.3 L engines that same 3.55 axle ratio is offered, along with a 4.30 axle ratio option.

Assumed Weight: Ford did specify an assumed weight for a driver and one occupant in the truck when they listed their trailer weight ratings. The driver and the passenger were both assumed to weigh 150 lbs., which brought our grand total to 300 lbs. of assumed weight in the vehicle, in order to achieve the figures we saw in the charts.

Standard and Gooseneck Charts:

The 2021 F250s had very similar specs to the 2020 models and even the charts shared a lot of the same data. If we look at the charts below, we can see that there are all kinds of elements that we need to plug into the chart in order to get an accurate trailer weight rating.

Some of these items include the cab style that you have on your truck, whether you have a two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive model, the length of your wheelbase, along with the length of your bed, the engine you had equipped and what axle ratio you had equipped.

We will be going over all of these different variables in this article, not only where to find the information, but how to decipher some of the information that you will find.

2021 Ford F-250 Towing Chart
2021 Ford F-250 5th Wheel Towing Chart

I also was able to find a little bit of information on the trailer frontal area considerations that Ford specifies, along with the tailgate clearance heights that are needed if you are planning on using a fifth wheel or gooseneck type of hitch.

F-250 Frontal Area Considerations

Trailer Frontal Area Considerations

2021 Ford F-250 Tailgate Clearances

Tongue Weight Rating:

The tongue weight rating is an important metric when it comes to pulling anything behind your truck and it is essentially the weight that the trailer will put on the hitch of your truck.

At the bottom of the charts I have posted, there is a little box with fine print that states that the trailer tongue load weight should be around 10% of the trailer's total weight, if you're using a conventional hitch and they increase that amount to 15% for fifth wheel and gooseneck type of hitches.

I do recommend that you read through your owner's manual though because in the manual, it states that you do not want to go below or above 10 to 15% of the trailer's total weight if you're using a conventional hitch, so that 10% figure that was given in the charts is at the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to the overall tongue weight ratings.

2018 F-250 Tongue Weight

What Axle Ratio Do I Have?

One of the most important elements that will affect your weight rating is the axle ratio that you have equipped on your truck. You will need to find your axle ratio and plug that into the chart, as a single piece of the puzzle, in order to get your weight rating.

To find your axle ratio, you will have to look on your certification label, that looks like the label in the image below and at the bottom of the label you will see the word axle and then below that you will see a two-digit code with either numbers or a letter and a number. Your certification label is located on your driver side door jamb or the driver side door itself.


After you have your two-digit code, you will have to decipher that code in order to figure out what axle ratio you have equipped on your truck. The chart below will decipher your code for you and will not only tell you the axle ratio that you have, but it will also tell you additional details about your rear axle, as there were three different types, as you can see from the chart below.

I do want to point out that for the 2021 F250s there were only four different axle ratios that were available, and these are the four that I have highlighted in the red boxes in the chart. The other two axle ratios are not used on these particular trucks.

2021 Ford F-250 Axle Ratio Codes

Let's Talk About Wheelbase Length...

The Length of your wheelbase is also something that you are going to have to figure out and if you are unfamiliar with what the wheelbase measurement is, it is simply just the measurement from the front to the rear tire, measuring from the center of each tire.

You can do this manually with a tape measure, as all measurements are in inches, but I would recommend having somebody help you, as it makes the process a lot easier.

In the charts, the wheelbase measurements are listed as: 176" WB, 148" WB and so on. Just for your reference, there were five different wheelbase lengths available for these trucks.

Ford Truck Wheelbase

8' Box or 6-3/4' Box?

Below the wheelbase lengths in the chart, you will see additional information that is listed and this is listed as 8' Box or 6-3/4' Box. Ford is just referring to the length of your bed and instead of using the word bed, they used the word box for some weird reason.

There were only two different choices of bed lengths for these trucks and this was an 8-foot bed, which measured approximately 98 in. in length and then you had the standard sized bed which measured roughly 81 in. in length.

Weight Carrying and Weight Distributing:

If you look in the conventional towing chart, you will see two different metrics for each vehicle and these are labeled as weight-carrying and then weight distributing. These will have the same figure sometimes, but other times they will have different figures.

Weight carrying simply means just using a standard receiver hitch and this is a metric that most people are going to want to look at, as they will have just a standard hitch installed on their truck.

The weight distributing metric is only referring to people who have a weight distributing hitch installed on their truck and this is why sometimes you will see these numbers a bit higher than the weight carrying figures next to them.

I do want to note that in order to get some of the highest capacities listed, you may have to have one of these weight distributing hitches installed on your trailer.

Trim Levels Explained:

There were six different trim levels to choose from, just like we saw with the 2020 model year trucks and these were listed by Ford as the: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited models.

The trim level you had equipped on your truck did not really affect the trailer weight ratings all that much, but I do know that some models did require additional equipment in order to achieve the highest ratings that were listed in the charts.

You will also want to see what options were available for the specific trim levels, as some options, like the diesel engine option may not have been available for all trim levels, so you will want to check out things like that that may indirectly impact the weight ratings.

Cab Styles...

You will also need to know what cab style your truck came with, but there were only three different cab styles available, which you can see the three different choices below in the image I have posted. Just line up the cab style from the image and compare that to what you have on your truck in order to get that figured out.

GCWR, GVWR and GAWR Figures:

GCWR: All of the gross combined weight rating metrics were listed in the charts, right next to the axle ratios, so we don't need to go searching for those metrics, which is nice.

GVWR & GAWRs: However, the gross vehicle weight rating and gross axle weight ratings were not listed in the charts and if you want to know what these figures were, then you will have to look on your certification label, which is where we found the axle ratio code listed before.

Certification Label: The certification label has more than just the axle ratio code listed on it, it also has the gross vehicle weight rating and both gross axle weight ratings listed at the top of the label. The image below shows a typical Ford certification label and where you can find both of these weight ratings listed.

Ford F-250 Certification Label

Standard Equipment & Optional Packages...

There were two different types of packages that were offered for these trucks and these fell into two different categories. You had the standard options, that were offered with the vehicle at no extra charge and then you had two different choices of additional packages that you needed to pay extra for, in order to have them installed on the truck. 

Typically, these two optional packages were needed when you were looking to get the highest ratings in the charts and these two optional packages also required that you have the 6.7 L diesel engine equipped.

2021 F-250 Tow Equipment and Options

(7) F-350 DRW/F-450 only. (8) In-cab, no controller (SRW). (9) Requires 6.7L diesel engine. (10) Required on XL.

Trailer Brakes:

Anytime you will be pulling additional weight behind your truck, you will need to have extra stopping power and this usually means that you will need trailer brakes if your trailer weighs over a certain amount of weight. Ford requires that you have trailer brakes equipped on your trailer if your trailer weighs more than 1,500 lbs.

Individual states will also have their own set of requirements for trailer brakes and specific weight ratings for the trailers, so you will need to check with those specific laws and be sure that you comply with those as well.

Ford F-250 Trailer Brakes
Ford F250 Trailer Brake Note

Other Notes I Found:

There were a couple of additional notes that I found in the owner's manual that were definitely worth mentioning. The first note talks about driving your truck in higher altitudes and how you will need to reduce your gross combined weight rating by 2% for every 1,000 feet of elevation change. You will need to take this into consideration if you were planning on traveling to higher elevation areas, as this can add up to a substantial amount of reduced weight very quickly.

The second note I found talks about the minimum octane rating of gasoline for these trucks, which would only apply to models that have the 6.2 L engine equipped. Ford recommends a minimum octane rating of 87 and advises against using anything lower than 87 octane rating. They state that these gas stations will usually be located in higher altitude areas, but I have never seen an octane rating myself lower than 87.

Ford F-250 GCWR High Altitude Warning
2018 F-250 Octane Rating Gasoline

Helpful Links:

All of the information for this article was found in just three different resources, all three were literature that was made available by Ford and included the owner's manual, the tow guide and the 2021 super duty brochure. I linked to each of these resources below, in case anyone out there wants a quick way to check these out.

Last updated on April 27th, 2022 at 06:46 pm

Want To Share This?