The Best Trucks for Hot Shot Trucking

May 18, 2024

Team ACV




The Best Trucks for Hot Shot Trucking

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A close up of a red Hot Shot Truck

Hot shot trucking, also known as expedited trucking or time-critical trucking, refers to the transportation of small to medium-sized, time-sensitive loads on short notice. These loads are typically smaller than those carried by traditional freight companies and can range from construction materials and  automotive parts to household goods. Hot shot trucking has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its flexibility, faster delivery times, and potential for increased profitability.

As a growing sector, many drivers might be looking for the best truck for hot shot trucking. Below, we’ve collected some of the best hot shot trucks on the market that any operator should consider.

Hot shot Trucking Truck Types

When it comes to hot shot hauling, there are a range of truck types to choose from, but the most prevalent is the one-ton pickup truck, designated as "medium-duty" by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). While these trucks are typically considered non-commercial vehicles, they can be utilized for hot shot trucking, provided you have the necessary credentials, such as operating authority, a USDOT number (for interstate hauling), liability insurance, and evidence of business ownership.

Hot shot trucks typically fall into the Class 3, 4, or 5 categories1, which cover pickups, flatbeds, box trucks, delivery vans, and small buses:

  • Class 3: Medium-duty Class 3 trucks have a weight range of 10,001–14,000 lbs and come with at least six tires. Common examples include the Chevrolet Silverado 3500, GMC Sierra 3500, Ford F-350, and Ram 3500.
  • Class 4: With a weight limit of 14,001–16,000 lbs, Class 4 medium-duty trucks like the Chevrolet Silverado 4500, Ford F-450, and Ram 4500 offer more hauling capacity. Although heavier, they maintain their non-commercial classification. For those expecting larger loads, investing in a Class 4 pickup truck might be advantageous.
  • Class 5: Medium-duty Class 5 trucks can carry between 16,001–19,500 lbs. Typical examples include the Chevrolet Silverado 5500, Ford F-550, and Ram 5500. This category also encompasses some of the lightest commercial trucks, including the Kenworth T170, Peterbilt 325, and International TerraStar.

Best Hot shot Trucks for Operators to Consider

Choosing the best truck for hot shot trucking is essential for ensuring success in this competitive industry. The following are among the best hot shot trucks on the market, offering the combination of power, maneuverability, and fuel efficiency essential for this type of work.

1. Ford F-250/F-350/F-450 Super Duty

The Ford F-Series is among the best trucks for hot shot trucking. These pickups have been the best-selling vehicles in the United States for decades, and their dependability and capability have been repeatedly demonstrated. 

For hot shot truckers, these are popular choices due to their powerful engines, durable construction, and spacious interiors. These trucks can be equipped with a variety of towing packages and upgrades, making them ideal for hauling heavy loads.

Throughout the lineup, four extremely powerful engines are offered (the F-450 only comes with one of the two diesel options)2:

  • 6.8L V8 (405 hp / 445 lb-ft)
  • 7.3L V8 (430 hp / 485 lb-ft)
  • 6.7L Power Stroke Turbo-Diesel V8 (475 hp / 1,050 lb-ft)
  • 6.7L High-Output Power Stroke Turbo-Diesel V8 (500 hp / 1,200 lb-ft)

When you add gooseneck towing capability, these become some of the best trucks for hot shot trucking. With the most powerful engine, the F-250 can tow 23,000 lbs. This number jumps to 38,000 lbs for the F-350 and hits 40,000 lbs for the F-450.

A used 2022 Ford F-350 Super Duty
2022 Ford F-350 Super Duty

2. Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500 HD

If you are looking for the best hot shot truck from Chevrolet, then you’re in luck, as the Silverado comes in two heavy-duty trims, the 2500 and 3500. They are well-suited for hot shot trucking due to their impressive towing capacities and advanced technology features. These trucks can be equipped with various upgrades and customizations, making them a versatile choice for hot shot truckers.

For simplicity, there are only two engine options for both these models3:

  • 6.6L V8 (401 hp, 464 lb-ft)
  • 6.6L Duramax Turbo-Diesel V8 (445 hp, 910 lb-ft)

The Duramax Turbo-Diesel is a legendary engine in the trucking world and is more than capable. With a fifth wheel, the 2500 can tow up to 22,070 pounds. The 3500, on the other hand, can pull a whopping 36,000 lbs. when properly equipped.

A black used 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD

3. Ram 2500/3500 HD

The best truck for hot shot trucking from RAM comes in the form of the heavy-duty Ram 2500/3500. Its robust frame, powerful drivetrain, and advanced towing technology provide the strength and capability needed to confidently conquer challenging hauling tasks, while its spacious interior and user-friendly infotainment system enhance comfort and convenience for hot shot drivers during long hauls.

Three engine options can find themselves underneath the hood of these Ram trucks. However, if you want the most powerful Cummins engine, that’s exclusive to the 35004:

  • 6.4L HEMI V8 (410hp, 429 lb-ft)
  • 6.7L Cummins Turbo-Diesel Inline-6 (370 hp, 850 lb-ft) 
  • 6.7L High-Output Cummins Turbo-Diesel Inline-6 (420 hp, 1,075 lb-ft)

The maximum towing capacity of the Ram 2500 is 20,000 lbs. The capacity jumps significantly to 37,090 lbs in the Ram 3500.

You will surely be satisfied with whichever of the above hot shot trucks you pick. Every truck mentioned is more than capable and has proven to be a workhorse for thousands of hot shot truckers.

A used black 2020 Ram 3500
2020 Ram 3500

Partner With ACV Transportation

If hot shot trucking is something you’d like to pursue, ACV Transportation would like to partner with you. As a leading transportation service, we work with thousands of dealerships across the nation who rely on us to deliver new loads daily. With us, you can count on having consistent work, along with a dedicated dispatch team that is available from 8am–8pm EST on weekdays and on weekends from 8pm–5pm EST. So if you’re looking to make the next step in hot shot trucking, don’t hesitate to sign up and drive for ACV Transportation today!


  1. "Alternative Fuels Data Center." U.S Department of Energy, 14 May 2024, Accessed 14 May 2024.
  2. "2024 FORD SUPER DUTY® PICKUP." 2024 FORD SUPER DUTY® PICKUP Product Information, 1 Dec. 2023, Accessed 14 May 2024.
  3. "SILVERADO FOR SPECS." Chevrolet, 1 Dec. 2023, Accessed 14 May 2024.
  4. "2024 RAM 3500." Ram Trucks, 1 Jan. 2024, Accessed 14 May 2024.