How to Choose the Best Pickup for Towing Your Boat

You’ve done it. You’re the proud new owner of a boat. But how do you plan on transporting your boat to the boat launch? Whether you plan on spending the day fishing for bass or aimlessly exploring the local lake, odds are, you’re going to need to tow your boat to get there. The good news is that owning a pickup truck makes towing a boat reasonably simple. And if you don’t own a pickup yet? Here’s how to choose the best pickup for towing your beloved new boat. 

The 2021 Ford F-150 towing a boat.
2021 Ford F-150 | Ford

Determine how much your boat weighs 

First things first, you’re going to need to determine how much your boat weighs. According to Formula Boats, understanding how much your boat weighs is the first step in finding the best pickup for towing your boat. Fortunately, boat manufacturers make it fairly easy to determine how much a boat weighs.

To find out how much your boat weighs, check out the boat manufacturer’s website. There, you should be able to find the specs of your boat. Keep in mind, however, that manufacturers base their weight ratings on empty boats. Once you’ve added things like fuel, water accessories, and fishing gear, your boat’s weight is going to go up a noticeable amount.

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How much horsepower is needed to tow a boat?

As it turns out, when it comes to towing a boat, you should worry less about how much horsepower a pickup has to offer and more about how much torque it has. According to Boat Test, the more torque a pickup has to offer, the easier it will be to tow a boat. 

Boat Test added, “If two trucks offer the same amount of torque, look deeper. Find out where that engine makes its peak torque. If one makes it at 3500 rpm and another makes it at 4500, the former will be more drivable and will be a more capable hauler.”

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The easy way to choosing the best pickup to tow your boat

According to Edmunds, the easiest thing you could do when shopping for the best pickup to tow your boat is buy a truck with a ridiculously high towing capacity and never think about it again. Which, sure, does make sense. But really? It probably isn’t the best idea, which Edmunds does rightfully point out.

Instead, Edmunds recommends choosing a pickup truck that’s not only rated to tow a boat similar in size to your own but one that also offers the features needed to satisfy your daily automotive needs. “If you’re like most boaters, your tow vehicle will also be your commuter vehicle, family hauler, and pet transporter,” says Edmunds. “So choose a truck or SUV that can assume the necessary identity when it’s not in front of that boat.”

Fortunately, pickups these days have plenty to offer beyond towing. Take, for example, the Ford F-150. This year’s model boasts a best-in-class maximum towing capacity but is also available with sought-after features like an interior workspace, max recline seats, Wi-Fi connectivity, and even an onboard generator.

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Choosing the best pickup for towing your boat doesn’t have to be difficult

Between determining how much your boat weighs and how much specific pickups can tow, choosing the best pickup for towing your boat can seem like an insurmountable challenge. Fortunately, there are several pickups available that are more than capable of towing a boat. In fact, Autobytel recommends starting your search with trucks like the Toyota Tacoma, the Toyota Tundra, Ram 1500, Ford F-150, and the Chevy Silverado. Not only are each of these options is rated to tow an impressive amount, but they’re also available with a long list of sought-after features.