What is a Straight Truck

What is a Straight Truck?

Trucking is a critical part of the transportation industry as it meets various needs from businesses to individuals. A transporting truck should be large enough to fit most items; this is where straight trucks come in. 

A straight truck is similar to a standard tractor-truck, but its axles are made of one frame holding the cab and the trailer together.

It is mainly used in transporting housing supplies, refrigerators, dryers, furniture, and boxes. Most families moving out of their houses prefer straight trucks to other types. 

Straight trucks are significantly different from semi trucks which can be detached from the cab and carry heavier goods.

This article looks at straight trucks, costs, types, benefits, suitability, and more. 

What is a Straight Truck for DOT?

What is a Straight Truck for DOT

A straight truck is also known as a cube truck or a box truck, and it is a heavy-duty vehicle whose axle is connected on a single frame from the cab to the rear of the trailer.

It weighs well over 3.5 pounds and carries its load in the compartment behind the driver’s cab. 

For an elaborate description, let’s look at these features of a straight truck that make it unique from other types of trucks. 

  • Axles are installed beneath the truck and support its weight. The axles dictate the maximum amount of weight the truck holds. On average, one axle can carry about 14 tons of load, and a straight truck has four of them. 
  • A cabin is located at the truck’s front. Its size depends on the model, but it’s usually large enough to fit two passengers and a little extra space for storage and comfort. 
  • The chassis is where the heavy parts of the truck such as the container rest. Depending on the activity it does, you can fit it with a tipper, tanker, or refrigerator compartment for perishable goods. 

Types of Straight Trucks

Types of Straight Trucks

Straight trucks are important vehicles in the transport industry and are used in various sectors. The box truck is the most popular, but there are several other types that we’ll look into over the next few sections. 

Box Truck

As mentioned, the box truck is one of the most popular straight trucks. Also known as cube trucks or cube vans, it is mainly used to transport goods between different locations.

Box trucks are efficient, reliable, and have easy maintenance. Box trucks are used by most freight forwarders and other transport companies to move cargo between locations or directly to clients. 

Crane Cargo Trucks

Apart from transportation, trucks are also used to lift and lower heavy objects using a crane cargo truck.

They have cranes that can lift concrete beams and steel to elevated heights. That’s why crane trucks are so common in construction sites. 

The crane’s movement is versatile and can rotate up to 180 degrees, which provides complete maneuverability. Depending on the applications, crane trucks come in different types, such as knuckle-boom, truck-mounted, rough-terrain, and all-terrain. 

Refrigerated Trucks

Also known as reefer trucks, refrigerated trucks come preinstalled with a refrigeration unit. The unit has a temperature control system that allows the driver to control the temperature within the unit. 

These trucks are used to transport all sorts of frozen or chilled foods like vegetables, ice, fruits, and dairy products.

Refrigerated trucks are also used to transport medicine, vaccines, and other equipment that require cold storage temperatures. 

Passenger Van Trucks

These trucks are designed to transport passengers from one point to another as they are fitted with seats. They have a center aisle like straight trucks.

You’ll often see passenger van trucks on seaports, airports, and other places that need a quick transfer of personnel to areas of operation. 

Dump Trucks

Dump trucks are heavy trucks used to carry and transport huge volumes of materials such as sand, gravel, dirt, and waste in mining sites.

It is a common vehicle in construction and mining projects which needs transportation of raw materials to a processing facility. 

The most common kinds of dump trucks include articulated dump trucks, site dumpers, and rigid rear dump trucks. A key feature of dump trucks is the dump box operated by hydraulics to tip and lift loads. 

Fire Trucks

Indeed fire trucks are another type of straight truck the unit operates on a single frame running from the cab to the rear end of the trailer.

Fire trucks are essential vehicles used to transport water and firefighters to help in fire outbreaks. 

Garbage Trucks

Garbage trucks help reduce waste in our environment by collecting and reducing the size of waste. The truck has a compactor containing metal mallets that crush the garbage into smaller bits. 

Straight Truck Length and Limits

Straight Truck Length and Limits

As a rule on straight trucks, the longer the straight truck, the bigger its maximum volume and loading capacity.

The length of a straight truck depends on the number of axles installed and is calculated by adding the length of the front and rear overhang to the tractor’s wheelbase. 

A two-axle straight truck has an average length of 15-24 feet, a height of 6-10 feet, and a width of 6-8 feet.

Three-axle trucks are much longer and taller with an average length of 50 feet, a height of 8-10 feet, and a width of up to 9 feet. 

The maximum length, width, and height of a straight truck are determined by highway laws in each state (CMV regulation).

For instance, in Alabama, the maximum length, height, and width are 40’, 13’6”, and 8’6” respectively. In Wyoming, the maximum length, height, and width are higher at 60’, 14’, and 8’6”. 

Straight Truck Weight and Weight Limits

Straight Truck Weight and Weight Limits

The Federal Highway Administration has established standard truck classes from 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8a. Depending on the straight truck type, there are several gross and empty vehicle weights as seen below. 

Type of Straight TruckTruck ClassWeight limit (lbs)Curb Weight (lbs)
Standard Vans & Pickup Trucks 10,001-14,0007,600-8,700
Box Trucks 414,001-16,0007,600-8,700
Standard Delivery Trucks 516,001-19,5009,500-10,000
Large Delivery Trucks 619,501-26,00011,500-14,500
Heavy-Duty Trucks 726,001-33,00011,500-14,500
Large Heavy-Duty Straight Trucks 8a33,001-80,00020,000-26,000

From the above table, we can say that a straight truck’s weight limit can be as much as 80,000 lbs.

The trucks weigh between 7,600 to 26,000. Please note that these weights may differ in each country, and you should check with the state for clear regulations. 

Straight Truck Load Capacity

Straight Truck Load Capacity

A straight truck’s load capacity depends on the class the truck is placed under as the higher the class, the more voluminous the truck. For instance, a large box truck (class 8a) has a maximum payload capacity of 54,000 lbs, while a standard straight truck (class 3) has a maximum payload of around 5,200 lbs. 

Straight Truck Type Truck ClassMax Load Capacity (lbs)
Standard straight truck 35,200
Box Trucks 7,200
Standard Delivery Trucks 58,700
Large Delivery Trucks 611,500
Heavy-Duty Straight Trucks 18,500
Large Heavy-Duty Straight Trucks 8a54,000

Price of Straight Trucks

Price of Straight Trucks

A straight truck is somehow costly, and the price depends on the condition, type, size, and model. A standard 4-wheel straight truck costs between $20,000 – $35,000.

Larger 6 to 10-wheeler trucks are priced at around $60,000, with larger models costing as high as $85,000. Heavy-duty straight trucks placed in class 7 and 8a can cost up to $110,000 brand new. 

Benefits of Straight Trucks

Benefits of Straight Trucks

Straight trucks are efficient and they are a crucial asset to many sectors such as trucking companies, manufacturers, freight forwarders, and others.

Let’s look at some common benefits that straight tractors have; 

Increased Safety

Trucks with detachable trailers often face load distribution issues as they are susceptible to fishtailing. Straight trucks have an axle to a single frame, there is zero risk of fishtailing, and is safer on the road. 

No CDL Requirements

Straight trucks with gross weight below 26,000 lbs (class 3, 4, 5, and 6) may not need a commercial driver’s license. This makes them easier to operate and better for driver rotation management. 

Easy to Operate

Compared to semi-trucks or tractor-trailers, straight trucks are reasonably easier to operate as the driver’s cab, and the cargo box is fitted on a single frame. 


Although straight trucks come in different types and configurations, they have an affordable price. They are the go-to option for transport companies looking to acquire a fleet. 

Low Space Requirements

Straight trucks occupy a lower space when compared to semi-trucks and tractor-trailers, making it easy to park in public spaces. Semi-trucks may require special locations to give enough parking space. 

Large Load Capacity

Straight trucks have a large load capacity and a strong frame that can support up to 54,000 lbs of weight (class 8a). This loading capacity makes the operating costs per mile a bit cheaper.  


What’s the difference between a box truck and a straight truck?

A box truck and a straight truck are often used interchangeably to refer to the same type of commercial vehicle. Both terms describe a truck with a single integrated chassis that combines the driver’s cab and cargo area in one unit. The key distinction lies in the name used regionally or by industry professionals. These trucks are commonly used for local or regional deliveries and transportation of goods.

What is another name for a straight truck?

Another name for a straight truck is a “cube van.” This term is often used to describe a type of commercial vehicle with a self-contained cargo area integrated into a single chassis. “Cube van” highlights the typically boxy or cube-like shape of the cargo area, emphasizing the truck’s primary function of transporting goods.

What is the difference between a straight truck and an articulated truck?

A straight truck and an articulated truck (often referred to as a tractor-trailer or semi-truck) differ in their configuration and purpose. A straight truck is a single integrated unit with the driver’s cab and cargo area combined. In contrast, an articulated truck consists of two separate components: a tractor (front part with the engine) and a trailer (rear cargo-carrying part) connected by a hitch. Straight trucks are suitable for local or regional deliveries, while articulated trucks are designed for long-haul transportation and can carry larger loads.

What is a straight truck vs semi?

A straight truck and a semi (short for “semi-truck,” another term for an articulated truck) differ in size, configuration, and purpose. A straight truck is a smaller commercial vehicle with a single chassis and an integrated cargo area, often used for local deliveries. A semi, or semi-truck, consists of a tractor unit (front part with the engine) and a separate trailer (rear cargo-carrying unit) connected by a hitch. Semis are designed for long-distance hauling and are commonly seen on highways, capable of transporting larger loads over extensive distances.