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What is a straight truck?

A straight truck is like a semitruck with one key difference: the trailer cannot be removed. These vehicles work as an essential part of the logistics industry, usually on shorter routes. You’ve probably seen straight or box trucks as delivery trucks serving UPS, FedEx or grocery delivery. Most U-haul trucks and dump trucks are other examples of straight trucks. 

Straight trucks have several significant advantages for drivers. You don’t need a CDL license to drive a straight truck. As these vehicles are used on shorter delivery routes, drivers can return home in the evenings. Read on for types of straight trucks and the pros and cons of this career.

And when you finish, be sure to read these other articles in our ‘How to find loads for box trucks’ article series:

Types of straight trucks

A straight truck carries a box attached to the back. The tip of the cab to the rear of the trailer is connected by a single frame. Box trucks, which are the most common type of straight trucks, are 10 to 26 feet long, with a height of 8 to 10 feet. They fall into Class III or Class IV vehicle ratings. 

Because of their smaller size, they are easier to handle than a semitruck and don’t require the same specialized training. You’ll only need a CDL license if the total combined weight of the truck plus cargo is greater than 26,000 pounds. 

There are four main types of straight trucks: 

  • Box trucks: Box trucks include an trailer with a cargo area separate from the van, which can’t be accessed from the interior. The rear of the cargo area usually has a sliding door.  
  • Cube trucks: Cube trucks are similar to box trucks and commonly used as delivery vehicles. They’re comprised of a cab and separate box-like cargo area. The terms cube truck and box truck are often used interchangeably. In cube trucks, the cargo area isn’t accessible from the cabin.
  • Cube vans: Cube vans are similar to box trucks or cube trucks, but the connection from the cab to the trailer is continuous, as in a van. The cargo area may be accessible from the cabin.
  • Dump trucks: Dump trucks have the means to lift the trailer portion to dump the contents using an open trailer without a roof. They are commonly used in construction and the transportation of coal, gravel, grains and other bulk commodities. 

Below you’ll find some of the most frequently asked questions about straight trucks. 

What size is a straight truck?

Cube or straight truck vehicle sizes vary. They can range in length from 10 to 26 feet long. Height ranges from 8 to 10 feet. Their gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is between 6,001 to 14,000 pounds, which is vehicle Class III or Class IV. 

What is the max weight for a straight truck?

The maximum weight is 20,000 pounds on the interstate highway system. According to federal law, the maximum gross vehicle weight on a single axle on the interstate highway system is 20,000 pounds. However, some box trucks can carry up to 33,000 pounds on two or three axles.

What is the largest box truck you can operate without a CDL?

The largest box truck you can operate without a CDL typically must weigh 26,000 pounds or less. It’s worth noting, however, that vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or more may be subject to some restrictions.

The total weight includes the vehicle plus the cargo. If, for example, you regularly drive a box truck that weighs 13,500 pounds, that means you can carry cargo weighing up to 12,500 pounds. 

Advantages of driving a straight truck

  • No special licensing: No CDL required in most cases, meaning you can start right away.
  • Home time: Drivers can be home most nights and work standard hours.
  • Demand: There is a high demand for drivers.
  • Benefits: Companies often offer good benefits packages to retain drivers. 
  • Flexibility: You set your work hours.  
  • Pay: Truck drivers make an average of $77,542, according to

Disadvantages of driving a straight truck

  • Hours: You may be asked to drive longer hours, especially during high volume times. 
  • Inconsistent work: If you are an owner-operator, your workload can be inconsistent while you build regular customers.   
  • Stress: Driving any type of truck can be a stressful and sometimes dangerous job.

Straight trucks vs tractor-trailers

Straight trucks and tractor-trailers offer many of the same benefits, especially the high demand for drivers and opportunities for work. Both jobs have the advantage that you can start working in a short time. However, with a box or cube truck, you can start working right away without a CDL.

Because box trucks are smaller and take a smaller maximum load, they often drive shorter routes. For this reason, they offer more stable working hours compared to tractor-trailer drivers, who can be on the road for a week at a time. 

Final thoughts

There is high demand for all types of straight trucks. If you want to become an owner-operator, you’ll still need to secure financing, such as a commercial truck loan. Commercial truck financing can work for a variety of commercial vehicles, including a box truck or dump truck. If you’re new to trucking, read up on terminology for new truck drivers and get started on building your new career.


What can you move on a straight truck?

Straight trucks are often used to move household items like furniture, boxes, refrigerators and washing machines. They function as short-range delivery vehicles.

How many pallets can a straight truck hold?

A 26-foot straight truck can fit up to 12 pallets. However, the exact number of pallets you can fit will depend on the pallet dimensions and vehicle size.

How many axles does a straight truck have?

A straight truck can have one to three axles.

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