Semi Box Truck Vs Semi Tractor Vs Straight Truck- The Major Differences and Similarities!

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Are you planning to add a small-scale truck to your fleet but cannot make the right choice? You have landed on the right page!

In the write-up, I will share the major differences and similarities between semi box truck and step vans. Make sure you give our box truck vs semi info a read!

What are the Differences Between Semi Box Truck and Semi Tractor?

Before buying a truck, you need to consider the needs and the load of goods you wish to haul. If you are thinking of getting a truck but not sure whether to lease or buy a semi or a box truck?

Do not worry; I got you covered. Here is what you should know. Understanding the differences between boxes and semi-trucks can help you finalize your choiceThe primary difference between the two trucks is determined by how efficiently the cargo can be attached to the truck –

Box Trucks – These trucks are called Box Trucks because they have a box attached to the truck’s chassis and do not support detachable trailers. 

Semi Trucks – Semi-trucks are widely used in hauling semi-trailers from place to place. The trailers are attached to the truck through the fifth wheel; hence, these trucks support detachable trailers and use for freight. 

Box Truck vs Semi – By Features

Fuel Consumption 

Fuel consumption is one of the primary factors affecting one’s purchase, and here box trucks do have a better fuel consumption than semi trucks. 

Mini box truck on the highway


  • Semi-Trucks

If you plan to get a truck that can travel long distances, it is perfect for US highways; semi-trucks would be the best as they have bigger and support trailers. 

  • Box Trucks 

For local runs, box trucks are a good choice. These trucks have better fuel consumption and come with a sleeper, cab, and a cargo box attached to the chassis. 

CDL & Capacity

  • Semi-Trucks

All semi-trucks are classified as 8-class vehicles, which means they can run more than 80,000 GVWR. The more weight they have, the more certification is required, which adds up to the additional cost.

  • Box Trucks 

Compared to semi-trucks, box trucks are pretty small. A 26 feet box truck is the biggest truck ever produced. 

Box truck drivers do need a CDL, as these trucks do not exceed the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Limit) of 26,000 lbs.  Now, you can rate these to 33,000 lbs of GVWR (7-class vehicle), and then the driver would need a CDL to drive it. 

Delivery man picking boxes from van


  • Semi-Trucks

Semi-trucks are known for their versatility- flatbeds, step hauls, reefers, and even car hauls. You can attach the type of trailer you want, and the abilities of semi-trucks give you the scope of focus on different niches. 

It has higher and better trailer capacity, and greater room for cargo gives you a chance for better payloads. 

  • Box Trucks

When it comes to boxing trucks, there is lesser flexibility. You can either choose a box, a refrigerated box truck, or a cargo van. 

Operational Cost

  • Semi-Trucks

When it comes to the operational cost of semi-trucks, the cost is not that cheap. You need to spend a good sum of money to stay at the top of maintenance. For this purpose, many semi-truck owners are envious of box truck owners. 

3D image of forklift loading a truck

  • Box Trucks

Semi-trucks offer better fuel or gas efficiency, and it has few tires. Hence, the maintenance cost for box trucks is relatively lower than that of large trucks. Suppose you are looking for a truck for less of an investment. Box truck would be an excellent deal. 

Box Truck vs Straight Truck – Some Salient Facts

A box truck and a straight truck are no different from one another. People use the terms interchangeably. Here are some facts –

  • Offers greater area to secure goods
  • Utilizes a variety of loading techniques such as hydraulic lift, and ramps
  • A box truck needs a B-Class driver

Do Box Trucks Get More Utilized in Commercial Trucking?

There are various box trucks, and each type of truck is for specific tasks. Box trucks are available in two distinctive capacity types: light-duty and medium-duty.

Here are the most common uses of box trucks: –

  • It helps in commercial and residential moves
  • Parcel and furniture delivery
  • Used in delivering appliances
  • Used in delivering magazines and newspapers
  • Storage facility rentals.


Compared to large trucks, box trucks are used widely in commercial trucking. This is due to the box trucks’ better cargo space and enhanced control, walk ramps, and power liftgates – here is full lift gate truck rental post here!

Box Truck vs Step Van – 3 Major Differences

Choosing from these two trucks can be difficult, but not anymore! In delving more into step van vs box truck queries, here are the three major differences between a step van and a box truck –

  • Mileage 

The gas mileage for a gas truck can easily be around 8 to 14mpg, while the box trucks that use diesel can serve a mileage of 20mpg. 

While the gasoline-based van serves you with a mileage of 10 to 16mpg, the steps vans using diesel can give you a mileage of 12 to 15mpg.

Box truck for delivery at a garage

  • Aesthetics & Engine Location

Box trucks are of two types – cabover and conventional. The conventional one has its engine in front of the steering, while the cabover has its engine under the driver’s seat. The conventional has a nose look, while the cabover doesn’t. 

The step van’s appearance has various body styles and chassis, such as Morgan Olson and Utilimaster. These vans are rectangular, and a sliding door separates the cab area.

These areas are multi-stop trucks, as the driver chooses to stand or sit and drive. Steps vans are used as emergency vehicles. 

  • Weight Factor

A box truck can easily hold a weight of 12,599 to 33,000 pounds, which depends on the box’s length. Due to this ability, these trucks are used for hauling or moving products in large quantities of large distances while taking frequent stops. 

Compared to box trucks, step vans can carry fewer loads; the payload capacity also depends on its size. Step vans can carry a payload of 10,000 to 19,000 pounds. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called a box truck?

The box truck gets its name from Bedfordshire, Luton. The Bedford commercial vehicle plant is in a town called Luton. 

The truck has such a style and design to accommodate a greater volume of low-weight loads. Box truck has a Luton body style combining a fully enclosed box over the chassis. 

A white 10-wheel truck on the road

Do box trucks have trailers?

No! Box trucks do not have a detachable trailer and are not designed for you to attach trailers. Box trucks come with an attached box over the chassis. 

What is the purpose of a box truck business?

The box truck business is a type of business that gets you paid when you deliver loads in your box truck. And the goods or freight you deliver covers the LTL sector (less than truckload), which has been increasing with the expansion of e-commerce industries. 

What industries use box trucks?

When it comes to boxing trucks, numerous industries use these trucks. People use box trucks to haul and deliver items like appliances, furniture, boxes, etc. Industries such as catering, delivery, and independent distributors used box trucks.


Now that you know the differences between the trucks, I hope it will be easier for you to choose the type of truck you need. If your business falls under any of the industries, as mentioned earlier, that require a light-duty or medium-duty truck, a box truck would be the best choice you can make.

Male van driver with packages on seat


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