A blue Ram 2500 is shown parked next a family enjoying a campfire.

Which One to Buy in 2022: The Ram 2500 or Ram 3500?

If you need a heavy-duty truck and you’ve already decided that Ram is the brand you want to buy, how do you know which truck is the right one? The 2022 Ram 2500 and 2022 Ram 3500 are both capable of towing and hauling a massive amount of weight, and each truck can be configured for a huge number of tasks. Options get crazy once you start to build a truck online, and it can be confusing to decide which level of heavy-duty to choose. Factor in technology and new features, and there is a lot of information to dig through before settling on a final choice.

Going with the Ram 2500 gives you six trim choices, and the 3500 has five trims. Each trim has multiple options for cab and bed sizes, engines, and whether or not you want four-wheel drive if it isn’t included in the trim as standard. Special editions, appearance packages, and additional equipment can all be added to your truck, depending on the trim level you choose. It’s a lot to consider when you buy new, and that’s where it matters whether or not you’re clear on how you plan to use the truck.

Ram currently manufactures the class-leading trucks for towing and payload capacities, and the heavy-duty trucks are capable of towing up to 37,090 pounds. If you were to buy a gooseneck RV, the heaviest they typically run is about 20,000 pounds. Even if you pack that trailer to the gills, the most powerful Ram could roll its eyes and tow that trailer like it’s a roller skate. Most people are never going to need that much power, so taking the time to calculate how much you plan to haul in the bed or tow will mean you can save money by getting the truck you actually need.

The brown interior shows the features of a 2022 Ram 2500 and 2022 Ram 3500.

What’s New for 2022 Models

First, let’s take a moment to look at what’s new for upcoming Ram trucks. New special editions are available for the Big Horn/Lone Star trim, and Ram created a new custom grille for this trim to make it stand out in the lineup. Other appearance updates like a Black Onyx interior for the Limited trim and new Bristol leather seats for the Power Wagon are also available. Power Wagons can be optioned with a new electronic transfer case, which may be exciting for some buyers, while purists may prefer to stick with the mechanical option.

Features get more interesting in the cabin, where technology goodies are distributed like sprinkles on a cake. Uconnect 5 is now standard for all but Tradesman heavy-duty models, which is great for the continued upgrades that keep making the system easier to use. This is a fairly intuitive system if you know how to use a smartphone, and most buyers will find the ability to personalize screens for the way you interact with the system make it quicker to use. You also get wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and voice commands should be less awkward to use in order to activate the system while driving.

Other tech, like the addition of a digital rearview mirror that activates with tow mode or the available Trailer 360 View, will make towing a cinch. Having camera views for trailering is always welcome, especially if you need to drive in reverse. Ram also tossed in a new feature for the Trailer Tow Group that lights up the hitch with four LED lights, so you don’t have to dig out your flashlight when you’re hooking up your trailer in the dark. Features like these make life on the road a lot simpler, especially if you live an RV life or just like to get an early start on the workday. Ram offers a lot of features to make trailering a lot more convenient.

Capability of Ram Heavy Duty Trucks Compared

It would be a nightmare to dig too deep into the little details of how the 2500 differs from the 3500, and most buyers probably don’t need too much information to decide which truck to buy. In fact, keeping things simple might be a refreshing change of pace before you dive into the ocean of options on the builder page. First, the biggest difference between the two trucks is found in towing capacity. As stated earlier, you need to know how much weight you plan to tow so you can choose the appropriate truck for the task.

For most buyers, the Ram 2500 is probably plenty of truck with its capability to tow up to 20,000 pounds, even if you own a large fifth-wheel or gooseneck RV. Obviously, you need to know the weight of a trailer before you load anything into it, and then be aware of how much weight the trailer can handle once you fully load it so you can calculate the total weight you will tow. Take into account the weight in the truck with whatever supplies you keep in the bed, in the cab, and how many people will be riding with you, too. All those considerations will tell you whether or not you need to bump up to the bigger rig.

Buyers who know they will exceed the capability of the Ram 2500 may need the extra power of the 3500, which has a max tow rating of 37,090 pounds and a max payload of up to 7,680 pounds. Both heavy-duty trucks will come standard with the best-in-class 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine, but both trucks can also be optioned with the exceptional 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel that makes 370 hp with 850 lb-ft of torque. Only the Ram 3500 has the option for the 6.7-liter High-Output Cummins that maxes out torque at 1075 lb-ft, which is another class-exclusive feature you only get with Ram. For towing duty, the Cummins engines are the best for power in both trucks.

A silver 2022 Ram 3500 is shown towing a horse trailer.

Which Heavy Duty Truck to Choose

A few other differences delineate the qualities of each truck, such as the rear suspensions. For the 2500, Ram builds in a five-link coil spring setup with optional air suspension. The 3500 sticks with its Hotchkiss leaf spring but can also be paired with air suspension. Going with the 2500 will mean you will notice a smoother ride quality in comparison to the 3500, thanks to the absorption of bumps from the coil suspension. For heavier tasks, however, the leaf spring system handles heavy loads more safely. Most buyers will probably prefer the ride quality of the 2500 if you can go with the truck that tows less, but a test drive will give you a better idea of how each truck feels.

If you have already looked up the features of the Power Wagon and are considering that for purchase, that trim is only available for the Ram 2500. The Power Wagon comes standard with four-wheel drive, but the rest of the lineup for both heavy-duty models can be optioned with four-wheel drive as well. In most other ways, the two trucks are virtually the same. Most features and special editions found in the 2022 Ram 2500 are also available for the 2022 Ram 3500. Truthfully, the biggest difference between the two trucks is in how much capacity they have for towing or payload. To decide, pull up the calculator app on your phone and figure out what kind of capacity you need. Towing capacity is the single biggest factor in choosing one truck over the other.