LTL vs. FTL: A Comparison

LTL vs. FTL: A Comparison

Americans started over 5 million businesses in 2021. A fair number of those businesses probably operate as online-only ventures dealing with digital products. Nonetheless, plenty of the other businesses deal with either making physical goods or selling them to consumers.

When you make or sell physical goods, you need a way of getting them from point A to point B. Trucks handle more than 70 percent of domestic freight shipping in the U.S., so you’ll need a working understanding of LTL vs FTL.

Not familiar with LTL freight or FTL freight? Keep reading for a quick overview of these two shipping options.

LTL Freight

LTL or less than truckload shipping is a fairly common shipping approach for companies that make or sell small batches of a product. If company A orders 200 widgets from company B, that will rarely take up an entire truck trailer. It might take up a pallet or two.

With LTL freight, the shipper loads that pallet onto a truck with pallets from other companies shipping similarly small orders.

Benefits of LTL

Less than truckload shipping offers a couple of important benefits. Right at the top of the list, it’s more economical. You don’t pay for the whole trailer, only the amount of space/weight that your order takes up.

It’s a more eco-friendly choice. By maximizing the amount the trucks haul, it gets the most value out of the fuel used.

FTL Freight

FTL or full truckload freight is a somewhat confusing term because it can mean two things. In the first scenario, it means that you want to send a truck with a full load of over 15000 pounds. Manufacturers often send out loads in these kinds of sizes.

The other option is that someone hires the shipper to move a load that isn’t a full load, but they pay for the entire trailer anyway. This can happen if a business needs specialty parts or items delivered on a specific timeline.

Benefits of FTL

One of the key benefits of full truckload freight is speed. The entire load goes directly from the pickup location to the freight’s final destination. With LTL, the truck may make multiple stops along the way.

FTL freight shipping also reduces risk to a degree. There are fewer opportunities for freight damage because none of the freight leaves the trailer before reaching a single destination. There is also less risk because the freight spends less time on the road.


The LTL vs FTL question revolves almost entirely around what you need and want from your shipping.

If you need to ship small loads, minimize your costs, and delivery time is flexible, LTL shipping makes the most sense. You cut costs by sharing them with other businesses doing the same things.

If you routinely send out large loads or need freight delivered by a specific date, FTL shipping makes the most sense for you.

Yep! Commerce offers both LTL and FTL shipping options. For questions or additional information about our services, please contact Yep! Commerce today.

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