What is the Difference Between FTL and LTL Freight

January 19, 2023

Shipping freight may seem complex with the commonly used acronyms LTL and FTL. It is essential to understand each option and which will work best for you. When choosing the option best suited to your needs, it is important to compare several things; weight, size, shipping speed, and costs. Understanding the differences between these two methods will help you choose the most efficient and economical way to transport your shipment with a same day freight service.

What is FTL

FTL refers to ‘Full Truck Load’ and is most commonly used when shipping large deliveries that require the entire truck. Usually, for an FTL, there are approximately 10 Pallets or more. Both types of deliveries can be completed as same day freight. Some benefits of FTL is the ability to large shipments all at once, ideal for high-risk or delicate freight in large quantities, no load transfers (they will remain on the same truck the entire time), and the security and tracking they offer.

What is LTL

LTL is the acronym for ‘Less than Truck Load’ and describes deliveries that do not fill a truck. An LTL delivery usually weighs between 100 to 10,000 pounds and only requires half of the truck, making them only half the shipping cost. This does mean that with some vendors, not all, another shipment may be placed on the truck with yours. With LTL, you can expect security and tracking, minimized costs, and more service options when shipping your freight with a same day freight delivery service.

Let’s Compare:


  • FTL
    If a person or company has a bulk order and the pallets can fill the capacity of the truck, then FTL is the shipping method to choose. Using this delivery method will cost less when compared to using multiple LTL shipments. That makes FTL the better option for transporting full truckloads of pallets or packages.
  • LTL
    The cost-effectiveness of LTL for businesses operating on a limited budget is ideal; their shipment can be combined with others. However, depending on the courier, some LTL options can be cheaper and made with smaller trucks and not have to be combined with others freight. This delivery method is usually referred to as a same day courier.


  • FTL
    If you have a full truckload, a carrier will pick it up and drive it straight to the receiver, making delivery times very predictable. However, the transit for some LTL deliveries does not go directly to the end customer. This is because of all the stops they need to make. This can cause the delivery date to fluctuate and not be a same day freight delivery service.
  • LTL
    While many LTL services are slower than FTL, it is important to check with the courier service you are utilizing, as LTL can be quicker, dependent upon the size. The same day courier has a range of vehicles on their fleet to accommodate any size delivery, so they can only pick up your cargo and deliver it straight to its destination with our same day freight delivery services.


  • FTL
    A full truck loads size will usually fill the entire capacity of a truck. These deliveries typically weigh anywhere between 10,000 to over 20,000 pounds and can still be completed as a same day freight delivery service.
  • LTL
    A less-than-truckload shipment does not fill the entirety of a truck or, more commonly, fills and utilizes a smaller truck or vehicle to transport the shipment. LTLs usually range in weight from 100 pounds to 10,000 pounds.

Packaging/ Handling:

  • FTL
    Since full truck loads are one singular shipment, they do not have to be moved or transferred as frequently, reducing the risk of damaged or lost goods. Another way an FTL benefits safer transportation is that they take up the full capacity of a truck, reducing the mobility of packages being able to move or fall during transit.
  • LTL
    An LTL will have to ensure better packaging and arrangement of the goods if they do not take up the entirety of a truck. They also may use a smaller vehicle to reduce the risk of any damage to goods during transit of a same day freight delivery service.


  • FTL
    Full truckloads can help businesses stay environmentally friendly by taking shipments directly from pick up to delivery. This can eliminate the use of gas, creating carbon emissions by not making multiple stops like a regular same day freight delivery service.
  • LTL
    Using something similar to a carpool model, with multiple deliveries combined and taking the quickest route possible, less fuel will be used to transport these goods had they been individually shipped. However, these goods individually shipped can also save on emissions by utilizing a smaller, more gas-efficient, or even an electric vehicle to complete a same day freight delivery.

At Reliable Couriers, we offer the best LTL transportation services. Our couriers have access to a fleet of vehicles, from sedans and cargo vans to box trucks with lift gates, accommodating any size LTL freight you may need. Being able to accommodate the exact size of your LTL can help you save money compared to shipping an LTL on an FTL cost. We also offer same day shipping, picking up your cargo and only your cargo and delivering it straight to its destination with no stops in between. Visit us online or call us today to receive a free estimate on your LTL same date freight delivery service.