LTL vs FTL Know the Difference

LTL vs FTL: Know the Difference to Boost Your Shipping Efficiency

Here’s a situation I want you to imagine yourself in before you start reading this blog… Suppose you are dealing with an e-commerce or wholesale business model. In that case, the only hassle is which method is apt to choose between the various methodologies available for truck loading and unloading might be challenging. It will help if the goods get delivered to their destination.

Ideally, there are two shipping methods for the shipping and goods business:

FTL (Full Truckload)

LTL (Less Than Truckload)

Besides, shipping is significant between these two choices, so let's explore them in detail and find the apt one for your business.

In this blog, you will read in detail about both methods, their advantages, disadvantages, and factors to consider while choosing between FTL & LTL better to understand the right one for the shipping business.

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Explanation of The Terms FTL (Full Truckload) & LTL (Less Than Truckload)

First, if you are in this industry, you must have a robust freight management system. Besides, one needs to know the meaning of the FTL and LTL first to get a thorough understanding of these two methods:

Method 1 - Full Truckload (FTL)

The full Truckload means that in this shipping method, you occupy the entire trailer for your goods to be delivered to the consignee. If we compare this one with the other truckload methods like LTL, then it is much more direct and less time-consuming.


  • Flexibility
  • Reduced risk of damage
  • Improved delivery timings


Method 2 - Less Than Truckload (LTL)

LTL mainly stands for Less Than Truckload, and it is a type of shipping that mainly helps in consolidating the shipments and helps the business to render only a few costs. Companies often desire to ship less quantity of goods, merely less than an entire truck to load. And that is when the company can opt for the LTL business method to make it more beneficial by saving costs.


  • Faster transit times
  • Direct delivery
  • Increased cargo capacity
  • Enhanced fuel efficiency
  • Real-time updates on goods


  • Lack of flexibility
  • More risk of damage
  • Higher cost

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Tabular Difference - LTL vs FTL Shipping Methodsltl vs ftl

Now, after knowing the terms and comparing the two LTL & FTL, it is time to know the multiple aspects for your better choice between FTL & LTL.

Factors To Consider While Choosing Between Full Truckload & Less Than Truckload ASPECTS OF FTL AND LTL

The importance of on-demand trucking apps & shipping is huge if you own your transportation business. And beyond them, choosing the apt shipping method for your business becomes necessary for your company. Before you choose the best freight management systems:

1. Size & Weight of The Shipment

Prior to everything, you need to make sure that your shipments are of the ideal size and weight of the shipments as it is always pre-determined in both the methods FTL & LTL:

Full Truckload

In this FTL method, the shipments should ideally weigh more than 5000 - 10,000 pounds, irrespective of the shipping size.

Less Than Truckload

When we go through the LTL method, precisely the shipments should weigh 500 - 10,000 pounds, and here the shipping size is out of concern for the entrepreneurs.

2. Transit Time Requirements

This point will help you as a business owner to consider the preferable methods for better transit time requirements:

Full Truckload

The FTL is considered the fastest and the most effective of all shipping methods. Besides, the transfer of freight that mainly travels directly loads in the destination. The time-sensitive Cargo is bound to be a part of this method in your business.

Less Than Truckload

It is the best and most common alternative for moving smaller shipments. Here, the transit time may take slightly longer than desired. The driver is bound to carry multiple shipments simultaneously, which cannot lead to a perfect time for the consignment to reach the destination.

And if the shipment is less than the full truck to justify the costs, LTL is the best. As per the estimation, the LTL market is bound to grow at a CAGR of 7% between 2022 and 2027.

3. Fragility & Sensitivity of The Cargo

As per the fragility and sensitivity of the goods, make sure that you are choosing the appropriate method:fragile cargo

Full Truckload

The FTL is an apt choice if the shipments are sensitive and fragile. Here, the driver will mainly be able to handle loading or unloading fragile and sensitive goods. It can be safely delivered to its destination through this method of Truckloading.

Less Than Truckload

The LTL is mainly a shipment where less fragile goods are better to get delivered. There will be multiple hirers, so there are chances of no better handling of your goods.

4. Cost Considerations

It is important to align the budget of your business and then can allocate it toward the freight. Therefore, the cost considerations should be crucially noted before the following:

Full Truckload

When your shipment has more than six pallets of Cargo, the FTL method is best and can give the appropriate value for your cost.

Less Than Truckload

If the shipment is less than six pallets, then the LTL method is the best for your business. And can provide the exact value of the cost rendered.

5. Frequency of Shipments

The end decision between this method of shipping also depends on the frequency of shipments that your business will require:

Full Truckload

Mainly, in this method, the leading time of shipments is more than 5 to 6 days. The heavy goods or the Cargo that don't require frequent shipping are mainly delivered through FTL.

Less Than Truckload

In this method, the interval of days between one consignment and another is mostly around one to five days. Hence, choose if no frequent cargos need to be delivered in your business.

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Additional Points To Ensure the Right Choice Between FTL & LTL!

Besides the prior aspects, there are some additional pointers that you should keep in mind before choosing between LTl & FTL shipping methods for your business:

  • Volume - You need to ensure the volume of your goods before choosing the apt method between LTL & FTL.
  • Space - The amount of space required for the shipment as per which the appropriate method should be chosen.
  • Handling - The method can also be chosen by the difficulty of transferring, loading, and unloading. This estimate can help you in opting between FTL & LTL.
  • Liability - The chance that your shipment can get damaged in transit due to insecure handling is equally important to consider and conclude whether to go for LTL or FTL.

Bottom Line

The final decision on whether to choose FTL or LTL mainly depends on the factors and understanding of the various concepts. Many cases will prove that LTL is cheaper and best for the lesser but frequent goods consignment.

FTL is better for more goods, and less frequent consignments, and provides safe and secure consignments. Hence, as per the company's need, a perfect choice is true to be made. Through this blog, you have the exact idea about both of them, so choose the apt method for your supply chain management business!

Author Bio

Paresh Sagar is the CEO at aPurple. The company is an expert in providing transport and logistics app solutions by helping entrepreneurs in digitizing their businesses. That can help in providing various benefits like streamlining the business operations, getting the white-label solution for freight business, building a brand in the market, etc. aPurple has helped many trucking companies by building a fully-functional app for the trucking app within weeks.

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