A CDL trainer and and trucking student looking over a commercial truck.

Class A and B CDL Vehicles

Understanding Class 7 and Class 8 Trucks

The largest vehicles on the road, Class 7 and 8 trucks all require a commercial driver’s license to operate. Their size makes them some of the more popular and important vehicles for commercial drivers to operate, and they make up a large part of the shipping, construction, sanitation, and many other industries.

Class 7 Vehicles

Since Class 7’s minimum gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 26,001 lbs., you must hold a CDL to operate any of these trucks. Class 7 vehicles include smaller tractor-trailer trucks, as well as city buses, and sanitation vehicles and larger transports like furniture moving trucks.

Class 8 Vehicles

Class 8 vehicles towing a trailer require a Class A license. That means if you are working for a trucking company driving semis, you should just default to a Class A license.

So what kinds of trucks should you expect in Class 8? First off, larger tractor-trailers, particularly those towing large trailers, fall in this category. Trucks with a GVWR of 33,001 or more fall in this category, so larger tractor-trailers towing a trailer fall into this category if they meet the weight requirement.

There is a variety of other construction and other types of vehicles, such as large dump trucks and other large sanitation and construction vehicles. These vehicles are non-combination, so you can obtain work for employers driving these trucks with a Class B CDL.

With regard to these trucks, the biggest thing to remember is that the combination vehicles—the ones that tow trailers—will require a Class A license. If long-haul truck driving is in your future, go for the Class A. All else, you can settle for a Class B.

Of course, some people over the course of their careers may wish to have a Class A license and forget about it. Being certified to drive all commercial vehicles gives you an added amount of flexibility to your career.

Take a look at our next blog to understand more about Class 5 and below vehicles.