Load Range E vs SL

A Quick Comparison of SL vs. E Tires [Comparison Table]

Getting a set of tires for your truck only to find out that they can’t even handle the load of its fat dumpy alone is like forgetting (or avoiding) doing leg day at the gym. Don’t make the same mistake as us in our newbie days!

Depending on your ride or “build” of choice, you would want to check out what tire load range actually works best for you, like those little “SL” or “E” markings you see on the sidewalls.

So whether your pride and joy is more of an everyday grocery-getter or a towering tow rig that can barely fit in your garage, here’s an SL vs. E load range comparison guide to help you pick out the best set of rubber for your wheels!

What does SL mean in tire load range?

An SL load range on a tire means that it is a Standard Load tire (4-ply), can carry up to 1,477 lbs, and has a maximum load pressure of 35 psi.

A tire with an SL load range is suitable for daily driving applications, where you’re driving under normal road conditions and trips are relatively short.

What does SL mean in tire load range

Usually fitted on all kinds of passenger vehicles, SL (Standard Load) rated tires are one of the most common types of tires that are best suited for your average daily driver.

For instance, if you have an ordinary sedan that still has the same factory tires on it, then they’ll most likely be labeled with “SL”, though sometimes they may not be labeled with any lettering at all.

Compared to other types of tires, SL tires have one of the lowest maximum carrying capacity, which is about 1,477 lbs per tire, though it may slightly vary depending on the tire manufacturer.

It’s also worth noting that a tire’s load range also goes hand in hand with its maximum load pressure. In the case of a load range SL tire, its 1,477-lb carrying capacity is achievable at its maximum load pressure of 35 psi.

Due to its lower maximum capacity and pressure, SL tires are not suitable for heavier vehicles or vehicles involved in hauling, towing, and even offroading.

In addition, SL tires only have a ply rating of 4, which means that they only have 4 layers or “plies” of rubber and cord material in their construction, making them thinner than other heavy-duty tires.

What does E mean in tire load range?

An E load range on a tire means that the tire has a 10-ply rating, can carry up to 3,195 lbs, and has a maximum load pressure of 80 psi.

Load range E tires are more durable due to their thicker and tougher construction, making them suitable for carrying or towing heavy cargo and offroading.

What does E mean in tire load range

If you own something like a half-ton truck (e.g. F-150, Silverado 1500), a dedicated offroader, or any considerably large vehicle, then it will most likely be equipped with load range E tires.

Tires that have a load range or rating of “E” are built more like a brick than the SL (Standard Load) tires we’ve previously discussed, which makes them more suitable for more demanding tasks.

Load range E tires have a much higher carrying capacity of 3,195 lbs per tire, but again, this exact value may slightly differ depending on the manufacturer.

Another thing that’s unsurprisingly higher on E-rated tires is the maximum load pressure, which is at 80 psi, twice that of the SL tires’ 35 psi.

All of this is possible because of the reinforced construction that load range E tires possess. Also, E-rated tires have 10 plies worth of material, making them one of the thickest and heaviest types of tires.

The drawback to their durability is that load range E tires will result in poorer fuel efficiency compared to SL tires. They are also typically more expensive and make more noise than their lighter and thinner counterparts. 

SL vs. E Tires Comparison Table

Load Range (SL)Load Range (E)

Suitable For:
Daily driving and shorter trips under normal road conditionsCarrying or hauling heavy cargo loads but may still be used for regular driving
Maximum Carrying Capacity:Able to carry up to 1,477 lbs of weightAble to carry up to 3,195 lbs of weight
Maximum Load Pressure:35 psi80 psi (E1) 65 psi (E2)
Ply Rating:4 PlyUp to 10 Ply
Weight:About 44 lbs per tireAbout 52 lbs per tire
Pressure Holding Capabilities:
Can be increased as needed
Already has a higher pressure holding capability from factory
Overall Durability:Wears out faster than E tires due to having no set damage restriction and reinforcementsMore durable than SL tires due to having more internal reinforcements

Fuel Efficiency:
Provides better fuel efficiency due to lighter and thinner tire constructionLess fuel efficient than SL tires due to thicker and heavier construction

Noise Level:
Makes less noise on road surface compared to E tiresMakes more noise compared to SL tires due to having more rubber material
Cost:Cheaper compared to E-rated tiresMore expensive compared to SL-rated tires

What is load range?

A tire’s load range is the maximum or heaviest weight that a tire can carry in pounds (lbs) and is denoted by a letter at the end of a tire’s size on its sidewall.

Load range also varies depending on the ply rating, or the number of layers of rubber and cord material the tire is constructed out of.

If you’ve ever been curious as to how much weight a particular kind of tire can actually carry without violently bursting into pieces, then what you actually need to know is its “load range”.

Load range or load rating is a way of classifying tires based on their maximum carrying capacity, which is typically measured by how many pounds (lbs) each tire can individually carry.

The load range of a tire is indicated by a lettering after or near the tire size printed on the sidewall. Tires with an SL (Standard Load) rating may otherwise not come with any lettering at all.

However, load range is also based on other factors, such as the physical dimensions and the maximum load pressure of the tire.

As a rule of thumb, larger tires will be able to inflate to a higher maximum load pressure, which is typically indicated either in psi (pounds per square inch) or kPa (Kilopascal).

Simply put, larger tires with higher maximum load pressures can bear more weight, which is why you’ll never see passenger car tires on a semi-truck or tow rig.

In addition to tire size and load pressures, load range is also determined by the “ply rating” of the tire, or how many “plies” or layers of material that the inside of the tire is made out of.

The more plies a tire has, the higher its load range can be. Passenger tires usually only have 4 plies, whereas truck tires can traditionally have up to 14 plies depending on how big of a truck we’re talking about.

However, this is the older method of gauging the “ply rating” of a tire. Nowadays, a single ply may be equivalent to the strength or capacity of multiple plies.

What is ply rating?

Ply rating is an older method of measuring the strength or maximum load-carrying capacity of a tire, which is now known as “load range”.

A tire’s ply rating traditionally meant how many internal layers of rubber, cord, or reinforcement material, called “plies”, that the tire is constructed from.

What is ply rating

Before tire manufacturers came up with the term “load range”, there was simply the ply rating of a tire.

Using the traditional definition, a tire’s ply rating simply means the number of plies or layers used to construct the inside of the tire, whether it be made of rubber, cord, steel, or any material used for reinforcement.

This meant that an older tire that had a ply rating of 10 literally had 10 layers of material construction, which is what determined the strength of the tire.

In tires manufactured later on, the ply rating doesn’t necessarily indicate the number of actual plies, but rather the equivalent strength of the plies when compared to earlier ply designs.

Like in the case of load range, a higher ply rating means that the tire can carry more weight and can be inflated to a much higher maximum load pressure.

Hence, a 4-ply “SL” tire on a passenger car will not be able to handle the same load as a 10-ply “E” tire on a truck would.

Load Range and Ply Rating Comparison Table

Load RangePly RatingMax Tire Pressure for Load Carrying (PSI)
SL (Standard Load)4 Ply35 psi
XL (Extra Load)4 Ply42 psi
C16 Ply50 psi
C26 Ply35 psi
D18 Ply65 psi
D28 Ply50 psi
E110 Ply80 psi
E210 Ply65 psi
F112 Ply95 psi
G14 Ply110 psi

Overall Analysis of Load Range SL Tires

SL tires are suited for passenger vehicles used in regular daily driving where the trips are shorter and are done under normal road conditions.

SL tires are more affordable, provide a quieter ride, and give better fuel efficiency, but they do not come with reinforcements and have a shorter lifespan.

Benefits of Load Range SL Tires

Benefits of Load Range SL Tires

Tires that are classified as “SL” or “Standard Load” are one of the most common kinds of tires you can find on just about any passenger vehicle.

This makes SL tires quite abundant since most of the vehicles that you see on the road are only ever going to need passenger car tires for daily driving.

Other than being more common, SL tires also use less material in the manufacturing process and have no reinforcements, making them cheaper to make and buy.

Another benefit of SL tires is that they generally give a more quiet and comfortable ride compared to thicker and more “rugged” tires, and this is also thanks to it having less material and thus being lighter.

Of course, since you’re running on lighter tires, your vehicle will also have less weight to carry around and will consume less fuel, another pro of opting for an SL tire. This is basically a case of a better power-to-weight ratio at play.

Disadvantage of Load Range SL Tires

The main disadvantage of tires with an SL load range is that they are not able to carry that much weight compared to other kinds.

With a maximum carrying capacity of about 1,477 lbs and a maximum load pressure of 35 psi, you will not be able to haul or tow heavy cargo around with SL tires any time soon.

As a result of having no form of reinforcement, load range SL tires are also less durable and have shorter lifespans than tires with higher load ranges.

This means that SL tires are also not the most ideal choice if you plan on taking your vehicle off-roading or traveling very long distances on a regular basis, as it would be more prone to wear and tear due to its thinner construction.

How long do SL-rated tires last?

While there is no set number of miles that an SL-rated tire can last, the typical passenger car tire, which is what an SL tire is, usually lasts an average of 3 to 5 years.

Tires with a load range of SL tend to have shorter lifespans compared to other tires, but they can be even shorter if you were to constantly drive in bad road conditions.

The exact lifespan also depends on how much you drive, the road conditions, your driving habits, and even the tire brand.

Towing Capabilities of Load Range SL Tires

Towing Capabilities of Load Range SL Tires

Despite having the lowest maximum carrying capacity, tires with an SL load range are still capable of towing as long as you stay within the towing capacity that is set for your specific vehicle.

For example, a Kia Niro, which is a compact crossover SUV, has a towing capacity of 2,866 lbs (braked trailer) and 1,653 lbs (unbraked trailer), with each tire capable of carrying up to 1,386 lbs.

This 1,386-lb maximum carrying capacity puts the Kia Niro’s tires in the SL load range, yet it’s more than enough for the towing capability of the vehicle.

Overall Analysis of Load Range E Tires

Tires with a load range of E are suitable for larger vehicles like light trucks, making them good for towing or hauling heavy cargo and offroading.

E-rated tires are made with reinforcements, making them more durable, but they are noisier, give poorer fuel efficiency, and are more expensive.

Benefits of Load Range E Tires

Benefits of Load Range E Tires

Tires that are rated with a load range of “E” are some of the toughest and most plump sort, which is why they are more suitable for larger vehicles that perform heavy-duty tasks.

Compared to SL tires, load range E tires are more reinforced typically with steel and other similar materials (equivalent to 10 plies worth of them), making them more durable and able to withstand heavier weight.

Load range E tires possess more than twice the maximum carrying capacity (3,195 lbs) and load pressure (80 psi) than of SL tires, which are ideal specs for when you plan to do a bit of towing or hauling with heavy cargo.

E-rated tires also have better resistance to puncturing than tires with lower load ranges, so they’ll be the better choice over SL tires if you want to take your vehicle on rugged terrain (a.k.a. offroading).

Disadvantages of Load Range E Tires

One common downside to load range E tires is that they will give you a rougher and noisier ride experience because of how thick and rugged they’re constructed.

The larger dimensions and heavier weight of load range E tires also mean that they’re not as fuel efficient as lighter tires, as your vehicle would have to carry more weight around, resulting in it consuming more fuel.

Another disadvantage of load range E tires is that they are more expensive to both produce and buy, and this is because of how much more material they use in their construction.

This is why you’ll see that light truck (LT) tires, which can have a load range between B and F, are still more expensive than the typical passenger (P-metric) tires, which are rated as “SL”. 

How long do E-rated tires last?

While load range E tires are not assigned a specific lifespan from the factory, they are usually used for light trucks, and truck tires usually last an average of 50,000 to 75,000 miles.

E-rated tires are one of the thickest tires due to their 10-ply rating, which makes them last longer than your average passenger tire or “SL” (Standard Load) tire and any load range above that.

However, the lifespan of any tire can really vary depending on many factors such as how often you drive, your driving habits, the exact vehicle model it’s fitted on, the road conditions, and even the tire brand.

Towing Capabilities of Load Range E Tires

Towing Capabilities of Load Range E Tires

Load range E tires have a much higher maximum carrying capacity and load pressure than SL tires, so they are able to bear more weight safely during more demanding tasks like towing.

With up to 3,195 lbs of carrying capacity per tire at a max load pressure of 80 psi, load range E tires work really well when equipped on something like a half-ton or even 3/4-ton truck that’s used as a tow rig.

Even when towing in rugged terrain, you’ll find that load range E tires still perform well thanks to having thicker sidewalls with better puncture resistance while you’re offroading.

As you move up to even larger vehicles that can tow even heavier loads, however, you may find that E-rated tires may not be enough, which would make opting for load range F (3,960-lb capacity) or G (6,000-lb capacity) tires necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)