Cummins Vs Powerstroke Vs Duramax

| Last Updated: April 15, 2021

Best of Diesel is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Let's settle the raging battle that's been going on for years, and decide which diesel truck excels over others.

From an outsider's perspective, all three are just diesel trucks, but once we dive deeper, the differences are significant! 

Let’s go over the strengths and weaknesses of Powerstroke, Cummins, Duramax, and take it from there.

Photo credit:

TL;DR: Cummins vs Powerstroke vs Duramax





  • Powerstroke is leading the power race with an incredible 1,050 lb-ft and 475 hp

  • Tough, powerful trucks that have a luxurious side to them

  • The best trucks for daily driving with occasional towing

  • The trucks lose out on durability and fuel economy if they’re used for towing daily

  • 6.0 and 6.4 Powerstrokes are regarded as some of the worst diesels ever built

  • The fuel system failures are way too common and the repairs can get costly


  • Excellent torque distribution throughout the RPM range

  • Excellent work trucks that can haul heavy objects daily while staying durable

  • The easiest trucks to work on by yourself, even if you don’t have years of experience

  • Cummins trucks aren’t the best daily drivers

  • Cummins can’t handle too much extra power without supporting modifications

  • Emissions equipment on Cummins trucks will cause various problems


  • Duramax engines are durable, even under constant pressure

  • The cold start system is an excellent invention, especially for someone living in a cold climate

  • Duramax trucks might not be the most powerful, but they’re extremely efficient
  • Buying a Duramax truck for daily driving is expensive. You will need to cover various maintenance needs

  • The newest engines are much quieter, and that doesn't represent a powerful truck well

  • More expensive parts and a more expensive service


Ford first released the 6.9L IDI diesel engine manufactured by International Harvester IDI for their heavy-duty pickup trucks in 1982, challenging the General Motors 6.2L diesel engine. A few years later, in 1986, Ford increased the displacement to 7.3L and by the end of production, the engine produced 190 horsepower and 388 pounds of torque.

Ford and Navistar International developed the first Powerstroke in 1994. It was an engine that shared a lot of similarities with the 7.3L IDI. The 7.3 Powerstroke was powerful, and as we all know today, one of the most reliable engines ever built; It's what gave Ford the edge over the competition.

The "seven-three" was reliable, powerful, and it had a luxurious feel to it. Powerstroke was the main choice of many United States customers who needed a work truck, or a fleet of them, for almost a decade. With the new 2020 6.7 offerings unbelievable performance, the Powerstroke brand still stands for power and luxury, and for many heavy-duty pickup enthusiasts, it's still the only choice.


The Cummins engine family's beginnings date much further than Powerstroke and Duramax. The incredible story of Clessie Lyle Cummins who built his company in 1919 is what drew, and still draws, a lot of pickup enthusiasts. He created engines for farm use that were sold in a catalog. 

However, due to a loophole, his business wasn't profitable. But that didn't stop Clessie from taking the Cummins brand to a new level. He took the Auburn 851 and swapped the engine for his new model six-cylinder diesel. Confident and determined, he traveled from New York to Los Angeles in his new modified sedan.

Dodge Ram adopted the Cummins 5.9L six-cylinder 12V turbocharged diesel engine in 1989, which made their trucks stand out by a mile. They were the industry leader for a while, but then they fell behind until 2007. In 2007, the engine was redesigned, and unlike the competition, Cummins was ready for the new emissions standards. 

Today, the Cummins 6.7 diesel engine broke the 1,000 pounds of torque record. Their heavy-duty pickups are considered powerful, easy to work on, workhorses. However, some are unhappy with Cummins' decision to merge with Dodge Ram. 


General Motors seemed to struggle with heavy-duty trucks and their engines from the beginning. Taking matters into their own hands, GM developed a 5.7L Oldsmobile diesel engine that produced 120 horsepower and 220 pounds of torque. Soon after, in 1982, the production was moved out-of-house in an attempt to create a diesel engine that could hang with the competition. 

GM and Detroit Diesel developed the 6.2L Detroit Diesel turbocharged engine that was only a tad bit better than GM's previous diesel engine. The Duramax family began 20 years later once GM decided to end their partnership with Detroit Diesel and move on to a partnership with Isuzu.

General Motors finally bridged the gap in 2001, with the first generation Duramax, the 6.6L Duramax turbodiesel. Ever since then, they have aimed to build heavy-duty trucks that could keep up with Powerstroke and Cummins in terms of power while at the same time developing durable, long-lasting engines. 

Photo credit:

What Powerstroke Does Better Than Cummins and Duramax

Let's look at the Powerstroke's winning features:


Heavy-duty pickup trucks are used for towing more than anything. Countless fleet vehicles haul heavy objects every day. For that reason, today's trucks are capable of towing more than 35,000 pounds!

In the heavy-duty pickup market, torque numbers are much more important than horsepower numbers. Ford's Powerstroke dominates the competition with 1,050 lb-ft in 2020. Even though you might not even notice the difference between Powerstrokes 1,050 lb-ft and Cummins' 1,000 lb-ft, Powerstroke takes the edge.


Ford's 6.7 Powerstroke has the most horsepower out of every diesel truck ever. Torque might be more important than horsepower when it comes to pickups, but we can't disregard the accomplishment. The extra power will come in handy once it's time to accelerate past another vehicle on the highway with a trailer attached.


Warranty is one of the most important things for someone who's looking to purchase several work vehicles. It's the guarantee derived from Ford's belief in their trucks.

Ford Powerstroke medium-duty trucks have an astonishing 250,000-mile warranty! These are special-purpose commercial-use trucks, but they do have the same engine as the more powerful work trucks.


The diesel pickup truck market is much different from any other market on the planet. Truck enthusiasts are loyal to their respective brands to the end, and Ford doesn't disappoint. They've had their downfalls with the Powerstroke, but it always seems to be the stepping stone for something greater. 

Ford may fall behind from time to time, but they will always come up with a new patent or a new invention that will once again put them ahead of the competition.

Powerstroke is the best of the best in multiple departments. Driving the most powerful diesel trucks on the planet is quite a feeling. Owning and driving a Powerstroke will put a smile on your face every single day.

Photo credit:

What Cummins Does Better Than Powerstroke and Duramax

Here's Cummins' most prominent wins:


Pickup trucks are most often used for towing, and although Powerstroke wins the numbers race, a Cummins truck can tow heavy loads reliably; this is where Cummins shines. The low-end torque of Cummins trucks lets you tow heavy objects without having to worry about the truck's durability, reliability, or fuel economy.


Cummins engines date back to 1919, much older than Duramax V8, which hit the market in 2001, and Powerstroke, which hit the market in 1994. Cummins has one of the most incredible stories among the entire automotive industry. If you care about the history of what you're driving, Cummins has the most to offer.


Warranty plays a crucial part in a truck buyer's decision. Especially if the customer plans to purchase multiple vehicles. Nissan offers 100,000 miles warranty for their Titan XD with a Cummins engine. For the first 100,000 miles, the truck most likely won't have any major issues, but the seller guarantees that the truck will at least reach a certain mileage.


If the warranty doesn't give you the necessary 'safety', then the engine's popularity will. Cummins has a loyal fanbase and the largest one at that. Those who swear by the Cummins brand do it for a reason. Powerstroke and Duramax have been trying to win over truck enthusiast's hearts for the past couple of years, but they're fighting for second place, with Cummins holding down the first place.

Cummins is the favorite diesel engine on the planet, They’re excellent work trucks that are powerful and reliable, and you won’t make a mistake purchasing a Cummins truck.

Photo credit:

What Duramax Does Better Than Powerstroke and Cummins

Last but not least, Duramax has these bases covered:


While Powerstroke and Cummins lead the diesel market with incredible numbers, with Duramax coming in at third place with 445 horsepower and 910 lb-ft, the efficiency of Duramax is unmatched. The trucks move much more easily and smoothly, providing a better ride quality. Thanks to their transmissions, they can utilize the power that they have very well, allowing them to tow heavy loads with ease.


As the name Duramax suggests, these trucks offer maximum durability. Duramax's journey will be much smoother and longer compared to Powerstroke and Cummins. Over time, with the constant heavy pressure that these trucks are put under, they won't lose their smooth ride quality.


The lower power output of these trucks isn't entirely bad. Duramax trucks are more reliable than Powerstroke and Cummins because of it. You will also save up on maintenance in the long run. Besides, when will you utilize the entire power that the engine can provide? The only downside in terms of reliability is that once the trucks do break down, the repairs can get costly.

Re-Sale Value

Duramax offers a 5-year warranty for 100,000 miles. That warranty isn't as useful, since these trucks don't break down as often.

But the trucks do shine in terms of resale value. The resale value of Duramax trucks doesn't drop as significantly over the years. Knowing that you won't lose money if you purchase one or multiple Duramax trucks is a huge plus.

Duramax might be behind in the power race, but they offer everything that Powerstroke and Cummins don't. They are excellent trucks with extraordinary durability.

Powerstroke vs Cummins vs Duramax: Similarities

Similarities between each manufacturer include:

Engine Configuration

The newest model engines are similar but different at the same time. The 6.7L Cummins and the 6.7L Powerstroke share the same displacement, with the 6.6 Duramax being a close match.

Duramax and Powerstroke each have V8 configurations compared to Cummins' I6 configuration.

Powerstrokes compression ratio is 16.0:1, while the ratio between Cummins and Duramax is the same, 16.2:1. These engines are somewhat similar in terms of production, and each one can pull its weight.

Fuel System

Cummins, Duramax, and Powerstroke each have similar fuel systems and fuel requirements. They each utilize direct injection with high-pressure common-rail and they can each run on ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and B20 biodiesel.

Fuel Economy

Heavy-duty pickup trucks are designed to haul heavy loads and conquer terrains; they're not designed to save up on fuel. But, Duramax, Cummins, and Powerstroke do their jobs very well, so we have to look at the details such as the fuel economy. Keep in mind that this information isn't provided by the EPA, it's provided by lifelong truck drivers. Powerstroke will have excellent fuel economy if you're using it for daily commuting, Cummins saves you so much fuel if you tow daily, and Duramax is somewhere in the middle.


Each manufacturer has reliable powerplants to offer, but Powerstroke falls behind just a little because of their 6.0L and 6.4L engines. However, every model engine will serve you well with proper care and maintenance. Duramax engines require a tad bit less maintenance to stay reliable, while the 7.3 Powerstroke stays reliable regardless.

Best Use

Without a doubt, these are work trucks, but we need to consider what type of work they do best. Duramax is an all-around truck; You can tow, daily drive, and offroad with it. Powerstrokes will shine at commuting and tackling obstacles. Cummins trucks can tow almost anything without a problem, thanks to their low-end torque.

Powerstroke vs Cummins vs Duramax: Engines

The engine is the heart of a vehicle, and each engine has something different to offer. Now that we understand the basis of Cummins, Powerstroke, and Duramax brands, let's discuss the latest, as well as the first-gen engines.

Latest Engines: Powerstroke vs Cummins vs Duramax

The competition between the three powerhouses has given us, truck enthusiasts, some of the most incredible engines ever. Powerstroke, Cummins, and Duramax have done everything they can to impress us with the latest 2020 engine models. The margin for improvement is small, so let's see which manufacturer made the biggest advancements.

Powerstroke: 2020 6.7 Scorpion

The 2020 super-duty 6.7 Powerstroke might be the most capable, most powerful truck ever developed. The turbodiesel trumps the competition with 1,050 lb-ft of torque and 475 horsepower. Those numbers put the Powerstroke back on top. Maximum towing capacity has also increased to 37,000 pounds, which is 2,000 more pounds than last year. - Ford claims. Nothing but the engine is responsible for these numbers

What makes Ford's 2020 6.7 Powerstroke stand out is the off-road capabilities. On dusty, muddy, or rocky roads the trucks are capable of towing up to 15,000 pounds! With the new model year, Ford covered up Powerstrokes weaknesses well, impressing truck enthusiasts all over the world. You cannot go wrong purchasing the 2020 6.7 Powerstroke.

Cummins: 2020 6.7 Cummins

The 2020 6.7 Cummins was the first to reach 1,000 pounds of torque. Cummins once again proved that they're the king of towing. The Ram trucks equipped with the 6.7L turbodiesel can tow up to 35,100 and haul 7,700 pounds without a hassle.

Chasing numbers, Cummins engineers didn't forget about the reliability and durability that loyal buyers expect. Cummins implemented a new fuel delivery system, a larger VGT turbocharger, a new cast-iron cylinder head, and a compacted graphite iron engine block. Cummins didn't disappoint their customers. - You'll reliably be able to tow and haul anything with the 2020 6.7 Cummins turbodiesel.

Duramax: 2020 6.6 L5P

DMAX created an even more durable engine while increasing the power output at the same time. The 2020 L5P can produce a staggering 445 horsepower and 910 lb-ft of torque! The trucks can tow up to 35,500 pounds; an incredible improvement over 2019 models.

The changes to the turbo system, fuel system overhaul, inclusion of a hood scoop intake system, and many other features contribute to the 2020 model 6.6 Duramax's performance. If you need a truck that's durable and powerful, with unique features, Duramax should be your number one choice!

First Generation Engines: Powerstroke vs Cummins vs Duramax

The race to the top for the number one spot in the industry has been going on for decades. Powerstroke, Cummins, and Duramax, each had their fair share of ups and downs along the way. 

This is what started the journey, and shaped the future of each brand.

Powerstroke: 1994 Navistar T444E 7.3L

In 1994, Ford released one of the greatest engines to date, the Navistar T444E 7.3 Powerstroke. Others simply could not compete because of the engine's reliability on top of its power and torque output. From 1994 to 2004, the 7.3 Powerstroke produced 175-275 horsepower and 425-525 pounds-feet of torque!

The "seven-three" is still a desirable engine, with many of them reaching 1 million miles and still running. Ford built an engine from strong materials that could withstand pressure, and thanks to the low (by today's standards) power output, the 7.3 Powerstroke got its reputation as one of the most reliable engines ever. If you need a low maintenance truck that won't give up on you, pop the hood and look for a 7.3 Powerstroke.

Cummins: 1991 6BT 12v Cummins 5.9L

The 5.9L Cummins turbocharger was a simple engine with solid performance. The engine produced 160-215 horsepower and 400-440 pounds-feet of torque. The maximum towing capacity at the time was 11,900, which is respectable. Other than the respectable numbers, the 5.9L 6BT Cummins was an easy engine to work on.

In terms of reliability, it could compete with the infamous 7.3 Powerstroke. Even today, there are many 1st generation Cummins engines on the road. Besides the power output, the 5.9 6BT Cummins is everything you need from a truck.

Duramax: 2000 LB7 6.6L

The 6.6L LB7 Duramax was General Motors' attempt to bridge the gap between them and the other two diesel engine manufacturers. They did a pretty good job, with the LB7 producing 300 horsepower and 520 pounds-feet of torque. The LB7 engine predates emissions regulations, which helps tremendously with reliability and it also negates many emissions equipment problems.

The only trouble the engine had was from the injectors, but if you find a 6.6L LB7 Duramax today, that issue has already been taken care of. Duramax is known for durability, and the first-gen engine is no different. It'll offer you everything you need without major problems.


We finally understand the differences between the big three diesel engine makers. We can also safely say that there is no winner and that there never will be. That makes us the winner. The big three are going to offer us the best of the best every year. It's up to us to decide which brand we're going to be loyal to.

Photo credit:

People Also Ask

The three powerhouses have been battling it out for decades, and they will continue to do so for decades to come. With the constant changes in the automotive industry and differing opinions, we often receive the same questions from truck enthusiasts. In an attempt to save you the trouble, we answered the most common questions in advance!

Who Owns Cummins?

Cummins owns Cummins. The descendants of the company's founders receive revenue, but they don't own Cummins, and neither do other brands. Other brands do however utilize Cummins products for their diesel trucks. Cummins is a global brand owned by the shareholder group. The Cummins company CEO is N. Thomas Linebarger.

Where Are Cummins Engines Made?

The Cummins 6.7L diesel engines are made at Columbus Midrange Engine Plant (CMEP). The Cummins headquarters are located north of the CMEP. Various other Cummins products are made all over the world.

Who Makes Duramax?

The Duramax V8 engine is made by General Motors and Isuzu, a partnership known as DMAX. The engines are built in Moraine, Ohio. The joint venture began in 2001, and ever since then, GM and Isuzu have worked on developing Duramax V8 diesel engines.

Who Owns Duramax?

DMAX Ltd. is the company that owns Duramax. The company is a joint venture between General Motors, which owns 60%, and Isuzu Diesel Services of America, which owns 40% of the company.

Who Makes Powerstroke Engines?

Ford had a partnership with Navistar International from 1994. Together, they built the old reliable 7.3 Powerstroke, the 6.0 Powerstroke, and the 6.4 Powerstroke. The partnership ended in 2010 when Ford decided to take matters into their own hands, and from 2011 onwards Ford built the Powerstroke diesel engines.

Sean comes from the forums actually and drives an OBS Ford. He writes fantastic DIYs and knows his way around a camera, too. We keep him caffeinated and away from DPF filters to avoid another rant about recent emissions restrictions.