Types of Trailers and Their Uses

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A heavy-duty truck using a lowboy trailer.
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When you need to transport a huge load, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is about your trailer. There are many different types of trailers out there, and each one has its benefits and drawbacks. Some trailers will be great for specific loads but terrible for others. How do you know which trailer you should use for your load? Read on to learn more about how to choose the right trailer for the job.

Flatbed trailers

Flatbed trailers are the industry standard trailer, and for good reason. Flatbeds can support most loads with ease. Because of their long, continuous deck space, flatbeds are the trailers of choice for longer loads like pipes. And, because they’re widely available, these trailers are the easiest to find and the cheapest to use! Flatbeds have their drawbacks, however. They have the highest clearance of any trailer, meaning they’re not very good for overheight loads. For the same reason, loading on these trailers can be a challenge; you’ll need a skilled forklift or crane operator to safely load flatbeds. Flatbed trailers are far from perfect, but for the majority of loads out there, they’re an easy choice.

Step-and drop-deck trailers

Step deck and drop deck trailers are designed for taller loads with small, detachable additions to the main load. These trailers have lower clearance than flatbeds and have a secondary deck for smaller items. The secondary deck, known as the step deck, is great for any additional items that need to be transported. The main drawback of step deck trailers is that they have less continuous deck space than flatbeds. This means they aren’t good for long, flat loads. And they’re more expensive to use than flatbeds because of their reduced availability and greater specialization. Still, step decks are a great choice for tall loads of all kinds.

Lowboys

Lowboys are one of the most extreme types of trailers. These trailers are designed for the least possible clearance off the ground, so they can haul even the tallest loads. If you’ve ever seen a trailer that looks like it’s inches from scraping the ground, chances are it was a lowboy. Lowboys are often the only option for extremely tall loads, but they’re perfectly designed for this purpose. However, there are cons to using lowboys. Lowboys often have a lower overall deck space than flatbeds or step decks, as more of their construction is focused on getting as low as possible. And using a lowboy can be expensive, as these trailers are used for niche purposes and are therefore less common than others. However, for loads that truly need them, lowboys are the way to go. No matter what trailer you wind up using for your haul, make sure you have the right permits for your load. OverweightPermits.com can help you get all the permits you need to travel legally!

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