A Trucker’s Dream: 8 Types of Trailers (and What They’re Used For)

From flatbed to dry van, there are tons of trailer types out there. Click here to learn about the most common types of trailers that you can get for your truck.

Have a need to haul heavy items from place to place? On the search for a trailer? If so, you’re going to have to decide on a type.

There are a number of different types of trailers out there, each of which offers different benefits and drawbacks. Wondering which is right for you? Then read on because we’re going to review the top 8 trailer types for truck owners.

1. Flatbed Trailers

Perhaps the most common of truck trailers is the flatbed trailer. This is essentially just a long, float board with wheels attached to it. It doesn’t have any sides and it doesn’t have restrictive railings.

So, how does it keep things from sliding off? Well, it doesn’t. That’s why, when loading things onto a flatbed trailer, you need to tie them down.

Flatbeds are available in a range of different lengths. These include 24, 40, 45, 48, and 53 feet. Note, though, that if you’re using a pickup truck, you should probably stick with a 24-footer; the others are designed for use with semi-trucks.

2. Step-Deck Trailers

Similar to but different from flatbed trailers are step-deck trailers. These trailers are similar to flatbed trailers in that they contain no sides or restrictive railings. They differ from them in the fact that they contain two levels as opposed to one, the higher of which sits closer to the truck.

What’s the benefit of using a step-deck trailer? It allows you to transport taller items than what you would be able to with a flatbed. Plus, step-decks sit closer to the ground, making it easier for forklifts to grab their contents.

Step-deck trailers are traditionally only used in tandem with semi-trucks. They’re typically available in 48 and 53-foot models.

3. Double Drop Trailers

Similar to the step-deck trailer, the double drop trailer possesses two different levels, the highest of which sits closest to the truck. However, there is a difference between the two trailers, that difference being their centers of gravity.

Double drop trailers have a particularly low center of gravity, making them great for the transportation of tall and narrow items. They also possess a high weight capacity, enabling them to carry seismic loads.

Most double drop trailers measure in at either 48 or 53 feet. They’re almost exclusively pulled by semi-trucks, though there are some cases in which pickup trucks pulled them as well.

4. Enclosed Trailers

Do you know those trailers that you see semis pulling on the highway all the time? The rectangular ones with the doors on the back? Those are enclosed trailers and they’re most commonly used in the transport of small items like tires or boxes.

Enclosed trailers are available in a wide variety of lengths, measuring from as small as 40 feet to as long as 60 feet. They’re almost exclusively used in tandem with semis, though it is possible to pull them with pickup trucks as well.

If you’re going to be shipping mass amounts of items on a regular basis, enclosed trailers are your best bet.

5. Gooseneck Trailers

Gooseneck trailers are trailers with ramps attached to both ends. These ramps let down so that vehicles and other heavy freight can be easily pushed up onto the trailer. Then, once they’ve been placed, the ramps are pushed back up, securing the freight on both ends.

You can transport essentially anything on a gooseneck trailer. Note, though, that they’re most commonly used in the transport of big and bulky items.

Available in a variety of different lengths, these are used in tandem with both pickup trucks and semi-trucks. You’ll see them at construction sites just as much as you’ll see them at shipping docks.

6. Refrigerated Trailers

Transporting perishables over long distances? If so, you would be best served by a refrigerated trailer. Aptly named, these trailers are equipped with refrigeration, ensuring that they keep their contents cold for the duration of their transport.

Refrigerated trailers are entirely enclosed. Equipped with air-sealed doors, they maintain the freshness of their contents while simultaneously preventing the entrance of potential intruders.

There are refrigerated trailers available for both semi and pickup trucks. That said, they’re most commonly used in tandem with semis.

7. Tanker Trailer

Have you ever seen a semi-truck driving down the road with a large, metal cylinder attached to its back? That cylinder was a tanker trailer and it’s commonly used to haul large masses of liquid.

The materials that are most commonly hauled in tanker trailers are water, milk, syrup, oil, and other liquids of the sort. However, there are some solid materials hauled by it as well. For instance, a tanker trailer might haul small agricultural products such as corn or beans.

Tanker trailers are always used in tandem with semi-trucks. You’ll likely never see such a trailer attached to the back of a pickup.

8. Conestoga Trailers

The best way to describe a Conestoga trailer is as a flatbed trailer with an elevated rubber cover. This cover fits over bars that protrude from the trailer’s surface. It can slide back and forth as needed, allowing for seamless access at all times.

The purpose of the Conestoga trailer? It provides protection from the rain and the snow.

What types of items do Conestoga trailers haul? Everything from machinery to steel products to oversized loads and more.

Conestoga trailers are used almost exclusively with semi-trucks. It’s rare that you would ever see one on a pickup.

All Types of Trailers to Choose From

In truth, there are all types of trailers to choose from. The ones reviewed above comprise only a small sample of the options available to you. If none of these options meet your needs, call up your local trailer retailer; they’re sure to have something that suits you.

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