11 Different Types of Trailers and Their Uses

Different Types of Trailers

It might be tough to tell what each trailer is used for and which is best for your freight with so many different types of trailers on the road today.  

In this post, we’ll look at some of the most popular trailers utilized in the trucking industry in the United States and how they’re employed. This will help you determine which trailer type is most suited to your requirements.  

The following are the most frequent different types of trailers used to transport freight in the trucking industry: 

1. Flatbed Trailers

The most prevalent type of trailer is the flatbed trailer. They are exceedingly versatile, which explains why they are so popular. From steel coils to logs, almost anything may be transported with flatbed trucks.  

Furthermore, Flatbed trailers are open on all sides and lack a box to protect the transported cargo. As a result, loading and unloading are a breeze. 

Additionally, a crane can pick up the load from the top, or a fork lifter can pick it up from the sides. Further, a flatbed trailer can carry a maximum weight of 48,000 pounds.  

A flatbed trailer’s length varies, and it is available in various sizes, including the following: The most popular flatbed trailer lengths are 24 feet, 40 feet, 45 feet, 48 feet, and 53 feet.  

The maximum width and height of the load authorized by law are 8.5 feet and 8.5 feet, respectively. The flatbed usually is 60 inches above the ground level.  

Because there is no container to sufficiently cover the substance being transferred, it must be covered with a tarp. You can’t just drape a tarp over the load and call it a day, and it can be challenging to cover a flatbed trailer with a tarp.  

There are a few things to think about, including the tarp’s material and the proper safety procedures. 

2. Dry Van Trailer

Dry van trailers are the preferred method of transporting palletized, packed, or loose cargo.

Additionally, the dry van trailer is one of the most prevalent types of trailers on the road today, with an average length of 53 feet.

Dry van trailers are typically used to transport products that people need daily.  

Additionally, dry van trailers are used by some of the world’s top firms, like Walmart, Target, and Procter & Gamble, to carry their stocks.

Dry van trailers are widely used to move inventory such as clothing, non-perishable food, and home products.  

Because of their boxlike design and ability to back right into the bay of a loading dock, these trailers are the ideal equipment type for any shipper/receiver functioning from a loading dock. 

3. Steel Truck Tarp

Steel tarps are employed when the loads comprise steel freight, such as steel coils. The tarp must be of good quality, heavy-duty, and cost-effective in these situations. They are the most suitable tarps for use.  

However, this is especially true if the transported stuff is handcrafted and requires further protection. Furthermore, Tarps for steel trucks are typically 24 feet long and 12 feet broad.  

There are also 8-foot-wide steel truck tarps available. Both sides of these tarps have a 2 to 3-foot drop. Steel truck tarps of this type are excellent for rebar and sheet steel loads. They protect the material’s topside from rain and dirt by covering it. 

4. Refrigerated Trailers

The substance to be transferred may need to be kept at a chilly temperature at times. Frozen foods, ice creams, and medications are examples of these things, and warmer temperatures are not suitable for these products.  

Additionally, this is where different refrigerated types of trailers, sometimes known as reefers, come into play. They are like dry vans or enclosed trailers in appearance, only with sufficient insulation and a cooling system inside to maintain the temperature. 

Furthermore, the essential components of a reefer are a compressor, condenser, and evaporator. Within the enclosed container, the entire system is contained. These trailers have a weight limit similar to that of a dry van.  

Their legal width and height, however, are different. The maximum permissible width and height are 8.2 feet and 8 feet, respectively. 

5. Double Drop/Lowboy Trailers

The double drop trailer, also known as a lowboy, low bed, or float trailer, is much closer to the ground than any other trailer type.  

Additionally, their closeness to the environment is due to two drops, one behind the gooseneck and the other before the back wheels. As a result, twin drop trailers are capable of transporting large machines.  

Double drop trailers can haul massive loads, with weight limits ranging from 40,000 to 80,000 pounds (depending on the number of axles). Due to the nature of these trailers, the length of the load capacity is limited to the well-space, which is typically 29 feet long.  

Before considering over-dimensional, the maximum allowable height of any freight transported by a double drop trailer is 11 feet, 6 inches.  

Furthermore, they are ideal for any organization moving massive equipment because of their advanced height capacity. Large industrial and farm equipment are examples of these. 

6. Hot Shot Trailer

Hot Shot Trailers is one of the different types of trailers. These trailers have grown in popularity among carriers all over the world. Hotshot trailers are low-lying flatbed trailers that can be towed by pickup vehicles in the classes 3-6 range.  

As a result, carriers who use hotshot trailers do not require a typical semi-tractor because they may be driven by a specialized pickup truck. However, this eliminates many hurdles to entry in the trucking industry.  

Hotshot trailers are considerably more cost-effective than typical semi-truck flatbed trailers for hauling freight over short distances. Companies specializing in shorter hauls have found significant success with these hotshot trailers.  

In addition, most hotshot trailers on the market are 30-40 feet long and sit between 3 feet, 4 inches, and 3 feet, 6 inches from the ground in terms of size. 

7. Step Deck Trailers

Flatbed trailers and step deck trailers are very similar, and the maximum legal height is the sole variation between the two.  

In addition, Flatbed trailers are around 60 inches above the ground, and step deck trailers are much closer to the ground, allowing for a small margin for carrying loads taller than 8 feet.

They’re utilized to transport loads that can’t be taken on a flatbed trailer because of their height.  

They’re open trailers with two deck levels, one on top and one below. Ramps facilitate unloading. Furthermore, because they are closer to the ground, they are safer for forklift unloading. 

8. Conestoga Trailers

Conestoga trailers, sometimes known as “curtain side” trailers, are unique, different types of trailers designed to provide additional protection from the weather while in transit.  

They are typically 53 feet long and come in step-deck, double-drop, and flatbed variations, an excellent option for numerous open-deck campers.  

Conestogas are utilized in various industries – to transport multiple types of freight — they are most commonly used in industries with sensitive cargo that could be destroyed by tarping it, such as the aerospace and energy sectors. 

9. Removable Gooseneck Trailer (RGN)

It can be difficult and time-consuming to transport large loads, and it can be difficult, especially with the additional permissions required for more extensive and heavier cargo.

Furthermore, the more technical the load’s conveyance becomes, the larger it becomes. RGN trailers come to the rescue in this situation.  

The loads are held closer to the ground on RGN trailers, allowing you to transport taller things. With RGN trailers, you won’t have to bother about height restrictions.

Furthermore, the double lowboy or double drop trailer is another name for a gooseneck trailer.  

When you need to transport colossal equipment, this trailer is appropriate. The RGN trailer has a drop in the middle that allows for higher things to be accommodated.  

Additionally, Taller objects should be placed in the dropped area, while equipment that isn’t too tall should be placed in the raised beds. The well is the name given to the decreased region. 

10. Specialty Trailers

Specialty trailers are one of the different types of trailers. They are designed with a specific function in mind, and they’re made to order and aren’t available anywhere else.  

However, a specialist trailer’s design depends on the purpose; for example, a specialty trailer transporting large amounts of liquid will be built differently from a specialty trailer for medical or food services.  

Additionally, a specific permit is required for these trailers, and the driver must have a license that enables him to tow the load. Specialty trailers have a weight restriction of up to 200,000 pounds. 

11. Multi-Car Trailers

Multi-car trailers may have been included with specialty trailers, but we chose to mention them individually for a reason. Additionally, Specialty trailers are still in their infancy, yet multi-car trailers have been around for a long time.  

These trailers move a group of cars (up to 8) from one area to another. Single Decker and Double Decker trailers are the two varieties of multi-car trailers.  

Furthermore, a double Decker trailer is used for more than eight cars. Multi-car trailers cannot usually pass via overpasses since the height limit is usually 11.6 feet.

The automobiles are fastened to prevent them from becoming loose while being transported. 

Conclusively now that you’ve learned everything, there is to know about the different types of trailers; deciding which one is right for you should be a lot easier.  

Trailers are a significant investment, and before deciding on a particular trailer style, one should evaluate the sort of freight that must be transported.

In-land freight transportation using trailers is still one of the most cost-effective alternatives to air freight and a considerably faster option than sea freight. 

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