13 Types Of Trailers
13 Types Of Trailers For Hauling Goods And Cargo
What Are The Most Common Types Of Trailers?
- Standard flatbed trailer
- Extendable flatbed trailer
- Low bed trailer
- Extendable double drop trailer
- Refrigerated trailer (Reefers)
- Stretch single drop trailer
- Less-than-truckload trailer (LTL)
- Multi-car trailer
- Hotshot trailer
- Enclosed trailers
- Oversized trailer
- Side kit trailer
- Display trailer
Trucks are among the most common forms of freight transport. Trailers must be attached to trucks to ship goods and commodities from one place to another. They’re additional carrier vehicles often trailing behind the truck cabs while driving on a highway.
While trailers can carry loads, different types of trailers exist, each having various features and carrying capacities. Additionally, some trailers are built for specific purposes. For example, a trailer may not be suitable for carrying pallets, while another trailer truck is best used for carrying perishable items.
With so many available trailers on the market, choosing one that best fits your freight needs can be challenging. But, we will help break down some of the most common trailers used on roads and how each is used. Refer to this guide to better understand which trailer your business requires.
1. Standard Flatbed Trailer
Standard flatbed trailers are highly versatile, making them one of the most ubiquitous. Flatbed trailers come in various dimensions, such as:
- 20 Feet
- 40 Feet
- 45 Feet
- 48 Feet
- 53 Feet
This type of trailer is renowned for its versatility. Forty-eight-foot flatbed trailers are commonplace and are frequently used to load construction equipment and other heavy-duty materials. They may also carry steel pipes, tubings, rebars, sheets, lumber, motor vehicles, and many more. They have a weight capacity of 48,000 pounds, which is roughly equivalent to 1,200 pieces of lumber.
Flatbed trailers don’t have a standard container to house their contents. However, they can haul oversized freights, provided they have the correct permits, and the driver passes through the proper routes.
2. Extendable Flatbed Trailer
From the name alone, extendable flatbed trailers are flatbed trailers with a sliding mechanism that allow the flatbed to be extended lengthwise. For this reason, they don’t have a fixed length, but the appearance is pretty much the same as a standard flatbed trailer.
This type of trailer is extendable for up to 80 feet lengthwise. This allows greater fleet efficiency as it reduces the need to maintain a fleet of flatbed trailers of different length. Compared to a standard flatbed trailer, the extended length allows users to safely and legally transport loads which require an extended length. In addition, users can also stack more loads on a flatbed without increasing the vertical clearance.
3. Low Bed Trailer
Also known as lowboy trailers or double-drop trailers, the low bed trailer is far closer to the ground than other trailers. Its low suspension is due to the two drops behind the gooseneck and the back wheels. With this feature, double-drop trailers allow for more flexibility in carrying oversized equipment and machinery.
The low bed trailer’s carrying capacity ranges from 40,000 to 80,000 pounds depending on the number of axles.It is important for you to know the operating limits and capacities of the low bed trailer. In Singapore, a double drop trailer may carry a maximum legal height of 4.5 metres before it’s designated as oversizedl. These trailers are often used in heavy-cargo transport and trucking industries.
Automotive or vehicle manufacturers use low bed trailers to transport cars from one showroom to another. They can carry multiple stacks of vehicles simultaneously. Lowboy trailers may also contain buses, tractors, and other special vehicles.
4. Extendable Double Drop Trailer
The double-drop or lowboy trailer can also be extendable to prevent the load from hanging off the deck. To extend this trailer, one must remove the swing-out outriggers that allow it to accommodate wider machinery. They can carry exceptionally long freight, thanks to their maxed-out length of 65 feet.
Standard-sized trailers tend to exceed their legal length limit, which is why an extendable double-drop or lowboy may be used. They can carry up to 43,000 pounds while accommodating a maximum legal height limit of 4.5 metres, depending on local regulations.
You’ll often find extendable lowboy trailers carrying long raw materials, lumber, poles, posts, castellated beams, rebars, and other large machinery. These trailers are handy when used in the correct situation.
5. Refrigerated Trailer
Refrigerated trailers are also often referred to as “reefers”. As the name suggests, these trailers require proper temperature control. They contain wall insulation, making them the only trailer type suitable for transporting perishable items. Products like medicine, ice, fruit, packed meals, and the like are transported via the refrigerated trailer.
Refrigerated trailers can carry between 20 tons to 22 Tons and are generally 13 feet and 6 inches high. Due to their wall insulation, the internal height is about 8 feet and 7 inches.
Unlike the extendable flatbed, the deck of a refrigerated trailer cannot be expanded. They can’t carry commodities or equipment that exceed their deck length.
6. Stretch Single Drop Trailer
Trailers must carry freights in such a way that they don’t overhang or hang off the edge of the flatbed. Overhang is also when the cargo extends beyond the pallet/deck size.
To avoid the above situation, stretch single-drop trailers are used. They’re designed to haul truckloads which may be too long for a standard step deck’s length restrictions. Stretch single-drop trailers prevent freight overhang, thanks to the lowered main deck. The main deck provides plenty of room for higher loads exceeding a regular flatbed’s height limits.
Stretch single-drop trailers are ideal for overlength freight shipments. They can carry up to 45,000 lbs, with the main deck ranging from 35 to 63 feet and a freight height of 10 feet.
7. Less-Than-Truckload Trailer (LTL)
Less-than-truckload trailers (LTL) are forms of freight transport that carry less than the capacity of the trailer. LTLs usually occupy only a small percentage of the trailer. In such cases, multiple shippers may transport goods in the same trailer and pay only for the space utilised for their cargo. Transporting materials through an LTL is more cost-effective than using a single dedicated trailer.
There are several benefits to using LTL shipping. They are economical and eco-friendly. Instead of shipping goods in different trucks, couriers or shipping companies share transport and reduce their carbon footprint.
Additionally, those who use LTL have access to additional services, such as lift gates, notification options, inside deliveries, non-commercial deliveries, and pickups. Shippers can also check their cargo’s tracking information.
8. Multi-Car Trailer
Multi-car trailers or multi-car hauliers can move vehicles from one point to another. They are similar to low bed trailers and can transport multiple cars simultaneously.
Generally, multi-car trailers can carry between 5 to 9 cars on the road. The driver must have the proper licence to operate this machinery, which requires skill when cornering or passing through routes without an overpass.
You will find multi-car trailers in single and double decks, depending on the number of vehicles. They may be loaded in multiple angles and chained in to secure the automotive while ensuring the emergency brakes are activated.
9. Hotshot Trailer
Hotshot trailers are becoming increasingly popular with courier companies worldwide, among the other types of trailers. Hotshot trailers are flatbed trailers which can be pulled by pickup trucks. Trucking companies with hotshot trailers will not need a semi-tractor or a cab since a pickup truck can do the job.
Like LTL trailers, the hotshot offers a cost-friendly option for freight handling, especially for short distances. Companies that frequently ship goods short distances prefer hotshot trailers over semi-truck flatbeds.
Most hotshot trailer models measure 30 by 40 feet in length and are suspended 3 to 6 inches above the ground. Due to their small size, they have a far lower carrying capacity, of only up to 16,500 pounds, or almost 30% less than standard flatbeds.
10. Enclosed Trailers
Except for the refrigerated trailer, all the trailers on this list do not have an enclosed container. Much of their cargo is protected through heavy-duty ropes and chains that secure the goods to the truck. These trailers are unlike the enclosed trailer, which has multiple uses in storage, transport, and equipment handling.
Enclosed trailers are sometimes preferred over non-enclosed commercial trucking due to their added security and safety. For example, loose goods may slip during transportation, especially if they are not packed closely. Enclosed trailers add a layer of protection to prevent damage and breakage.
Additionally, the enclosed covering/container protects cargo against extreme weather conditions. If shipping under inclement weather or less-than-ideal conditions, enclosed trailers can prevent these items from weather damage.
11. Oversized Trailer
Oversized trailers refer to any trailer type permitted to carry oversized loads. These loads are shipments with lengths, heights, widths, and weights exceeding the load limit.
Before operating an oversized transportation in Singapore, one must apply for an oversized vehicle movement (OVM) permit before shipment. Vehicles with the following dimensions and conditions need to secure the OVM permit:
- The overall laden/unladen width exceeds 3 or 2.6 metres if travelling on controller load
- The carrier’s rear overhang exceeds 40% of the vehicle length or 1.8 metres
- The trailer’s overall weight surpasses the laden weight limits set for the vehicle type
When driving oversized trailers, operators must ensure the vehicle’s height does not exceed the height limits for road structures. If a crane is attached to the lorry, it must be appropriately retracted or stowed.
The Singapore Government has also released a directive that oversized lorries with cranes should have an audio warning system to detect if cranes are properly stowed. This helps reduce the danger of colliding with other overhead structures.
12. Side Kit Trailer
Side kit trailers are basically trailers fitted with a side kit. A side kit is an on-demand enclosure that can completely cover a load from top to bottom. One distinct feature of the side kit trailer is the removable sidewalls and tent-like covers. Because of this, they are often referred to as “covered wagons”. Side kit trailers can be rigged to haul almost anything without worrying about damage. Removable plywood or fibreglass panels are added to help keep the load in place and provide all-weather protection.
Although it is not necessary, side kits are affordable and increase job opportunities should the situation require it. For example,transportation of weather-sensitive loads, loose agricultural products and industrial machineries.
13. Display Trailer
Display trailers are built specifically for advertising or displaying products and equipment. The load is kept in an enclosed space with two or more large viewing windows attached to it. The hauliers must open the sliding doors to carry loads and carefully set up the items for display.
Display trailers are connected to a standard tow bar and can be organised in minutes. They also have an aesthetically pleasing design for marketing purposes. You’ll often find display trailers with bright lighting and insulated walls for added structure, function, and security.
We’ve listed common types of trailers found in major thoroughfares. Each has different uses and functionalities, so it’s best to understand these features before choosing one. Compare the trailers on this list and determine which meets your requirements best.
Need more information on the best kind of trailer for your business needs? Pollisum’s expertise in heavy equipment in Singapore can help. Call us now at +65 67557600 to request a quote or learn more about our services. We provide heavy-duty lorry cranes, trailers, tugboats, barges, and other fabrication services in Singapore.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Types Of Trailers
The flatbed trailer has been dubbed the most versatile, thanks to its flexible weight ratings. Flatbed trailers have a carrying capacity ranging from a few thousand pounds to upwards of 40,000 pounds.
Trailers vary in length and height, but their widths are more standardised, at 8.5 feet or 102 inches.
An ideal trailer size is a trailer that complies with regulatory requirements and is able to transport your precious cargo safely and timely. The size and type of trailer is largely dependent on the size and type of cargo that you are transporting. If you are unsure, contact Pollisum today. We are here to assist you with the right selection.
When comparing the costs of a used and new trailer, you should consider the following components/features:
- Electrical system
- Other attachments