Flatbed trailers come in all shapes, sizes, and maximum load capacities. Some of the most common types of flatbed trailers and specialized trucking trailers include:
- Lowboy Trailers
- Step Deck Trailers
- Stretch Double Drop Trailers
- Removable Gooseneck Trailers (RGN)
- Conestoga Trailers
- Sidekit Trailers
It is essential to note the maximum legal load weight of the cargo as well as the dimensions of a particular type for proper and accurate flatbed & specialized trucking rates.
Each flatbed trailer is different from the other types, and it is essential to note the maximum legal load weight of each. While most of the trailers mentioned in this article are capable of handling loads that exceed the legal dimensions and weights for safety, some states will require a permit and/or have premium charges that will need to be obtained before a shipment can be transported.
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Flatbed trailers are widely used and highly versatile, making them one of the most popular trailers seen on the roads today. Typically, freight is loaded onto the tip, sides, and rear of the flatbed. With this easy loading capability, flatbeds have become one of the cornerstones of today’s trucking industry.
A flatbed trailer can carry a maximum legal freight weight of 48,000 pounds.
A lowboy trailer is an unpowered trailer, commonly used to haul freight. With a lowered bed in front of the rear axels, lowboys are designed to transport taller goods that would exceed the height restrictions if carried on a flatbed. Depending on the freight, some states require may permits.
Lowboy trailers generally have two axles with a maximum load weight of 40,000 pounds. An additional weight capacity of up to 80,000 pounds will depend on the number of axles used (weight of the trailer + weight of the load).
Step deck Trailers (drop deck trailers) are a version of the flatbed trailer consisting of a bottom and top deck. These trailers are designed to carry freight that cannot be transported on a standard type of flatbed, usually due to height restrictions.
The maximum load weight for a step deck trailer is 48,000 pounds.
A stretch double drop trailer is designed for oversized freight that is too long for a standard step deck trailer due to legal length restrictions. It also provides support, preventing overhang. The lower deck allows loads up to 10 feet in height. The trainer is designed with a longer piece, or well, at the trailer’s back deck and middle portions, typically measuring 25 feet to 29 feet.
The maximum legal freight weight for a stretch double drop is 45,000 lbs.
Removable Gooseneck Trailers (RGN) are built to carry tall and long freights. The front of an RGN trailer is detachable, allowing the trailer to be dropped on the ground creating a ramp. Capable of transporting freight weighing up to 150,000 pounds, an RGN trailer can expand from 3 axles up to over 20 axles for heavier shipments. Because it is considered a more specialized trailer, removable gooseneck trailers are more expensive to use.
The maximum legal load weight of an RGN or Removable Gooseneck Trailer is 42,000 pounds.
A Conestoga trailer is a specialized flatbed with a hard shell and tarping system and is designed to protect the variety of freight inside. It is one of the most requested trailers because of its versatility. Conestoga trailers offer better freight protection than tying down basic tarps and reduce the occurrence of tarps damaging the cargo during transit. Because they can be loaded and unloaded with ease, fragile and valuable freight is less at risk of being damaged during shipment.
The Conestoga trailer has a legal maximum freight weight of 42,000 lbs to 45,000 lbs.
A sidekit trailer is fortified with panels made from plywood or fiberglass. It is typically used to transport freight that is neither packaged or crated.
Sidekit Trailers have a max freight weight of 42,000 to 45,000 pounds.