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Difference Between a Lowboy and a Flatbed Trailer

When it comes to shipping freight, there are a variety of different trailers to choose from. What trailer you should use will be determined almost primarily by what you are hauling. Two popular trailer options when transporting larger items are lowboy and flatbed trailers. Knowing the difference between these two trailers, as well as when, why, and where to use them, can help ensure you have the right trailer for your shipment.

Which Trailer to Choose

Choosing a trailer for your haul? It’s important to know the difference between a lowboy and a flatbed trailer. Select the option that best suits the type of cargo you’ll be transporting. Looking for a universal option that can handle a variety of loads? A flatbed is probably the way to go. Although, if you’re mostly concerned with hauling heavy, bulky, or tall equipment, a lowboy might be the better option. Before you decide on what trailer to use, calculate the weight of what you are shipping.

Lowboy Trailer

Known as many names: lowboy, low-loader, semi-trailer, or double-drop. A lowboy trailer is a type of semi-trailer with a lowered deck. This allows for easy hauling of tall and heavy loads. For example, tractors, cranes, and bulldozers. Its bed rests low, which makes it easy to load and unload heavy equipment. Lowboy trailers can either be “gooseneck” or “fifth-wheel” style.

Kinds of Lowboy Trailers

  • Fixed Gooseneck (FGN) Lowboy
  • Fixed Neck Lowboy
  • Removable Gooseneck (RGN) Lowboy

A lowboy can carry many different types of freight. Items, dimensions, and the trailer type determine how the freight will transport. More weight means more axles on the trailer. Therefore, the more axles, the stronger the trailer is.

The maximum capacity for a flatbed trailer is:

  • Freight weight: 40,000 pounds for two axles, 80,000 pounds for anything beyond two axles.
  • Well height: 18 in. to 24 in (The well is the container.)
  • Well length: 24 ft. to 29.6 ft.
  • Width: 8.5 ft.
  • Freight height: 11.5 ft. to 12 ft.
  • Overall load height: 14 ft.
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Goosenecks have a coupler that attaches to the bed of a pickup truck. But fifth-wheel trailers have a hitch that attaches to the fifth-wheel trailer hitch on the bed of a pickup truck. Lowboys sometimes go by “equipment trailers,” “heavy haulers,” or “drop-decks.” Lowboys are available in a variety of sizes and can have an open or enclosed cover for the cargo. If you need to transport heavy equipment or machinery, a lowboy trailer is the way to go.

Flatbed Trailer

Flatbeds, on the other hand, are a great way to transport wide loads or heavy things that need restraint. They are more universal and can be a good use for hauling a variety of cargo. You can use a flatbed trailer to transport anything from furniture to appliances to construction materials.

Types of Flatbed Trailers

  • Conestoga trailer
  • Side kit trailer
  • Step deck Trailer

Different types of flatbeds carry different types of freight. Height, weight, and space provided can change between different styles. For the ideal experience, FreightCenter can help find the right truck for your shipment.

The maximum capacity for a Flatbed trailer is:

  • Maximum freight dimensions. Length: 48 – 53 ft. Height: 8.5 ft. Width: 8.5 ft.
  • Maximum freight weight. 48,000 – 52,000 lbs.

If you’re moving, a trailer can be a great way to transport your belongings. And if you’re carrying something particularly large or bulky, a trailer can help to make the job easier. They tend to be more lightweight than lowboys, making them easier to tow. You may recognize them being the more basic haul technique, making transport by an every day truck possible. The right choice for you will depend on your specific needs.

Why Should I Know the Difference?

Knowing the difference between a lowboy and a flatbed trailer is important for a number of reasons. Whether it’s moving across the country or just down the street. Using the proper trailer can be a cents to dollars difference. It can also prevent the damage of your goods while in transit. Where flatbeds can carry heavier freight, lowboys however can carry items up to 12 feet tall. As a result, this allows large machinery to be able to travel safely under highway bridges. With so many different types of lowboy and flatbed trailers out there, it’s important to know which one is right for your needs. For example, if you’re planning on moving large machinery, you’ll need a heavy-duty trailer that can handle the weight of the freight it is hauling.

Now, if you’re just moving a few bundles of construction equipment, a flatbed trailer will do the trick. On the other hand, if you’re hauling heavy equipment, you’ll need a lowboy. With so many options available, it’s never been easier to find the right trailer for your haul.

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Compare and Contrast: Flatbeds and Lowboys

Flatbeds typically have a large maximum hauling capacity due to their option for an extended length or deeper well. While the cargo being hauled sits at truck-level height on a flatbed (10 Feet For The Main Deck And 8.5 Feet For The Front Deck), Lowboys, having 2 axles, can carry up to 12 feet high worth of cargo.

Both flatbeds and lowboys haul oversized loads. An example of what they both haul is big machinery equipment for construction sites. These trailers are more versatile than others because freight can load from the rear, the side, or the top by a crane. Knowing the difference between a lowboy and a flatbed trailer is very important. But, it can be tough to find the right one for your needs.

Try Using a 3PL

Although there are many ways to get a trailer, the best option is to partner with a third-party logistics company (3PL). 3PLs can help you find the perfect trailer for your needs. They also transport it to your desired location. And because they specialize in logistics, you can be sure that your belongings will arrive safe and sound. If you need a trailer, consider using a 3PL to get the job done.

Are you having trouble finding a trailer, shipping your package, or have shipping questions? Let FreightCenter help! We are experts when it comes to shipping products both nationally and internationally. Our carriers and freight agents can ease you into the process to ensure it’s a smooth ride for both you and your shipment. Use FreightCenter’s freight shipping quote tool to begin. For other locations, call our international shipping experts at 844-2127447. Saving money doesn’t have to cost more in the long haul: Let FreightCenter assist you in your shipping endeavors!

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