Drop Deck Trailer Guide


Choosing the right trailer is essential to secure the transportation of your goods or equipment. Transporting heavy equipment or tall loads has strict rules and regulations that must be followed, which will impact the trailer you choose.

Drop deck trailers are one of the best choices for transportation since they're versatile and can carry tall, heavy loads. You'll learn more below about the specifications of drop deck trailers, how they work, and the many benefits of these trailers.

What Is a Drop Deck Trailer?

Drop deck trailers, also known as lowboy or step-deck trailers, are designed to transport cargo that exceeds the maximum height limits of standard trailers. These trailers have an upper and lower deck and are retractable for convenience. Drop deck trailers also don't have doors, roofs, or sides.

Compared to different trailer types, drop deck equipment trailers are ideal when you're concerned about space. You won't have to worry as much with these trailers when working with loads of different lengths, widths, and heights. You can load these trailers like a flatbed, but the load sits closer to the ground, allowing you to carry taller cargo.

Drop deck trailers are commonly made from steel and come in various sizes, from shorter beds to full lengths. Standard drop deck trailers are ideal for transporting large loads over long distances, such as lumber or similar materials.

There are many types of drop deck trailers capable of carrying various types of loads. Some of the common cargo drop deck trailers can transport include:

  • Construction equipment
  • Agricultural equipment
  • Building materials
  • Machinery

The versatility of drop deck trailers can help you make the most of your travel time and boost productivity.

How Do Drop Deck Trailers Work?

Drop deck trailers are equipped with extra axles, which makes them capable of carrying heavy and tall loads. The deck of these trailers comes with a flip axle, which can be laid back when not in use and flipped down when transporting heavy cargo. Every state has specific regulations for freight size, but the maximum allowed height for drop deck trailers is between 13 feet and 6 inches to 14 feet.

The lower deck sits closer to the ground, making it easier to carry taller cargo. The lower deck also makes fork lifting processes safer and easier. Drop deck trailers come with different ramp capabilities based on the model, which helps simplify loading and unloading tasks.

What Is the Average Drop Deck Trailer Size?

As mentioned, drop deck trailers come in various sizes. However, drop deck trailers have limits.

For example, these trailers can't exceed a width of 8 1/2 feet. Depending on the model and state regulations, the trailer bed can't extend beyond 48 to 53 feet. Loads also can't extend beyond 14 feet tall. Drop deck trailers can also carry loads up to 48,000 pounds. These are the standard sizes for drop deck trailers and the most common you'll find among different models.

However, you can find smaller drop deck trailers depending on your applications. You may not need the full length of the trailer bed, meaning you can find a drop deck trailer with a shorter bed to accommodate your applications.

Benefits of Drop Deck Trailers

The size and capabilities of drop deck trailers make them beneficial for numerous industries, providing many benefits over other types of trailers. Some of the notable benefits of these trailers include:

  • Height permits: With other trailers, you may need a height permit, which can be time-consuming and increase your downtime. You don't have to worry about obtaining a height permit when you use a drop deck trailer. The trailer structure makes it easier to lower the height so you can carry tall loads without going over height limits.
  • Transportation of different equipment: Drop deck trailers can carry different types of equipment, especially because they don't have a side panel. You can load equipment without worrying about adjusting equipment based on width.
  • Easy for forklifts: Drop deck trailers are closer to the ground than other types of equipment, making it easier for forklifts to load and unload materials being transported, whether building materials or equipment. The lower levels help forklifts carry heavy materials and don't require objects need to be elevated higher.
  • Versatility: Drop deck trailers have a unique design that allows them to transport various equipment types, even if the loads vary in weight or height. You can transport multiple units on the same trailer, which helps reduce shipping times and costs.
  • Durability: Drop deck trailers are typically made from steel, which boasts high durability. However, you can also choose drop deck trailers made from aluminum, which is a more cost-effective option. Drop deck trailers are also ideal for weather conditions, such as snow or rain, allowing you to transport what you need without worrying about unexpected delays.

The many benefits of drop deck trailers make them a notable choice over other types of trailers. You can also use drop deck trailers as flatbeds when you don't need to carry tall loads, which makes them a useful choice to diversify your fleet and expand your options.

Best Uses for Drop Deck Trailers

Drop deck trailers are used to ship loads that are over the legal limit for traditional flatbeds. These trailers are typically used to transport tall loads, which can include:

  • Tanks
  • Plows
  • Tractors
  • Excavators
  • Forklifts
  • Lumber, metal, and other building materials

Drop deck trailers are best suited to transporting agricultural and construction equipment. However, you can transport anything that exceeds the height limit for traditional flat beds, including anything from machinery to heavy materials.


Browse Drop Deck Trailers From Thompson Truck Source

Drop deck trailers are an ideal option if you're looking for a way to transport heavy, tall loads. Thompson Truck Source has a wide range of trailers available, including new and used models. We also offer trailer servicing and trailer parts to help you keep your trailer in good condition. You can also choose to rent trailers based on the needs of your operations.

We pride ourselves on providing our customers with high-quality machines and service. Contact us today or find a location near you to learn more about how you can benefit when partnering with us.