Beyond the Size

Stepping Up Your Freight Transport Game: A Comprehensive Guide to Step Deck Trailers and Other Trailer Types

Step Deck Trailers: A Comprehensive Guide

Freight transport remains a significant part of global trade. Whether transporting goods across states, countries or internationally, transportation has to be efficient and secure.

When it comes to transporting tall freight, things can get a little tricky. This is where Step Deck Trailers come in.

In this article, we will delve into Step Deck Trailers’ features, dimensions, how to load and unload them, and their advantages.

What Are Step Deck Trailers?

Step Deck Trailers are flatbed trailers designed with two levels. The lower deck is often referred to as the well, while the upper platform is known as the top deck.

They have no side walls, which allows for cargo to overhang the sides. They are also sometimes called Drop Deck Trailers due to the gradual drop in height from the front to the back.

This design allows for taller cargo to be transported while also ensuring its safety.

Features of Step Deck Trailers

One of the most significant features of Step Deck Trailers is their double platform design, which gives them an edge over other trailer types. The upper platform generally has a shorter length and width, making it ideal for securing cargo.

The lower platform is longer and wider than the top deck; it can hold more massive freight. Step Deck Trailers also have a ramp capability.

This feature allows for additional load access for forklifts or other equipment that can help in cargo loading and unloading.

Dimensions of Step Deck Trailers

The length of a Step Deck Trailer typically ranges from 48 feet to 53 feet, while the width ranges from 8 feet to 8.5 feet. The upper platform is often around 10-11 feet long and 8 feet wide, while the lower platform ranges from 37-42 feet in length and 8.5 feet wide.

The ramp on a Step Deck Trailer can be anywhere from 12 to 14 feet long and can hold up to 25 thousand pounds.

Loading and Unloading on a Step Deck Trailer

When it comes to loading Step Deck Trailers, cargo orientation is vital. Taller cargo should always be loaded on the upper platform.

This allows for more headroom while also ensuring the load’s safety. Additionally, the weight limit on the upper deck is lower than on the lower deck, so it is vital to pay attention to the requirements.

Step Deck Trailers also have a height limit. Tall freight may not fit under low bridges or overpasses, which could cause damage or even accidents.

It is also essential to make sure that the lower deck can hold the cargo based on weight and dimensions. If the load is too heavy or long, it may compromise the structural integrity of the trailer.

This could cause damage to the cargo and the trailer, as well as other equipment. It is also vital to note that loading the lower platform before the upper deck may be necessary, especially when a ramp is needed to facilitate load accessibility.

Advantages of Step Deck Trailers

The most significant advantage of Step Deck Trailers is their ability to transport taller cargo with ease. This saves shippers the need to obtain a permit for oversize loads, which can be both time-consuming and costly.

Additionally, the lack of side walls allows for overhanging cargo, which increases transportation efficiency. Unlike

Flatbed Trailers, Step Deck Trailers offer an extra level for shipping more tall cargo.

They are also safer for transporting oversize loads due to the double platform design.


In conclusion, Step Deck Trailers are the ideal choice for transporting oversize loads that do not qualify as heavy haul. They come in a range of sizes and capacities, allowing for more massive freight.

Their double deck design, along with the ramp capability, makes them safer and easier to load and unload. While they offer many benefits, it is essential to ensure that cargo orientation and weight limits are adhered to.

As trade and transportation continue to grow, Step Deck Trailers will remain a top choice for shippers worldwide. Other Trailer Types: A Comprehensive Guide

While Step Deck Trailers are a popular choice for transporting freight, they are not the only option available.

Depending on your needs, there are several other types of trailers to choose from. In this article, we will explore the various types of trailers, their features, and advantages.

Dry Van Trailers

Dry Van trailers are enclosed, box-shaped trailers with no refrigeration or temperature control. They have the ability to reverse directly into loading and unloading docks, making them ideal for urban areas with limited space.

Dry Van trailers have a lower maximum weight limit compared to Step Deck trailers, making them more suitable for smaller loads.

Flatbed Trailers

Flatbed trailers, like Step Deck Trailers, also have no side walls. They have a high deck level and can carry loads of various shapes and sizes.

However, they do have a cargo height limit, which makes them less suitable for taller loads. Unlike Step Deck Trailers, they only have one platform, which makes them less versatile.

Refrigerated Trailers

Refrigerated trailers, also known as reefer trailers, are designed for temperature-sensitive freight, such as perishable goods. These trailers have insulated walls that keep the temperature inside constant.

The temperature control feature makes them ideal for transporting anything from frozen foods to medical supplies.

Double Drop Trailers

Double Drop Trailers, also called Lowboy Trailers, have a lower platform than Step Deck trailers. They have two drops- one at the front and one at the back.

This design offers more space and versatility, making them ideal for large and bulky equipment such as construction machinery.

Hotshot Trailers

Hotshot trailers are smaller trailers that are towed by pickup trucks. They are ideal for transporting small loads over short distances, such as local deliveries.

They have a lower payload capacity, making them suitable for small loads and less bulky equipment.

Conestoga Trailers

Conestoga trailers have a tarp system over the trailer, making them ideal for transporting sensitive cargo that requires more protection from the weather or road debris. They provide an alternative to the open load carrying capability of Step Deck and Flatbed trailers.

Expandable Drop Deck Trailers

Expandable Drop Deck Trailers have an expandable deck that increases the capacity of the platform. This feature makes them ideal for transporting large and bulky equipment such as wind turbines and heavy machinery.

The expandable feature increases the flexibility of the trailer, making them versatile and more useful.


In conclusion, choosing the right trailer for your freight transport requirements is essential. Dry Van trailers are well-suited for urban areas, while Flatbed trailers are better for hauling smaller equipment.

Reefer trailers are made for temperature-sensitive goods, and Double Drop trailers offer more space for large and bulky cargo. Hotshot trailers are ideal for small loads, and Conestoga trailers provide an excellent alternative to open trailers.

Finally, Expandable Drop Deck trailers offer larger cargo capacity and increased flexibility. Keeping in mind the various types of trailers and their features will help make your decision-making process easier and ensure that you can transport your goods in the most efficient and secure way possible.

In conclusion, choosing the right trailer type is crucial for successful freight transport. Step Deck Trailers are a great choice for transporting taller cargo, while Dry Van trailers are ideal for urban areas.

Flatbed trailers have no side walls, and refrigerated trailers are perfect for perishable goods. Double Drop trailers offer more space, Hotshot trailers are for small loads, and Conestoga trailers are better for sensitive cargo.

Finally, Expandable Drop Deck trailers offer larger cargo capacity and increased flexibility. We hope this article has helped you choose the right trailer type for your freight requirements.


Q: What is the weight limit for Step Deck Trailers? A: The weight limit varies, with the lower platform having a higher limit than the upper deck.

It’s crucial to adhere to the recommended limits to avoid compromising the trailer’s structural integrity. Q: Can I load taller cargo on the lower platform of a Step Deck Trailer?

A: It’s not advisable to load taller cargo on the lower platform as it may not fit under low bridges or overpasses and may compromise the load’s safety. Q: Are there any height restrictions when it comes to loading cargo on a Step Deck Trailer?

A: Yes, there are height restrictions that vary by state and country. It’s important to consult with local authorities to avoid any legal complications.

Q: What is the difference between a Double Drop Trailer and a Step Deck Trailer? A: The main difference is that

Double Drop Trailers have two drops, whereas Step Deck Trailers have one drop.

Double Drop Trailers offer more space for larger equipment. Q: What is the advantage of

Conestoga Trailers?


Conestoga Trailers have a tarp system that protects sensitive cargo from the weather or road debris. Q: What is the advantage of an Expandable Drop Deck Trailer?


Expandable Drop Deck Trailers have a larger cargo capacity and increased flexibility due to their expandable feature. They are ideal for transporting large and bulky equipment.

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