All About Flatbed Trucks: Definition, Types, and Uses

All About Flatbed Trucks: Definition, Types, and Uses

Flatbed trucks are most often encountered when there is a need to transport oversized items that would be difficult or impossible to place in a conventional cargo vehicle. While these rigs may seem simple, they are essential in transportation.

In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of flatbed trucks, their uses, and safety considerations while using them. So, whether you’re a professional driver or just curious about this type of vehicle, keep reading and find out all you need about flat bed trucks, flatbed freight, and flat bed truck loads.

What Are Flatbed Trucks?

A flat bed truck is a vehicle equipped with a large, open bed, designed to transport heavy loads, with a crane or loading ramps and a cab to control the truck.

An Overview of Flatbed Trucks

Flatbed trucks are a type of heavy-duty commercial vehicle that are used to transport loads. They typically have an open-top, flatbed trailer with no sides or roof, and the bed is often steel-made.

Flatbed trucks have evolved since the early 20th century. Initially, the flatbed trailer was attached to the cab via two wooden drop decks. Today, modern flatbed trailers come in a variety of designs. 

Each of these designs has a bed that allows for the safe transport of heavy loads while providing access to low passes. These trucks are great for hauling various items due to their size, weight capacity, and unique bed design. 

Flatbed Truck Facts

Flatbed trucks typically have an open-top, flatbed design with ramps that ease loading and unloading goods. They are available in various sizes, ranging from small trailers with a maximum weight capacity of just over 3 tons to large semi-trailer rigs capable of hauling up to 30 tons. 

The average flatbed is 8-10 feet wide and 18-48 feet long, with a bed design that allows it to carry heavier loads than other types of trucks. Some flatbeds come with a drop deck or step deck design, allowing ground-level loading and easier access for lower areas. 

These trucks have multiple levels or “drops” that provide additional space for heavier loads.

Types of Flatbed Truck Trailers

A variety of trailer types are suited to different needs. 

Double Drop

Double Drop flatbed truck trailers are a unique type of trailer with two drop decks. This allows the trailer to transport tall, heavy loads without worrying about low bridges or headroom restrictions. The first deck is close to ground level, and the second is slightly higher up, allowing for easy loading using ramps. 

These double drop trailers also have a rack for safety when transporting tall items. The average capacity of these trailers is typically between 40-50 tons, and they can carry up to 80,000 pounds of cargo.


Lowboys are a unique type of flatbed trailer with a drop deck. This type of trailer is ideal for hauling heavy loads, such as construction equipment, military vehicles, and industrial machinery. The deck is dropped in the middle to sit closer to the ground than a standard flatbed truck, making it easier to load cargo. 

This low-profile design also makes it possible to clear bridges, tunnels, and other obstacles with low clearances. Depending on the size of the trailer, a Lowboy can typically haul up to 40 tons or more.

Extended Flatbeds

Extended flatbeds are a unique type of flatbed truck. They feature an extra-long bed that extends beyond the length of the regular flatbed, allowing for the transport of extra-large, heavy loads. The bed sits on top of two drop decks and two ramps, making it easy to load and unload at low levels.

This is particularly useful when hauling heavy machinery and other large objects. Extended flatbeds also feature a rack to secure cargo, which helps minimize any potential damage. With its extended bed and secure rack, an extended flatbed is perfect for hauling heavy loads without worrying about capacity.


A Removable Gooseneck, or RGN, is one of today’s most popular flatbed truck trailers. It has a bed design that allows for speedy loading and unloading of large, heavy loads. The trailer has two sections: the removable gooseneck and the drop deck.

It’s versatile enough to transport goods of varying sizes and weights, and its unique design ensures quick loading and unloading. Overall, the RGN trailer is ideal for hauling heavy equipment and materials. It’s versatile enough to transport goods of varying sizes and weights, and its unique design ensures easy loading and unloading. 


The side kit, a rack or top tarp, is a type of flatbed truck with a unique bed design installed over a series of panels. It has sides that offer safe protection from the weather when driving. 

These trailers are great for hauling a cargo of any variety that needs to be protected from the weather. They are easy to install and remove while also being quite firm. 

Standard Flatbed

The standard flatbed is the most common type of flatbed truck available today. It’s a versatile hauler that can carry a wide range of cargo, from large machinery and industrial equipment to lumber, furniture, containers, and more.

A standard flatbed truck typically features an open-deck design with no sides or roof, making loading and unloading goods quickly easy. It also has ramps, a rack, and stake pockets to secure the load.

Step Deck

A step deck is a type of flatbed truck that is usually used for transporting heavy loads. It has a bed design with a drop deck lower than the trailer’s main deck. This allows for more effortless loading and unloading of goods as the ramps are ground level.

This kind of deck also has a rack that can be used to secure the cargo. They are ideal for heavy loads and transport up to 45,000 lbs of cargo.

Stretch Single-Drop Deck

The Stretch Single-Drop Deck is one of the unique flatbed truck trailers on the market. This trailer has a single drop deck with a long stretch between the cab and the rear. It is ideal for hauling heavy loads, as it has a capacity of up to 70,000 pounds. 

The trailer has a ramp for easy loading and unloading and a deck designed to align with the ground for improved accessibility. This makes it an excellent option for low bridges and other areas with height restrictions. 

The bed design also ensures that heavy loads are evenly distributed across the length of the trailer for safe transport.

Skirted Flatbed

This durable work truck, favored by farmers and construction workers, features a robust metal skirt under the bed, housing two integrated storage boxes on either side.

Iron Bull Dump Trailers

Popular for heavy-duty hauling and known for durability and quality, dump trailers from Iron Bull have a wide range of uses. Iron Bull dump trailers are engineered with high-quality materials and precision design, making them able to accommodate various loads for  construction, landscaping, and agricultural needs. Featuring robust construction, innovative features, and reliable performance, Iron Bull trailers are a top choice for professionals seeking efficiency and durability in their hauling equipment.

Flatbed Truck Uses

flatbed trucking

Flatbed trucks have a variety of uses that make them popular.


Flat bed trucks, including circle d flatbeds, are some of the most versatile and hardworking vehicles on the road. They can be used for various tasks, from landscaping to haulage and farming. Flatbeds are great for loading and transporting heavy loads due to their design. 

Goods Hauling

These trucks transport various goods, from construction materials to machinery and bulky loads. Their design makes it easy to load and unload with ramps, drop decks, and a rack. 

The flatbed truck allows a person to load even to the ground, saving time and money when dealing with heavy items. Because of its two levels, the step deck allows for the movement of heavier loads than a standard flatbed.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Flatbed Trucks

Here are some essential advantages and disadvantages of finding a flatbed truck for sale and owning it. 


Flatbeds offer a range of advantages for hauling cargo and equipment. One of the most apparent benefits is their versatility. Flatbeds are suitable for hauling items of all shapes and sizes, from lightweight items like furniture to heavy loads like construction equipment and building materials to oddly shaped equipment.

With these trucks, ramps are not necessary because cargo can be loaded directly from the ground, making loading and unloading far more accessible than with other types of trucks. Flatbeds can also be equipped with drop decks, making them ideal for carrying heavy loads. 

Finally, flatbed trucks are also great for navigating tight spaces and low bridges. With their low ground level and step deck design, flatbeds have an advantage over traditional trucks when navigating through narrow roads or under small bridges. This makes them ideal for transportation in urban areas where space is limited.


These large trucks have their challenges, especially when transporting heavy loads. The flatbed truck’s bed design can make loading difficult, as the ground-level loading ramps and drop deck trailers needed to load heavy items can be difficult to use. 

The racks and other safety features used to secure the loads on trucks are often too large to be used on a flatbed. This means that additional measures must be taken to transport the load safely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few commonly asked questions regarding flatbed trucks. 

What is the difference between a flatbed and a step-deck truck?

A flatbed truck is a type of truck with a flatbed used to transport materials or heavy loads. Step deck trucks are similar but feature a drop deck allowing for easier loading and transportation of heavy loads.

Can flatbed trucks be used for long-distance haulage?

Yes, they are fantastic for long-distance hauling because of their bed design and deck. They provide fast loading and ground-level access for bridges and the ability to transport heavy loads with drop decks.

What is the average lifespan of a flatbed truck?

They are durable and can last many years with regular maintenance. With proper care and attention to bed designs, drop decks, and racks, they can transport loads while avoiding low bridges and providing easy ground-level loading.

What are tilt trailers?

A tilt trailer or tilt deck trailer is a type of adjustable trailer that tilts back and down to aid in loading.

What are pickup trucks?

A pickup truck or pickup is a light-duty truck that has an enclosed cabin, and a back end made up of a cargo bed that is enclosed by three low walls with no roof.

Final Thoughts

The best flatbed trucks are incredibly versatile, allowing for various uses and applications. With the help of flatbed trucking companies, businesses can transport loads quickly and efficiently.

In addition, these trucks offer ground-level access, making it easier to load and unload. They are an excellent choice for hauling goods across town or the country.