Trailer Buying Guide: The 10 main trailer types on the market

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The world of trailers is bigger than you might expect. In our trailer buying guide, we look at the standard box trailer and some of the many variations and specialty trailers available.

Box trailer

The box trailer is a general-purpose trailer, typically with sides of 25cm in height, a flat tray, wheel guards, leaf springs (usually three or five), an A-frame draw bar and a droppable rear side.

Up to an aggregate trailer mass (ATM) [Understanding caravan towing capacity] of 750kg, a trailer does not need brakes. Over that mass, brakes must be fitted.

The list of options is endless and can include:

  • Checker-plate floor/surfaces
  • Tie-down rails and lugs
  • Heavy-duty suspension (a combination of five or seven leaf, 5mm or 7mm thickness and 45mm, 50mm or 60mm width)
  • High sides
  • Ribbed/reinforced sides
  • Heavy-duty draw bar and chassis
  • Tandem axles

Cage trailer

This is just a box trailer with a cage fitted, allowing the trailer to carry loose or higher loads. Cage trailers typically have a rear-opening door. This option in our trailer buying guide is a good way to carry high loads such as furniture and whitegoods as they can be tied against the cage walls.

Car transporter

The car transporter is typically a tandem-axle trailer without sides, with fold-down ramps that allow a vehicle to be driven or winched onto the trailer.

Camper trailer

This trailer expands from a flat load into a tent-like caravan.

Work trailer

Perfect for a tradesman, the work trailer is a fully enclosed and lockable container made of sheet steel or aluminium. They come in different shapes and sizes, some with shelves and racks for stowing tools and materials.

Tipper trailer

The tipper trailer is a specialised and uncommon tilt trailer that uses a hydraulic jack to tip the trailer load. This trailer is ideal for quickly unloading dirt, gravel, rocks and wood.

Off-road trailer
The off-road trailer is usually a box trailer featuring heavy-duty chassis, draw bar and suspension. Off-road trailers will also have higher ground clearance, off-road wheels and tyres (often matching popular 4X4 makes).

Motorcycle trailer

Like a car transporter, the motorcycle trailer is a flat bed with a ramp, with or without a tray floor. Some trailers can even tow two or three bikes.

Boat trailer

A boat trailer is a specialised trailer designed specifically for transporting boats. Boat trailer design varies depending on the type of boat – aluminium or fibreglass – and whether the boat is launched on rollers, skids or a combination. Trailers require marine-grade components such as waterproof wheel bearings and lights. Trailers that are more expensive can be made of corrosion-resistant aluminium.

Horse float
A horse float is an enclosed trailer for transporting one or two horses, standing and forward-facing. Given the height of the average horse, the enclosure is somewhat streamlined for aerodynamic efficiency.

The common box trailer can be used to tow almost anything that the average household demands, from gardening supplies and waste to furniture and everything in between. But there are also highly specialised trailers to make towing difficult or unique loads easy.

Head to the AL-KO website to view the full range of aftermarket parts and accessories for your trailer.


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