Over-the-road freight shipping companies have several trailer and fleet solutions to accommodate many industries and their respective cargo. If you’re searching for freight transportation solutions online, you’ve probably come across Conestogas, RGNs, lowboys, and more. It can be a challenge discerning which trailer you need if you’re unfamiliar with trucking options.
Generally, heavy and oversized freight usually relies on lowboy trailer transportation. In the shipping industry, when we refer to “heavy” and “oversized,” we mean any cargo exceeding a width of over 8.5 ft, a height over 13.6 ft., and a length between 48 – 53 ft.
This article will explain how lowboy trailers serve these needs and answer FAQs like “how long is a lowboy trailer?” and “what’s the difference between an RGN and lowboy?”.
What Is a Lowboy Trailer?
A lowboy trailer is a specialized trailer with two drops in deck height: One directly after the gooseneck and another right before the wheels. Compared to other trailers, and as the name suggests, this trailer’s deck is extremely low to the ground, providing the ability to transport loads up to 12 ft tall, meaning it can carry extra-tall cargo.
So, how do lowboy trailers work? Lowboy trailers are towed by trucks. Most have hydraulic systems that lift the trailer to engage it once loaded, and all come with air brakes. Heavy-duty lowboy trailers are available in configurations from two to eight axles, which can be lifted or swiveled, via an independent wired or radio remote control.
Capabilities with a Lowboy Trailer
At Cowtown Express, we’re often asked by clients, “what is a lowboy truck?” Lowboy trailers are specialized hauling rigs that transport tall and heavy equipment and machinery. They differ from standard flatbeds because they sit very close to the ground to accommodate the extra height.
A standard 2-axle lowboy can haul 40,000 lbs. If you increase the number of axles, this weight can double to 80,000lbs. Most importantly, unlike flatbed trucks, lowboys have a double-level drop system, making the deck height at the tail taller than the well but lower than the front.
Below are typical lowboy trailer dimensions:
- Lowboy trailer length: 24ft to 29.6 ft.
- Lowboy trailer height (well): 18 in. to 24 in.
- Standard lowboy trailer height from the ground: 18 ft.
- Lowboy trailer freight height: 11.5ft to 12 ft.
- Lowboy trailer width: 8.5ft maximum.
What Is a Lowboy Trailer Used For?
Lowboy trailers are commonly used for transporting heavy equipment and types of machinery like bulldozers, excavators, backhoe loaders, passenger cars, vans, trailers, and agricultural machines.
Essentially, any items that do not fit onto a flatbed trailer or single-drop trailer. Construction, excavation, and mining equipment of various load sizes are frequently transported on these trailers across the United States.
The Different Types of Lowboy Trailers
Lowboy trailer capacity depends on the model type. Freight and logistics industries use three different types of lowboy trailers, categorized by how the gooseneck attaches to the trailer.
Fixed Gooseneck (FGL) Lowboy
FGLs are firmly attached to the trailer with drop decks that make them easy to load from the back and front. Despite their name, the gooseneck is adjustable, and once reattached, maintains a fixed position.
These trailers are the lightest weight and come with slightly longer decks. Their necks are arched in such a way that, when lowered, becomes a ramp, allowing the front tires of equipment to be pulled onto the FGL’s deck.
Fixed Neck Lowboy
While these trailers offer the lightest weight for more payload, their necks are entirely secured and cannot be adjusted for front-loading. Heavy equipment can be driven onto the trailer via fixed load ramps.
Removable Gooseneck (RGN) Lowboy
RGNs are the best choice if you need to drive, push, pull, or lower equipment onto a lowboy. These trailers are available in two types: mechanical and hydraulic. The latter’s height can be adjusted or even detached using hydraulic cylinders. RGNs are some of the heaviest haulers, with some extending up to twenty axles, capable of carrying up to 150,000 pounds.
RGN vs. Lowboy Trailer Differences
Using an RGN trailer or lowboy will depend on the type of cargo you require to be transported, as each trailer accommodates different load specifications.
The most visible difference between an RGN vs. a lowboy is that an RGN can be detached from the front, unlike a lowboy trailer. RGNs carry almost all types of cargo, including heavy motorized machinery, since these trailers can be lowered to their ramp.
A two-axle double drop lowboy trailer can support up to 48,000 pounds, with the ability to double this capacity by attaching additional axles. These trailers range in length from 24 to 29.6’, making them ideal for transporting equipment like heavy bulldozers, for example.
An RGN trailer can be configured to support up to 150,000 pounds or more across multiple axles, with the well extending to 29.6’, making them suitable for large cranes, etc. If you need to haul hefty loads, then an RGN trailer is a better option.
The enhanced capabilities that allow an RGN trailer to transport up to 70 tons of cargo compared to a lowboy’s 40 tons come with increased cost. Opting to hire an RGN trailer will cost more; however, sometimes, this is the safest and best option for oversized hauls.
One of the advantages of an RGN trailer is its unique ability to lower to the ground, creating a ramp for vehicles and equipment to be driven onto it. This eliminates the procurement of equipment like cranes and lifts.
Lowboys are less versatile, yet lowboy trailer weight is much lighter, permitting more weight for load capacity. Any cargo that exceeds the legal heights of flatbed trailers, but doesn’t require the specialization of an RGN trailer, is perfectly suitable for a lowboy trailer.
Our DFW trucking company provides world-class ground transportation solutions for freight traveling across the US. Our premium fleet and impeccable network of carriers ensure cargo arrives safe and secure at the right place, at the right time. If you’re looking for lowboy or RGN trucking solutions, we can help. Contact us today at 817-398-5649 or request a free freight transportation quote.