Your Ultimate Guide to Freight Truck Sizes

Freight trucks serve an essential role in the shipping industry. They transport large quantities of goods from one location to another, usually a shipping company or warehouse, known as the final destination.

Many types of freight trucks are used for transporting goods, each with its benefits and drawbacks. Knowing what type of truck to use for a particular shipment is key to ensuring your business runs smoothly and efficiently.

Different freight truck sizes are available for companies — from small personal operations to large commercial enterprises with multiple drivers. Each size has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to know which is right for you and your business.

What Is a Freight Truck?

Freight trucks transport goods or materials. Freight trucks come in various sizes and have multiple purposes, depending on the type of goods or materials they transport.

Some freight trucks transport heavy loads, while others convey lighter loads.  Some freight trucks also carry specific goods or materials.

When selecting a freight truck, it is essential to understand its intended use, as this will determine the type of truck you should purchase.

For example, if you are looking to buy a refrigerated truck for hauling perishable goods, you will need to purchase a car with the correct type of refrigeration unit. Similarly, if you want to buy a flatbed truck, you must ensure the vehicle you purchase has the right suspension to safely handle the weight of the freight you will be transporting.

Freight Truck

What Are the Different Sizes of Freight Trucks?

Freight trucks come in different sizes, from small vans to semi-trucks. Giant commercial freight trucks are also available. Semi-trucks have many different sizes, but the dimensions of other types of freight trucks are less standardized.

In many cases, the size of the freight truck determines the length of the trailer attached to it. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the regulations for the different sizes of freight trucks are as follows:

  • Cargo Vans

Width Length Height
55″ 126″ 56″

Cargo vans are a minor type of commercial freight truck. Companies often use vans for shipping smaller quantities of goods, such as office supplies, or for transporting smaller products, such as electronics.

People also use cargo vans for short-haul deliveries to nearby locations. That is because cargo vans are smaller and more maneuverable than larger freight trucks, making shorter trips more efficient.

Lift gates and tie-downs often outfit them for easy unloading of cargo and securing more oversized items. Many cargo vans also come with racks for hauling materials.

Some cargo box truck or vans also come with shelving for more storage options. With the right equipment, a cargo van can deliver products or small freight to customer’s doorsteps.

  • Flatbed Semi-Trailers 

Width Length Height
102″ 48′ – 53′ 60″

 The flatbed semi-trailer is the most commonly used type for transporting cargo. These trailers have flat floors and sides, and you can quickly load or unload freight using a forklift and usually have stable weight.

The flatbed semi-trailer is one of the most versatile semi-trailers because it is suitable for various use cases. It’s easy to load and unload cargo, allowing you to transport many cargo types, including heavy equipment, containers, and materials like soil, gravel, or sand.

A flatbed semi-trailer can haul up to 100 tons, making it the perfect option for transporting heavy machinery and construction equipment.

This type of freight truck is also ideal for hauling livestock, as most trailers have ramps for easy loading and unloading. Furthermore, flatbed semi-trailers have a low profile, making them perfect for driving through cities and urban areas.

  • Semi-Trucks

Width Length Height
8.5’ 48’ – 53’ 13.5’

The largest and most powerful commercial freight trucks are semi-trucks. Semi-trucks are typically utilized for long-distance commercial shipping, as they can transport massive quantities of goods. Because they can transport large quantities of material over long distances, semi-trucks are designed to do so.

Because of their large carrying capacity and weight limit, semi-trucks are excellent for hauling large quantities of items over long distances. Businesses that need to move big or heavy goods can benefit from using a semi-truck. 

  • Step Deck Trailer

Width Length Height
102″ 48′ – 53′ 42″ – 60”

People use the step deck trailer for various purposes, from hauling automobiles and furniture to storing recreational vehicles. This type of trailer has wheels at the front, back and sides.

As the name suggests, it has a long flat surface and a higher-up. Make it look like a step. Because this type of trailer is made from aluminum or steel, it can withstand heavy weights without bending or cracking.

Step deck trailer is a great fit freight truck for large loads and long distances transportation. Therefore, people recommend it for commercial purposes or for transporting large amounts of cargo.

And it is unsuitable for short distances because the weight may cause damage to the wheels and frame.

Freight Truck

  • Double Drop Trailers

Width Length Height
102″ 48′ 18″ – 24″

Double drop trailers are often referred to as lowboys or sometimes double dashers. They were designed to house a truck’s rear axle. Because they could be loaded on top of each other, they were more efficient than the standard flatbed trailer in that they could transport heavy loads quickly.

Double drop trailers also allowed for transporting large items, like skis and watercraft. This made them especially popular for ski resorts, where the need to transport large items was common.

Double drop trailers are typically used to transport gear such as forklifts, cranes, and agricultural equipment that can be put into the trailer. Equipment may be driven into RGN double drop trailers from the front, thanks to the neck’s separation from the trailer’s body.

Fixed drops are located at the front and back of the hole on double-drop trailers. Due to the lower bed produced by this design compared to flatbed and drop deck trailers, double drop trailers can carry taller loads without losing stability.

  • RGN

Width Length Height
102″ 48′ 18″ – 24″

A removable gooseneck trailer is a type of trailer with a gooseneck hitch. This hitch allows the trailer to be easily detached from the tow vehicle for added convenience. A removable gooseneck trailer is a great option for those who need to tow large loads, as it can provide increased stability and safety.

There are many different types of removable gooseneck trailers available. Some popular models are designed to haul livestock, cargo, or equipment. The gooseneck on these models is adjustable to provide the best fit and stability for your load.

Some removable gooseneck trailers have options like a lift gate or ramps to make unloading easier. These trailers also offer optional accessories, such as lighting or branding, to meet your specific needs. With so many options available, you are sure to find the right removable gooseneck.

You won’t require additional tools to help to load and unload if you use an RGN. An RGN trailer can be your best option if access to extra loading/unloading equipment is a concern.

  • Hot Shot Trailer

Width Length Height
102″ 40′ 36″ – 42″

Hot shot trucking, sometimes known as hotshot delivery, is the practice of delivering LTL (less than truckload) smaller and more time-sensitive cargo within a certain period, typically to a single client or location. Medium-duty vehicles generally pull flatbed trailers to deliver hot shot loads.

By using load boards, hot shot hauling duties are allocated to several drivers rather than maintaining accelerated shipping cars on standby. Due to this, owner-operators hunting for their next cargo or trying to supplement their income can benefit significantly from hotshot trucking.

  • Reefer Trailer

Width Length Height
102″ 48′ – 53′ 13’6″

A reefer trailer is a freight truck for transporting perishable products at a shallow temperature. The cooling component in the truck keeps it fresh longer.

A refrigerated truck will hold the goods inside it frozen for long periods. These types of trailers are used for transporting things like food or flowers. Reefer trailers are well-insulated, and you’ll see a lot of insulation around them too. 

  • Conestoga Trailer

Width Length Height
102″ 48′ – 53′ 13’ 6″

A sizable specialized trailer is commonly employed to carry heavy equipment. Conestoga also utilizes transport livestock and other large items. Because they can hold hefty loads, they are frequently used in the construction industry.

They load at ground level and do not have ramps. Due to their size, they are challenging to navigate in urban areas, so they are not an excellent option for transporting goods in a city. 

The term “curtainside” refers to Conestoga trailers’ retractable tarping mechanism. These trailers can accommodate loads of height, breadth, and length. The deck-length curtain can support up to 44,000 lbs. of weight.

  • Tanker Trucks

Width Length Height
8.2’ 42.6’ 12.14’

 While regular delivery vehicles carry items, tanker vehicles carry fuel. Positioning the storage tanks on tanker vehicles above the vehicle chassis minimizes the potential for fluid leakage.

Depending on the buyer’s needs, people can use new or used tanker trucks in various industries, such as petrochemical, agricultural, and construction. However, they are a critical type of truck, and people use them worldwide daily.Freight Truck

  • Dry Van Trailer

Dry vans are often known as “dry van trailers” or “box trailers.” People use this type of trailer for various truckload and less-than-truckload (LTL) cargo types. The whole inside of a dry van serves as protection for cargo from the weather.

Dry vans cannot transport easy-to-spoiled goods because they are not temperature-controlled (unlike refrigerated “reefer” units). They transport palletized, boxed, or loose freight (unlike flatbed trailers). 

Dry vans are great for moving consumer packaged products. This is why people frequently use this type of trailer to convey commodities like apparel, furniture, and electronics. Still, it may also transport machinery and components, non-perishable groceries, and even home items.

  • Intermodal Trailer

Width Length Height
102″ 48′ – 53′ 13’6″

Intermodal trailers haul goods from one city or country to another. In-city or short-distance shipping does not suit intermodal trailers well.

However, you can transport them to a train station and offload them directly onto another rail car for long-distance hauling. They are best for hauling goods from one location to another.

Cargo ships need truck drivers that handle intermodal freight to receive goods because these containers are composed of rugged steel to withstand air, sea, or train transportation.

Transport firms specializing in intermodal shipments relocate the goods from the method of transportation when it arrives by rail, ship, or plane. After that, workers load it onto a tractor-trailer with intermodal container adapters. You’ll need a flatbed trailer with open sides to move the intermodal container.

  • Pup Semi-Trailer

Width Length Height
102″ 28′ 13’6″

An enormous semi-truck typically couples a small pup trailer to its back. Hauling businesses use them to move sand, gravel, and other building materials. An electric motor or a hydraulic line often drives it, which is controlled by the dump truck and trailer to which it is hitched.

Many bulk freight carriers adopt pup trucks to increase payload without sacrificing the control and mobility of the standard dump truck in front of it.

Pup trailers allow hauling businesses to carry cargo to several clients quickly. You’ll make fewer journeys with a pup trailer, saving you money and time.

Although they may not have the same payload capacity as a typical dump truck trailer, they are a great way to transfer the excess weight that a shipper would otherwise have to transport in a separate cargo.

Conclusion

Freight trucks are the backbone of the shipping industry. There are many different types of freight trucks, but people usually break them down into two general categories: commercial and personal purposes.

Commercial freight trucks include semi trucks, trailers, and vans. Private freight trucks include pickup trucks, large SUVs, and box trucks. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to know which type is right for you and your business.