Equipment Trailers: Flatbed vs Deckover

If you’re in the market for an equipment trailer, you will have come across several trailer brands and various trailer types. New trailer owners often struggle to find the right equipment trailer to purchase because they don’t know what manufacturers they can rely on and which trailers will get the job done for them.

Furthermore, you cannot rely entirely on anyone’s recommendation — what makes equipment trailers a good fit for them may not make a great trailer for you. In our Best Equipment Trailers Guide, we offer 7 great options.

We detail the differences between equipment trailers and flatbed trailers, discuss all the factors you need to consider when buying a flatbed trailer, and review the specifications of the best flatbed trailers in the market in this post.

What is an Equipment Trailer?

An equipment trailer is any trailer that is used for hauling equipment. There are many different types of equipment trailers, such as fender-style trailers, skid steer trailers, tilt trailers, gooseneck trailers, and flatbed trailers.

These equipment trailers are typically used for transporting large, heavy equipment, machinery, and building materials. They are also used for transporting cargo between terminals and shipping facilities.

You can even haul ATVs and UTVs with equipment trailers. Learn more about How to Find the Perfect Trailers to Haul ATV or SxS UTVs.

The deck is positioned between the trailer wheels, making them easy to identify. These equipment trailers have a low profile, which means the beds of the trailers are low to the ground. The low center of gravity makes it easy to load and unload equipment.

Are Flatbed Trailers Classified as Equipment Trailers?

Flatbed trailers have an open, flat bed (or “deck”) on which you can load equipment of almost any type and transport it. So in this sense, most flatbed trailers can be classified as equipment trailers.

While the design makes a flatbed trailer intrinsically versatile, the cargo must be unaffected by rain since there are no sides or roofs.

What is a Deck Over Trailer?

Flatbed equipment trailers are often confused with deck over trailers because of their similar look. In deckover trailers, the deck sits above the trailer wheels and not between the wheels.

This design makes the platform of the trailer higher off the ground and wider than a traditional flat deck option. Besides making for more ground clearance, these equipment trailers also offer more loading space.

The length of these trailers ranges between 48 and 53 feet. Before we get into the types of flatbed trailers, let’s understand the differences between flatbed and deckover trailers.

Differences Between Flatbed and Deckover Trailers

While the two may look the same at a glance, a flatbed trailer and a deck over trailer have different use cases.

Flatbed trailers can carry a huge variety of loads from one place to another, so it is no wonder these trailers are the most popular of all equipment trailers. 

A flatbed trailer is the best option for the following loading and hauling circumstances:

  • The equipment you want to haul will fit between the trailer’s wheels.
  • You can load the desired equipment around the wheels and fenders.
  • You need to load equipment onto your trailer in a tight space. Flatbed trailers are close to the ground, meaning you only need a short ramp to load vehicles onto the bed. 
  • If you will be handloading goods – since flatbed trailers only have a little step onto the platform.
  • You are concerned about the trailer weight. Flatbed trailers tend to be lightweight, allowing you to maximize the hauling capacity without exceeding the towing limit.
  • If you need to haul equipment and materials on roads and over relatively smooth surfaces with a low ground clearance.

On the other hand, a deckover trailer is the right trailer to purchase if your hauling needs involve the following:

  • Deckover trailers have a wider platform, so if you expect your loads to be wider than 80 inches, these are the right equipment trailers to rent to own. The added width of the platform expands the capacity of the deck, allowing you to easily accommodate heavy loads even if they are not overly wide.
  • The wheels or fenders won’t get in the way when loading, for instance, when using a forklift to load pallets.
  • Your loading area is large enough for a long ramp. Since these equipment trailers have a high platform, you will need a lot of space to load materials onto a deckover trailer.
  • You need to traverse rough terrain and need an equipment trailer with higher ground clearance for hauling your loads.

Many manufacturers put deckover trailers and flatbed trailers in the same category, and some only offer deckover trailers. However, a 14″ deckover provides ample space for most common uses.

With these differences clear, you should be able to find the right rent to own equipment trailer for your needs with ease. 

Types of Flatbed Trailers

Just like equipment trailers are of several types, flatbed trailers also come in a variety of designs.

Standard Flatbed

The standard flatbed looks just like you’d picture it — it’s a box trailer with no sides or roof. This kind of flatbed is typically used to transport construction materials (like steel) and machinery. 


As the name implies, lowboy flatbeds have a lower bed, making them the best trailers to ship unusually large or heavy cargo.

Drop Deck 

Also called a single-drop or step-deck trailer, a drop deck trailer has a bed that can drop lower than a standard flatbed trailer. For this reason, it is used to clear over-height freight, and depending on the model, these trailers can offer up to two feet of overhead.


Like a single-drop trailer, the center portion of a double-drop trailer is designed to drop lower than the ends of the trailer. These equipment trailers are used to carry cargo that needs to be loaded and unloaded by cranes.

Walking-floor Trailers

These trailers feature a sliding floor at the rear, making it easy to move loose cargo. Walking-floor trailers typically have walls but no roof (“open-top” style) and can be used for transportation of retail goods.


Some cargo is easier to transport on a flatbed equipped with a hydraulic system since it enables slow, controlled unloading. Tippers “tip” the trailer’s bed upwards from the front, allowing the cargo to lower at the back for dismounting. It’s important to note that a tipper is different from a tilt trailer.


Most trailer renters prefer finding a customized trailer for more convenience. And there are many types of trailers out there on the lots with various features and customizations to fit most rent to own needs.

Check out this video for a great visual walk-through of choosing the right equipment trailer.