Flatbed trucks have one of the most versatile configurations, achieved through the simplicity of a flatbed. They are the most popular type of truck on the road in the UK and are loved for handling freight of all different sizes and shapes.

Whether it is scrap metal, building materials, or heavy equipment, flatbed trucks excel by facilitating loading from the rear, sides, or top, with anchors for strapping down and securing the load. If your business transports wide, heavy, irregular, oversize, or overweight loads, then flatbed trucks give you the freedom that an enclosed bed cannot.

Once you have determined that this is the correct type of truck for your business, there comes the question ‘how much weight can a flatbed truck carry?’

Weight Ranges & Impacting Factors

To determine the weight ranges of flatbed trucks, you need to locate the manufacturer’s or ministry’s (DVSA) weight plate. This shows the vehicle’s plated weights, and it is usually fixed inside the cab or occasionally on the trailer chassis.

The weight plate states the:

Gross vehicle weight – This is the maximum weight limit for the truck, including its load and fuel
Axle weight – This is the maximum total weight that can be transmitted to the road by the wheels on one axle
Gross train weight – This is the total weight of the vehicle, towed trailer, and load

You cannot exceed the plated weight limit of the flatbed. Doing so is an offence, and there are separate offences for exceeding the gross vehicle weight and the axle weights, which quickly doubles or triples fines if you are found exceeding the limits.

To determine the flatbed truckload, you need to subtract the kerb weight (issued by the manufacturer) of each axle from the plated axle weight.

The heavier the load, the more axles your flatbed truck will need. The Authorised Weight Regulations 1998 set out that:

  • 2 axle flatbed trucks have a maximum combined weight of 18,000kg
  • 3 axle flatbed trucks have a maximum combined weight of 25,000kg (26,000kg with road-friendly suspension)
  • 4 or more axle flatbed trucks have a maximum combined weight of 30,000kg (32,000kg with road-friendly suspension)

Road-friendly suspension is a system that has at least 75% of the spring effect being produced by air or compressible fluid.

Get The Right Flatbed Truck For The Job

There are different types of flatbed trucks broadly described as:

Standard flatbed trucks – These typically carry lumber, steel, machinery, industrial tubing, or construction equipment
Single-drop or step deck trucks – These have a lowered deck for tall loads such as farm equipment, large electrical or construction equipment, and bulky loads
Double-drop or lowboy truck – These have an even lower bed for carrying tall freight, typically loaded by a crane, such as heavy, oversized, or irregular freight, including cars and bulldozers
Stretch flatbed truck – These carry loads that are too long for a standard flatbed
Gooseneck truck – These have a removable gooseneck that acts as a ramp for driving equipment onto the trailer, such as motorised equipment, tall shipping containers, cranes, fabricated components for the construction sector, or military equipment
Conestoga trucks – These have a sliding tarp system, protecting the load from the weather and adding an extra element of security when moving loads such as lumber, steel, machinery, wiring, or aircraft parts

When choosing the right flatbed truck for the job, you need to consider the dimensions, weight, loading and unloading method, weather protection, and load security.

For further assistance finding your next flatbed truck, please contact our friendly team.