Flatbed trucks and dropside trucks do not look so different from each other, but it is essential to understand those differences to make the right choice when picking a lorry type for your business. Both are robust and suited to heavy-duty work, but the subtle differences can, in the right situation, save you time or let you carry a load the other would not, or do so less efficiently.
Flatbed trucks have no sides or roof, and they are often chosen by businesses who require material loading with a crane; however, you can still load them by hand or with a forklift.
The best thing about flatbed trucks is that they maximise space, and without the restrictions of sides, they are incredibly versatile. If you want to shift tall items, items of irregular size, or oversized equipment, a flatbed lorry is the way to go. You can secure loads safely using chains or straps fixed to rope hooks or anchors positioned in and around the bed.
From long lengths of scrap metal to large furniture, you can move loads that other trucks cannot and save fuel by making fewer trips by capitalising on every inch of the load bed.
Flatbed trucks are excellent at preventing ice or snow build-up, without sides and corners for them to accumulate. They can be kitted out with all the accessories you might need, from light bars, to tow bars and toolboxes. Many models have GPS tracking for real-time fleet management and theft alerts, deadlocking cab doors for extra security, and heated mirrors.
DAF and Iveco make the most popular models, but every manufacturer has a long history of flatbed trucks rolling off the production line, each with its own quirks and benefits.
Dropside trucks are characterised by their short folding sides that are hinged at the bottom, letting them drop down to give easy access for loading and unloading. The side’s design allows them to drop down below the level of the deck, reducing the risks of forklift drivers damaging the hinges or sides.
If your business operates in the construction sector or you are a builders merchant, then dropside trucks are fantastic movers of palletised materials such as bricks, blocks, paving, and bags of cement and adhesive. Some of the larger dropside trucks can hold up to four pallets.
Dropside trucks are also a firm favourite with gardening and landscaping companies and sole traders, with mixed loads secured with plenty of anchor securing points that help prevent dangerous load shifting issues.
There is a branding and advertising opportunity to put your livery on the sides or tailboard. Your driver’s safety can also be improved with assistive technologies such as collision warning, speed limiters, cruise control, distance and crosswind assistance, and autonomous city emergency braking.
If you are looking to purchase or can’t decide if a flatbed or dropside truck is right for you, please give our team a call.