Dry Van Vs Flatbed: Which Option is Better for Your Freight Needs?

The dry van trailer and the flatbed trailer are the two most common trucking trailers used for freight delivery. However, choosing which option is best for your shipping needs is not always an easy task. Let’s take a look at some of the differences and benefits of choosing a dry van trailer and a flatbed trailer.

What are the differences?

Unlike flatbed trailers, dry van trailers are enclosed and make a perfect option for shipping sensitive cargo. Flatbed trailers are very versatile and offer many options for loading and unloading cargo. Flatbed trailers are also best for transporting oversized objects because of their open sides and back. However, dry van trailers are more commonly used because they are better at protecting goods from flying debris and they offer lift gates that make them easier to load and unload.

Why choose a dry van trailer?

Dry van trailers are enclosed semi-truck trailers with cargo units that are 53 feet long, 8.5 feet wide, and 13 feet tall. Dry van trailers are commonly used for shipping commercial goods such as furniture, electronics, food, beverages, clothing items, and household goods. Dry van trailers will enclose your freight on all four sides. This makes them the best option for protecting your items from possible damage from bad weather. Dry van trailers are better at accommodating loading docks and forklifts because of their height and lift gate features.

Why choose a flatbed trailer?

The flatbed trailer has open sides with no walls or ceilings. This makes the flatbed truck very versatile and allows you to load cargo in many different ways that would be impossible or inconvenient for a dry van trailer. Flatbed trailers are 48 feet long and approximately 102 inches wide. Unlike dry van trailers, flatbed trailers have a larger maximum hauling capacity and can haul oversized loads a lot easier.


Choosing which option is best for you comes down to the weight and type of freight you are shipping as well as conditions you will be traveling through. For example, if you are traveling through heavy wind, rain, snow, or anything else that can seriously damage your cargo, you should probably choose a dry van trailer. However, if you will be carrying an oversized load and need additional cargo space, then you should probably choose a flatbed trailer.

April 30, 2020 | | Category: Flatbed, Heavy Haul, LTL