How to Choose Between a Tilt Trailer and a Beavertail Trailer

When you want to get your load from the ground onto your trailer, you’ll want to mull over your two options: tilt or beavertail. The solution to your loading question will become clear as you consider the pros and cons of each.

Tilt Trailer

The design of a tilt trailer (pictured above) is straightforward—it is completely flat, tilting on a perfectly balanced point when you want to load or unload. To load your equipment, you climb onto the deck and walk toward the back of the trailer. When you pass the center of gravity, it drops slowly to the ground. On our basic tilt trailer hydraulic cylinders cushion the action of the tilt, but they are not powered to raise or lift the trailer. That option is available on a custom-built trailer that includes a ‘power tilt’ feature.

The axles are further forward on the tilt trailer compared to a beavertail trailer. This allows the trailer to tilt without hitting the tires. This also improves maneuverability. In a situation where you are driving on mountainous roads with switchbacks, or through a subdivision building worksite, the tilt trailer has a shorter turning radius.

Another reason to consider a tilt trailer is that it’s easier to load and unload the trailer—it simply tilts. A beavertail ramp can be heavy to lift, depending on the size and whether it includes hydraulic assist. If you have employees and want to ensure their safety and healthy backs, this might be something to think about.

Beyond the standard tilt trailer, we offer many customization options. We can use the tilt trailer in conjunction with tag­along, gooseneck, and fifth-wheel style platforms. Load capacities also can be customized from 10 tons all the way to 35 tons.

Beavertail Trailer

To load a beavertail trailer, there is a permanent ramp attached to the end rear of the trailer that flips back and forth as you need to load or unload your equipment from the trailer platform. The ramps typically lay down on top of the beavertail as you travel on the highway, but when you’re going to load or unload you flip the ramp over and lay it down to touch the ground.

The ramp length normally matches the length of the beavertail. So if you have a five-foot beavertail, you have a five-foot ramp. They are typically four, five, or six feet long. The longer the beavertail, the less of an angle you’ll face when loading the trailer.

In some cases, a five-foot ramp might be too steep of an angle for loading equipment, so we can customize the ramp length for you. With longer ramps, we can manufacture ramps that are six, seven, or eight feet long. Because these long ramps can become cumbersome to lift by hand, we can add hydraulic or air operated assistance to raise and lower the ramps.

Many trailer manufacturers don’t accommodate the need for different ramp lengths, but Overbilt does. As a custom builder, we can manipulate the ramp angle to meet your needs based on the type of equipment you are loading. Keep in mind the axles are further back on this trailer, so you have a little wiggle room to move your load further forward, transferring some of the weight to the towing vehicle.

A standard beavertail trailer is less expensive than a tilt trailer, averaging around $2,000 less.

You may wish to customize your beavertail beyond ramp length by considering the different types of material used. A wood-filled beavertail is used primarily for loading paving equipment. A self-cleaning style beavertail uses angle-iron to allow debris to fall through the trailer. A steel plated beavertail allows for additional traction when loading your trailer.

Still on the fence?

When you visit Overbilt to talk through your options, we may ask any of the following questions to help you decide between a tilt and a beavertail trailer:

  • What piece of equipment are you hauling?
  • Do you haul it yourself, or do you have employees who utilize the trailer?
  • Have you ever pulled a tilt trailer before or considered it?
  • What is your towing vehicle?
  • In what locations and situations are you typically working?

Rest assured, Overbilt’s professional team will help you make the choice that will serve you and your needs exactly as you hope.

Contact Overbilt now so we can provide you with the highest quality custom-built trailer you need.