6 Tips for Choosing a Utility Trailer

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6 Tips for Choosing a Utility Trailer

Utility trailers offer various advantages that make them indispensable tools. These trailers provide flexibility and convenience, from transporting equipment and supplies to hauling bulky items. A utility trailer is a true workhorse that adapts to your changing needs. With a utility trailer, you can maximize your hauling capacity and transport larger loads in a single trip, saving you time and effort.

What should you look for when buying a utility trailer? Discover all you need to know about choosing the right utility trailer for your needs in our guide below.

Table of Contents

1. Determine Your Needs

To start off our list of tips for buying utility trailers, let’s take a look at how you can determine your unique needs and make a more informed purchasing decision as a result. By thinking about the following points as you browse utility trailers, you can select a trailer that best suits your intended uses and preferences and holds up for years to come.

Intended Use

Start by identifying the primary purpose of your utility trailer. Are you planning to use it for landscaping projects, transporting smaller vehicles like motorcycles, hauling construction materials or something else? Consider how often you’ll use your utility trailer and what you’ll most likely use it for.

For example, some common applications of utility trailers include:

  • Home improvement and DIY projects: Utility trailers are invaluable for home improvement projects. A utility trailer provides the space to carry tools, equipment and supplies for renovating your house, landscaping your garden or transporting construction materials. A utility trailer can make your DIY endeavors more efficient and convenient.
  • Hauling appliances and furniture: A utility trailer can be a lifesaver when moving to a new home or simply transporting large items like appliances or furniture. It allows you to securely load and transport heavy or bulky objects that may not fit in your car or truck.
  • Outdoor adventures and recreation: A utility trailer is a must-have companion for outdoor enthusiasts. It provides a means to transport recreational vehicles such as motorcycles, bicycles or kayaks to your desired destination. A utility trailer makes it convenient to bring along all the necessary gear and equipment for your outdoor adventures, like planning a camping trip, spending a day at the beach or exploring off-road trails.
  • Landscaping and gardening: Landscaping typically involves transporting plants, soil, mulch or gardening tools. A utility trailer simplifies these tasks by offering ample space to carry gardening supplies, potted plants and landscaping materials.
  • Business and commercial use: Contractors, tradespeople and service providers rely on utility trailers to transport their tools, equipment and supplies to job sites.

Size and Weight Capacity

When looking into buying a utility trailer, determine the size and weight capacity you require. Consider the dimensions of the items you’ll be hauling, ensuring they fit comfortably and securely within the trailer. Additionally, be mindful of weight restrictions imposed by your towing vehicle. Exceeding the maximum weight limit can result in safety hazards and potential damage to your vehicle.

Specific Features

What features should a utility trailer have to meet your needs? For example, if you frequently transport all-terrain vehicles, you may require a trailer with built-in wheel chocks or adjustable tie-down points. A trailer with removable sides or a tilting bed might be beneficial if you deal with bulky or awkwardly shaped cargo. Make a list of these features to ensure you prioritize them during your search.

Consider Trailer Types and Styles

2. Consider Trailer Types and Styles

Different types and styles are available for utility trailers, each designed to suit specific hauling needs. Consider your hauling requirements, the nature of your cargo and the level of protection you need when selecting your trailer. Here are the two main types of utility trailers:

  • Open utility trailers: Open utility trailers are the most basic and widely used type. They feature an open bed without any enclosure or sides, allowing for easy loading and unloading from all directions. These trailers are versatile and suitable for various applications, including hauling equipment, furniture or construction materials.
  • Enclosed utility trailers: Enclosed utility trailers protect your cargo from weather conditions and potential theft. They feature siding, a roof and a rear door for access. Enclosed trailers are commonly used by contractors, tradespeople and individuals needing to transport tools, machinery or even recreational vehicles.

3. Look at Axle and Suspension Factors

A utility trailer’s axles and suspension system ensure a smooth and stable towing experience. Assess the following aspects:

  • Axle capacity: The axle capacity determines the weight the trailer can safely carry. Consider the gross axle weight rating provided by the manufacturer to ensure it aligns with your hauling needs.
  • Axle type: Utility trailers typically come with either a single axle or tandem axles. Single-axle trailers have one axle positioned in the center, while tandem axle trailers have two axles, one in front of the other. Tandem axles provide better load distribution, increased stability and improved braking performance, making them suitable for heavier loads. Single-axle trailers are generally lighter and more maneuverable, so they’re ideal for smaller loads.
  • Suspension system: The suspension system helps absorb shocks and vibrations while maintaining stability during towing. Different types of suspension systems are available, including leaf springs, torsion and rubber torsion. Leaf spring suspension consists of several stacked metal strips, providing durability and load-bearing capacity, while torsion suspension uses rubber cords within the axle, offering a smoother ride and independent wheel movement. Rubber torsion suspension combines the benefits of both systems.

Consider the load you’ll be hauling when selecting the axles and suspension system. If you anticipate carrying heavy or unevenly distributed loads, a robust suspension system and properly rated axles will ensure stability and prevent excessive strain on the trailer.

6 Tips for Choosing a Utility Trailer

4. Understand Trailer Materials and Construction

The choice of materials affects a trailer’s durability, weight and overall performance. Here are trailer materials to consider:

  • Steel trailers: These can handle heavy loads and are more resistant to damage from impacts or rough handling. However, steel trailers tend to be heavier, impacting fuel efficiency and towing capacity. Steel trailers require regular maintenance to prevent rust and corrosion, especially in areas with high moisture or salt exposure.
  • Aluminum trailers: Aluminum trailers are lightweight, making them easier to tow and more fuel-efficient. They’re also resistant to rust and corrosion, requiring less maintenance than steel trailers. However, aluminum trailers may have a different load-carrying capacity than steel trailers, making them more suitable for lighter loads or specific applications.
  • Composite trailers: Composite trailers combine different materials to optimize strength, weight and durability. They offer a balance between steel’s strength and aluminum’s lightweight characteristics.

In addition to materials, consider the overall construction quality of the trailer. Look for sturdy welds, reinforced corners and robust connections. Additionally, common options for trailer floor materials include wood, aluminum and steel. Wood floors offer affordability and can be replaced easily if damaged. Aluminum floors are lightweight, resistant to corrosion and easy to clean. Steel floors provide exceptional durability and strength but may be rust-prone if improperly maintained.

5. Review Safety Features

Ensuring the trailer has essential safety features can help prevent accidents, protect your cargo and provide peace of mind during transportation. Be sure to adhere to local regulations and proper towing practices, including weight distribution, speed limits and regular maintenance.

These are some safety features to look for in your trailer:

  • Lighting system: Proper lighting provides visibility and signals your intentions to other drivers. Ensure the trailer has functioning taillights, brake lights, turn signals and reflectors. LED lights are highly recommended for their brightness and longevity.
  • Electric brakes: If you plan to haul heavy loads or travel in areas with steep terrain, electric brakes are a valuable safety feature. Electric brakes improve braking efficiency and stability, particularly when towing at high speeds or during sudden stops. They’re typically activated by the brake controller in the towing vehicle.
  • Safety chains: Safety chains secure the trailer to the towing vehicle. In the event of a hitch failure, the safety chains provide an additional attachment to prevent the trailer from completely detaching. Ensure the safety chains are strong, properly installed and have an adequate length to allow for turning without excessive tension.
  • Breakaway system: A breakaway system safety feature activates the trailer’s brakes if disconnected from the towing vehicle. If the trailer detaches, the cable pulls the switch, activating the brakes and bringing the trailer to a stop, reducing the risk of it careening out of control.
  • Reflectors and markings: Reflectors and markings improve your trailer’s visibility, especially during low-light conditions or at night. Ensure the trailer has reflective strips or decals on the sides and rear and reflectors on the fenders and other appropriate locations.
  • Tie-down points: Securely fasten your cargo to prevent shifting or falling during transit. Look for trailers with sturdy tie-down points strategically placed to accommodate various straps or ropes.
  • Ramps and loading equipment: If you’re loading heavy equipment or vehicles onto the trailer, consider ramps or equipment that facilitate safe and efficient loading and unloading. Look for sturdy, non-slip ramps that are compatible with your specific cargo.

Remember, the exact features you need in a utility trailer will depend on what you’ll be using it for. For example, you find yourself transporting equipment at night, your trailer’s lighting system may be more important than other features. Keep your needs and intended use in mind when looking at each trailer’s features.

Consider the Hitch and Coupler

6. Consider the Hitch and Coupler

When it comes to towing a utility trailer safely, the hitch and coupler ensure a secure and reliable connection between the trailer and the towing vehicle.

Hitch Types

Several hitch types are available, and the choice depends on your towing vehicle’s capabilities and your trailer’s requirements. Check out some common hitch types:

  • Ball hitch: The ball hitch consists of a ball mounted on the rear of the towing vehicle and a coupler on the trailer that fits securely onto the ball. It offers versatility and is suitable for most utility trailers.
  • Gooseneck hitch: These feature a hitch ball mounted in the towing vehicle’s bed, typically on a gooseneck extension. Gooseneck hitches provide increased stability and weight-carrying capacity, making them ideal for larger trailers.
  • Fifth wheel hitch: These wheel hitches are commonly used for towing large, heavy trailers such as RVs or horse trailers. They require a specialized fifth-wheel hitch installed in the towing vehicle’s bed.

Ensure your hitch is compatible with your towing vehicle. Consider factors such as towing capacity, tongue weight and the required hitch receiver size. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual or consult a professional to determine the appropriate hitch specifications for your vehicle.


The coupler is the mechanism on the trailer that connects to the hitch on the towing vehicle. It securely attaches the trailer to the vehicle. Couplers come in various sizes to match the hitch ball diameter. Ensure the coupler size corresponds to the ball size on your chosen hitch.

Look for a coupler with a reliable locking mechanism that securely fastens the trailer to the hitch. It should provide a snug fit and prevent any accidental disconnection during towing. The coupler should also be easy to operate, allowing for quick and hassle-free attachment and detachment of the trailer.

Shop Utility Trailers From Brechbill Trailers

Shop Utility Trailers From Brechbill Trailers

Since 2007, Brechbill Trailers has been a trusted provider of utility trailers. With a live inventory of hundreds of trailers and an extensive online parts store, we ensure you can find the perfect solution for your hauling needs. Our comprehensive inventory includes accessories such as hitches, backup cameras, hydraulics, lights, winches, tires, wheels and more. Experience the convenience of finding the perfect part effortlessly and efficiently.

Our dedicated team of professionals offers expert trailer repair services and is always ready to assist you, guaranteeing your trailer remains in top condition. With our exceptional service center and a wide range of parts and accessories, we aim to deliver an experience that exceeds your expectations. Choose Brechbill Trailers and embark on a seamless trailer buying experience today!