The term ‘box trailer’ is about as specific as ‘boat’. Even the adjective ‘box’ is hardly accurate when it comes to describing the huge variety of shapes and sizes available to the buyer who wants an inexpensive trailer to hitch onto the back of the family car or even something heavier duty. And it is not just the shape, size or capacity that vary, but the materials from which it is constructed. The days of the simple wooden box trailer are all but forgotten as manufacturers compete to offer class-leading design features even in entry level trailers.
You probably wouldn’t want a box trailer smaller than 6 X 4 (1800 mm X 1200), which is still the smallest commonly available size of box trailer, although some manufacturers offer a 6 X 3 (1500 X 900) model. A typical capacity would be 750 kilograms but this figure includes the weight of the trailer itself, which can be much more than you expect!
Heavy-duty dual-axle box trailers can carry loads of up to 3000 kg (including the trailer weight). But you need a matching heavy-duty tow vehicle and trailer brakes. There is much more to consider than size alone. Like quality. How long will you keep the trailer? If it is (excuse the pun) for the long haul, choose a galvanised one. Inexpensive box trailers usually won’t have this feature. While a freshly painted steel box trailer can look great when brand new, it’s remarkable how quickly it can rust especially if it is not regularly cleaned. Floors can rust right through in only a few years if the box trailer is neglected, especially in coastal regions. A chequer plate floor makes sense. Again, think quality and durability. The inexpensive box trailer may cost more in the end!
Some makers supply box trailers with used wheels and tyres. Many will offer you a choice. You need to think about engineering aspects such as springs and shackles. The rule of thumb here is to spend a little more to get a durable product. The conspicuously inexpensive box trailer has usually been built to the price.
You need to consider other dimensions such as the depth of the sides and the length of the drawbar. Some manufacturers offer a choice between a drop-down and swinging rear door. You might also want a front gate. You can even specify side steps, a gas bottle holder or rear stands.
Side cages are handy for some loads. Tie-down points are also important. If the gross vehicle mass (GVM) of the trailer is 750 kilograms or less it is not necessary to have brakes. Too many operators underestimate the load they are carrying so it’s a good idea to find a weighbridge and check this out a few times to get a clear idea of weights.