Types of Dump Trailers: Bottom Dump vs. Side Dump vs. End Dump

Are you starting up or upgrading your fleet of dump trailers? Whichever the case may be, we’ll walk you through the different features for bottom dump, side dump and end dump trailers. There are lots of things to consider before you choose. This in-depth article will go over the pros and cons of the different types of dump trailers available, from the bottom (or “belly”) to the side, finishing up at the end. Even if you’re pretty sure which way to go, we invite you to have a quick refresher to make sure you’re taking advantage of all the features to get the best dump trailers for your business from Dragon Products.

How Does a Bottom Dump Trailer Work?

Also known as a belly dump, the bottom dump trailer features a dump gate with a clamshell design, allowing the materials to dump directly from the bottom of the box to enable windrowing. Windrowing is a process that allows the release of materials in a precise pattern.

What Does A Belly Dump Trailer Do?

There are some tasks that are uniquely suited to the use of bottom dumps. The most notable of these include:

  • Asphalt Paving: Perfect for laying asphalt.
  • Material Transport: Ideally suited for highway hauling of crushed rock, asphalt, sand, fly ash and gypsum.
  • Stockpiling: Bottom dumps can be used for stockpiling, although they do require the use of a loader.

What Are the Advantages of Belly Dump Trailers?

Bottom dump trailers are preferred for certain tasks because of their build and design. Here are some of the advantages to choosing them for your worksite:

  • Efficient & Versatile: When you need to control the opening of the gate and want to regulate the flow of material, a bottom dump is the correct choice.
  • Quick Turnaround Time: Because its wheels never stop turning, you can drive it right through a dump zone, and in 25 feet, you can deliver a 21-yard load.
  • Good Stability: Because there is no gate that needs to be raised, there is no risk of a belly dump trailer tipping over.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Bottom Dump Trailer?

While they are ideal for many work situations, like any dump trailer, there are certain cautions associated with the use of belly dump trailers:

  • Axle Clearance: The trailer’s axles need a specific clearance above the window.
  • Material Restrictions: They should not be used to haul materials that will hang up beneath the suspension.
  • No Liquids: They’re unsuitable for hauling liquids or fine materials, as leaks may occur.

How Does a Side Dump Trailer Work?

A side dump trailer unloads its materials using hydraulic rams that tilt to the right or left side of the trailer. Because they don’t require air ride suspension to be deflated before unloading, side dumps can be quicker at releasing their cargo.

What Types of Work Does A Side Dump Trailer Do?

The uses for side dump trailers mirror those of end dumps, with some important additions:

  • Road Construction: Delivers large loads to road construction sites.
  • Stockpiles: With a compatible loader, a side dump is ideal for stockpiling.
  • Pit Mining and Excavation: Capably hauls loads to and from worksites.

What Are the Advantages of A Side Dump Trailer?

There are certain pluses to using a side dump trailer. Here are a few of the benefits:

  • Stability: They are not prone to tipping over.
  • Easy & Safe to Operate: Hiring a special operator is unnecessary.
  • Versatile: You can dump your cargo on soft or uneven ground without backing up or finding level ground.
  • Materials: You can haul semi-liquids, gravel and fine materials in a side dump trailer because, unlike other types of dump trailers, it has a tub that’s watertight to prevent leaks.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Side Dump Trailer?

There are a few reasons why you may not want to choose this type of dump trailer:

  • Smaller Box: A side dump has a smaller cubic capacity than other dump trailers.
  • Limited Agility: Maneuverability is problematic.
  • Regional Restrictions: While popular in the Midwest, side dump trailers can only be used in sites that are specifically designated for their usage.

How Does An End Dump Trailer Work?

An end dump trailer elevates its dump box and releases its load from the back. Often made of aluminum to reduce weight, end dump trucks usually have higher sides than either the belly dump or the side dump. This gives the end dump a larger capacity so it can manage bigger loads with rough materials for better payloads.

What Types of Work Does An End Dump Trailer Do?

This type of trailer is used in many circumstances and work sites, but the primary uses for these workhorses are:

  • Road and Building Construction: Hauls large loads to and from worksites.
  • Agricultural Landscaping Sites: Ideally suited for hauling tools and equipment.
  • Stockpiling of Aggregate Materials: Can move large loads with ease.

What Are the Advantages of End Dump Trailers?

Belly dump and end dump trailers are the clear favorites for most uses. In the case of end dumps, these versatile receptacles have the following advantages over other types of dump trailers:

  • Manage Difficult Materials: End dump trailers can haul large demolition debris and other challenging materials. Also, they can hold more cubic yards of material than other types of dump trailers.
  • Heavy-Sided Design: Tough and steady, these trailers are made to work hard time after time.
  • Rapid Unloading: You have a schedule to keep. Dump-and-go in under a minute with an end dump trailer.
  • Confined Spaces: Ideal for working in tight spaces, they are frequently favored by East Coast operators.

What Are The Disadvantages of End Dump Trailers?

While there’s no question they are durable and can handle heavy-duty work, there are some cautions that go with using this type of trailer:

  • Stability Issues: Hauls large loads to and from worksites.
  • Load Shifts: Ideally suited for hauling tools and equipment.
  • No Semi-Liquids: Can move large loads with ease.

Shop Dragon For The Best Types of Dump Trailers For Your Job Site

Once you’ve decided which types of dump trailers you want for your worksite, truck over to Dragon. Check out our selection of RANCO Dump Trailers, available in end dumps of all types (including frameless), bottom dumps and side dumps. We also have End Dump and Bottom Dump VANTAGE Trailers for sale. Whatever brand you choose, you can count on peace of mind and profitability with every load you haul. And Dragon has the customer service to back it up. Contact Us Today!

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