Semi Trailer vs Full Trailer – What Are Their Advantages?

Full Trailer vs Semi Trailer

With the development of the economy, our demand for transportation is increasing. From online shopping to city construction, all kinds of transportation tools are indispensable. Among them, the most efficient transportation tools are various trailers.
The semi-trailer we often see on the highway, with a long trailer behind the truck, is the semi-trailer. But do you know that besides the common semi-trailer, there is another less common trailer–full trailer. So, do you know the difference between semi-trailer and full trailer?

What Is a Semi-trailer?

A semi-trailer is a type of trailer without a front axle and is typically attached to a tractor unit. The axle is positioned at the rear of the trailer and it cannot support itself without being connected to the tractor unit. Before being connected, the semi-trailer must be supported by landing gears at the front end. The semi-trailer is coupled to the tractor truck through a King Pin and a fifth wheel mechanism. The tractor unit provides both power and support for the weight of the semi-trailer during transportation.

What is a full trailer?

A full trailer, also known as a drawbar trailer, is a type of trailer that has both front and rear axles. The full trailer is designed to carry and support its own weight while transporting goods, with all of the weight being borne by the trailer itself. This means that a full-trailer can be detached from the tractor unit and still remain upright and stable.

Full Trailer vs Semi Trailer
Full Trailer Vs Semi Trailer

Semi Trailer vs Full Trailer

The Difference between Semi-trailer and Full Trailer

1. Different Axle Positions

The semi-trailer only has a rear axle and no front axle, so it cannot be supported independently and needs two outriggers.
The full trailer has both front and rear axles, which can be independently supported.

2. Different Connection Methods

The semi-trailer is connected to the tractor through the fifth wheel and the fifth wheel.
The full trailer is connected to the towing vehicle through a trailer turntable and a drawbar.

3. Different Weights

The semi-trailer has no front axle, so it needs to be “ridden” on the tractor to bear part of the weight of the semi-trailer, so the weight of the semi-trailer itself is relatively low.
The full trailer can support the weight independently, and the tractor only needs to provide lateral traction for the full trailer.

4. The Turning Radius Is Different

Because of the different connection methods, the semi-trailer has a larger turning radius.
The full trailer has a smaller turning radius than the semi-trailer, so it is more flexible.

5. Different Fields of Application

The semi-trailer has a larger carrying capacity and is often used for high-speed and long-distance transportation with a longer span, which has higher efficiency and lower cost.
The full trailer is mainly used for short-distance transportation in docks, factories, ports and other places due to its ability to bear weight independently.

6. Different Specifications

The maximum length of the semi-trailer specified by ISO is 42.65 feet, the width is 8.2 feet, and the maximum height is 13.12 feet.
Maximum carrying capacity: 40 tons
The specific size of different types of semi-trailers has certain differences, you can read this article to understand→Semi Trailer Dimension

Full trailers vary in length from 21.33 feet to 36.08 feet, depending on their type, with a width of 8.2 feet and a maximum height of 13.12 feet.
Maximum carrying capacity: 12 tons

Our factory can customize semi-trailers and full trailers of different sizes for you within the standard range.

Semi Trailer Traction King Pin

Semi Trailer King Pin

Full Trailer Drawbar

Full Trailer Drawbar

7. Difference in Types of Semi Trailer vs Full Trailer

Types of Semi Trailers

There are many types of semi-trailers, and their uses cover all fields for road transport:

Cargo & Container Transport

Skeleton semi-trailer
Flatbed semi-trailer
Lowbed semi-trailer
Van semi-trailer
Fence cargo semi-trailer

Building Material Transport

Side wall semi-trailer
End dump semi-trailer
Side wall dump semi-trailer

Full Trailer Vs Semi Trailer

Fence Cargo Semi Trailer

End Dump Semi Trailer

End Dump Semi Trailer

Cement & Fuel Trans

Fuel tanker semi-trailer
Bulk cement semi-trailer
Asphalt tanker semi-trailer
Mixer tanker semi-trailer

Special Purpose Semi-trailer

Car semi-trailer
Log transport semi-trailer
Wind blade transport semi-trailer
Side loader semi-trailer, etc.

Fuel Tanker Trailer

Fuel Tanker Semi Trailer

Side Loader Semi Trailer

The size of the above type of semi-trailer is described in detail in the previous article.

Types of Full Trailers

Side wall drawbar trailer
Flatbed drawbar trailer
Skeleton drawbar trailer
Fence cargo drawbar trailer
Dump drawbar trailer
Fuel tanker drawbar trailer, etc.

Fuel Tanker Drawbar Trailer

Side Wall Drawbar Trailer

Side Wall Drawbar Trailer

Advantages of Semi & Full Trailers

Advantages of Semi Trailers:

  1. Good Stability: The semi-trailer is connected to the truck head through the traction pin, making it more controllable and stable during driving.
  2. Large Loading Capacity and High Efficiency for Long-distance Transportation: Regulations for semi-trailers allow for larger sizes and loads, enabling the transportation of more goods at once. This makes them particularly suitable for transporting oversized and overweight goods over long distances.

Advantages of Full Trailers:

  1. Good for Rough Roads: The tow bar of the full trailer can swing up and down and left and right, providing an advantage when driving on uneven mountainous areas or rough roads.
  2. High Efficiency for Short-distance Transportation: Since the full trailer can be independently supported, it can be easily dropped and hung. This means that the connection with the tractor can be disconnected immediately upon arrival, reducing waiting time for the tractor.
Full Trailer Vs Semi Trailer

Skeleton Drawbar Trailer

Center Axle Trailer

Center axle trailers look like full trailers but have a different design. The axle is located in the middle of the trailer and cannot maintain balance on its own, requiring extra support when parked. The drawbar is connected to an extra tow pin under the frame.

Full Trailer vs Semi Trailer

Center Axle Trailer

The above is a comparison of the difference between semi trailer vs full trailer. Both semi-trailer and full trailer have their own advantages. When choosing a trailer, you should consider your needs comprehensively and choose the most suitable type for you. Our factory is capable of manufacturing and customizing semi-trailers and full trailers of various types and sizes.