Flatbed vs Dry Van: How to Choose the Right Freight Carrier

There are a lot of choices when it comes to both flatbed and dry van trailers, and trucking companies know that. You could be wondering if you should use one or the other, and this article will tell you all about dry van vs. flatbed, the pros and cons of both types, as well as which type is more profitable for your business.


Dry Van vs. Flatbed: The Main Differences?

People often question the differences between dry vans and flatbed trailers. But when you look at the facts, they are actually very similar. In fact, there are only a few key differences that separate these two types of trailers from each other. Here are the main differences between dry vans and flatbed trailers:

The first and most obvious difference is the shape of the trailer. While dry vans have a flat bottom, flatbeds have an open top that allows for more cargo space. This means that you can fit larger loads in your trailer if you use a flatbed instead of a dry van.

The type of cargo that can be carried on each trailer. Dry vans are typically used for transporting containers, pallets, or other large loads. Flatbeds are often used for hauling live animals or oversized cargo like machinery and construction materials.

Dry van trailers have a partial interior, and flatbeds are completely enclosed.

As we mentioned above, dry vans are typically used for shipping goods that need to be protected from the elements. This includes items such as food products and electronics. Flatbed trailers are great for transporting items that do not need to be kept in good condition during transit. For example, if you were hauling lumber or building materials, you would want a flatbed trailer instead of a dry van.

Pros and Cons of Dry Van Trailers


The covered trailer protects cargo from theft and traffic hazards.

Dry vans are particularly popular in the food and beverage industries since they excel at carrying a wide range of commercial commodities. Non-perishable foods and drinks, apparel and textiles, as well as plastic and building materials, are among the most common freight items of this truck trailer.

The trailer can simply be backed up to a loading dock, which is normally the same height as the trailer floor. This is advantageous since it streamlines the loading and unloading procedure with the use of a pallet jack or forklift.


Dry vans don't have temperature control in comparison to reefer trailers.

Because dry van flooring is mostly made of wood, they are susceptible to moisture.

Loading and unloading in dry vehicles can only be done from the back.

Pros and Cons of Flatbed Pickup


Flatbeds often have a higher maximum carrying capacity than dry vans due to the opportunity for a longer or deeper well.

Flatbeds can transport large loads. Items that are too large to fit inside a dry van trailer, such as heavy machinery, can be put onto a flatbed trailer for shipment.

Flatbeds are more adaptable since freight may be loaded via crane from the back, side, or top.


Flatbed freight is susceptible to theft or manipulation while in transportation, as well as exposure to the elements and road abrasion.

Drivers are expected to secure loads' property to ensure the cargo's safety, which increases the danger of damaged products during transportation.

To manage flatbeds, unique driving and hauling abilities are necessary, especially if the cargo is too large and the weather is bad.


Dry van and flatbed trailers are two types of truck trailers that have fairly similar functionality. Both can haul larger loads than other trucks or trailers, and each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. While both types of truck trailers are widely used in the country today, you need to determine which type is best for your business.