Choosing the Right Dump Trailer Part 2: Rear Gate Types
Sunday, May 8, 2022

A dump trailer is a pretty straightforward tool. You load it up. You dump it. Pretty simple.

Of course, when you are buying a dump trailer, there are a few more things to consider. Let's just assume every dump trailer hauls and dumps things. That's a given. What others sorts of questions should you be asking? Dump trailers are not cheap, after all. If you are going to invest thousands of dollars in a new tool, you want to make sure you get one that will do the jobs you need done, and you don't want to pay for a bunch of extra or unnecessary features that you don't need.

In today's installment of this ongoing series about choosing the right dump trailer, we are going to consider rear gate types - the differences between them and the pros and cons of each style. Not every manufacturer will have every type of gate, so this is something to consider before you start trailer shopping.

Let's start with what most would consider the worst option.

Single Door

Pros: None

Cons: Long length prevents pulling close to buildings or other objects, Can be dangerously heavy

Just like it sounds, a single door gate is composed of a single solid door that swings open on hinges. It can be heavy, awkward, and requires a wide clearance. These are not as common as they used to be, but you will still see them occasionally. Most people do not prefer them.

Barn Door

Pros: Easy to open and latch, Can get closer to buildings

Cons: None (unless one of the other gate types is preferable for your needs)

This is probably the most common gate type you'll see today. It consists of two doors on hinges that swing open and can be attached to the trailer for easy dumping. They are easier to use and require less clearance than single door gate types.

Spreader Gate

Pros: Good for spreading dirt and gravel

Cons: Mechanisms can rust shut if not used often

A spreader gate may be the best option for you depending on the type of work you will be doing. A spreader gate swings open from the bottom, allowing you to dump your load under the gate. This is ideal for leveling your load as it is dumping, and is a good choice for dumping things like dirt and gravel that you would like to spread out evenly.

Landscape Gate

Pros: Wind can blow through, Can be seen through

Cons: Small debris and rubble will pass through, Can be more expensive

Landscape gates are mesh-style gate that are popular with some people and of no interest to others. Obviously, it depends on the type of work you will be doing whether you would prefer a landscape gate or not. Typically, the gate opens on bottom hinges and lays down like a ramp - like on a typical utility trailer. Less frequently, you'll see landscape gates that open like a spreader gate instead. Again, depending on the type of work you do, this may or may not be a good options for you.

Side Gate

Pros: Much easier to load pallets

Cons: Not for dumping unless you have a side dump trailer, can be expensive add-ons

Just like it sounds, side gates are gates that open on the side of your trailer. Without side gates, pallets need to be loaded into the back and pushed into one another, and unloading them is even more difficult. Side gates make loading and unloading pallets a breeze and allow the loads to be spaced evenly in the bed. On the other hand, if you don't haul pallets, this is an expensive feature that will likely be of little use to you.

You may see some other types of gates while trailer shopping, but these are some of the most common. Choose wisely and your dump trailer will be far more valuable to you than it would be otherwise. Make the wrong choice, and you will probably regret it a little bit more with every load you haul.

Happy trailering, everyone. Be smart and stay safe out there.