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Lowboy Trailer Companies

Say you’re in the business of timber hauling using traditional flatbed trailers, and one of your long-standing clients calls you up and asks if you can help them move some of their logging equipment across the state. You’re keen to help but don’t think you’ll meet the height restrictions and road safety standards with your flatbed. Luckily, you’ve got the right solution: hire a lowboy trailer with five extra feet of overhead space and save your client from a massive headache. 

Not only do lowboy trailers meet height requirements, but they are also straightforward to load and unload. With a low center of gravity, your client can rest assured that their machinery is secured in the best trucking option available.

Even though lowboy trailers aren’t as commonly used as other trailers, plenty of resources are available to help you get started and find precisely what you need. We’d recommend you start by getting a competitive quote from our website. Booking a lowboy is the perfect loophole for beating those pesky height restrictions. 

In this article, we will explore the world of lowboy trucking, the types of cargo they handle, and highlight some of the top lowboy trucking options in the United States. We’ve covered all the specifics to help determine if a lowboy trailer is the right solution for you.

What is a Lowboy Trailer?

Lowboy trucking companies provide a creative solution to the shipping and logistics industry. These trailers are designed to accommodate cargo that exceeds the height restrictions of standard flatbed trailers and step decks. This configuration allows lowboy trailers to transport cargo with varying heights, making them ideal for tall machinery, equipment, and oversized loads.

Lowboy trailers are quite the feat of human design. Your main cargo sits in between the first upper deck above the gooseneck and the rear wheel well. Notice how the main carrying deck of a lowboy would have the bottom of your cargo resting just slightly below the rear wheels. It’s a snug fit, but it gives you a lot of extra height to play with.

Lowboy Cargo

Lowboy trailers are designed to transport taller and bulkier cargo with ease, thanks to their low center of gravity that minimizes the risk of tipping. They are a popular choice for transporting a wide range of goods, including:

  • Construction Equipment: Lowboys are frequently used to haul heavy construction equipment such as bulldozers, excavators, drilling rigs, high-pressure storage tanks, and cranes. They can even transport oil, gas, and petrochemical equipment.
  • Agricultural Machinery: Tractors, combines, and large farming equipment are easily transported on lowboy trailers.
  • Industrial Components: Tall and heavy industrial machinery, including generators and manufacturing equipment, find a reliable mode of transportation on lowboy trailers.
  • Wind Turbine Components: The renewable energy industry relies on lowboy trucking to move wind turbine blades and tower sections.
  • Oversized Cargo: Anything exceeding standard flatbed trailers’ height limit can be safely transported on a lowboy trailer and meet road regulations.

Trailer Selector Cheat Sheet

Your choice of lowboy trailer depends on various factors, including the size and weight of the cargo as well as regulations from the country you’re transporting your cargo. Lowboy trailers come in different configurations to accommodate specific transportation needs. Check out the height advantage you’d get with a lowboy, as outlined below:

Kind of Trailer Upper Deck Length Lower Deck Length Max Width Max Height Max Weight
Standard Step Deck 9’6” 43’6” 8’6” 10’6” 48,000 lbs.
Extendable Step Deck 9’6” 48’-76’ 8’6” 11’4” 44,000 lbs.
Specialized Step Deck 10′ 38′  8’6” 11’4” 80,000 lbs.
Flatbed N/A 53’ 8’6” 8’6” 48,000 lbs.
Two-Axle Lowboy N/A 29’7” 8’6” 14’ 40,000 lbs.
Three-Axle Lowboy N/A 29’7” 8’6” 14’ 80,000 lbs.

Five Signs You Need a Lowboy Trailer

If you’re uncertain whether you need a lowboy trailer to transport something, here are a few factors you should consider:

1. Your Cargo Exceeds Height Limits 

Choosing a lowboy over a traditional flatbed trailer can save you up to a precious 5’6” in height clearance as compared to a flatbed. Lowboys are the ultimate freight solution for carrying cargo – this is as much clearance as you can get!

2. You’re Hauling Construction Equipment

How inefficient would it be to have to ship your equipment in parts? A lowboy is ideal for cargo that needs to come in one piece, like construction equipment or other heavy machinery? You can ship as a whole, saving you valuable time and money.

3. Your Cargo is Hard to Load and Unload

We recommend a lowboy trailer if your cargo requires loading from the top or the side via a crane or if it requires specialized equipment to secure it’s safety. This will give you easier access to the shipment.

4. You Want to Avoid Paying for Permits

Do the smart thing and swap your flatbed for a lowboy. Keeping your cargo within the legal regulations for road safety will allow you to skip paying for excessive oversized load permits, safety vehicles, and any potential fines for traveling with an illegal load. 

5. You Worry About Securing Your Cargo

A lowboy’s ground clearance is only 14-18 inches, meaning your cargo sits with a low center of gravity for the duration of the journey. 

Considerations Before Shipping

You should talk to a lowboy carrier if you need more clarification on whether a lowboy trailer is what you need for your shipment. Ultimately, it’s the specific needs of your cargo, budget, and timeframe that will determine whether you go with a lowboy or not. We’d recommend you consider the topics we cover below before you put any money down, as they could become a significant pain point if you overlook them.

Fragility: Lowboys do not provide any cover or enclosure. An enclosed trailer may be a better option if your cargo is fragile or requires protection from the elements. Some goods, such as hazardous materials or refrigerated, can’t be transported on a lowboy because they need to be kept in very specific environments. Make sure you remember that your uncovered load will be exposed to the elements during transport, or only covered by a soft-shell material like a tarp.

Seasonality: Cargo transport can become more of a hassle if you’ve decided to ship during a peak season of your region: prices might be maxed out and even the most simple trailer hires need to be booked far in advance. The types of goods demanding truck capacity fluctuate depending on the season, causing supply and demand imbalances in various regions. For example, April-July is peak produce season. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an unreserved fleet of refrigerated trucks coming in or out of America’s breadbasket states.

Conversely, transporting cargo away from these high-demand regions may incur additional costs, but assisting a lowboy driver in reaching these areas can lead to more favorable rates. So, understanding these seasonal shifts in trucking capacity is crucial for managing supply chain costs effectively.

Cost: Our top priority is matching you with an affordable, safe, and convenient shipping option. Across the shipping and logistics industry, you’ll often find quotes priced by “rate-per-mile” (RPM). A lowboy trailer will start at $1.75 RPM, but the price can quickly escalate to more than $4.25 a mile based on logistics, the type of shipment being hauled, and the special handling requirements of the job. Always obtain multiple estimates in writing before paying for a shipment.

Comparison: Lowboys vs. Flatbeds 

When comparing lowboy and flatbed trucking, one key distinction is their cargo capacity. Lowboy trucks are specially designed to transport weighty and oversized items. Their low deck height and reinforced trailers make them ideal for this purpose. One significant advantage of lowboy hauling is that it enables you to transport such cargo without needing extra permits and fees that might be required when using a flatbed for oversized items.

Lowboys offer more than just weight-bearing capacity. Their unique configuration ensures a lower center of gravity during transportation, enhancing safety for the driver, the cargo, and other road users. Properly securing the load with tarps, straps, and dunnage further protects lowboy transport. This heightened safety is a crucial consideration when transporting heavy or oversized loads.

In contrast, flatbed trucks are renowned for their versatility. They are the go-to choice for general freight hauling, as they can transport various materials and goods. Flatbeds provide a larger cargo capacity, with all items resting at the same level on a single deck. They are an excellent option when your cargo doesn’t require the low clearance provided by lowboys.

Comparison: Lowboys vs. Step Decks

We like to think of step decks as the happy medium between lowboys and flatbeds – they give you back a bit of height but aren’t too restrictive on the length of your cargo.

Both step decks and lowboys feature a drop-off, or “step,” with the cargo sitting lower than where the trailer connects to the cabin. This means they can both accommodate loads with extra height.

The chart above shows that lowboys can add up to two and a half feet of extra height clearance over step deck trailers. However, to do this, they sacrifice at least 10 feet of length compared to step decks. Lowboys help you comply with specific weight distribution requirements and may be easier to load and unload.

It’s important to note that step decks often come with a deployable ramp allowing you to drive your cargo directly onto and off the deck. Unloading with a ramp might be a selling point for those who don’t have access to equipment to help unload a lowboy, as lowboy cargo needs to be removed over the protruding wheel well or over the sides.

Our Recommended Lowboy Deck Shipping Companies for the US

If you’re still reading, you’ve probably learned that a lowboy trailer is a smart option for you. The next step is to post to our load board, get your first quote, and talk to a few lowboy carriers to find the best price.

Today, more than 1.2 million trucking businesses operate in the United States. According to some estimates, 90% work with no more than seven trucks. There are tons to pick from; luckily, you can start with the ones we recommend below.

These lowboy trucking companies exemplify the expertise, experience, and dedication required to handle the unique challenges of transporting tall, oversized cargo. Each company operates within the United States, and we’ve included their websites, the number of years in business, the geographical areas they serve, the types of loads they handle, and the equipment they use.

 Cowtown Express

  • 30 Years in Business
  • Serves the 48 Contiguous United States Plus Canada
  • Offers a variety of lowboy options, including standard, extendable open decks, axle lowboys, and three-axle extendable lowboy trailers.

ATS Specialized, Inc.

  • 33 Years in Business
  • Serves the 48 Contiguous United States Plus Canada and Mexico
  • Specializes in lowboy, RGN, and heavy haul transportation.

Boyd Bros. Transportation Inc.

  • 67 Years in Business
  • Serves the 48 Contiguous United States Plus Canada
  • Focuses on lowboy and oversized cargo transportation.

Mercer Transportation Co. Inc.

  • 46 Years in Business
  • Serves the 48 Contiguous United States Plus Canada and Mexico
  • Specializes in lowboy transportation and offers various other cargo services.


  • 49 Years in Business
  • Serves the 48 Contiguous United States Plus Canada and Mexico
  • Offers lowboy and specialized transportation, government and military transportation, and more.

J.B. Hunt Transport Service

  • 62 Years in Business
  • Serves the 48 Contiguous United States Plus Canada and Mexico
  • Provides intermodal, truckload, and dedicated transportation services across various industries.

Osage Specialized Transport

  • 18 Years in Business
  • Based in Colorado and provides cargo services throughout the US and Canada. 
  • Prioritizes hauling specialized freight types, including oversized loads and heavy machinery. Great for construction or military hauling.

Keller Logistics Group

  • Over 40 Years in Business
  • Operates in the US and Canada
  • Keller Freight Solutions serves the unique shipping needs of companies in various industries across the U.S.

Heavy Haulers

  • Over 17 Years in Business
  • Operates in the US
  • Branched out and now ships heavy machinery, industrial, construction, farming & agriculture equipment to all 50 states.


  • Over 50 Years in Business
  • Operates in the US 
  • Founded in Pennsylvania, Danella has offices in fifteen states and specializes in the storm restoration and railroad construction industries.

Helpful Resources

We know that navigating the country’s complex federal, state, and individual jurisdiction regulations can be difficult; check out our favorite website at J.J. Keller, which sorts out all the permits for you according to your route.

Or perhaps our article convinced you enough to buy your own lowboy instead of renting. We’d recommend Diamond C for new trailer purchases and Iron Planet for used trailers.

Don’t forget you can always post a query to our load board to get a competitive quote and take the next step in your freight journey. 


So, you’ve come this far – by now, you should be familiar with relevant lowboy trucking terminology, know what questions and specifications to ask trailer hires, and know what a fair estimate should be. We’re hoping you understand the process well, and that it helps your cargo get from Point A to Point B in one piece, and without breaking the bank.