Single Axle vs. Tandem Axle: What’s the Difference?

Posted on April 21st, 2015

The number of axles on a trailer determines whether it is a single or double. A single axle trailer has a sole set of wheels; a tandem axle has two sets of wheels. Simple counting can tell you which type of trailer you’re looking at, making it easy to compare trailers and determine which one suits your needs best.

Single Axle Trailers:

A single axle trailer is smaller and easier to maneuver than a tandem model; if parking is scarce or there is not a lot of wiggle room in your parking area, a single axle model will be easier to handle.

The relatively small size of a single axle trailer makes it more fuel efficient than its tandem counterparts; towing may be easier due to the lower weight and adjustable towing angles.

Cost is a factor as well – not only is a single axle less expensive than a tandem axle trailer, tires and maintenance will cost less as well. Fewer tires mean lower replacement costs.

Single axle trailers do have some drawbacks; their smaller size means that your storage and moving abilities will be limited. Tires may wear out more quickly if you move a lot of heavy loads, since there are only two tires to absorb the weight.

Tandem Axle Trailers:

Like the name implies, a tandem axle trailer has two sets of axles – one right behind the other. The extra tires allow the trailer to handle more weight and to be more stable at higher speeds and highway conditions. Higher payload capacity means more room for whatever you are hauling.

Tandem trailers are excellent for heavy loads and are an ideal option if you are expanding your business. By choosing a tandem model, you will be less likely to outgrow your trailer; the extra upfront expense may be worth it in the long run.

While towing level is not a factor for single axle models, level towing is a must for a tandem axle trailer. If the load is not level it can cause extra wear and tear on one set of axles, and reduce the life of your tires.

The initial investment for a tandem trailer is higher than the cost for a single axle model. If you do decide to resell your tandem trailer, you’ll see a much better return on your investment, as they hold their value better than a single axle model.

Single Axle vs. Tandem Axle: Which is Better?

The bottom line is, it depends. If you are hauling a lot of low weight loads, need maneuverability and to keep your costs down, a single axle model is best. If you are putting some serious highway mileage on your trailer, hauling heavy payloads or are planning to expand your business, a tandem axle model is a better option.

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