Are you interested in owning a new utility trailer? Do you need something to haul contracting equipment, a new ATV, or your vacation gear?
You can always purchase a trailer from a reputable dealer, but there is also the option to build one yourself.
The cost of building a trailer is reasonable. If you don’t have the tools to create the finished product, it might be cheaper to purchase one you can use right away.
Please remember that the finished trailer must meet or exceed local regulations if you take it on the road. That includes a license and appropriate taillights.
Should I Build a Trailer or Buy One?
Anyone who wants something different than a stock trailer from a mass-produced facility should build one themselves. It develops a love for the creative process while making something that fits your specific needs. If that isn’t necessary or important, it’s better to buy a trailer instead.
When you need or want a trailer like the ones you can see on the average lot, it makes more sense to purchase one of those. You’ll get to come home with it immediately, and the total expense is likely less than what it would be if you bought the materials separately.
That’s because those mass-produced trailers deliver the benefit of mass production. The manufacturers can reduce labor expenses and increase overall quality by implementing an assembly line process.
The only disadvantage is that you don’t know about the craftsmanship of the selected item until it gets a thorough inspection.
The advantage of buying a trailer is that you don’t need to fabricate, build, paint, or find extra tools.
Your primary disadvantage is that the trailer meets a factory standard. It will be road-ready, but can it work for every need you have?
If the answer is “no,” your better choice is to build a trailer – or have someone do the customization work on your behalf.
What Are the Functional Reasons for Building a Trailer?
It can be a wonderful experience to build a trailer at home. Some people also discover that it can be incredibly frustrating.
Are you’re thinking about tackling this type of project? If so, you’ll find several reasons worth considering if you want a custom build.
- You want something different than what the factories or manufacturers are producing today. The customization process enables you to change the length, width, tongue, and axle placement, along with other features that apply to your situation.
- The building process allows you to add specific tailgates, spare tire placements, and different sides to meet your needs. You’ll have the option to select your decking, creating the trailer with custom dimensions to fit a mower, ATV, or whatever else you might be hauling.
- When there is a specific need to have met, a custom-built trailer is often the most affordable method to use. This issue applies most often when the towing capacity for your vehicle is less than 1,000 pounds.
- If you need something that is 100% unique, the best way to accomplish your outcome is often to build a custom trailer. The options might include a folding tongue or expandable foundation to accommodate things like a tiny house or wide loads.
- Commercialized trailers are often built with the bottom line in mind. That doesn’t mean they are cheap, but the materials are usually less expensive than what you’d select when doing the work yourself. If you have experience in this industry, you can often build a better product.
- You can address specific problems, such as trailer bounce, from the start of the project. Custom builds let you manage your individualized bias right away.
When you build a trailer, there is also the pride that comes with ownership. If people see what you’ve made and it impresses them, you’ll get a payback every time you take the thing out to use it.
There is also the love of building to consider when creating a trailer from scratch. For some people, this process is a form of mental relaxation. You’ll get off the couch, into your shop, and have some fun.
If you want something robust or different, you’re almost forced to value the functional benefits of a custom trailer over a stock model.
What Are the Best Trailers That I Can Buy Online?
Online shopping is here to the rescue when you don’t live close to a trailer dealership and aren’t in the mood to build one yourself.
Although you won’t find many full-size trailers online, several units attach to tractors, ATVs, and farm vehicles. You’ll find a load capacity of 1,000 to 2,000 pounds available with most designs, along with the hardware needed to start working right away.
Here are the best trailers that you can get today.
With 15 cubic feet of hauling capacity, you can tow up to 1,500 pounds with this fantastic trailer. It’s available in a poly style, but the best option is made from steel. The metal frame and floor incorporate a removable steel mesh that includes the tailgate and side rails.
What I like the most about this design are its quick-release latch and foot dump. You won’t find a more accessible option to use than the MotoAlliance Impact Heavy-Duty Utility Cart Trailer, even if it comes with a one-inch angle that delivers 11 inches of ground clearance.
The maximum speed of this trailer is only ten miles per hour. It’s suitable for most yard work or some off-road trails, but you won’t want to take it out on the road.
If you need something that can serve as a hauling cart, this trailer option is an excellent choice to consider. As part of the 1200 series, you can enjoy a 1,200-pound load capacity. It has a wide track stance with rugged tires and a quick release tipper latch to ensure rapid unloading.
The Polar Trailer 8232 HD is made from alloy steel, but it only weighs 107 pounds. You can push it around the yard in a pinch before hooking it up to your mower, ATV, or UTV.
The body is strong enough to haul firewood for the winter or gravel for a new driveway, but it is gentle enough to keep your garden harvest safe.
It features a polyethylene body for extra support. The unit is meant for off-road use only, with a maximum tow speed of 10 miles per hour. You’ll also receive 15 cubic feet of hauling capacity to cover those everyday projects.
When you need something basic to use at home or work, this utility trailer delivers a straightforward experience. It’s made in the United States, although the assembly work does include a few essential components. It uses pneumatic casters and an alloy steel frame to deliver a consistent performance.
I love the scratch-resistant steel bed with the Agri-Fab 45-010 Utility Tow Behind Dump Cart. The powder-coat finish is excellent, preventing the corrosion and rust that is common to competitive brands.
Although the tires are less substantial than others, you’ll still get easy maneuverability and a 750-pound load capacity.
The other fantastic feature of this wagon is that the wheel bearings use grease zerks to make the maintenance work as easy as possible.
The problem with most trailers is that you need a vehicle to use them. What can you do if there isn’t an ATV, UTV, or lawn tractor with a hitch to use? That’s when the SuperHandy Utility Service Power Wagon Cart can deliver some incredible benefits.
I appreciate the gas-free design that this utility trailer uses. It’s a 48V lithium-ion system with a brushless motor. You can use one or two batteries to power the unit up a 15-degree slope.
The working load capacity is 500 pounds, while the hauling capacity is double that rating. You’ll have six cubic feet to use when loading it up.
The only disadvantage here is the speed. It operates at 3 MPH when moving forward and is slightly slower in reverse. If you’re in a hurry, a wheelbarrow would be faster. When you have a heavy load to manage, you’ll appreciate the self-propelled design. You can even use it as a flatbed.
When you need a trailer that can power through almost any terrain, the units that work with a hitch aren’t always strong enough to meet your needs. That’s when you need to move from wheels to a track-based system.
When you invest in the XtremePowerUS All-Terrain Track Barrow, you’ll get a unit that can move up to 850 pounds at once. The tracks allow it to handle almost any terrain without degrading your lawn or ruining local vegetation.
It delivers a zero-turn radius with a 5.5 HP engine and a heavy-duty multispeed transmission.
It’s built with a solid steel hopper that provides plenty of support for any materials. The balance is excellent, allowing you to maximize control without worrying about tipping. I love the instant stop feature you get when releasing the drive handle.
A Final Thought on Building a Trailer vs. Buying a Trailer
When you buy a trailer, you can get what you need right away while still getting a semi-customizable experience. Some dealers and manufacturers allow you to select specific features while keeping prices affordable. If you need something other than a stock option, your best choice is to build.
I know it isn’t easy to build a trailer from scratch. I’ve always considered myself a handy person, but the time and effort it takes to create something good for hauling are beyond what I can invest. That’s why I always stick to ready-made items.
It pays to shop around for the trailer you want. If you can’t find something, see if there are building plans for what is needed. Even if you can’t customize the work yourself, most communities have specialists available who can help.
There is something to be said of the educational process that occurs when you build something from scratch. Even if you don’t do it every day, the learning lessons can translate into other life areas to provide additional benefits.
Whether you buy online or in-person, build one yourself, or get a second-hand trailer, please remember to review the load capacity first. That way, you’ll make sure your investment checks every box.