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Bumper Pull Trailers vs. Gooseneck Trailers: The Great Enclosed Trailer Showdown

June 30, 2020 /
orange gooseneck trailer with side door

As you browse Renown’s new trailer offerings and dream over the hundreds of different options available, it can be easy to gloss over a really key distinction in the trailer world – where the trailer connects to your vehicle. Whether a trailer connects to your vehicle’s bumper or within the bed of your truck, as with a gooseneck, it can dramatically change the way the trailer pulls, handles, and what it’s truly capable of.

In today’s spotlight series, we’ll do a side-by-side comparison of gooseneck trailers vs. bumper pull trailers so that you can weigh the pros and cons of each route and better understand which trailer would be better for the cargo you need to safely transport. 

Why You See So Many Bumper Pull Trailers on the Road

These come in an incredible variety of lengths and widths and are so-named for the obvious – they attach to the rear of the tow vehicle. This can be a little misleading, however, as we’ll explain. While some tow vehicles do have hitch’s attached directly to their bumper, most bumper pull trailers will actually attach to the tow hitch located beneath the bumper via a ball. 

The advantage of a hitch mount over a bumper mount is that the hitch mount allows for a far greater weight to be towed because the hitch is attached to the vehicle’s frame rather than just the bumper. Bumper pull enclosed trailers are a great choice for someone who is new to trailer towing as the hitching mechanisms with a bumper pull are far more common than a gooseneck. As well, the handling can be a little easier with a bumper pull trailer because of its smaller size. We’ll cover some of these key differences in greater detail in the next section.

Main Differences Between Gooseneck Trailers and Bumper Pulls 

Gooseneck trailers and bumper pull trailers each have their own advantages and disadvantages over one another which we’ll examine later. Here, let’s cover exactly what makes these two trailer types unique.

  1. Shape of the Trailer: this is obvious but worth mentioning. A gooseneck trailer has a long tongue that somewhat resembles a goose’s neck. This shape allows for additional storage at the front of a gooseneck trailer. A bumper pull trailer can have a rounded front or a v-nose but other than that is the same general rectangular shape of an enclosed cargo trailer.
  2. Location of the Hitch: Gooseneck trailers attach to the tow vehicle via a ball hitch that is attached to the vehicle’s frame and located in the bed of the truck. The gooseneck’s unique shape allows the tongue of the trailer to go up and over the tow vehicle’s tailgate to make a secure attachment within the bed. By being located over the rear axle, a gooseneck trailer offers far more stability than a bumper pull.
  3. Payload Capacity: because of the placement of the hitch within the bed of the tow vehicle, a gooseneck trailer can also safely carry more weight than a bumper pull typically can.
  4. Size of the Trailer: Gooseneck enclosed trailers start at 22’ in length and go all the way up to the big-daddy, Gooseneck 5200 triple axle, which can be up to 52’ long. These bigger trailers need the stability of the hitch in order to safely carry larger, heavier loads. Conversely, you can get a bumper pull trailer as small as the ever-popular 6×12 single axle. As well, because of their size, Gooseneck trailers tend to run at a heavier empty weight than a bumper pull enclosed cargo trailer.
  5. Type of Tow Vehicle: with a bumper pull trailer, you can tow the trailer with whatever vehicle has the towing capacity and hitch installed to handle the trailer. This can be a truck, SUV, RV, or even some cars. However, with a gooseneck trailer, you will need a truck in order to connect the trailer to the ball hitch affixed in the bed.

The inherent differences of these trailers are where their strengths and weaknesses play out. Our trailer gurus help match each individual client’s needs with the perfect trailer to meet their requirements for the long haul.

Comparing the Advantages for Bumper Pulls and Goosenecks

Both the gooseneck trailer and the bumper pull trailer have their own unique advantages. These advantages can help you decide which trailer is the right cargo hauler for the job you have in mind.

  • Advantages of a Bumper Pull Trailer: bumper pull trailers are generally smaller than a gooseneck trailer which translates into a lot of advantages, especially for a novice trailer owner. Because it’s usually smaller, it is also generally cheaper than a gooseneck. As well, as we’ve stated it’s a lot easier to maneuver with a smaller trailer than a larger one. A bumper pull will have a little wider turn radius compared to a gooseneck. This is because the trailer follows the tow vehicle’s tracks so you don’t have to compensate much when turning. With a gooseneck’s hitch position, the turning radius is tighter so the driver will need to “swing wide” to make a turn. 

The hitching process for a bumper pull trailer can also be a little simpler because of the accessibility of the rear hitch versus having to get the trailer hitch inside the bed of the tow truck to connect it to the affixed ball hitch. Since it is smaller in size, it also usually will weigh less meaning you can tow it with a wider range of vehicles. 

  • Advantages of a Gooseneck Trailer: as with a bumper pull enclosed trailer, a gooseneck’s main advantages lie in its size. With a bigger trailer, you’ll be able to haul bigger loads more safely. Because of the mounting location, you’ll also avoid the sway problems that can happen with an improperly loaded bumper pull trailer. As well, the gooseneck trailer has a tighter turn radius, which might be harder for someone who is new to trailering but, for experienced users, can actually make the trailer easier to maneuver, especially when backing the trailer up.

After looking over the advantages of each trailer, think of what you’ll be towing and how you envision using your trailer to help narrow down which is right for you. If you need any advice, our trailer experts are standing by to help cover all the bases to get you into the trailer that’s best for your unique towing situation.

Pros and Cons Snapshot for Gooseneck Trailers vs. Bumper Pull Trailers

Pros

Bumper Pull Trailers

  • Smaller size
  • Usually cost less
  • Easier to attach
  • More vehicles can tow it

Gooseneck Trailers

  • Larger than bumper pulls
  • Can handle heavier loads
  • Tight turn radius
  • Less sway/easier to handle

Cons

Bumper Pull Trailers

  • Can’t tow as much weight
  • Not as stable

Gooseneck Trailers

  • Costs more
  • Tight turning radius can make turns harder
  • Certain weights may require special license

How to Get the Perfect Trailer for Your Towing Needs

Getting a trailer that is going to serve your needs the best, for the longest amount of time is all about being honest with yourself as to how you see yourself using this trailer and where. This can sometimes be difficult so here’s a few considerations to ponder as you steer yourself towards the perfect trailer set-up:

  • How do you plan on using the trailer? This seems basic but seriously consider what all you need this trailer to haul. If you’re looking for a toy hauler with space for all your tools and gear, you may need to consider a larger trailer like a gooseneck. If you are looking for the best trailer for a small lawn care business, you probably should look at a bumper pull trailer set up.
  • Where do you want to take the trailer? If you are looking at a long-haul enclosed cargo trailer, the gooseneck is a far more stabler option for moving heavy gear, longer distances. However, if you need your trailer to get in and out of a construction site, you probably don’t want the size and weight of a gooseneck trailer. Think about the places you need your trailer to go to help steer you to the right trailer package.
  • What’s your budget? You may have found the absolute perfect trailer but if it’s outside your price range, the exercise is moot. Talk to Renown’s financing experts to see how much you can realistically afford and then narrow your search based on the results.

Driving Away with a New Gooseneck Trailer Today

We hope you’ve found this article helpful for deciding which trailer is right for you but we want to make absolutely certain you’re in the perfect trailer to meet your needs. When you contact Renown, we won’t ever push you into a sale, we’ll work to understand your needs and then can recommend the best trailer to meet those needs. If we can’t do that, we’ll gladly send you to another dealer that can. Contact our team now for a completely different trailer buying experience.

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