Bumper Pull Trailers vs. Gooseneck Trailers

Bumper Pull

Of all the choices one will make when choosing a trailer, none will affect your driving more than the choice between a bumper pull trailer and Gooseneck trailer. While each option has its own advantages, the differences between a Gooseneck and a bumper pull hitch sometimes aren’t apparent. How do you decide which hitch to choose? This article will discuss the difference between a Gooseneck hitch and a bumper pull hitch, along with the advantages and compromises of owning each type.

Bumper Pull Trailers

One of the most common type of hitches is the bumper pull, also known as a drag or tag-along trailer. The name can be slightly misleading because the trailer doesn’t actually connect to the tow vehicle’s bumper. Instead, the trailer’s tongue fits over a ball hitch that sticks out from the vehicle’s frame at the rear of the vehicle.


There are many advantages with bumper pull trailers. Most of these are because bumper pulls are smaller than Goosenecks. This means a bumper pull trailer normally costs less than a Gooseneck. It also means you may not have to buy a pickup truck as a tow vehicle for a bumper pull. Depending on the trailer, a motorhome, SUV or even a CUV may be suitable for hauling one.

Another advantage is the combined weight of a bumper pull trailer and the tow vehicle is unlikely to exceed 10,001 pounds. Usually, this is the weight at which a trailer is declared commercial and requires a special license to haul, but you will want to check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles in case your state has lower limits.

Also, a bumper pull hitch is an advantage for a first-time trailer owner. It is a more common style of hitch than a Gooseneck, which makes it less intimidating. Additionally, a first-time trailer owner is more likely to have a bumper pull hitch on his or her SUV or pickup truck than a Gooseneck hitch. As a first-time trailer owner, one will also appreciate that a bumper pull trailer has a normal turn radius, so the trailer will follow the towing vehicle as it makes a turn.


A bumper pull trailer, however, does have some disadvantages. With a smaller trailer, this means less space for living quarters or a dressing room in your trailer, and if you are hauling horses or livestock it also limits the number of animals you can transport. If you want to haul more than two horses, you will most likely want to a Gooseneck trailer instead.

You’ll want to be careful when hauling heavier loads overall. You will need to make sure your truck is rated properly for the weight. If not, you will potentially encounter several problems while on the road, such as lack of stability and loss of control, including trailer swaying.

These are not issues most beginning trailer owners consider. Also, since more novice trailer owners have bumper pulls, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that bumper pull trailers are involved in more trailer accidents as well.

Gooseneck Trailers

On the other hand, Gooseneck trailers are often owned by trailering veterans. Because of the two hitch types being quite similar, Goosenecks are easily confused with a fifth-wheel trailer. The difference between the two is that a Gooseneck trailer slides over a ball hitch in the bed of a pickup truck, while a fifth wheel trailer attaches to a pickup truck using a hinged plate hitch; the same type of hitch is used by semi trucks.


One of the biggest advantages of a Gooseneck trailer over a bumper pull is its stability. The potential of the trailer to sway is minimized since the tongue weight of the trailer is over the truck’s rear axle instead of at the back of the frame. The increased stability also means a Goosneck trailer can accommodate more weight and be larger than a bumper pull trailer. Goosenecks also have more room for living quarters if you want them, as well as more room for any cargo you haul.

Gooseneck trailers have a tighter turn radius as well. This allows you to cut corners tighter than a bumper pull trailer and lets you maneuver the trailer in tighter spaces. Although, this tight turn radius can be a double-edge sword. It can take a few tries to learn, and if you mess up you can take off the trailer’s fender, to say nothing of damaging street signs and others cars on the road.


A Gooseneck trailer can have its limitations as well, though. One limitation is its size. You won’t be able to haul a Goosneck trailer with anything less than a pickup truck, and unlike bumper pull trailers, several Goosenecks are heavy enough to be classified as commercial. Also, Gooseneck trailers require a special hitching system, installed in the bed of a pickup truck.

Gooseneck trailers are less common than bumper pull trailers, which means most pickup trucks don’t come equipped with a Gooseneck trailer ball in their truck beds. You will need a mechanic (and some additional money) to do this.

Another downside with Gooseneck trailers is the storage of the trailer itself. Since Gooseneck trailers are usually larger than bumper pull trailers, storing one is a little more complicated than storing a bumper pull.


If you are considering purchasing a Gooseneck or a bumper pull trailer, you want to figure out how much trailer need.  If you are transporting livestock, ATVs, etc., you will want to consider getting a Gooseneck. Gooseneck trailers might also be considered if you are planning on camping in your trailer as well, because you will have more living space. On the other hand, a bumper pull trailer fits better with hobby farmers.

Both Goosenecks and bumper pull trailers have their own advantages. Selecting the hitch that’s right for you will give you a better ride and optimize your trailering experience. For more information about Gooseneck and bumper pull trailers, feel free to contact us today!

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