What’s the Difference?
A single axle trailer has one axle with a wheel connected on each end, while a tandem axle has two axles that are in close proximity of each other to help disperse the weight load of the cargo evenly. The single axle is either attached directly on the trailer bed with clamps or supporting hardware or with springs.
Single Axle Trailers
Advantages of a Single Axle Trailer
Single axle trailers are more economical to tow because they weigh less. Because they weigh less, single axles are also easily maneuverable making it easier to park in tight spots. It is easy to maintain because there are fewer tires, bearings and brakes to worry about needing to be replaced. Another advantage is that single axle trailers cost less to buy.
Disadvantages of a Single Axle Trailer
One of the disadvantages of a single axle is that they haul smaller payloads when compared to a tandem axle of the same size. Another is that, in many states, single axle trailers below 750kg GTM are not required to have brakes. Also, because the single axle has one less set of tires, this means it is harder on the tires because more weight is carried per tire.
Tandem Axle Trailers
Advantages of a Tandem Axle Trailer
One advantage is that tandem axle trailers are more stable at highway speeds and usually have much better suspension compared to single axles. Also, tires can be changed without the use of a jack. Overall, tandem axle trailers are safer because they are required to have brakes on four wheels, versus that of two on single axles. Another advantage is, when loaded properly, a tandem axle trailer will bounce less and is less prone to swaying. Compared to the same size single axle trailer, a tandem axle can carry close to triple the payload. In the future if you decide to sell a tandem axle trailer it will be worth much more than a single axle.
Disadvantages of a Tandem Axle Trailer
Tandem axles cost and weigh more than single axle trailers. Because it weighs more, the fuel economy suffers. There is more maintenance involved because there is four wheels instead of two. Towing level is much more important in a tandem axle trailer than a single axle trailer. Tandem axle trailers are often seen being towed tongue up or tongue down. If the tongue is down the front tires are getting extra weigh because the trailer bears down on them. The same applies if the tongue is up but with the back tires.
In the end, your decision will ultimately depend on your personal needs. If you are towing light loads then a single axle trailer will most likely work best for you. But if you are towing heavy loads over long distances then a tandem axle trailer is probably better. Some may be more concerned with safety and in this case the tandem axle trailer will probably work best. No matter your selection, always be sure the trailer has the sufficient payload capacity to haul your loads.