Buying a Tipper Trailer: What you need to know

 In Trailer Tips

Tippers are essential to any construction company to transport and dump materials such as gravel, sand and rubble. Trailers are easier to use and more convenient than dumper trucks. Trailers have ability to make quick trips back and forth to transport and dump the load without attaching and detaching the vehicle.

Here are some things to look out for when buying a tipper trailer.

Tip Type

There are two types of tipper trailers:

  1. Hydraulic tippers are sturdier and used for heavy lifting
  2. Electric tippers are meant for a much lighter load

Hydraulic tippers are useful when the weight is too much for the operator to lift and tilt by themselves. Most hydraulic tippers are remote controlled, making it easy to dump materials.

Trailers are also available as a 1-way tipper or 3-way tipper. Generally speaking, 3-way tippers are more convenient and effective for dumping materials.


If you are buying a tipper trailer, you probably know how heavy the load you intend to carry is. This is referred to as the payload capacity or carrying capacity of the trailer. You need a trailer with a high payload without compromising the tare weight. Most cheap trailers will only have a high payload capacity if they also have a high tare weight, meaning that they use heavy materials to construct their trailers. Read more about payload and tare weight here.

Tare Weight

Tare weight is the weight of the trailer. The lighter the trailer, the better fuel efficiency. A lighter trailer will also be able to be towed by smaller vehicles and will have a lower yearly rego fee. When purchasing a tipper trailer, you want to look for a heavy-duty but light weight trailer. For example, the Variant 3-Way Hydraulic Tipper 3017TB has a tare weight or 880kg and a payload capacity of 2,120kg.


It is important to look for a tipper trailer made with durable materials to withstand harsh use, heavy materials and rough conditions. In particular, the base of the trailer needs to be durable, so it does not scratch when dumping materials. Scratched surfaces can lead to corrosion which is very costly to repair and maintain. Variant has specifically manufactured their trailers with galvanised steel bases and chassis and aluminium sides for durability and longevity.


Most trailer manufactures and dealers use overrun braking on vehicles up to 2 tonnes. However, as an importer of European trailers we have full certification for overrun braking up to 3.5 tonnes.  Overrun braking is a simple yet effective braking system.

Other features

Tipper Trailers should come with a jockey wheel and tie down points as standard features. A Jockey wheel will balance the trailer, even when it is not attached to the vehicle. Tie down points will help to secure your load and gives you peace of mind that your goods are transported safely.

Your trailer is going to get a bit of wear and tare over time. It might be a good idea to consider buying a spare wheel with your trailer, it’s always handy to have one nearby in case of emergency. Buying a spare wheel at the same time as your trailer also ensures that you are purchasing the correct wheel for your trailer. There are a lot of wheels out there and not all will be compatible with your trailer.

A tipper trailer needs to be able to fulfil all the requirements of a job, handle tough conditions and last a long time. It is worth purchasing a high-quality product in the first instance, rather than buying a cheaper alternative and having high maintenance and repair costs in the long term.

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