What Features To Look For In An
To determine what to look for in an ATV trailer, it’s first important to understand what differentiates an ATV trailer from other small trailers.
Unlike a garden/compact tractor, ATVs can travel fast, really fast, and with speed comes the need for a stable trailer with wheels and an axle that can take a beating.
Finding the most suitable trailer isn’t always a straightforward task. The trailer selection in the UK is extensive, and it’s not always easy to differentiate a dedicated ATV trailer from a garden trailer.
‘Garden trailer’ is a generic term for any trailer not specifically designed for ATV use. These trailers are most often towed by lawn mowers, garden tractors and compact tractors.
An ATV trailer will typically have large flotation wheels, heavy duty roller bearings, and 4-stud wheel hubs. In comparison, a garden trailer will have smaller wheels and bearings, with the wheels secured with a large washer and split-pin.
Whilst there’s nothing wrong with an ATV towing a garden trailer, you have to drive more slowly than with a specialised trailer.
A good way to show the difference is by comparing similar trailers. Below are a selection of our favorites.
Here we have the SCH QPTP Plastic Bodied Trailer. The flotation wheels are similar in size to large ATV wheels, and have a huge surface area. This helps cushion the trailer when it’s bouncing over rough ground.
Pictured: SCH PTP 500kg Plastic Bodied Trailer
These large 4-stud wheel hubs feature solid steel 40mm x 40mm fixed-axle stubs, which are welded securely to the chassis.
If we compare this to the SCH PTP Plastic Bodied Trailer, you can see that the smaller wheels are mounted on a solid 1” axle, with a large washer and a split pin holding everything in place.
Pictured: SCH GPATV 750kg General Purpose ATV Trailer
This setup is strong enough for the majority of tasks, and with sensible use will last many years, however it pales in comparison to the QPTP when it comes to off-road and high-speed capabilities.
The plastic body and chassis are identical in both models, which gives you a good sense of the difference in wheel size. It is also a testament to the build quality of the garden trailer, as the chassis is just as robust. The smaller wheels allow you to save money if you’re a leisurely driver on a budget.
Another eye opening comparison is the SCH GPATV ATV Trailer compared to the SCH GWTS15 Tipping Trailer.
The GPATV features the same gigantic wheels and bearing hubs as the QPTP above. They are mounted an impressive 1.85m apart, and the location of the trailer base gives a very low center of gravity.
Pictured: SCH GWTS15 760kg Two-Wheel Timber Tipping Trailer
The GWTS15’s moderately sized wheels are just 0.915m apart, and the trailer’s body height is twice as high.
Granted, the GWTS15’s inboard wheels allow the sides to drop down, and give the trailer sufficient height to tip backwards. However the ‘side-effects’ of these features are why it’s classified as a garden trailer, instead of being ATV specific.
Pictured: Quad-X 1000L Dump Trailer
This review is in no way belittling the GWTS15, as its purpose and use is different, however, the GPATV will dominate in stability at speed.
Lastly we will analyse a product from the manufacturer aptly named Quad-X. The 1000L Dump Trailer is their flagship model, and has interesting features worth discussing.
The first thing you notice are the four knobby flotation wheels, which are similarly mounted on 4-stub roller-bearing hubs. These are mounted on a pivot bogie suspension, to allow each side’s two wheels to pivot on a central axle. This axle is located directly between the two wheels, and gives either side the ability to pivot independently.
The suspension system comes into its own when travelling over terrain such as ditches or banks, and is an impressive feat to watch.
As standard, the powerful hydraulic lift can be raised by hydraulics linked to a compact tractor. This wouldn’t be suitable for a Quad, and therefore options to attach an electric power pack or a cost-saving manual pump have been included.
The Quad-X 1000L is one of the largest and most advanced dump trailers designed for an ATV. As you progress to larger tiers of trailer you encounter tractor-only hydraulic systems, and trailer weights unhealthy for an ATV to tow.
If you’re looking for a trailer that has to fit through narrow gaps, or a trailer that won’t be pulled at speed over rough terrain, a garden trailer with a ball hitch option will likely meet all of your requirements.
A good (but not foolproof) test to see if a trailer has been designed specifically for ATV use, is to see whether it comes with a 50mm ball hitch as standard. A garden trailer will have a clevis hitch the majority of the time. Fortunately, most British manufacturers offer a choice of hitch types.
There exists a huge variety of small trailers, and although ATV trailers excel in stability and speed, a garden trailer shouldn’t be dismissed if it better meets your requirements.
To view a wide range of robust trailers designed for ATVs, compact tractors, ride-on mowers and more, please click here.