Want to buy a travel trailer but don’t know if you should get one with a single axle or double axle?
Contrary to popular belief, more does not always mean better. Particularly when it comes to axles, it depends on your use and preferences.
If you’re confused about which one would fit your needs, then don’t worry. In this post, I’ll explain what an axle is and the difference between a single and double axle. In addition, we’ll be looking at the various things you should consider when deciding on an axle.
By the time you’re done reading through this post, you will be more familiar with both single and double axle trailers. It may also help you figure out which one suits your needs.
Without wasting any more time, let’s get right into this post.
Table of Contents
What is an Axle?
When braking and steering, axles play a big part. Essentially, it’s a rod onto which the wheels of your vehicle are attached. For example, your car has two axles, one in the front and one at the rear.
Not only does the axle ensure that your wheels are correctly aligned, but it also holds the weight of the vehicle. In simple words, the axles determine the weight/load capacity of your vehicle.
There are multiple types of axles, including:
- Coil springs
- Trailing arm
- Rubber Compression
However, after a little research, you’ll see that spring and torsion axles are most commonly used on travel trailers.
As evident by the name, spring axles are constructed with flat spring stock stacked proportionally to the load. The spring can be placed over the axle or slung under the axle. Usually, the spring is slung under for trailers.
Not only does this lower the ride height, but it also improved the overall stability. The components of a spring axle can easily be detached, making it easier to repair and maintain. They’re also comparatively cheaper than torsion axles.
Instead of the flat steel springs, torsion axles have long rubber cords. These long rubber cords are located inside a square tube and have an inner core piece to which the torsion arms are attached.
The torsion axle doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. Just remember to lubricate the wheel bearings regularly.
Moreover, as torsion axles don’t have metal on metal contact, they don’t produce as much noise as spring axles.
What’s the Difference between Single Axle and Double Axle Trailer?
As the name suggests, single axle trailers have one axle with a wheel on each end. On the other hand, double axle or tandem axle trailers have two axles. These are usually close to each other to help distribute the weight better.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the other differences between the two types of trailers.
Generally, smaller trailers have a single axle. One set of wheels is enough to pull single axle trailers as they’re smaller and weightless.
Single axle trailers are easier to maneuver as they have a smaller length. Plus, you don’t need a huge parking space to park a single axle trailer.
However, as they’re light-weight, they’re not constructed to handle heavy-duty weight.
On the other hand, longer and larger trailers have double axles. As they’re larger, they are also heavier. A double axle is perfect to handle the additional load and length.
As mentioned earlier, single axle travel trailers are smaller and lighter than double axle trailers. As they’re lighter, they’re less resistant to the wind and road, which means you can enjoy a smooth trip.
Moreover, as they’re lighter, you don’t need a heavy-duty truck to tow them. An SUV can easily pull most single-axle travel trailers. This saves you the trouble of getting a whole new vehicle.
Double-axle trailers are more stable on highways and at high speeds. This means they’re less likely to sway as you drive.
Single axle trailers with a Gross Trailer Mass (GTM) below 750Kg aren’t required by the law to have brakes, which brings forth safety questions.
Double axle trailers are a lot safer as they usually carry loads over 750kg, which means they’re required to have brakes.
Even if you do decide to add brakes on your single axle trailer, double axle trailers are still safer as they have brakes on four wheels than on just two wheels.
In addition, getting a flat tire on a single axle trailer is quite dangerous as you only have one other wheel to rely on. While on a double axle, even if you get a flat tire, it’s not as dangerous as you have three other wheels to rely on.
Given the size and weight, single axle trailers are usually cheaper than double axle trailers. You also save up on maintenance as you have fewer bearings, wheels, and brakes to look after. You also save up on fuel costs.
On the other hand, for double axle trailers, your vehicle will require more fuel as you’re carrying a heavier load. You also have more wheels, bearings, and brakes to maintain, which really adds to repair and maintenance costs.
Which is Better: Single Axle vs Double Axle
Now that we’ve taken a look at the difference between a single axle and a double axle, which one is better?
The answer depends on your preferences and requirements. You can ask yourself the following questions to help you figure out what you want:
- How much weight capacity do I want my travel trailer to have?
- How much load can my vehicle pull?
- Will I get a new vehicle to pull the travel trailer?
- How much is my budget?
Once you have the answers to these questions, I suggest you go over the following pros and cons of both single axle and double axle travel trailers to help you come to a decision.
Single Axle Trailers
- Smaller and lighter
- Comparatively cheaper
- Easier to maneuver through tight places
- Don’t take up a lot of parking space
- Lower maintenance costs
- Lower fuel costs
- You don’t need a heavy-duty truck to pull a single axle trailer
- Less resistant to wind and road, which means you can enjoy a smooth trip
- Not constructed to handle heavy loads
- Not very stable at high speeds
- Tend to sway more
- More weight and wear per tire
- Trailers with GTM below 750kg aren’t required to have brakes, which can be a safety risk
Double Axle Trailers
- More stable on highways and high speeds
- Can handle heavy-duty load
- Don’t sway
- Safer as they have brakes on all four wheels
- Less weight and wear per tire
- More costly
- Fuel costs are also high
- Require more maintenances as you have more wheels, bearings, and brakes to deal with
When buying or renting a travel trailer, it’s important to think about if you need a single axle or a double axle trailer. You can’t just say one type is better than the other. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
In the end, it all depends on your preferences and requirements. You need to sit down and think about your requirements. Once you have that down, you won’t have any trouble figuring out which type is best for your road adventure.