Tandem Vs. Single Axle Trailer: What Are The Differences?

(Last Updated On: March 14, 2024)

The roles of tandem and single axles in trailers are quite comparable. They aid in wheel rotation and offer support for a trailer’s weight.

Before deciding which type is best for you, you need to consider their peculiarities.

Single axle trailers have one set of wheels joined by an axle, while tandem trailers feature two separate pairs of wheels. Considering the inherent versatility of the single axle and the proven doggedness of the tandem axle, choosing the right option may seem a bit overwhelming. 

Let’s take a closer look at the different highlights of both options.

This article looks at the differences between Tandem and Single axle trailer

Understanding About Tandem And Single Axle Trailer

What Is A Tandem Axle Trailer?

Tandem axle trailer
Tandem axle trailers can haul a heavier load
Credit: alumaklm.com

A tandem axle trailer, also known as a double axle trailer, comes with two sets of axles installed, one in front of the other for more effective weight distribution. 

This double-axle design ensures improved cargo weight dispersal, making tandem trailers capable of handling heavier loads than single axle trailers. 

What Is A Single Axle Trailer?

Single axle trailer
Single axle trailers have more to offer in terms of maneuverability
Credit: alumaklm.com

As the name implies, a single axle trailer features only one axle connecting two wheels. The axle is typically joined to the trailer through the springs or joined directly to the trailer bed. 

Single axle trailers cannot haul a load as a tandem but have more to offer in terms of maneuverability.

Read more: Front Axle Of A Car: Types, Functions, And Replacement

Tandem And Single Axle Trailer Comparison


Whether double or single, axles have the primary function of supporting a trailer’s weight and imposed load. Both types allow the wheel to move while bearing the weight of whatever payload is being transported. 

It’s safe to say that the tandem axle is, more or less, two single axles combined into one.


the differences between tandem and single axle trailer
Find out the differences between tandem and single axle trailer and choose the best suit for yourself


One of the pros of single axle trailers is affordability. Compared to tandem axle trailers designed to fit four tires, single axle trailers are much smaller and fit only two tires. 

Also, it costs more to maintain or repair a tandem axle trailer, as there are more components and parts to inspect and repair. 

However, the optimal weight distribution of a tandem axle reduces the rate at which each tire wears out. This reduces the overall amount you spend on tires over a long period.


Single axle trailers come out on top in the area of maneuverability. They’re smaller and easier to maneuver in small parking/ storage spaces where there’s little wiggle room. Also, you can easily back them into tight corners and spaces without much problem. 

On the other hand, Tandem axle trailers require more effort from the driver for smooth maneuverability. Making sharp turns on the road or backing into tight corners when towing a tandem axle is more complicated.


The optimal balance that characterizes tandem axles makes them relatively safer to drive on roadways. The two tire sets effectively spread out the weight on the trailer and provide more stability. 

This is also why tandem axles can handle more loads than single ones and remain well-balanced. 

Read more: Torsion Axle Vs. Leaf Spring: Which One Is Better?

Tandem Vs. Single Axle Trailer: Pros And Cons

Tandem Axle Trailer

Tandem axle trailers come with two axles installed within proximity. Much like the single axle trailer. This setup has pros and cons that would significantly influence your choice when making the decision regarding which type of trailer would best suit your purpose.


  • They are more stable at high speeds. This makes them perfect for hauling heavy payloads over long distances
  • Weight is more effectively distributed for a more balanced effect
  • Have a much larger weight capacity
  • Tend to have better resale value than single axle trailers
  • An additional tire compensates for a flat tire on a tandem axle trailer. This makes it easier and safer to pull over before further complications.


  • Tandem trailers can be costly, but that’s expected as there are more components than single axle trailers
  • They have a higher running cost. Reduced fuel efficiency means you’ll spend more money on fuel
  • Maneuvering in tight spaces, making sharp turns, and backing into narrow driveways can be a bit complicated.
  • Require more maintenance because of the higher wheels. You have more components (tires, bearings, etc.) to maintain

Single Axle Trailer

Single axle trailers can be identified by the availability of only one pair of wheels on either side of a single axle. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of this setup include.


  • Have less weight than double axle trailers and are more economical to tow
  • Conserve more fuel
  • More affordable than tandem axle trailers
  • Easier to maneuver through tight spots, sharp bends, and narrow driveways
  • Lower cost of maintenance
  • Perfect for towing lightweight loads across short distances


  • Have a much less weight capacity than tandem trailers. This limits the type of load they can safely haul
  • Tires wear more easily as weight is distributed to only two tires
  • Single axles are not required by regulation to braking systems
  • They are less stable than tandem axle trailers at high speed.

Single vs Tandem Axle Trailer Towing Benefits and Drawbacks

Read more: Broken Axle: Signs And Causes


Ultimately, the better option will come down to a number of factors. The most important is your personal needs in a trailer. The type and weight of loads you’re hauling is another thing that should come into play.

The powerhouse qualities of tandem axle trailers make them the optimal choice for hauling heavy loads across great distances. The increased number of axles and wheels improves weight distribution and stability – even at high speeds. While they’re costlier than single axles trailers, they return commensurate value by handling heavier loads and longer hauls.

Single axle trailers are perfect for hauling light payloads across shorter distances and those working with a limited budget. They’re not only comparatively cheap on the initial cost, but they have much lower running and maintenance costs than tandem axle trailers. Although they’re quite easy to steer and maneuver, they are less stable at high speeds.


The bottom line is that choosing between a single and tandem axle trailer comes down to some factors. 

Personal preference, budget, weight limit are some of the essential things to consider before you make a choice. Wondering what the strengths and weaknesses of each type of trailer are? We’ve sufficiently covered that in this article.


Can I turn my single axle trailer into a tandem?

Yes, you can turn your single axle trailer into a tandem trailer. But that would require more extensive work than just adding an extra axle. 

Does a tandem axle trailer need brakes on both axles?

No universal rule dictates that brakes should be added to both. Nonetheless, having brakes on both axles provides better stopping power. 

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