20 Different Types of Trucks You May Not Know!

Trucks are some of the strongest vehicles in existence because they are built for moving the heaviest things ever built or ever born.

Whether it’s livestock, boats, machinery, equipment, or produce, if it has to go by road, it’s going by truck. Trucks are even made to transport entire hauls of hard drives between Amazon Headquarters because it’s faster that way to transport data.

So, whatever you may think of them, there’s still a certain novelty and objective usefulness in driving trucks.

Types of Trucks

List of Different Types of Trucks:

  • Pickup Truck
  • Australian Road Train
  • Boat Haulage
  • Car Transporter/Car Carrier Trailer
  • Concrete Mixer
  • Chiller Trucks/Reefers
  • Mobile Cranes
  • Fire Truck
  • Tow Truck
  • Flat-bed Trailer
  • Furniture Truck
  • Highway Maintenance Trucks
  • Livestock Trucks
  • Logging Trucks
  • Snow Plows
  • Tankers
  • Dump truck
  • Trailer Trucks
  • Box Truck
types of trucks

Pickup Truck

A pickup truck or pickup is a light-duty truck that has an enclosed cabin and an open cargo area with low sides and a tailgate. In Australia and New Zealand, both pickups and coupé utilities are called utes, short for utility vehicles.

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Once a work or farming tool with few creature comforts, in the 1950s U.S. consumers began purchasing pickups for lifestyle reasons, and by the 1990s, less than 15% of owners reported use in work as the pickup truck’s primary purpose.

In North America, the pickup is mostly used as a passenger car and accounts for about 18% of total vehicles sold in the United States. Full-sized pickups and SUVs are an important source of revenue for major car manufacturers such as GM, Ford, and Stellantis, accounting for more than two-thirds of their global pretax earnings, though they make up just 16% of North American vehicle production.

These vehicles have a high-profit margin and a high price tag, with 40% of Ford F-150s selling for US$40,000 or more.

Australian Road Train

A road train, land train or long combination vehicle (LCV) is a trucking vehicle used to move road freight more efficiently than semi-trailer trucks. It consists of two or more trailers or semi-trailers hauled by a prime mover. Long combination vehicles are combinations of multiple trailers on tractor trucks as compared to standard 5 axle semi-trailer trucks with one trailer.

The longest road train ever is a truck pulling 112 trailers.  That’s long for a train, never mind a truck. Road trains aren’t used much except in Australia where the road from coast to coast is straight as an arrow which makes it possible to haul more than 3 trailers.

Boat Haulage

There are small boats and large boats out there. And while an SUV or a large car can carry the small ones, the heaviest and the most prestigious ones can only be transported by small trucks or a specialized low loader named boat haulage. It is specially designed to hold the massive weight of a boat and primed for stability, not speed.

The average cost of a long haul can vary depending on the boat, but it usually varies between $600 and $1000. For small distances, it’s not uncommon to pay around $150 to $350.

Car Transporter/Car Carrier Trailer

This is a single-decker enclosed or double-decker open car carrier that has multiple spaces designed to hold cars in place during a long transit. They can be open or closed, with in-built ramps for loading and unloading the vehicles.

These are usually used to ship cars from their manufacturers to dealerships. These are different from flatbed trucks in that they aren’t equipped with loaders or winches. Instead, they rely on the vehicles to be loaded under their own power.

Concrete Mixer

A concrete mixer (often colloquially called a cement mixer) is a device that homogeneously combines cement, aggregate such as sand or gravel, and water to form concrete. A typical concrete mixer uses a revolving drum to mix the components.

For smaller volume works, portable concrete mixers are often used so that the concrete can be made at the construction site, giving the workers ample time to use the concrete before it hardens. An alternative to a machine is mixing concrete by hand. This is usually done in a wheelbarrow; however, several companies have recently begun to sell modified tarps for this purpose.

The concrete mixer was invented by Columbus, Ohio industrialist Gebhardt Jaeger.

Chiller Trucks/Reefers

A refrigerator truck or chiller lorry is a van or truck designed to carry perishable freight at low temperatures. Most long-distance refrigerated transport by truck is done in articulated trucks pulling refrigerated semi-trailers.

The first successful mechanically refrigerated trucks were introduced by the ice cream industry in about 1925. There were around 4 million refrigerated road vehicles in use in 2010 worldwide.

Like refrigerator cars, refrigerated trucks differ from simple insulated and ventilated vans (commonly used for transporting fruit), neither of which are fitted with cooling apparatus.

Refrigerator trucks can be ice-cooled, equipped with any one of a variety of mechanical refrigeration systems powered by small displacement diesel engines, or utilize carbon dioxide (either as dry ice or in liquid form) as a cooling agent.

They are often equipped with small “vent doors” at the rear and front of the trailer. The purpose of these doors is to be kept open while hauling non-refrigerated cargo (often “backhaul”), so as to air out the trailer.

Mobile Cranes

A mobile crane is a cable-controlled crane mounted on crawlers or rubber-tired carriers or a hydraulic-powered crane with a telescoping boom mounted on truck-type carriers or as self-propelled models.  They are designed to easily transport to a site and use with different types of loads and cargo with little or no setup or assembly.

Mobile cranes generally operate a boom from the end of which a hook is suspended by wire rope and sheaves. The wire ropes are operated by whatever prime movers the designers have available, operating through a variety of transmissions.

Steam engines, electric motors, and internal combustion engines (IC) have all been used. Older cranes’ transmissions tended to clutch. This was later modified when using IC engines to match the steam engines’ “max torque at zero speed” characteristic by the addition of a hydrokinetic element culminating in controlled torque converters.

The operational advantages of this arrangement can now be achieved by electronic control of hydrostatic drives, which for size and other considerations is becoming standard. Some examples of this type of crane can be converted to a demolition crane by adding a demolition ball, or to an earthmover by adding a clamshell bucket or a dragline and scoop, although design details can limit their effectiveness.

Fire Truck

A fire truck is built to carry the equipment needed to put out a fire at its source. It is usually fitted with hoses and sirens, and enough cargo space to house a crew of firemen. It is fitted with automated lifting ladders and breathing apparatuses such as masks and oxygen containers. This is kept alongside uniforms and protective clothing that the firefighters need to perform their job effectively.

It also has first aid kits and walkie-talkies or two-way radios so that the firemen can communicate with the proper authorities to take swift action. The fire truck can also house water and pumps to fight the fire while there are options to connect the hose in place with a fire hydrant at the scene of the fire.

Tow Truck

A tow truck or a breakdown lorry or a recovery vehicle is a truck that is used to move a vehicle that is being impounded, wrongly parked, disabled, or indisposed in any other way. The truck may be brought in when a law is being broken, or an accident has occurred, or when infrastructure has been damaged, and a vehicle has to be extracted from the situation.

It is very different from a car trailer carrier in that it doesn’t move vehicles for the purpose of basic transportation; it just moves them from places that put them in danger or making them the danger.

Tow trucks were first invented in 1916 in Tennessee when a car was pulled out of a creek by six men using ropes. Adjustable booms are now used to recover vehicles from ditches and similar situations.

types of trucks

Flat-bed Trailer

A flatbed truck or a flatbed lorry is a completely flat level bad that has no sides or roof. It allows for the loading and unloading of goods and is used to transport very heavy loads that aren’t in need of proper or delicate handling. It is not used for goods that can be damaged due to rain and for abnormally large loads that require huge spaces.

The bed of the trailer is literally that, completely flat. And since that is the case, the loads are tied down to the surface with ropes. The truck is often equipped with hooks so that tying down is much easier than simply tying tight knots. Improperly fastened loads can slide off during transport which is why flatbed trucks are becoming less and less popular as of late. They have become a dying breed of once proud trucks.

Furniture Truck

Furniture trucks are built to load and unload furniture. They are used to move houses and to move huge hauls of furniture from manufacturers to dealerships. The furniture trucks aren’t particularly sturdy or strong, but they serve a vital purpose. They are equipped with a ramp or a lift gate if required. The drivers help as much with the lifting as they do the driving.

Highway Maintenance Trucks

Highway repair trucks or highway maintenance trucks are equipped with very special features that allow a single person to stand on the back and place cones on the highway. This allows for specific strips of the highway to be isolated for repairs to be carried out.

The trucks also have a retractable crash barrier and high-intensity lighting so that work can be done in the dark. The truck is also equipped with all sorts of tools and cargo space so that the appropriate materials can be hauled over for repair.

Livestock Trucks

Livestock trucks are used to transport animals to and from farms. It is a vehicle that is built specially to hold on to livestock and to hold them in place. Some are even fitted with special equipment so that they stay in place and are well fed.

The trucks are usually open slightly from the back or the top so that the livestock can get daylight and air and not be confined into a small space. This often makes them restless. While not the strongest trucks, they are some of the sturdiest since they need to transport heavy animals.

Logging Trucks

A timber lorry or logging truck is used to carry large amounts of timber between far off destinations. They have integrated flatbeds or discrete tractor units so that they are configured to spread loads between tractor units and a dollied trailer.

The first one was built in 1913 to carry logs that were cut down near river beds to the city or to nearby towns. Due to the beginning of World War I, the timber industry faced huge amounts of demand, and more and more logging trucks were built to serve that demand more efficiently.

Snow Plows

Snow plows are used for one purpose, and that is to plow through the snow that has accumulated on the roads in order to provide a clear passage for cars. It is used to remove snow and ice from outdoor surfaces which are serving transport purposes. This term is used to refer to vehicles that mount devices to plow through the snow but aren’t directly built for it. They are categorized as winter support vehicles as well.

Smaller snowplows are used for sidewalks or footpaths, and underbody scrapers are mounted on vehicles in urban centers for nearly the same job as snowplows

The snowplow was first used in the 1840s and was pulled by horses. The first mechanically run plow was built in 1913 and was designed to meet the requirements of New York city streets.

Tankers

A tanker is often used to transport liquid or liquefied material. This can be in the form of oil, gasoline, water, liquid chemicals or fertilizers and pesticides. The containers are often insulated, pressurized and designed for single or multiple loads. The tankers are very difficult to drive because they have a high center of gravity. They can be extremely dangerous as well because of the spillable cargo they carry.

Tipper Trucks

A dump truck, known also as a dumping truck, dump trailer, dumper trailer, dump lorry or dumper lorry or a dumper for short, is used for transporting materials (such as dirt, gravel, or demolition waste) for construction as well as coal.

A typical dump truck is equipped with an open-box bed, which is hinged at the rear and equipped with hydraulic rams to lift the front, allowing the material in the bed to be deposited (“dumped”) on the ground behind the truck at the site of delivery.

In the UK, Australia, South Africa and India the term applies to off-road construction plants only and the road vehicle is known as a tip lorry, tipper lorry (UK, India), tipper truck, tip truck, tip trailer or tipper trailer or simply a tipper

Trailer Trucks

A full trailer is a term that is used in the US for a freight trailer that is supported by the front and rear axles that are pulled by a drawbar. The same vehicle is known in Europe as an A-frame drawbar trailer. It is nearly two and a half meters in width and almost 35 to 40 feet in length.

Freight trailers are used to move heavy supplies long distances. They can be used to move furniture and supplies, or they can be used to move huge shipments of raw material. There are entire companies built on freight movements and make a lot of money moving large volumes hundreds of miles away. Expect to be charged $2000 or more for moving house through a freight trailer.

Box Truck

A box truck also known as a box van, cube van, bob truck or cube truck—is a chassis cab truck with an enclosed cuboid-shaped cargo area. On most box trucks, the cabin is separate to the cargo area, however some box trucks have a door between the cabin and the cargo area.

The difference between a box truck and a van is that the cargo van is a one-piece (unibody), while a box truck is created by adding a cargo box to a chassis cab.

Box trucks are typically 10–26 ft (3.0–7.9 m) in length and can range from Class 3 to Class 7 (12,500 lb. to 33,000 lb. gross vehicle weight rating). They often have a garage door-like rear door that rolls up. They are often used by companies transporting home appliances or furniture, or are used as moving trucks which can be rented by individuals.