When determining what the best dump trailer is for your application – side dump, belly dump, or end dump – it’s important to have an understanding of the engineering behind each. If you’ve been constrained in your operations due to the limitations of your trailer, you might just find that a side dump opens new doors for you.

End Dump Trailers – Classic Design with Stability Challenges

An end dump is what most people picture when they hear the term “dump truck.” As its name implies, an end dump trailer unloads out of its rear, with the “box” lifted into the air. With an end dump, the box has to be raised high enough to unload its cargo, making the unit unstable, especially on uneven ground. End dumps can also become more unstable due to loads shifting, and typically aren’t suitable to haul liquids, since it is challenging to make the rear gate watertight.

Belly Dump/Bottom-Dump Trailers – Stable, but Limited Applications

The belly dump concept has been around since the days of horse-drawn trailers. Today’s models use a “clam shell” type dump gate to dump material straight from the bottom of the box. This enables windrowing – unloading the material in a long line rather than a single pile. Belly dumps also have limitations in the type of materials they haul. Because the axles of the trailer must have clearance above the windrow, bottom-dumps are not suitable for larger pieces that will hang up under the suspension. Belly dumps can’t haul fine material or liquid that will leak out of the bottom gates.

Side Dump Trailers – Greater Stability and Versatility

The side dump trailer concept was born in the early 1990s as a way to eliminate the costly and dangerous tipover issues associated with end dump trailers, as well as solving the challenges of belly dumps. Side dumps, of course, unload their cargo by tilting the trailer to one side, which provides greater stability. Side dump trailers do not require the air in the suspension to be dumped prior to dumping the load. Side dumps are easy to operate from within the cab and can dump on soft and uneven ground safely; there is no need to back up or find a level area to unload.

With a side dump trailer, operators can safely haul and unload a wide variety of materials. From boulders to wet material, the load releases faster and more safely. Plus, side dump trailers allow you to stockpile AND windrow, and do it with a faster dump cycle, enabling more efficiency in your operations.

What Sets SmithCo Side Dump Trailers Apart

When researching your side dump purchase, you’ll find SmithCo’s reputation for innovative trailers and responsive customer service stands out. We listen to needs and concerns from all of our stakeholders, from owners to drivers. We take your insights and design trailers with the latest technology and best quality in the industry, to make the right trailer for you. We’ve got you covered no matter the state regulations you must comply with. If you’re ready to learn more about the most versatile trailer in the market today, give us a call at 800-779-8099 and discover the SmithCo difference.

Compare Side Dump Trailers, End Dump Trailers, and Belly Dump Trailers

Fine Materials Large Materials Semi-Liquid Materials Stockpile Dump Style Windrow Dump Style Dumping Speed Tipover Hazard
Side Dump 30-second cycle Low
End Dump X X >1 minute Moderate
Belly Dump X


X X 30-second cycle Low
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