Flatbed vs. Regular Bed On A Truck | Which Is Better?

Flatbed advantages

Easy to load

Because a flatbed doesn’t have any bed sides like a traditional bed would, it is much easier to load stuff on to, as well as unload.

Forklift, tractor, you name it, if the pickup can handle the payload, the flatbed will certainly “take” it better.

With a winch it’s even more so. You’ll load things like ATVs, lawnmowers like no tomorrow. Not to mention all the more real estate you’ll have back there.

Stake pockets!

Stake pockets are an amazing addition on flatbeds that have them. Not to say they don’t exist on standard beds, but they offer a lot less variety there.

First of all, the stake pockets can be used as tie down points. Hook in a ratchet strap and secure a much more serious load, as the holes are nothing but quality metal.

Or you can buy special tie downs of D-ring kind that utilize those same stake holes; again, versatility on top of versatility.

The main lack of a flatbed, in my opinion, are bed sides. Fret no more, as you can get something along those lines by using the same stake pockets.

The video below shows a guy do it all by himself:

The cool thing about these bed sides is that you can get or make them any length you want, suiting you perfectly depending on what kind of loads you deal with.

You can also get the kind that folds too, making it easy to essentially get the rails out of the way whenever you need to. Try doing that on a standard bed.

Ultimate gooseneck tower

It’s no secret that the best trucks for towing a gooseneck trailer come with a flatbed.

Why? Well, no bed rails means there is more clearance, and more clearance means better peace of mind when going just about anywhere with a big trailer in the back.

Weighs more?

A flatbed can weigh more, and I mean much more, than a standard bed.

While this is more of a disadvantage than anything, in some cases it may be useful, such as when plowing snow. You wouldn’t need to put nowhere near as much weight back there to get a proper plow going.

Regular bed advantages

Factory bed rails

The main difference between a flatbed and standard bed, is of course, the bed rails, as well as tailgate. In my mind, these are the key things which make truck a truck.

Most of the things stay in place in a bed like that, even more so if you have a quality liner installed. Need something to cover the bed? A camper shell or tonneau cover is at your disposal.

The tailgate can be opened and closed as many times as you like, and even used as structural support depending on what you’re hauling, such as a cooler propped by the tailgate.

In a flatbed, anything you put back there has to be secured one way or the other.

Weighs less

This is an important point to realize, particularly so if you think of installing a flatbed on a small truck, like a 1/2 ton.

Leaving the factory bed be will allow you to haul, bumper pull or what have you, much more than with a flatbed.

Easier back up

A flatbed is a bulky, big addition to an already not small vehicle to begin with. It adds many more inches to all the corners of the pickup’s bed, making it even harder to back up into places.

Not to mention, most likely than not the rear window will get rather clogged up with all the safety bars a flatbed comes with.

A truck with a regular bed does not have any of these issues, though things could get dicey if you put a camper shell on.

What’s my take on this

If you’re not some kind of farm person or heavy duty commercial worker, I don’t see much reason to get a flatbed.

Getting rid of the standard bed just kind of ruins the whole purpose of a pickup truck that is a daily driver, I think.

Especially if you don’t have a big truck to begin with. Not to say you can’t go flatbed with an F-150, but it’ll look weird and you won’t do much with it.

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One Comment

  1. It was informative when you mentioned that one of the benefits of flatbed trucks is that it is easier to load and unload things. In addition to that, I would imagine that one of the benefits of flatbed trucks is that you can install bodies on top of them. Having an additional body on the back of your truck that you can remove and add whenever you need seems like it would be really helpful.

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