Best Bicycle Cargo Trailers

Updated September 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

27 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
303 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best bicycle cargo trailers

Last Updated September 2020

Bicycling is a great means of transportation for a number of reasons. You get your exercise, you help protect the environment, you save on gas money. One of the biggest limitations bicyclists notice is that they’re restricted in how much cargo they can carry with the bike. Enter the bicycle cargo trailer to solve this problem.

A bicycle cargo trailer is an extremely useful accessory for avid cyclists. With a trailer in tow, you can go on more elaborate camping adventures. You can use your bike to fetch the week’s groceries. Indeed, there are many possibilities.

Before you purchase a bicycle cargo trailer, we urge you to look at the most important factors, from capacity and assembly to features. The tires, hitch, and material with which a cart is made can all impact your user experience. In this guide, we examine these concerns as well as price ranges. For those eager to make a quick purchase, we highlight a number of our favorite bicycle cargo trailers for your consideration.

Strap a compact air pump to your bike or trailer. It takes up little space and can be a lifesaver if you encounter trailer or bike tire problems on the road.

Key considerations

Weight

There are two separate weight considerations when shopping for a bicycle cargo trailer: the weight of the trailer itself and amount of weight the trailer can hold.

Trailer weight: Empty trailers range from under 10 pounds to 40 pounds or more. Bear in mind that you will be physically hauling it with your bike, so the heavier it is, the harder it will be to tow. While less of a concern if you’re riding around town, a heavy trailer could pose more serious concerns on a longer trip. 

Trailer weight capacity: Depending on the model, bicycle cargo trailers can carry anywhere from 60 pounds to over 150 pounds. Think carefully about what you will be towing in your trailer before selecting its capacity.

Size

Bicycle cargo trailers come in a variety of sizes. The larger the trailer, the more bulk you can carry. Two-wheeled cargo trailers tend to fit larger items, as do trailers with an open design — for example, no front or back walls.

Assembly

Some assembly is usually required when a bicycle cargo trailer arrives at your door, but it shouldn’t be too arduous. A new trailer should include instructions for assembling and mounting the trailer to your bike. Hardware should also be included, but before you start, take note of any tools you might need.

Mounting and storage

Most bicycle cargo trailers feature a quick-release hitch so you can attach and unattach the trailer quickly. The majority fold down for easy storage when not in use, although some require a bit more breakdown work.

Ride quality

An important question to ask about a potential purchase is, “How smooth is the ride?” The suspension on these trailers varies considerably, from decent to little at all. Features such as tire size can affect ride quality, but you won’t find trailers with springs or shock absorbers. A trailer with decent suspension provides a smoother and quieter ride over bumps, potholes, gravel, and other rough surfaces. Furthermore, less physical work is required from a cyclist with a smooth-riding trailer.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some bicycle cargo trailers easily convert to a grocery shopping cart complete with a padded handle.

Features

Frame

Frame material can affect a bicycle cargo trailer’s durability, weight, and stability. Steel is commonly used. It holds up over time and is quite durable, but it can add to the overall weight of the trailer. An alloy frame offers the same durability in a lighter form, although you will pay up for it.

If a frame is welded, check the welds when you first receive the trailer to verify that they are solid.

Tires

Tires are typically 16 inches, although some run a bit larger or smaller. The tires should be durable and not prone to leaks. Some include reflectors for added safety around cars, joggers, and other bicyclists.

Hitch

The point where the trailer attaches to the bike is the hitch. As mentioned, a trailer should ship with a hitch and all necessary hardware. Some hitches include an added safety strap to keep the trailer and bike together in the event of a hitch failure.

Cover

While not all trailers come with a cover, some do. A cover can help keep items in the cart while protecting them from dirt, dust, and the elements. The cover should fit the frame, attach securely using straps, buckles, or another method, and offer some level of water resistance. With some trailers, you can choose between several colors.

Kickstand

While not standard, some bicycle cargo trailers include a kickstand. Much like a regular bike, the kickstand can be deployed to keep the bike and trailer upright when not in use. This feature is particularly useful when loading and unloading the trailer.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

To improve the safety of your trailer, attach reflective straps or removable reflectors to it.

Bicycle cargo trailer prices

Inexpensive: For under $100, you will find simple trailers with few features. While generally lightweight, these minimal trailers also have low weight capacities. Trailers at this level are best used for performing chores locally, such as grocery shopping.

Mid-range: In the $125 to $225 range, you will find a larger selection of cargo trailers in one-wheel and two-wheel designs. Some of these feature covers and improved suspension, and a weight capacity of 100 pounds is common. A trailer like this is a solid choice for recreational bicyclists who enjoy shorter trips.

Expensive: For $225 and above, expect to find high-quality trailers capable of carrying more weight. Improved suspension, stability, and handling are common here. These trailers are geared toward serious cyclists who enjoy long bike trips as well as cyclists who want to super-size their cargo-carrying capabilities.

DID YOU KNOW?

Hitches usually mount in one of two ways: at the rear axle of the bike or at the bike’s seat post.

Tips

  • Know how much you plan to carry. If capacity is one of your primary considerations, opt for a trailer with two wheels instead of one.
  • Attach the trailer to your bike before packing it. This helps improve stability. An empty trailer is also easier to attach to a bike than a full one.
  • Avoid placing the bulk of the weight at the back of the trailer. This can add stress to the hitch, resulting in a more difficult towing experience.
  • Note that while a good suspension system adds weight, it also creates a better ride. Some find the smoother ride worth the extra pounds.
While a trailer with smaller tires is easier to store, a trailer with larger tires handles road shocks better and provides a smoother ride.

FAQ

Q. Can bicycle cargo trailers be used to carry children or pets?
A.
No, these cargo trailers are not designed to carry children or pets. Think of a cargo trailer as the trunk of your bike. It should be used solely for cargo, not living beings. Specialized trailers do exist for carrying children and dogs. These products have numerous built-in safety features that cargo trailers do not.
 

Q. Will I need to buy a special hitch to attach the trailer to my bike?
A.
The majority of bicycling cargo trailers ship with a hitch and all hardware to install it. However, there are a couple of issues to bear in mind. First, is the hitch made for a specific brand of bike? Some hitches only fit bikes from a specific manufacturer. If this is the case, contact the seller to find out if a hitch adapter is available for a more universal fit.

Second, will the hitch fit your specific bike configuration? Tire size, non-standard axle or seat posts, and brake configuration can all thwart a hitch mount. Be sure to check a trailer’s listing carefully, or contact the seller, to verify that a hitch will fit your bike.


Q. What’s the difference between a one-wheel and a two-wheel bicycle cargo trailer?
A.
Some bicycle cargo trailers have one wheel; others have two. The type you use affects everything from how you load it to how it operates on the road.

One-wheel trailers tend to have less drag and resistance. This makes them easier to use on winding roads and trails. However, they can also be less stable, so you will need to pack carefully to even out the weight.

Two-wheel trailers typically have a much higher weight capacity and better balance and stability. They are also easier to load and unload. There are a wide range of two-wheel options to choose from. However, these trailers offer less maneuverability on the road.

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The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
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    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer

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