It’s the moving struggle — that extremely heavy antique dresser that Aunt Sally insisted you take is sitting out in the driveway. The problem is exactly that; the dresser is sitting on the driveway and not in the back of the moving truck rental you picked up earlier that day. And it’s just one of the numerous heavy items you have just pulled out of your 4 bedroom house for a cross-country move. How are you supposed to get that 300-pound priceless piece of furniture, and everything else into the truck? Well, there are a few options.

  • Help lifting it in from a friend
  • Liftgate
  • Built-in loading ramp

I don’t really suggest option #1, because- let’s face it- who wants to risk injury or breaking the antique dresser by lifting something so heavy even a few feet in the air? Options #2 and #3 are your best bets, but they are two different options for a reason. If it was my decision, I’d choose option #3, the built in loading ramp. But what would you choose?

They both get the job done, so that’s not the issue. What it really comes down to is a few different items: convenience, safety and last but not least, operability.

A moving truck with a ramp can be better than a moving truck with a liftgate in your Next DIY move.

A moving truck with a ramp can be better than a moving truck with a liftgate in your Next DIY move. Images via Alin S Living With Autism and misterbisson Flickr/Creative Commons Remix Licensing

Convenience

When doing your DIY move, you’ll more than likely be moving from your house and not a loading dock. Liftgates are normally found on vehicles that have deck heights of four to five feet in the air, this is because these vehicles deck heights are designed to be used in conjunction with a commercial loading dock — not for your residential move. A loading ramp can be deployed anywhere. And some ramps have a very small angle of incline, so you can walk up it with ease.

Loading RampMoving truck ramp

    • Available on most rental trucks
    • Made of lightweight aluminum, easy to handle
    • Quicker to deploy/pack-up
    • Fast loading times due to stationary nature of the ramp — you only have to touch it twice in the whole loading procedure

Liftgate

    • Lift/drop delay. A liftgate must be raised every time you want to go up, and lowered every time you want to go down. Hence the phrases “gate up” and “gate down”
    • Requires you to put items down on the gate every time you go up to operate the switch
    • Constructed of heavy steel that can be intimidating
    •  Have to unfold the liftgate in order to even begin
    • Requires that you operate the gate from ground level and some you can operate from the box, however you still need to climb down and up to load and unload.

Safety

Loading ramps, like the ones found on U-Haul rental trucks,  provide a convenient easy load option, combined with a furniture dolly, Appliance Dolly or utility dolly.  A ramp makes the loading and unloading of a truck much quicker.

Loading Ramp

    • Well-designed sidewalls so you can’t run over the edge. This also helps guide the dolly up and down the ramp.
    • Helps reduce injury to yourself due to improper lifting
    • No moving parts

Liftgate

    • Can be dangerous to operate if not trained
    • Hydraulic moving parts
    • Multiple pinch points and opportunities for accidents
    • Some liftgates require the engine to be running during operation.

Operability

Using a liftgate for the first time can be a daunting task. Sure, after some time and experience it’s easy — but who has the time for practice when they’re trying to move?

Loading Ramp

Moving truck ramp

    • Simple to use and anyone can do it
    • One person can bring up a large item on a dolly, like a large box, without much effort
    • Moving your household up a ramp vs using a lift gate will save you hours of work.

Liftgate

    • Moving Truck Lift GateUsually only found on trucks with high decks, which means everything has to go up on the liftgate
    • Has multiple moving parts that can break down
    • Can drain the battery of the truck,  and may require that the engine be running.
    • Items on wheels can roll off if not secured.

Do you have any experience with a liftgate and a moving ramp? Which one did you prefer? Let us know in the comments below.

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7 Responses to Moving Trucks: Ramp vs. Liftgate

  1. leo says:

    lift gate because you can put alot more on and it does all the lifting / inclines for you

  2. Anthony says:

    Thanks, A very useful information .

  3. Anthony says:

    Thanks,A very useful information.

  4. zach says:

    pallets are hard to move up and down a ramp

  5. Sue says:

    I have done far more moving than any normal person would do in a lifetime. The question of ramp or lift-gate comes down to – It depends upon the size of the move (i.e. how much you are moving), how many people are going to be loading/unloading, and the weight of the stuff being moved. With several helpers and dollies a ramp is 100% the way to go. Even big bulky awkward items can be handled on a ramp with enough hands. But if there are only a couple of you (or worse, you’re on your own} then a lift gate is EXACTLY what you need. Anything bulky on a ramp – like a refrigerator is am accident waiting to happen – with potential damage to you, the fridge, the truck, the house (I speak from experience not opinion – LOL), Plus the gate-up/down time is not much different than walking the ramp and it is a welcome 30 second break. Just be sure the truck has adequate battery power & you can reach the controls while riding the ramp up & down with your load. Hope that helps!

  6. Durante says:

    Do you know anyone that can install a use lift gate on a Isuzu box truck?

    • Paige E Paige E says:

      Hi Durante. Thanks for your comment; unfortunately, I don’t know of anyone that can install a lift gate on your box truck.

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