Going back in time, back to the days when we were in school, you’ll remember science classes and how the teacher went on and on about angles and planes. One topic that made a lot of impact then was the inclined plane, due to its numerous real life applications. If you were paying attention in your physics or math class
, then you’ll perfectly grasp what this is all about, but if you were not, well, here’s another chance to learn or do a quick catching-up with your basic sciences.
The ramp is simply an application of the principles of an inclined plane, in other words, the loading ramp can be said to be an inclined plane. It connects the ground level to an elevated platform in an inclined layout so loads can be moved up or down without exerting as much energy as would have been the case in manually lifting the load.
There are basically three major types of ramps: a wheelchair ramp
, used to get a person in a wheelchair or scooter up the stairs without having to carry the person, a car ramp, which is the heavy-duty version and used to drive vehicles up an inclined plane to a loading bay and finally, the loading ramp, which is kind of a general, all-purpose tool, used mainly to get heavy stuff (lighter than cars, actually) loaded up into a truck or trailer.
If you’re going to races and rallies, riding trails, visiting camp sites, transporting your lawn care equipment or just preparing to move any heavy object, you’re sure going to need the loading ramp to get your stuff on and off the loading platform, which is raised to some distance above the ground, say, to the truck bed
. Of course, you can try to use sheer muscle to lift the loads up into the vehicle’s bed, but when you consider your safety, especially the risk of snapping a spinal disk or some other delicate bone, and the safety of whatever item you’re handling, you’ll come to agree with us that the loading ramp is altogether a worthy investment.
Before investing in a loading ramp, there are certain features that you need to cross off your check list so you don’t end up with equipment that is flimsy, or something that’ll end up spoiling your truck. The features include the design, weight capacity, attachment design, weight, material and, of course, the price point.
With most machinery and equipment, you get what you pay for; simply put, you get more value when you pay more. Manufacturers are aware that people have different needs and budgets, so for items like the loading ramp, there are the high-end types with lots of bells and whistles (and more safety) that are quite expensive, then there’s the mid-range and the low-end types with just the basic requirements to get the hard job done.
Given the major role they play in lifting loads, a good loading ramp can cost anything from $110.00 to around $360.00; sometimes it might even be higher. We featured great products from trusted brands that cover the price range above, so you can make your choice based on your budget and what you need the loading ramp for. Although there are loads of cheap loading ramps out there, your safety is our major concern, so we decided to stick to only the best, as the cheap ones are usually poorly made and may pose a security hazard to the user.
Most loading ramps are good for loading different types of outdoor machinery, off-track vehicles and assorted bikes, provided they don’t go above the weight limit. Here are some features you’ll need to bear in mind when shopping for the right loading ramp:
- Type and Design of the Loading Ramp
- Material and Weight
- Load Capacity
- Attachment Design
Construction and Design
Loading ramps come in two major design styles; there is the tri-folding connector style and the one that comes as a set of two individual tire ramps. The tri-folding style folds width-wise and is often shorter (given the fact that it doesn’t fold lengthwise, usually) than the set-of-two style. The set of two individual loading ramps, on the other hand, has a shallow incline that makes it easier to transport a load across its surface. You might also require just one of the set if you’re loading up, say, a slim-wheeled pallet truck loader that won’t require the two sets.
Both design styles are good, and your choice boils down ultimately to preference.
When it comes to heavy-duty equipment designed to bear heavy weight, a sturdy and rust-resistant material is required for durable functionality. In the case of a loading ramp, the construction can be of either heavy-duty steel or aluminum, with the aluminum loading ramps being more commonly used because they’re usually somewhat cheaper than their steel counterparts.
When you talk about longevity and ability to withstand wear and tear, both materials perform excellently, although the steel loading ramp will outlast and outshine an aluminum loading ramp, with its rust-proof character, as opposed to the rust-resistant nature of aluminum.
When considering the durability of the construction material, however, you should note that the material also affects the weight of the loading ramp. That said, an aluminum ramp is far lighter than one made of steel, so if weight is an issue for you, you’d better consider this factor.
If you’ll be lugging the ramp all over the place when you’re on the job or on road trips, it would be good to consider the lighter aluminum loading ramp, but if you’ll be needing the equipment only occasionally, then you can go for the steel one.
Performance and Ease of Use
To ensure you get the best out of your loading ramp, make sure you check the maximum weight capacity. One sure way to get your loading ramp on a downward slide is to exceed the stated maximum load capacity. Most loading ramps have a load capacity of 1500 pounds, while a few others can hold up to 6000 pounds. If you need to lift heavier equipment or gear, then you’ll have to get a heavy-duty loading ramp designed to accommodate such loads.
Another important feature that plays a key role in the performance of the loading ramp is the storage ability. Most of them come in a folding design that allows you to store them away compactly, thereby maximizing space usage. If you do not have enough storage room, then these types will be perfect for you. The folding design also makes it a lot easier to carry the ramp from one place to another, thus improving mobility.
You might also want to check the type of attachment point where the loading ramp attaches to the loading platform. Some come with rope attachments, which you need to loop through pre-drilled holes on the loading platform and tie off securely, while others come with a hinge system that hooks right onto the platform.
The hinge attachment is usually more reliable than the rope type, and is recommended if you’ll be lifting really heavy equipment.
For a smooth transition from the loading ramp to the loading platform, some loading ramps feature overlapping lips that protect delicate gears and equipment from unnecessary bumps.
And to protect your truck’s tailgate, some brands outfit their loading ramps with rubber fingers or bearings underneath to cushion the effects of loads as they move up the ramp’s surface. They also prevent the ramp from rubbing directly against your tailgate and scratching the surface, or even denting it.
A great loading ramp should be sturdy enough to hold the weight loaded on it without caving. Now that you’ve gone through our buying guide, we assume that you’ve gleaned enough relevant information to aid your search. We have five great loading ramps in our review section, so please go and take a careful look at them.
We are glad to be of help to you in selecting the loading ramp that best suits your needs. Go ahead now and place your order for the one you’ve chosen.