Loading Ramp Buying Guide

There are several things to consider when selecting the loading ramp that best fits your needs.  Below we've outlined the main factors and options to consider.

Model Comparison

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Non-Swivel
 
Swivel
 
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High-Capacity Swivel
Hide-A-Ramp
 

Handling

Storage

Weight Capacity (lb.)

Widths Available (in.)

Lengths Available (in.)

Non-swivel (fixed),

Spring assist deployment

Folded (bi- or tri-fold),

Inside rear or side door in cargo area

880 lb. standard,

1,300 lb. special order

24", 31", 39", 47"

Unique widths can be special ordered

78", 98", 108", 128"

Third section can be added for more length

Swivel,

Spring assist deplymen

Folded (bi- or tri-fold),

Inside rear doors in cargo area

1,500 lb. standard

31", 37", 47"

Unique widths can be special ordered

78", 98", 108", 126"

Third section can be added for more length

Swivel,

Spring assist deployment

Folded (bi- or tri-fold),

Inside rear doors in cargo area

2,200 - 3,300 lb. standard

47" or 54"

Unique widths can be special ordered

98", 108", 128"

Third section can be added for more length

Non-swivel (fixed), Manual deployment

Flat,

Beneath sub-frame floor in cargo area

2,500 lb. standard

48"

120"

 
 

Vehicle Fit

Features such as ramp length, width, and swivel type may be impacted by your vehicle specs and cargo area layout. The first steps is to identify your van's make/model and roof height to understand the size of ramp that will best fit your vehicle.  For example, a Ford Transit Low Roof van will be limited to a maximum ramp length of 78" for a 2-section ramp and 116" for a 3-section ramp because the ramp's stored height must be less than the van's roof height. 

On each ramp series page, you'll find a Ramp Specs section outlining the width, length and stored height of each ramp model.  You'll also find a Vehicle Fit section with fit guide charts and photo galleries for each compatible van make/model.

Non-Swivel vs. Swivel

Non-swivel models are the lowest cost, easiest install and simplest operation option.  They are permanently installed just inside the rear doors of the van, and the ramp must be deployed in order to access the van's cargo space (i.e., they do not "swivel" out of the way).  An optional removeable kit can be purchased that allows for the ramp to be removed from the vehicle and stored elsewhere, or shared between two vehicles as long as both vehicles are equipped with mounting hardware.

Swivel models allow for quick and easy access to the cargo area of your van without having to deploy the ramp (i.e., they "swivel" out of the way like a second door).  Our customers love the standard external swivel feature not only for quick access, but also for the ability to load a standard 40x48 pallet into the cargo space with a forklift.  An optional internal lock kit can be purchased that allows the ramp to swivel internally for storage against the wheel well. The swivel feature is available in our standard capacity series and high-capacity series ramps.  

 

Swivel Type

On swivel loading ramps, left-hand (LH) swivel is standard, meaning the ramp pivots on the driver's of the vehicle.

Right-hand (RH) swivel can be special ordered, and is stocked in certain sizes.  If RH is right for you, please inquire.  Reasons to use RH include having an air conditioning unit near the rear driver's side wheel well on Ford Transit, and vehicle build-outs with shelving on the driver's side for the cargo space.

On occasion, customers have shelving units on both sides of the vehicle.  For these layouts, a "center shift" install can be accomplished with a special mounting kit.  If this is right for you, please inquire.

 

Weight Capacity

The stated weight capacities of our ramps are calculated as the "useable rating", meaning you can confidently move cargo weighing up to the stated max capacity of the ramp without fear of overloading.  Weight capacities of each ramp series are as follows:

  • Non-swivel models have either an 880 lb. or 1,300 lb. capacity.  Smaller ramp sizes are stocked in 880 lb. capacity, and larger ramp sizes in 1,300 lb. capacity.  Unique weight capacities can be special ordered.

  • Swivel models have a capacity of 1,500 lb. 

  • High-capacity swivel models come in 2,200 lb. or 3,300 lb. capacity.

 
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Surface Texture

Non-swivel and Swivel ramp models are stocked in two surface options: solid and perforated. The solid surface features raised lines that run left to right to provide traction assistance. The perforated surface features 3/4" stamped holes that are non-deburred, which provides superior traction.  We recommend the perforated surface in wet, icy or muddy environments.  However, the 3/4" stamped holes can be a problem when loading items with small casters/wheels.  Equipment with wheels 3" or larger are best for perforated surface ramps. 

High-capacity swivel ramps are stocked with a solid surface that features "five bar diamond plate" that's been shot blasted to provide a rough texture and superior traction.  

 

Ramp Width (side rail clearance)

Width clearance considerations:

  • Non-swivel and Swivel ramp models have a 2" high side rail on either side of the ramp deck to keep cargo safely on the ramp.  

  • High-capacity swivel ramps have a 1/4" high side rail on either side of the ramp deck.  The low side rail height is intentional and helps when loading large machines, particularly those with low clearances.  

  • Stated ramp widths are the "free and clear" width measurements between side rails that loads must fit within.  Loads that exceed the stated width and will hang over the side rails will not be able to clear the transition point into the van due to the ramp's spring assist and locking mechanisms, as shown in the photos at right.

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Citrus Fruits

Ramp Length (load angle clearance)

  • Non-swivel ramps are stocked in 78", 98", 108" and 128" lengths.  A third piece can be added to select models to create a tri-fold, 3-section ramp.

  • Swivel ramps are stocked in 78", 98" 108" and 126" lengths.  A third piece can be added to select models to create a tri-fold, 3-section ramp.

  • High-capacity swivel ramps are stocked in 98", 108" and 128" lengths.

Load angle clearance considerations:

  • Load angle refers to how steep the pitch of the ramp is when deployed, and load angle is affected by each vehicles ride height and the ramp's length. Equipment that is particularly heavy, long or low to the ground will require a lower load angle to easily move up and down the ramp and clear the transition point from the ramp to vehicle floor. Consider your vehicle's ride height, your equipment's specs, and corresponding load angle needs when comparing ramp length options.  

  • Vehicles with a higher ride height will benefit from a longer ramp length, as it will provide a lower load angle and make it easier to move large equipment up and down the ramp.  Vehicles with a lower ride height can often make due with a shorter ramp.  

  • For specialized equipment/machines with especially low clearances, we can calculate load angle requirements and recommend compatible ramp models using your equipment's specifications.  Please inquire if this is relevant for you.  

  • In a low roof van, a two-section ramp may provide for a relatively short and steep load angle.  In many instances, we supply a three-section ramp which can significantly reduce the load angle.  In vehicles with a higher roof height, it's possible to achieve the same/similar load angle with a two-section as a three-section in a low roof van.  {CUT OR MOVE}

  • In high-capacity loading ramps, to achieve a lower load angle, we can supply a removeable third-piece section.  Utilizing this third-piece, ramp lengths of nearly 15'. {CUT OR MOVE}

  • Every ramp comes equipped with a flexible flap threshold that provides a smooth transitions from the ramp deck to vehicle floor.  This allows you to deploy the ramp onto a variety of inclines (such as on a raised loading dock or curb)  while maintaining a smooth transition.  Equipment with especially low clearances can easily load and unload over the transition without dragging/bottoming out.  {CUT OR MOVE}