Dry Van Trailer VS Reefer Trailer

Nowadays, there is the volume of equipment types available can seem endless to transport cargo. Of all the trucks that transport goods, dry and refrigerated trucks are the most commonly used. They each have their own advantages, and after familiarizing themselves with their specifications, functions, advantages, and disadvantages, you can choose the right method to transport your goods.

Dry van trailer

In almost any country, the dry van trailer is the most common trailer on the road. It typically measures 53 feet and has a maximum weight range of 42,000-45,000 pounds.

Dry van trailers are the preferred solution when shipping pallet-based, boxed or loose commodities. Typically, a 53-foot dry van trailer can hold 26 pallets.

The most commonly shipped items are those that people use every day. Many world-renowned companies use dry van trailers to transport their inventory. These inventories typically include, but are not limited to, non-perishable food products, consumer products, and furniture items, various liquids, or healthcare products.


But dry van trailer is not a panacea, it does not apply to all goods.

  • Dry van trailers cannot be used for shipments that exceed 53 feet in length, 8 feet 6 inches in height, or weigh more than 45,000 pounds. In this case, a flatbed semi-trailer is a good choice.
  • The same is not applicable for commodities requiring side loading and unloading. Because the dry van trailer can only be loaded and unloaded from the rear. When it is necessary to load and unload goods on the side, curtain side semitrailers can be used.
  • Another type of cargo that is not suitable for dry van trailer transportation is products that require temperature control. Transporting ice cream on a hot summer day is impossible because the dry van trailer has no cooling unit installed.
flatbed trailer
curtain trailer under wind conditions

Reefer trailer

A reefer trailer is a trailer with built-in temperature control, which is able to control the temperature of any cargo inside. This not only refers to freezing the cargo in the hot summer, but also keeping the cargo warm in the cold winter.

Reefer trailers are used to transport any cargo that requires temperature control. At the same time, due to the existence of thermal insulation walls, it is the first choice for transporting perishable items, such as fruits, medicines, ice cream, etc. Reefer trailers are also used to transport hazardous materials that must be temperature controlled, such as acetic acid, phenol, propionic acid, etc. It is important to note that once a refrigerated trailer is used for hazardous materials, it cannot be used to transport consumables.


Due to the insulating nature of the reefer trailer, it cannot support oversized cargo of any type. A typical reefer trailer is limited to 42,500 lbs. When using a heating or cooling unit, prices tend to be more expensive than dry van trailers. Therefore, it is not cost-effective to transport goods other than the designated purpose with the reefer trailer.


Before you consider buying a dry van trailer or reefer trailer, please consider:

  1. Which size do I need? Weight, height, number of pallets, length?
  2. Do I need a temperature control function?
  3. What is my budget?

If you have a need to buy a semi-trailer, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are more than happy to assist you in any way possible.

1 thought on “Dry Van Trailer VS Reefer Trailer”

  1. I appreciate you informing us that a reefer trailer is designed to have built-in temperature control for us to be able to control the temperature of any cargo inside, especially when we are transporting perishable items. I run a fruit tree farm in Delta, and since I plan to sell our fruits on our next harvest, I need to rent a mobile freezer trailer for our deliveries from now on. I’ll keep this in mind while I look for services in Delta to contact about the mobile freezer trailer we need to rent soon.

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