Home Others Logistics – Dry Van vs. Reefer: Which Is Best?

Logistics – Dry Van vs. Reefer: Which Is Best?


When it comes to hauling cargo, it can be confusing to know which type of trailer is the best pick to protect your goods. In this article, we will delve into the pros and cons of both dry van and reefer trailers, and then, give our thoughts on which is the best pick between the two.

What Is a Dry Van?

This type of trailer does exactly what it sounds like. It is used for hauling dry goods and non-perishables. This is also one of the most common and popular trailer types on the road.

Dry van has many advantages that people often aren’t aware of. Because these types of trailers aren’t hauling anything that has to be at a specific temperature, these trailers tend to cost much less than reefer and tend to be more versatile. These trailers can haul practically anything, provided that the cargo isn’t sensitive and does not require an environment with a controlled temperature.

Moreover, dry vans are convenient in that they often take less time to load and unload and can even be “dropped and hooked”, meaning that they can be detached from the cab and left to be unloaded. These types of trailers have legs to stand on so they aren’t required to be attached to a cab at all times. You can also find dry vans for sale much cheaper than what you’d find for a reefer.

The downside? A dry van cannot house goods that are temperature controlled and the going rate for dry vans will tend to be less than that of hauling with a reefer. Additionally, dry van trailers tend to have wood flooring which can easily be damaged when permeated by moisture of any kind, leading to frequent and costly repairs, especially when exposed to weather elements.

What Is a Reefer?

In contrast, a reefer serves the purpose of transporting cargo that must be regulated at a certain temperature to keep the product from spoiling or becoming ruined. There are some reefers that offer zone control temperatures which enables several types of refrigerated cargo to be kept in the same trailer at varying temperatures throughout the trailer.

Another plus? Reefer trailers can haul both refrigerated and dry goods adding to its appeal. And because there aren’t as many of these types of trailers on the road when compared to dry van, reefer trailers tend to be in high demand and pay drivers well. The downside is that there is much more responsibility connected to reefer as failure to keep any products being hauled at the specified temperature could result in major loss. Reefers also cost more in terms of fuel and purchase pricing.

Which One Is Best?

So, which is best? Dry van or reefer? The truth is that in order to answer this question, there are several factors that must be considered. How far you plan to travel and the type of cargo being transported are major considerations in terms of which would be the best trailer for the job. Thus, it is impossible to say that one trailer over another is more beneficial.

All in all, the decision to go with a dry van or reefer trailer will lean heavily on the type of cargo being transported. Both options are great picks!