What is a Reefer Trailer?

June 12, 2022


jlks logistics reefer


Are you wondering what a reefer trailer is and what it is used for? Then this guide is for you! We will answer all your questions about reefer trailers and give you a detailed description of what they are and what they are used for.

A reefer trailer or Refrigerated Trailer is a piece of insulated and sealed equipment that is designed to keep the products at a consistent temperature during transportation.

How are refrigerated trailers powered?

Reefer Trailers are powered by a Trailer Refrigeration Unit, also called TRU, attached to the outside part of the front of the Trailer. TRU is a temperature control unit that helps hold the temperature inside the trailer consistently.

What products does a refrigerated trailer haul?

Refrigerated Trailers mainly haul various food products which are also called perishable products.

  • Vegetables and Fruits

  • Meat

  • Seafood

  • Dairy

  • Pharmaceuticals

  • Plants

  • Chemicals

These products must be hauled with a refrigerated trailer because they spoil fast. To avoid product damage, trucking companies and customers use reefers to set specific temperatures for specific product types.

Reefer Trailer Dimensions

what is a reefer trailer


Standard length

53, 48, or 28 feet long.

Standard height

110 inches.

Standard width

98.5 to 101 inches

So how does a reefer trailer work?

The reefer trailer does not increase or decrease the temperature of the product during its transportation. Instead, the primary purpose is to maintain the temperature of the freight consistent. Therefore, it does not add any cold air but simply removes heat from the air inside the trailer. Air from the inside of a reefer trailer goes through an evaporation coil, and it removes the head and recirculates the colder air back throughout the trailer.

TRU has two different running modes: continuous and cycle.

The continuous mode uses more diesel but has a lot less temperature variance inside the trailer. Once you have set the desired temperature in the TRU, the unit consistently will hold the preset temperature.

The cycle mode reduces diesel usage but creates a more significant temperature variance. The set temperature will have a playroom of -/+ 5 (depending on the unit). So if it’s set at 40F and the outside temperature is 80F, the unit will let the temperature go to 45F and then start up again to get it back to 40F. The same applies to colder outdoor temperatures.

Check out this short explanatory video about reefer trailers here (Credit to Foster Fuels).

At JLKS, we run a Refrigerated department. If you have products that require reefers for transportation, we are always here to help. Contact us for more information here.

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