Different Types of Trailers


The trucking industry hauled 72.5% of all freight in the United States in 2019. While the truck is the engine, the trailer is the one that bears the weight. There are several different trailers available, and one will fit your needs better than another depending on your load or freight. In this article, we’ll discuss the most common trailers. More specifically, we’ll talk about K&B refrigerated trailers!

We will focus on the following most frequent trailer types used to transport freight in America:

  • Refrigerated Trailers (Reefers)
  • Standard Flatbed Trailers
  • Dry Van Trailers
  • Tanker Trailers

Refrigerated Trailers

refrigerated trailer
Refrigerated trailers are the type of trailer that K&B has been hauling for more than 30 years! These trailers, often known as “reefer trucks,” are essentially box trucks with a refrigeration unit installed behind the cabin to keep the contents of the trailer cool.

Insulation and temperature controls are included in refrigerated trailers. These trailers often use refrigeration to transport perishable, chilled, or frozen goods, but they can also protect temperature-sensitive commodities from the elements.

Refrigerated Trailer Typical Cargo Types:

  • Produce
  • Meat, poultry, fish, dairy
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Plants and florals

K&B has been running refrigerated trucks since 1989. Now a leader in the transportation of perishable food products, we have grown our operation to include more than 2,000 pieces of equipment and opened new lanes of travel.

Flatbed Trailers

flatbed trailer

Flatbed trucks are used to transport items that are too large or oddly shaped to fit in a standard trailer. These trailers are one of the most often utilized trailers due to their adaptability. They feature a flat deck that is open on all sides and does not have a roof or a box to cover the load, hence the name. This open layout makes it simple to load and unload the trailer, but it does not shield cargo from the elements or roadways. Because the load may be lifted from above with a crane or from the side with a forklift, flatbed trailers are ideal for shipping wide or huge products.

Flatbed Trailer Typical Cargo Types:

  • Building and construction materials
  • Scrap metals and recyclables
  • Agricultural equipment and goods
  • Other heavy equipment and machinery
  • Oversized or unusually shaped loads

Dry Van Trailers

dry van trailer

Dry van trailers, also known as enclosed or box trailers, are used to transport non-perishable items and are fully enclosed. The cargo is shielded from the elements of weather and roads. They are designed to carry palletized, boxed, or loose freight, but dry vans aren’t temperature-controlled. A loading dock is typically used to load freight at the back of a dry van trailer. Loading freight from the side of a dry van trailer is possible on some models.

Dry Van Trailer Typical Cargo Types:

  • Non-perishable food and beverages
  • Clothing and household goods
  • Furniture and electronics
  • Building products
  • LTL (less than truckload) freight shipping

Tanker Trailers

tanker trailer

Tanker trucks are used to transport liquids and have capacities ranging from 1,000 to 9,000 gallons. They can transport both food-grade and toxic-grade liquids, but the latter frequently requires a specific license.

Tanker trailers are made of aluminum or stainless steel and are well-known for their distinctive shape. Tankers are designed in a cylinder shape to relieve pressure on the tank, give a lower center of gravity, reduce liquid surges, and make extraction and cleaning easier.

Tanker Trailer Typical Cargo Types:

  • Asphalt
  • Chemicals
  • Petroleum/Fuel
  • Dry bulk
  • Beverages

Now that we’ve discussed a few different types of trailers, we’d love to have you on our team! We’ll teach you everything you need to know about refrigerated trucks. And, you’ll be an integral part of transporting important food products across the Midwest.

Call our recruitment team today at 1-866-853-6031.

Don’t Stop Here

More To Explore

international K&B truck

The History of K&B Transportation

With more than 35 years of expertise, the owners and executives at K&B Transportation know how to support their drivers, keep their fleet operating smoothly, and foster a culture of hard work so their drivers can succeed.