April 9, 2020

Pros and Cons of Different Trailer Types [Infographic]

If you’re thinking about striking on your own and becoming an independent owner operator, you need your own equipment. What you’ve hauled in the past as a company driver can help you determine the right trailer type for you, but there are some other things to consider.

The cost of the trailer can be more expensive upfront, but you may be getting higher paying loads. A cheaper trailer might only have cheaper loads available.

Check out our infographic of the four most common trailer types and their pros and cons.
Infographic outlining pros and cons of different types of semi-truck trailers.

Want To Learn More?

Looking at different trailers? Get more resources you can use not only to purchase a trailer, but how to finance one, on our podcast Haulin Assets. You can get more tips on:

Once you’re ready to get a trailer and want to learn more about becoming an independent owner operator, get in touch with one of the coaches at Motor Carrier HQ. We’re happy to help you build a business roadmap to get your trucking company on the road.

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Get more info about each trailer type!

Refrigerated Trailer (Reefer)

Refrigerated trailers are one of the most versatile types of trailers. Because they have more equipment with them, they often cost more. However, the advantage of a reefer is that their specialized loads often make a bigger profit. While you can find better-paying loads, you do run the risk of user error or equipment breaking down.

Reefers can be used to haul dry loads or refrigerated loads, but they can’t haul as heavy of loads as regular dry vans because of the added weight from the insulation. If you’re an experienced truck driver, a reefer might be a good place to start for getting loads.

Dry Van or Enclosed Trailers

Dry vans are some of the most common trailers. Also called enclosed trailers, they are a trailer that keeps the load secure within a casing. Unlike flatbeds, you don’t have to worry as much about part of your loads falling off. They can haul a large load, they’re relatively inexpensive, and they keep the load secure.


Flatbeds are also a common trailer type. They’re versatile and can hold a lot of weight. Because they are flat, they can hold a variety of things, as long as you know how to secure the load, whether you’re using tarps, tie-downs, or other types of equipment. Another advantage they have to other types of trailers is you don’t have to worry as much about broken equipment, like reefers.

There are other types of flatbeds that look similar to a regular flatbed but can be used to haul different things. These are:

  • Lowboy trailers
  • Step deck trailers
  • Extendable flatbed stretch trailers
  • Removable gooseneck trailers

Some are used to haul heavy equipment, other vehicles, or construction materials, like metal or wood.


While hauling HAZMAT does take more licensing and certification, it does pay well. If you’re considering hauling tankers, be prepared to have loads that are more dangerous and harder to haul. People who haul tankers remark on movement from the contents of your tank sloshing, which can take some time to get used to.

Other Types of Trailers

These aren’t the only types of trailers, as there are a wide variety of equipment you can consider hauling. For example, there are specialized multi-car trailers that come in single or double-decker options. It’s important to do your research to determine what the right option is for you.

Want More Info?

Another step in the process is to get the right truck. You can use our free spreadsheet to help compare the costs of different trucks. If you need more help learning how to get started, get in touch with one of the coaches at Motor Carrier HQ to help you determine the best gameplan for you.

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