Welcome! This series of articles discusses options for standard reefer trailers and upgrades you’ll want to consider when spec’ing your next reefer.

Read How to Buy the Best Reefer Trailer

Today we’re talking about Insulation, Light packages, and Stainless Steel options for standard reefer trailers.

More insulation means greater ability to hold temperatures, and more insulation means thicker walls, which reduces interior space. So, what thickness insulation does your reefer trailer need?

Common insulation thicknesses:

  • 2” on the side
  • 3” on the roof
  • 3” in the floor
  • 4” on the front wall
  • and 3′ in rear doors

When you have a High Cube or Deep-Frozen situation, we’re either adding to the insulation or removing from it.

  • Insulation thickness affects resale value.
  • Adding insulation decreases interior dimensions affecting loading capacity and the ability to haul specific product types.
  • If you’re going to keep this trailer for twenty-five years, you might want to add 5” of insulation, however, if you’re going to keep it for seven years, you’ll take a significant hit when you go to sell it because interior dimensions are not standard.

Thin Insulation

Building your reefer trailer with thin insulation in walls, ceiling, and floor can increase interior space.

  Side Walls Roof & Floor Front
Standard Insulation 2″ 3″ 4″
Thin Insulation 1.5″ 2″ 4″
Increased Inside Space 1″ 2″  

Thin insulation will require a higher BTU reefer unit.

  • Going to thin insulation requires a greater cooling capacity reefer unit – higher BTUs. It’s wise to do this because you are cutting back on your thermal efficiency with thin insulation.
  • And, this will allow you to still haul the deep frozen.

Light Package Options For Standard Reefer Trailers.

  • Do you load or unload at night?
  • Do you want ceiling lights?
Interior Lights:
  • If you’re loading at night, you’ll need interior lighting to keep drivers and dock workers safe and make reading easier.
  • Trouble-free and long-lasting Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) produce a white light that spreads throughout a trailer’s interior.
  • LEDs are installed in 90 percent of new refrigerated trailers.

Many times brighter than incandescent and fluorescent lights, high-output LED lights have a lower current draw, increased life, and operate equally well in high and low temperatures.

Exterior Lights:

An array of LED clearance light models and configurations are available to meet your operation’s needs.

The number and combination of lights is a personal preference, though the most common light package is 2-5-6-5.

  • A minimum of 11 lights per side, top, and bottom rail is recommended.
  • DOT light requirements are:
    • The minimum standard is 2-0-1-5. Meaning (2) on the Front, (0) on Top Rail, (1) on Bottom Rail, (5) on the Rear
    • Maximum is (2-11-11-5). Meaning (2) on the Front, (11) on Top Rail, (11) on Bottom Rail, (5) on the Rear



Stainless Steel Features and Options for Reefer Trailers

Stainless Steel to help prohibit corrosion include:

Front Wall Panel
  • Common standard: Pre-painted white
  • Adds approx. $400 for Stainless Steel Panels
Rear Doors
  • Stainless steel is standard and adds approx. $500 for Stainless Steel


Landing Legs Wing Plate

  • Standard: Coated in black undercoating
  • Add approx. $470 for Stainless Steel Plate


Rear Bumper

  • Standard: Black Steel
  • Add approx. $370 for Stainless Steel