The Different Types of Trailers Explained

There’s a reason why the trucking industry is worth $700 billion — it accounts for over 5% of all United States jobs. As you can see, there’s never been a better time to get involved in this lucrative industry.

However, there is an important decision you’ll have to make: what type of trailer will you transport? The different types of trailers available to truck drivers determine what type of cargo they can carry.

As such, the more types of trailers you’re familiar with, the more jobs you’ll be able to take on. Luckily, we’ve organized this quick article to give you a rundown of the different popular trailer models. Let’s get started!

What Are the Different Types of Trailers?

There are numerous types of trailers for different transport options. Some of these have a specific use, while others are more general. However, regardless of their purpose generally, trailers will fall into one of the five categories.

Box Trailers, or Dry Van

Box trailers are the most popular model and you’re likely familiar with their appearance on most highways. These models are enclosed to protect cargo from the elements and high speeds.

Typically the cargo is placed on pallets so that it’s easier to unload once you reach your destination. If you’re looking for one trailer to specialize in, then your best bet is a box trailer.

Tank Trailers, or Tankers

These large tanks models will usually carry things like liquids, grains, or gasses in bulk supply. After each transport, the tank trailer will need to be cleaned out. Tanks trailers are also used to move hazardous materials, but they require a special permit to do so.


Flatbed trailers are essential box trailers without a top section. While the cargo is exposed to the elements, these types of products come with a big advantage in that they can transport equipment that’s too big for dry vans.

While it can be a bit more work-intensive than traditional models, flatbed trailers do come with a variety of benefits over box trailers.

Refrigerated Trailers

If you’re transporting perishable food or beverage, then you will need a refrigerated trailer. Essentially these trailers are dry boxes that contain a refrigeration system. The cooling unit in the box usually runs on fuel or electricity.

Specialized Trailers

Anything that doesn’t fall into the first four categories is usually a specialized trailer. These types of models can be used to transport animals or logs. Typically these models require specialized experience to operate.

Which Is the Right Trailer for You?

We hope this article helped you learn more about the different types of trailers. If you’re new to trucking then you may be wondering which trailer-type will provide the most lucrative job opportunities.

While box trailers are undoubtedly the most popular, many companies will use a variety of types depending on the cargo they’re transporting. Some have entire divisions devoted to a specific kind of trailer.

If you want access to a wider array of jobs, then you should familiarize yourself with all five categories. So get out there and start training today!

Author: Brandon Park