How does a refrigerated trailer work?

FridgeXpress refrigerated trailer hire

Refrigerated trailers are a pretty cool invention. Portable, powerful and inventory-protecting, refrigerated trailers offer constant cooling for your perishable goods. But how does a refrigerated trailer work? Is it as simple as a plug and play setup? We’ll explore what they are, what they’re for and how they work in this comprehensive guide.

1. What is a refrigerated trailer?

A refrigerated trailer has a refrigeration unit at the front to cool the load while it’s stationary. These can come in a wide range of sizes and load capacities. The most convenient ones work just off of access to a standard single-phase power supply. They are great for supplementing kitchen cooling, catering festivals and parties or standing in while main units are under repair. They provide a reliable way to keep cold and frozen goods within legal temperatures and many can be remote controlled. Plus, with secure locking, they protect your stock from theft.

2. What are refrigerated trailers good for?

Since they are portable and reliable, refrigerated trailers are good for parties, festivals, temporary storage, long-term storage, and mobile static storage of cold goods. They’re better than a cooler or thermal box because they are lockable and electrically powered, so the goods can be kept cold essentially indefinitely. Using an electric refrigerated trailer is more reliable than cooling with ice packs or ice cubes. And they don’t take up too much space or contribute to emissions like petrol or diesel refrigerated vans. With food festivals on the rise, this is an attractive entry option. The Guardian reports, “millennials, in particular, are spending their disposable income on things to eat and, crucially, edible things that look good on Instagram. In March, the food writer Ruby Lott-Lavigna described food festivals as taking over from music bashes in terms of popularity, noting that the tag #foodfestival appeared 378,325 times on Instagram. Three months on, that figure is 50,000 higher.”

3. How much is it to rent a refrigerated trailer?

Refrigerated trailer hire varies depending upon demand, though prices are usually in the region of £275.00 + VAT for a weekend or £325.00 + VAT per week with us. That provides a low running cost for your festival catering, pub event or party. The trailers we rent are German-engineered, easy to transport, have 9’3’’ x 6’0’’ x 6’6’’ of space, lock up securely and offer non-slip surfaces for safety. They can be towed by pretty much any van or 4×4 vehicle and provide a lot of cooling space in a small form factor. Add in a set-up service and a 24-hour emergency call line and that’s a lot of peace of mind for so little outlay. These extra services can help prevent your event from turning into a storied disaster.

4. How do you use a refrigerated trailer?

Refrigerated Trailers are specifically designed for static storage. They’re not for cooling transport. So, they are especially useful for outside catering events such as weddings, festivals, Christmas markets and more. They are also very useful for temporary cover for kitchen cold room maintenance or outages at pubs, hotels and restaurants. Operating one couldn’t be simpler. The temperature can be set on the control panel next to the fridge condenser on the front of the trailer. The trailer must be parked on flat, level ground & within a reachable distance of the power supply. Our trailers are powered by a 16amp single phase 3 pin commando plug or standby power. But, you don’t have to worry about configuring it. We’ll come & set the trailer up to your requirements so you can be sure it’s fit for purpose.

5. How much does it cost to run a refrigerated trailer?

The costs to run a refrigerated trailer are nominal. Other than the power required to supply the electrical feed (which will vary in cost depending on the utility supplier tariff), there are no other running costs. In fact, you’re likely to incur less cost with a refrigerated trailer than with temporary cooling methods like ice packs. These are unreliable. Ice melts at faster or slower rates depending on the ambient temperature and that can lead to your goods going off if they get too warm. That’s because of the legal regulations around food temperature. According to Sandwell Borough Council, “Chilling food does not kill bacteria, but it does stop them from growing to harmful levels. Because of this, it is a legal requirement that perishable foods should be kept refrigerated at 8ºC or below. Frozen food should ideally be kept at a temperature at or below -18ºC.” If the temperature goes above this, your perishable items become wasted.

6. Are refrigerated trailers bad for the environment?

Not really. At least not in the UK. Other than generating electricity used to run the fridge, there are no environmental implications. It is not a self-powered vehicle and doesn’t have emissions per se. Plus, the UK gets a pretty big portion of its energy from renewable sources. While the government wants the country to get 100% of its power from renewables by 2035, it’s not too far off already. According to SP Global, “Renewables (mainly wind, solar, biomass, hydro) accounted for 43% of the UK’s 312 TWh of domestic power generation in 2020. S&P Global Platts Analytics forecasts renewables plus nuclear will account for 56% of UK power demand in 2026, with wind output set to double from current levels to 131 TWh/year.”


Refrigerated trailers work to provide temporary storage of cold or frozen goods in a stable location. They cost only a few hundred quid to rent for a whole weekend and they offer security and peace of mind that your goods are protected from theft or wastage. They are more eco-friendly than using a petrol refrigerated truck or van. And they can be powered and transported easily. Renting from FRIDGEXPRESS also gives you an inclusive setup service and a 24-hour emergency contact line if you need support understanding how a refrigerated trailer works or in cases of breakdown. Talk to our helpful team about your needs today.

Spot Rental Vans

We have kept our range simple, but with enough diversity to cater for the varying applications that are regularly required by our partners in the food transport industry.

Refrigerated Van Storage