The Differences Between Refrigerated or Insulated Containers

When buying shipping containers for business, people are often confused which one would suit their requirements best. Should they go for refrigerated shipping containers, also known as reefers, or choose insulated containers? In this article, we will discuss the key points of both refrigerated and insulated containers and then decide which one is the best.

Refrigerated containers are the most common options used for transporting different types of food from fruits and vegetables to seafood. The climate-controlled environment helps with keeping certain types of food frozen so that they do not get damaged by the extreme temperature during transit. In case of vegetables or fruits, refrigerated environment puts them to sleep so that the ripening process slows down.

If you are looking to buy used insulated shipping containers, you will find different variations of them. It mainly depends on the type of cargo for which the container was used, the climatic conditions in the point of origin, and destination, etc. There’s a thin line between them and it’s very difficult to say which is better than the other. It primarily depends on the type of goods and weather conditions.

In the secondary market, insulated or refrigerated shipping containers can be used to provide extra warmth. The commercial users may use the containers to stack extra food to make more profit during the busy season. Depending on your specific requirements, there are mainly three different types of shipping containers that you may buy. These are:

  1. Refrigerated shipping containers or reefers
  2. Non-working reefers
  3. Standard insulated shipping containers

Refrigerated Shipping Containers

The working refrigerated shipping units can be used as climate-controlled storage solutions. They can be used to keep the perishable foods like meat and fish cold or frozen at minimum 13F. They may also be used to keep a constant high temperate of maximum 77F.

These containers come in different sizes such as 20′, 30′, and 40′ cube lengths. They are mostly available as used refrigerated containers. Business owners may also buy new units for storage purpose. They are mainly used in pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and restaurants. These units require 3 phase power supply which is not available in residential settings.

Non-Working Reefers

Most of the refrigerated containers you find in the marketplace are non-working and they may be called insulated containers. This type of storage container once worked as a refrigerated unit when it was used to transport some food items, but currently the refrigeration system is non-functional. As a result, it is now just a large sized insulated container. These types of non-working reefers are used to store goods at room temperature. People living in hotter or colder regions can benefit from using an insulated container to provide some extent of temperature control to their office or home.

Standard Insulated Container

The plain standard containers are certainly better than non-working reefers as they can be custom insulated just as you prefer. With a standard shipping container, plumbing and electrical wiring can be hidden in the walls and insulation can be applied on it to cover it up.

So, we feel refrigerated containers are good if you buy them in working condition for specific storage purpose. Buying a non-working refrigerated container is not a great option unless you get it for a really good discount. A non-working reefer is just a plain insulated container. So, we would suggest you directly buy an insulated container or get a plain standard container and insulate it as per your specific requirements.