How much does a refrigerated vehicle cost?

The price of a refrigerated van can vary dramatically. It’s possible to obtain a small, second hand refrigerated van for a surprisingly small price, but it might not be suitable for your purposes. When you are looking for a refrigerated van, it’s important to understand the differences between expensive and cheap models and the different applications that are suitable for each.

The most obvious factor that determines the price of a refrigerated van is the size. This isn’t just because bigger vans are more expensive, but also because they require more insulation materials and larger and more powerful refrigeration systems. However, sometimes it is possible to find a great bargain on a large refrigerated van, especially if you buy second hand. The used vehicle market for refrigerated vans is slightly more buoyant for smaller models, so you might find someone trying to get rid of a large refrigerated van that’s priced for quick sale. Of course you should bear in mind that a larger van will have larger fuel consumption figures.

As you can probably imagine, refrigerated vans from some manufacturers cost more than others. This price difference isn’t really about branding and prestige; it’s more about the precision of the engineering.  As well as being more durable and reliable, refrigerated vans from more expensive manufacturers often come equipped with fuel saving technologies that lower fuel consumption considerably. It’s worth doing some research into the differences between the biggest manufacturers, because the ones you might associate with prestige from your experience with non-commercial vehicles may not be the best ones when it comes to refrigerated vans.

Types of Insulation Used

The insulation is, perhaps, the most important element of a refrigerated van’s cooling system. In many ways it’s more important than the actual cooling mechanism, and it definitely makes a big impact on the temperature of the refrigerated compartment. As a general rule, the thicker the insulation then the lower temperature the refrigerated van will be able to maintain. This is why freezer vans have much thicker insulation than refrigerated vans. A thick layer of polymer foam usually provides the insulation. This foam can either be sprayed on and topped with a protective coating, or installed in removable panels.  Refrigerated vans with thick insulation will be more expensive than those with thinner insulation, and there are also different qualities and densities of insulating foam to take into account.

How is the van cooled?

A refrigerated van is usually chilled by a cooling system that is fairly similar to systems found in domestic fridges or freezers, although of course they are usually much larger. They comprise a condenser, a compressor and an evaporator. A range of different manufacturers creates these refrigeration components and, like most mechanical products, some are more expensive than others. In most cases, the more expensive cooling systems are a worthwhile purchase. This is going to be one of the most heavily used and integral elements of your refrigerated van, so it’s worth getting the best system that you can afford.

The traditional cooling system isn’t the only option for cooling a refrigerated van. You can also purchase a van that uses a “eutectic cooling system”. This is a van where the insulated compartment is filled with columns containing a special heat absorbing gel. The gel is frozen using off-peak electricity from the mains grid overnight, and slowly thaws during the day as it cools the compartment. This type of system can be cheaper than the traditional cooling system, but it’s also heavier and only suitable for certain types of refrigerated haulage applications.

If you are using your refrigerated van for food deliveries, or any other application where you are moving items that need to be held at differing temperatures, then you might be interested in a multiple compartment refrigerated van. This can help avoid the necessity of buying two separate refrigerated vans, although of course this will vary depending on your delivery plans. Generally speaking, refrigerated vans with two or more compartments will cost more than vans of a similar size with just one refrigerated compartment. This is because building a multiple-compartment refrigerated van requires additional materials, such as insulation, seals and temperature monitoring systems.

Some dual-compartment refrigerated vans have separate cooling systems for each compartment. This has a great advantage over using the same system for both compartments, as you can have much more precise control over the temperatures. This is a more expensive solution when you look at up front cost, but if you take into account the intricacies of your refrigerated logistics needs then it might end up saving you money in the long run.

As you can see, there are a huge number of different factors that determine the price of a refrigerated van. The best thing to keep in mind is that price isn’t the only factor you should look at. The price of a refrigerated van is no indication of whether it will be suitable to meet the individual needs of you and your business. Glacier Vehicles supply a number of used fridge/freezer vans for competitive prices, so check out our stock or give us a call today!

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