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What Are The Main Type of Vans?

12 September 2022

Vans are a critical asset for tradespeople in the UK. However, with the rising costs of fuel prices, professionals are considering switching to an eco-friendly vehicle. But what type of van is the most economically friendly for your business?

WhatCar claims a small and medium-sized electric van costs 80% less than traditional petrol and diesel choices. However, alternative van types are significantly more expensive to buy. They also ramp up your electricity bill.

Purchasing your next commercial van, could be one of the most difficult work choices you’ve had to make in recent times. Some key components to consider are:

  • What’s the payload
  • How much loadspace do you need?
  • The size and length of your equipment
  • Budget
  • Running costs

The types of vans that are designed for tradespeople in the UK market include:

  • Small vans
  • Medium-sized vans
  • Large vans
  • 4×4 vans
  • Crew vans
  • Panel vans 
  • Luton and box vans

Types of Vans: Small and Medium

Most tradespeople in the UK will be better off with small to medium-sized vans. They are less expensive to purchase and have a superior fuel economy.

The only drawback is that these types of vans have less load space and lower payload. However, you can optimise the space in either a small or medium-sized van by installing van racking and van accessories

Some of the best small van types on the market include Volkswagen Caddy Cargo, Fiat Doblo and the Ford Transit Courier. These types of vans are ideal for tradespeople that make a lot of trips in a day such as electricians. Small vans are also ideal run-around cars businesses can add to a fleet for carrying out deliveries. 

If you need to carry a reasonable amount of cargo the best type of vans falls into the medium-sized category. For example, the Renault Trafic, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Vauxhall Vivaro or Ford Transit, give you ample space and adequate payload.

The van dimensions you need will differ between trades. However, most medium vans have at least a 3-metre internal load length that will swallow an 8×4 sheet and long planks of wood. 

plumbers, carpenters, plasterers and builders will all find a medium-sized van that fulfils your needs. These types of vans can typically handle payloads of up to 1,500kgs and have sliding doors for ease of access. 

Large Vans 

The largest type of van you are permitted to drive in the UK has a gross weight of 3.5 tonnes. They naturally provide more load space and a higher payload. They also boast more cabin space and can comfortable fit three people.

Large vans include tipper vans, panel vans and Luton/box vans. These van types are ideal for tradespeople that carry a large amount of equipment or that are transporting large items. 

With optimal load space, you can minimise the number of trips you need to make. That’s why these types of vans are generally the preferred choice for removal workers, gardeners and landscapers. 

Other workers that carry bulky equipment will also benefit from a large van. Luton vans and panel vans are the preferred choices for tradespeople in the construction industry. They have a generous payload so are ideal for carrying heavy materials such as wood, porcelain or heavy bags of plaster. 

Some of the top-rated large vans on the UK market include the Ford Ranger, Peugeot Boxer and the Renault Master. They are significantly more expensive to buy new, however, so despite claims that electric cars are more eco-friendly, a conventional engine may be a more economically friendly choice as a short-term solution. 

Another advantage of investing in this van type is the option to attach a trailer. If you prefer a large van without a high roof of box vans, an open flatbed body is a good option.

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