Perhaps the most common question we get asked is “what size van do I need to hire?”
The answer isn’t always obvious but there are some simple rules of thumb that should help you choose the right-sized van.
Here’s a summary of the most popular sizes of hire van. (You can find a much more detailed size guide here).
These tiny vans are good for small boxes, delivering documents or small items and for nipping around town.
With a typical payload of 500kg and a loadspace around 1.5m long and 1.2m high, they’re surprisingly flexible and can hold a lot of stuff, as long as it’s not too bulky.
Just don’t try moving house with one.
One of the most popular sizes of vans is what we call the small van.
They’re not really that small anymore, as they typically have a maximum load length of about 1.7m. Payload (load weight) is normally between 600kg to 1,000kg, depending on the model.
Small vans aren’t much bigger than an estate car and are easy to drive and park.
If you’re living in a shared house or student room and don’t have any furniture, a small van like a Citroen Berlingo or Ford Transit Connect might be big enough to hold all of your stuff.
If a small van isn’t quite big enough, a medium van probably will be. These are the smallest vans we’d recommend if you’ve got furniture to shift, rather than just boxes and other small stuff.
The most popular van in this class (indeed, the most popular van in the UK) is the Ford Transit Custom.
These models usually have headroom of about 1.4m in the rear, and a load length of around 2.4m. Width is usually about 1.7m, although it’s less between the rear wheel arches. These are popular with couriers and tradesmen and also a common choice for campervan conversions.
Now we’re getting serious. Large vans like the Ford Transit long wheelbase (LWB to van geeks) have an internal length of 3m-4m.
They also tend to have higher roofs, providing more height for stacking large objects and — sometimes — making it possible transport wardrobes standing upright.
For a one-bed flat move, a large van may be big enough, as long as you don’t have too much large furniture. However, if you’ve got sofas and beds to move, we think you’ll probably want something bigger.
Extra-long wheelbase vans
An extra-long wheelbase van (XLWB) is the same as a long wheelbase van, but with an extra bit stuck on the back. The end result is a van with an internal length of between 4m and 5m. Width is usually around 1.7-1.8m, and internal height can vary from 1.7m to more than 2m.
These load luggers are favoured by couriers and tradesmen and are also good for small removals, as you can fit a lot in the back. The only downside is that the sides of the van aren’t vertical and aren’t completely flat. So an XLWB van still isn’t quite as good for removals as our final choice, the luton.
Named after the Befordshire town of Luton where it was first invented, the Luton is a box van with an additional storage area over the driver’s cab.
These vans are the first choice for small removals firms, as the wide, square load space they provide is ideal for bulky household items like sofas, fridges and wardrobes.
Internal height and width is normally 2m. A typical internal length might be 4m, although this can vary.