Best Vans For Electricians
Choosing a van for your business is an important task that shouldn't be taken lightly. Most electricians see their van as a long-term investment that will ideally last for a number of years.
Regardless of whether you're a domestic or commercial electrician, contractor or employed full-time, you'll need a van that:
- has enough space for your tools and equipment
- is economical around town
- is reliable
- can be easily parked in different commercial and residential locations
- is comfortable to drive
What's The Best Size Van For An Electrician?
The size of your van depends on the type of jobs you typically complete. If you spend most of your time doing small-scale jobs that don't require much equipment, such as replacing or installing new light fittings, you will only need a small panel van.
For larger-scale jobs like a house build or rewiring, you'll need more equipment and more space to store it. As a result, a small panel van will not be fit for purpose and an upgrade to a medium-size van will be required.
Finally, if you regularly carry large and heavy pieces of equipment that take up lots of space, only a large panel van with the biggest load areas and payload capacities will be sufficient.
Best Small Vans For Electricians
A small van needs to be compact in terms of its external dimensions to easily navigate city streets and be able to park in a variety of customer locations. It also needs a spacious load area that can safely carry all your essential tools, including wire cutters, pliers and drills.
Completing numerous smaller jobs per day also means that you'll be travelling to different nearby locations; a competitive fuel consumption rate will be essential to keep running costs down.
FORD TRANSIT CONNECT
Initially launched in 2002 to replace the Escort van, the Ford Transit Connect has gone on to sell over one million models worldwide. Updated in 2013 with a modernised design and new features, the Transit Connect is regarded as one of the best small vans in the segment.
It costs as little to run as a smaller LCV (e.g. Transit Courier, Peugeot Bipper), but can swallow almost as large a load as some medium-size models from the next class up (if configured correctly).
The range of 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engines provide a minimum combined fuel economy figure of 58.9mpg, meaning you have to make fewer trips to the pumps.
The Transit Connect is offered in L1 and L2 versions with a standard height across the range. The smaller L1 model offers 2.9m³ which extends to 3.6m³ in the larger model. As standard, the load area can be accessed via a sliding nearside door.
With the flexible dual passenger seat in place, the Transit Connect can carry up to three people in the cabin - perfect if you have a small team to transport.
Ford has a strong reputation for ride and handling from its passenger cars which is carried over to its commercial vehicles; however, they have prioritised function over form to provide the best value for van owners.
PEUGEOT PARTNER / CITROEN BERLINGO
The latest third generation models were released in late 2018, picking up the coveted 2019 International Van of the Year award alongside the new Vauxhall Combo as part of a cross-business programme.
The Partner and Berlingo offer two wheelbase variants (L1 & L2 or 'M' & 'XL', respectively) which provide a load area starting at 3.3m³ and reaches up to 3.9m³.
In all models except the entry-level versions, the Peugeot and Citroen small vans come with three seats in the front. When not in use, the middle seat can be folded down to reveal a pivoting table that turns the cabin into a mobile office.
PSA Group has always produced award-winning engines that focus on delivering exceptional fuel economy and performance. The range of BlueHDi diesel engines in the latest Partner and Berlingo all claim combined fuel consumption figures of over 60mpg.
Due to their popularity, there are plenty of examples of used Partner and Berlingo vans that will still be reliable for thousands of miles.
RENAULT KANGOO / MERCEDES CITAN
Although it's an unlikely combination, the Mercedes Citan is essentially a Renault Kangoo sharing the same design, technology and engines. They're built alongside each other at Renault's factory in Northern France.
Mercedes are keen to point out that they have re-engineered several aspects of the van including the wiring and suspension settings to make it feel more refined than its Renault sibling.
The Citan is available in three lengths - Compact, Long and Extra Long - whereas the Kangoo only has the two latter lengths on offer. Load area for the Long version starts at 3.0m³ reaching up to 3.6m³ in the Extra Long model.
As part of their alliance with Nissan, Renault has developed a fully electric version of the Kangoo with a maximum driving range of 162 miles. However, if you want to stick with a traditional combustion engine, the Kangoo and Citan are available with three power outputs from Renault's long-running, frugal and efficient 1.5 dCi diesel engine.
Obviously, the Citan is more expensive than the Kangoo, so why pay more? The simple answer is badge appeal and appearance. If you want to convey a more upmarket image to your customers, go for the Mercedes over the Renault.
Best Medium Vans For Electricians
When a small van doesn't provide enough space but a large van is too big, you need to shop around for a medium-size van. They'll provide you with a longer and taller load area so you can pack more tools and equipment.
Although a medium van is bigger than most passenger cars, they can still fit in conventional parking spaces and don't take up too much room in residential areas when you're on a job.
RENAULT TRAFIC / VAUXHALL VIVARO
After exploring some popular electrician forums, it was clear that the Renault Trafic and Vauxhall Vivaro models were very popular workhorses, largely for their versatility, reliability, relative comfort and price tag.
Although built separately, the Trafic and Vivaro are essentially the same van and command a lucrative share of the light commercial vehicle market between them.
Available in two lengths and two heights, these vans offer load volumes between 5.2m³ and 8.6m³ with payloads at a maximum of 1,269kg so you can carry larger and heavier pieces of equipment.
Both models were revamped in 2014 when the second generation was launched. However, such was the success of the previous models that the updates were evolutionary rather than revolutionary to improve efficiency, cabin quality and driving experience.
The Trafic and Vivaro are powered by Renault and Vauxhall 1.6-litre diesel engines. The 118bhp units are able to produce a combined fuel consumption of 47.9mpg making them two of the most economical vans on sale.
In the cabin, there's a number of passenger car touches to complement the tough and durable working environment, making it a comfortable and practical space.
The Volkswagen Transporter is a premium medium-size van for any electrician that values appearance as much as performance. The higher price tag does command certain features as standard, including a 5" touchscreen DAB radio, Brake Assist technology and a multi-adjustable driver's seat.
Despite the release of the sixth generation in 2015, the Transporter remained relatively unchanged. It's still available in two wheelbases and three heights, offering the same internal dimensions as before - load volumes from 5.8m³ all the way up to 9.3m³ with payloads reaching 1,217kg.
The Euro 5 engines have been replaced with 2.0-litre Euro 6 diesel versions in four different outputs. All of them come with Volkswagen's BlueMotion technology as standard to reduce fuel consumption across the range.
The Transporter is packed with a range of standard safety equipment that gives it the edge over lower-priced rivals. Alongside the usual ESP and ABS braking, it boasts Automatic Post-Collision Braking, Lane Change Assist, a Driver Alert System and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Whether you mainly drive around the city or cross-country on the motorway, the Transporter can tackle both with ease providing you with a smooth and refined driving experience.
Best Large Vans For Electricians
Some jobs will require you to bring large and heavy equipment along with you; alternatively, you might want to keep all your tools safely organised in one place so you don't need to panic if you've forgotten anything.
A large panel van provides you with the most space for racking and storage in a commercial vehicle. Typically, they're available in a range of lengths, heights and payloads so you can specify the size that's right for you.
An established name in the class, the Mercedes Sprinter is now in its third generation. The Mk3 model was launched in 2018 offering significant changes under the body.
For the first time, front-wheel drive (FWD) is offered which has lowered the load floor by 80mm and allowed an extra 50kg of payload in the 3.5-tonne versions compared to the rear-wheel drive models.
The engine range has remained the same with a choice between the 2.1-litre four-cylinder unit and a 3.0-litre V6 - the Sprinter is still the only large van to offer a V6 engine.
In total, there's four body lengths and three heights to choose from across the Sprinter range. Load volume starts at 7.8m³ in the smallest version reaching all the way up to 17.0m³ in the biggest (L4H3) model.
Depending on your priority, the largest van may not be the best option. Due to the gross vehicle weight, smaller versions of the Sprinter may be able to carry more weight in place of volume.
In the cabin, Mercedes have made a concerted effort to introduce technology and design from their passenger cars alongside the necessary hard-wearing plastics. These concessions to luxury might make it worthwhile to pay the extra money if you're concerned with image and premium comfort.
The Transit name is almost synonymous with vans of a certain shape and size having been established on British roads for more than 50 years. The original and largest Ford Transit is well-known as a spacious and reliable workhorse.
Unlike the Sprinter, the Transit is only available in three lengths and two heights, making it less customisable to your needs. However, it still provides a load area ranging from 9.6m³ up to 15.1m³.
After updates in 2016, the Transit's engine range became 13% more fuel efficient as the 2.2-litre units were replaced by Ford's advanced 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engines. The most frugal version of which is able to produce combined fuel consumption figures up to 42.2mpg.
As you would expect with any Ford vehicle, the driving experience is one of the best in the class. Even at motorway speeds, the lack of wind noise that comes through is very impressive for a large van. Similarly, the Transit's suspension provides a smooth and cushioned ride.
The Transit follows suit in the light commercial vehicle market by borrowing interior design features from the manufacturer's passenger car range. The generous equipment list works in harmony with the durable plastics to create a comfortable and solid-feeling environment to travel between jobs.