• Van Sizes Explained: All Van Dimensions in Detail
  • Van Sizes Explained: All Van Dimensions in Detail

Van Sizes Explained: All Van Dimensions in Detail

Read our guide to find the right size van for your needs

If you’re looking to invest in a van for personal or business use, you’ll want to ensure it is the right size for the job. When it comes to making sure a van will suit your requirements, you’ll need to understand its dimensions. 

With all the different van sizes available to you, it can seem confusing. To help, here at Loads of Vans, we explain everything you need to know about van sizes. How do you measure a van’s size? What does L1, L2, L3, L4 and H1, H2, H3 stand for? What is the wheelbase of a van? We address all of these questions and more in our dedicated van sizes explained article… 

What are the different van sizes?

There is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ van. By their nature, vans are designed in different shapes and sizes depending on the job in hand. The main types of vans available are:

  • Small Vans
  • Medium Vans
  • Large Vans
  • Luton Box Vans
  • Pickup Trucks
  • Dropside and Tipper Vans

Read on to explore the dimensions of each category of van in more detail… 

How do you measure a van’s size?

Understanding the size and dimensions of a van will ensure you select the right type of van for the job. Whether you own a florist, dog walking company, are a courier, or run a removals firm, the van you invest in needs to suit you and your business. Height, width, length and payload are all-important dimensions to factor in. 

What does L1, L2, L3 and L4 mean?

Vans typically come in sizes ranging in length from L1 through to L4. These are the codes for the four main lengths of vans:

Length (L) of wheelbase
L1 = short length
L2 = medium length
L3 = long length
L4 = extra-long length

What does H1, H2 and H3 mean?

In addition to length, vans also come in a variety of different heights which range from H1 up until H3. Here are the codes for the three main heights of vans:

Height (H) of roof
H1 = standard height
H2 = high height
H3 = extra high height

What is a van’s wheelbase? 

‘Wheelbase’ is a term you’ll want to be familiar with when purchasing a van. The wheelbase of a van is the distance between the most central point of the front and rear wheels (also referred to as axles). A van’s wheelbase is divided into four key categories: 

  1. Short Wheelbase Vans (SWB)
  2. Medium Wheelbase Vans (MWB)
  3. Long Wheelbase Vans (LWB)
  4. Extra Long Wheelbase Vans (XLWB)

What is a van’s payload?

The size of the van will have an impact on its payload capabilities. The payload takes into account the size and weight of any load the van can carry - including cargo, passengers, and fuel. As the size of a van increases, so too does its payload weight.  

For safety purposes, every van on the market is allocated a recommended payload weight that must not be exceeded. Overloading a van can result in engine and transmission problems, whilst also putting yourself and any passengers at risk too.  

Typical dimensions of a van

To help you understand the size of a van’s length and height, we’ve detailed the typical L1, L2, L3, L4 and H1, H2, H3 dimensions in the table below. Do bear in mind that the actual dimensions of van will vary depending on the specific make and model:

Length (L)

Dimensions (metres)

Height (H)

Dimensions (metres)




1.4m to 1.65m












Small van sizes

Due to their compact size, small vans are perfect for navigating city streets and town centre parking. A popular choice for small business owners, small vans drive very much like a car and are typically similar in size to an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) car, which are extremely commonplace on today’s roads.

Among some of the professions that would benefit from owning a small van, it proves a great choice if you’re a florist, musician or dog walker. A small van can carry large boxes and household items, such as a washing machine. An example of a small sized van is the Citroën Berlingo or Peugeot Partner. 

Here are the typical load space dimensions of a small van:

  • Length: 1.7 metres
  • Width: 1.5 metres
  • Height: 1.2 metres
  • Payload: 500kg to 900kg 

If you’re looking for a reliable small van for your business, then read the top five recommendations in our dedicated blog ‘The Best Small Vans You Can Buy in 2022’. 

Medium van sizes

Medium or mid-sized vans are probably the most popular choice for sole traders and business owners alike. Not overly big but not too small in size either, a medium van offers the most flexibility as it's compact enough to manoeuvre and park, and has a reasonable load space too. 

Preferred by most types of tradesmen and window cleaners, medium size vans are quite often side-loading vehicles that can carry large items, while offering a variety of storage solutions too. An example of a medium sized van is the Citroën Dispatch and Renault Trafic. 

Here are the typical load space dimensions of a medium van:

  • Length: 2.4 metres
  • Width: 1.7 metres
  • Height: 1.4 metres
  • Payload: 900kg to 1,200kg  

If you’re searching for a reliable medium van for your business, then read our top six recommendations in the dedicated blog ‘Our top 6 recommendations for the best medium vans of 2022’. 

Large van sizes

Sole traders and business owners needing to carry heavier, larger and longer loads can opt for a large sized van. As the biggest van of choice before getting into Luton box van or lorry territory, a large van can carry ample amounts of cargo.

Large vans are the ideal commercial vehicle for couriers and removals companies due to their long wheelbase storage benefits. Of course driving a large van needs practice due to its increased width and length compared to medium and small sized vans. An example of a large sized van is the Citroën Relay and Renault Master. 

Here are the typical load space dimensions of a large van:

  • Length: 3.4 metres
  • Width: 1.7 metres
  • Height: 1.7 metres
  • Payload: 1,200kg to 1,500kg

If you require a large van for your business, then take a look at our top seven recommendations in the dedicated blog ‘Top 7 Vans We Consider The Best Large Vans of 2022’.  

Luton box van sizes

As the name suggests, a Luton box van is a long wheelbase sized van which has a passenger cab with a large ‘box’ fitted on the back to carry cargo. An added benefit of a Luton box van is that they usually come fitted with tail lift equipment to help make light of larger loads.

For this reason, Luton box vans are the number one choice for removal firms and people looking to hire ‘a man with a van’. Available in two sizes - 3.5 tonnes and 7.5 tonnes - a Luton box van can cope with an entire house removal and is also ideal for ferrying delicate items, such as pianos and antiques. 

Here are the typical load space dimensions of a 3.5 tonne Luton box van:

  • Length: 4 metres
  • Width: 2.2 metres 
  • Height: 2.2 metres 
  • Payload: 1,000kg to 1,200kg

Here are the typical load space dimensions of a 7.5 tonne Luton box van:

  • Length: 6.1 metres
  • Width: 2.3 metres 
  • Height: 2.4 metres 
  • Payload: 2,500kg 

Pickup truck sizes

The popularity of pickup trucks in the UK is on the rise due to their off-road abilities and practical appeal. Tough and sturdy, pickup trucks have an incredible towing capacity and come in various sizes, yet still offer a car-like driving experience. Popular models of pickup trucks include the Ford Ranger and Nissan Navara. 

All pickup trucks have exceptional ground clearance and are available in single cab or double cab options to cater for two to six people. Double cab pickup trucks typically have two full rows of seats and four proper doors, which means that there will be less load space in the rear ‘bed’. A single cab pickup truck usually has just one row of seats and two doors to enable a larger load space in the back.   

Here are the typical load bed dimensions of a single cab pickup truck:

  • Length: 2.2 metres
  • Width: 1.4 metres
  • Height: 1.7 metres
  • Payload: 1,100kg

Here are the typical load bed dimensions of a double cab pickup truck:

  • Length: 1.5 metres 
  • Width: 1.4 metres 
  • Height: 1.7 metres
  • Payload: 1,100kg  

Dropside and tipper van sizes

Sometimes a standard van just won’t do the job, so it may be that a dropside or tipper van is an ideal solution. A dropside is a van where the side and tailboards are hinged along the lower edge which allows for a pivoting motion. Tipper vans differ to dropside vans because the entire load area can be raised at an angle to allow the cargo to ‘tip’ out. 

Dropside vans and tipper vans are typically used by gardeners and builders needing to transport dirty or bulky loads, such as soil and sand. Dropsides and tippers are the van of choice for trades people, saving on unnecessary shovelling duties! 

Here are the typical load space dimensions of a dropside van:

  • Length: 3 metres 
  • Width: 2 metres
  • Payload: 1,500kg

Here are the typical load space dimensions of a tipper van:

  • Length: 3 metres
  • Width: 2 metres
  • Payload: 1,450kg

What are passenger vans?

A passenger van is a vehicle that is capable of carrying more people than a car or minivan typically would. The difference is that a passenger van will accommodate a minimum of 12 people, usually up to 15 people. By comparison, a minivan or MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) can only cater for a maximum of nine people (including the driver).

The only difference between a 12 person or 15 person passenger van is the number of seats and the internal configuration of those seats. Both vans are built on the same chassis, so are identical in terms of exterior appearance and size. The fewer number of seats allows for even more luggage space in the rear.   

What size is a passenger van?

Here are the typical dimensions of a 12 and 15 seat passenger van:

  • Length: 5 metres
  • Width: 1.9 metres
  • Height: 1.9 metres
  • Payload: 1,000kg

What is a full-size van?

Sometimes vans larger than a minivan can be called a ‘full-size’ van. This is the case for passenger vans which are often referred to as full-size vans anywhere outside of Europe - particularly in America. 

What size van fits a mattress?

A common question asked by those moving house and in need of a van that can fit in a mattress. If you need a van that fits a mattress, a medium van, large van, or Luton box van will do just the job. 

If you have a particularly large mattress to move - such as a super king mattress - then you might find you’re only able to load in at an angle, rather than flat. A super king mattress UK size comes in at 6.0” in width and 6.6” in length, which means only a Luton box van (a 3.5 tonne or 7.5 tonne model) will be able to carry a mattress flat. 

What size removals van do I need?

If you’re moving home and need to hire a van or a man with a van, then you’ll want to know what size van to book. But don’t panic! Most removal or van hire companies will simply need you to provide a list of the types and amount of items, then they will recommend the correct-size van. 

Search vans of all sizes at Loads of Vans

When searching for a small, medium or large van, then you can rely on Loads of Vans to steer you in the right direction. As an established new and used van centre in Surrey and South London, we are best placed to recommend the right size of the van for the job.

Don't forget to check our 'News' section for more useful articles and guides like 'Driving a van the first time, 'How van taxing works', and what type of driving licence are you required to be allowed to drive a van.

Whether you require a panel van, crew van, minibus, pickup truck or tipper van, view our extensive selection of vans - including our range of electric models - that are in stock now and ready to be collected or delivered. We also provide commercial van finance and can speak to you about a suitable finance solution.      

Pop Up