Which van is best suited to plumbers?

  • Most plumbers prefer medium-sized vans
  • A three-metre load length is crucial
  • We compare the market to give the top three vans for plumbers

When it comes to choosing the next van, plumbers usually go for a medium panel van as they’re big enough to fit all the kit inside yet small enough to park on a driveway or in a parking bay. This article considers those needs and requirements, and suggests the best three vans for the average plumber.

Before we can suggest a van, we’ve been speaking to plumbers and visiting forums to grasp exactly what you expect from a van. Here are the top five requirements:

  • Three-metre load length for pipes
  • Straight side walls for the installation of racking
  • Cheap to run
  • Affordable to buy
  • Minimal downtime

With this is mind, here is the Parkers Vans list for the top three vans for plumbers:

3) Volkswagen Transporter T6

Volkswagen Transporter T6

Over the past 20 years, the Volkswagen Transporter has been the most desirable van in the segment with residual values on some derivatives as high as 37 percent after three years and 60,000 miles. The main drawback is affordability; they’re not a cheap van to buy although they do keep their money when it’s time to sell.

They are also a reliable van and the VW Van Centre network offers weekend and late-night servicing so downtime will be very low. All T6 models are fitted with Bluemotion technology, so fuel economy has been increased to up to 42.2mpg (47.9mpg on the Euro 6 model).

Most plumbers tend to rack their vans, and this is pretty straightforward in the Transporter thanks to a boxy load area. Long wheelbase models have a 2,975mm load length so they can easily accommodate three-metre length pipes diagonally, although there is no load-through bulkhead.

Read the full Volkswagen Transporter review.

See all the latest Volkswagen Transporter deals.

2) Ford Transit Custom

Ford Transit Custom

Since 1965, the Ford Transit has been the most popular vehicle for tradespeople and its latest incarnation still leads the charts. It’s great for plumbers, too, as it's cheap to run, it’s reliable, it’s practical, although the top-half of the load area does narrow towards the top, which means racking can be tricky as it has to be custom-fit.

There are over 100 Transit Centres nationwide, which also provide late-night and weekend openings for servicing, and provide very reasonable prices for parts and labour. The Transit Custom returns up to 44.8mpg on the combined cycle, which means your fuel bill won’t be too high, either.

Unlike the Volkswagen Transporter, there is a load-through facility in the bulkhead fitted as standard, which means pipes of up to three-metres long can be accommodated on short-wheelbase variants.

Read the full Ford Transit Custom review.

See all the latest Ford Transit Custom deals.

1 – Renault Trafic/Vauxhall Vivaro

Renault Trafic

However, it’s the Vauxhall Vivaro and Renault Trafic which we deem as the best van suited to plumbing. Both vehicles tick all the boxes in terms of practicality, running costs and affordability, although there are slight differences between the models with Vauxhall having a broader dealer network (over 100 Premier Van Centres) and Renault offering a longer, four-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

The van is well suited to plumbers because the load area is the ‘boxiest’ in its class, with the side walls remaining almost the same distance apart from floor-to-roof (with the exception of the wheelarches). Fuel consumption is also best-in-class at 47.9mpg on the combined cycle on the twin-turbo 119bhp.

There is also a two-stage load-through facility, which allows piping to be stored as far forward as the passenger footwell (up to 3,750mm in length on the short-wheelbase). This is standard on the Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive and Renault Trafic Business+, but a £420 option on the base Vivaro (as part of the Loading Pack) and a £200 option on the Trafic (part of the Mobile Office pack).

Vauxhall Vivaro

Read the full Renault Trafic review.

See all the latest Renault Trafic deals.

Read the full Vauxhall Vivaro review.

See all the latest Vauxhall Vivaro deals.

Also read: Cheapest vans to run.