A Quick Guide to Cold Storage Vans

Refrigerated Van Hire UK

Cold storage vans are used widely across the UK for many different businesses and sectors. Florists use them to keep their bouquets in pristine condition on deliveries, for instance, and food and drink companies often require exact temperature controls to transport their products so that they stay on the right side of current health and safety legislation.

Here, the team at FridgeXpress take a look at cold storage vans and consider a few factors that you need to closely consider before buying or hiring one.

What is a Cold Storage Van Conversion?

Any size van can be converted to provide cold storage for perishable goods and they are widely used in many types of businesses today. Conversion usually involves putting in insulation between 50 and 100 mm thick, something which reduces the size of the storage compartment. In addition to this, you could install a refrigeration or freezer unit.

It’s important when selecting your cold storage van that you take this into account when if you are also undergoing a conversion rather than simply buying a vehicle ready-made.

You can buy a van and convert it yourself but this is likely to be the least cost-effective approach. At FridgeXpress we tailor conversions to your exact requirements, for example, if you require different compartments that have different sets of temperatures.

Read our cold storage van conversions guide here.

Types of Cold Storage Vans

From small cold storage vans up to large Luton box vans, there are certainly plenty of options available to businesses today. It’s important to maximise storage and capacity along with elements such as fuel efficiency.

Some of the top models on the market today include:

  • Mercedes LWB Vito: If you’re looking for a substantial cold storage van that’s economical and easy to drive the Vito certainly delivers. The intelligent design ensures good fuel economy and the L3 offers 6.6 cubic metres for storage.
  • Nissan NV and NV200: A reliable brand and an extensive range make Nissan a good choice for cold storage van conversion. The NV is the larger of the two with more space. While the NV2000 may be smaller it’s a great run-around for low-volume deliveries.
  • Ford Transit L2-L4: This versatile van comes in short- and long-wheelbase varieties with a high-end load space capacity of around 1,799 kg. The range also includes EcoBlue technology for more efficient driving.

Of course, there are pre-converted cold storage vans available to buy and these are usually cheaper than buying a van and then converting it yourself. That’s why it makes sense to build a partnership with a specialist refrigerated van company like FridgeXpress.

Contract Hire or Buy Your Cold Storage Van: Which is Best?

There are also several options for how you finance your cold storage van. In the simplest case, you can rent a van from a supplier like FridgeXpress for a day or more. This is a good option if you don’t need the van all the time but only on certain occasions or if your current vehicle is in for repairs or maintenance.

If you do need a long-term solution, you can either buy your cold storage van outright or enter into a lease or contract hire agreement with a company. The benefit of buying is that you own the vehicle outright and can offset that capital cost against your tax liability. The disadvantage is that it involves a sizeable initial outlay and your van is likely to depreciate as time goes on. You are also entirely responsible for maintenance and repairs.

With a contract hire arrangement, you do not own the cold storage van outright but you pay a set monthly amount for its use. This gives you greater flexibility and the chance to upgrade if needed or if your business model changes. In addition, most contract hire arrangements come with maintenance and repairs included.

Find out more about contract hiring your cold storage vans here.

New vs Used Cold Storage Van?

If you are planning to buy a refrigerated van for your business, the first thing you’ll need to consider is whether to purchase it new or second-hand. A lot will depend on your budget and what you want to use the van for.

If you are buying a cold storage van second-hand, it’s important to not only inspect the usual things like the engine and whether there is any rusting or other damage but how well the refrigeration unit works. That often means having it inspected by a specialist who knows what they are looking for.

Unless you really know what you are doing and what to look for in a second-hand cold storage van, this can be a bit of a gamble.

Check out our quick guide on new vs used cold storage vans here.

Find a Cold Storage Van for Rent

If you are searching for a cold storage van for rent, contract hire or purchase outright, it pays to go to a specialist service. Most companies are either tied to a particular make or model or have a limited choice available.

At FridgeXpress, refrigerated vans are all we do. Over the last few decades, we’ve built up a strong reputation across the UK for providing tailored solutions for a range of different businesses and sectors. We offer both rental and contract hire for cold storage vans as well as the option to buy outright. We can arrange a conversion that exactly meets your requirements.

Key to our success over the years is that we have an experienced support team in place who know practically all there is to know about refrigerated vehicles. We operate across the UK and will be able to tailor your service to your exact needs. If you need to add to your fleet or even cut back during slow periods, you’ll find FridgeXpress an adaptable and receptive partner.

If you use cold storage vans in your business and want to forge a partnership with a specialist company that understands what you need, contact the team at FridgeXpress today.


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We have kept our range simple, but with enough diversity to cater for the varying applications that are regularly required by our partners in the food transport industry.

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