Box Van vs Panel Van: Which Do You Need?

Refrigerated Vehicles

When looking to pick the right refrigerated van for your business, shape and size can make a big difference. Ideally, you want a van that can handle your stock, is efficient to run and delivers the flexibility you are looking for your business operation.

Here we take a quick look at choosing between box and panel vans and which could be best for your business.

While there are differences between the two types of van, these are not always as important as finding the right fit for your business. For many companies, it’s a trade-off between the different features and benefits.

A box truck generally has a front cabin area that is separate from the cargo space just like a heavy goods vehicle. The cargo area is a square or cuboid shape.

A panel van is generally a little smaller where the driving with a self-contained driving area that is connected to the storage compartment.

Size and Shape of Storage

A box van has a straight, clearly defined side, floor and roof which make it more suitable if you want to include racks or shelving. There is usually more room to stand and move about inside the storage area.

A panel van often has a curved roof which can restrict the amount that can be loaded. In some panel vans, you also have the wheel chassis rising up from the base which can reduce space. In a box van, the chassis is underneath the storage area, providing a flat surface for loading.

Box vans tend to be wider and most come with backloading rather than sideloading. If you are delivering on the high street, these can be more difficult to park and unload compared to a panel van which is narrower and has the choice of both back and sideloading.

Rear Step

The rear of the box van is generally higher than for the panel van which can complicate loading. The box van must legally have a rear step or loading lift, for the panel van this is optional.

Carrying Stock

Panel vans are generally a little more versatile and more readily available than box vans.

Ordinary refrigerated panel vans can be an excellent solution for a wide range of different products while box vans are generally a good choice if you have bulky or larger levels of stock to transport. There’s also greater scope for putting up shelving and compartmentalising your stock compared to panel vans.

Sometimes with box vans, it’s harder to maintain temperatures when you open and close the doors compared to panel vans.

Which is the Best Type of Refrigerated Van For My Business?

Both types of van can be converted to handle refrigerated goods but a lot is going to depend on the type of products you are transporting, the stock levels you have and how often you transport goods. It’s important to talk to specialists in refrigerated vans when choosing the appropriate transportation.

In general, refrigerated panel vans are more economical than box vans to run but a lot will depend on whether this is offset by the volume you can carry.

At FridgeXpress, we have decades of experience delivering high-quality refrigerated vans to a wide range of businesses across the UK. Our expert team can ensure that you choose the right van for your needs and the types of consumables you transport.

Contact us today to discuss your requirements and find out how we can help.

Spot Rental Vans

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.

Refrigerated Van Storage