Not all vans are created equal and unless you ready to plop down $100k or more, you might find yourself buying stock and doing a lot of work. But, how do you choose which model to start with? Here are some great ideas with the pros and cons. And when you run into trouble and don’t know the best route, there plenty of resources out there like VanDwellers Reddit, the Vanual and Sprinter Forum to help

The Ford Transit: You know the van, it usually has a businesses logo on the side and is used as a work truck. But, this little high-top van can also be a great conversion van. New it costs $32,285 and comes in three body lengths, two wheel bases, three roof heights and three different engines. A drawback is that since it is relatively new it can be hard to find in used models.

Mercedes Sprinter: The gets a little pricier at $41,495 and can have a long wait list for new 4×4 models. You can get a 170″ high roof model and a well configured build out can sleep a family of four with plenty of standing room.

Ram Promaster: Starting at just over $27k, this van offers several wheelbases and two different exterior heights. Do-it-yourself van lifers appreciated the rear cargo area that is wide enough for buildout.

Chevy Express: This van’s build-to-last chassis (around for almost 40 years) and simple interior make it ideal for a do-it-yourselfer. There are plenty of used models to find cheap or buy new at $31,295.

Nissan NV: This comes in three different models with standard or high roof options. It struggles with gas mileage but offers reasonable value when compared to its competitors such as Mercedes. It has a roomier cabin up front.