September 18, 2018

Before Shopping for Forklifts, Answer the following

How to Know Which Forklift Type is Best for Your Application

With a wide array of forklift types on the market, how do you choose one that is right for your particular warehouse and yard requirements? To start with, consider whether you will use the units indoors or outdoors. If you want to use them indoors, you will want to buy one of the electric forklift types. These forklift emit no harmful emissions that could be hazardous to your workers and the products stored indoors. The units are made for operation in smaller spaces and are quiet.

For outdoor applications where surfaces are not smooth, consider one of the fuel-driven forklift types. Such units can handle larger loads, operate on uneven surfaces, and travel longer distances faster than the types of forklifts made for indoor applications. One can also distinguish between pneumatic and cushion-tyre forklift types. Outdoor usage requires the types with pneumatic tyres, while cushion types are perfect for indoor surfaces. From the above information, it becomes clear that forklift types are closely associated with specific applications, operational environments, loads, travel speeds, space availability, and efficiency required. As such, before you can choose one from the many forklift types, you have to establish your lifting and operational requirements.

Before shopping for forklifts, answer the following:

  • Indoors or outdoors?
  • If indoors, narrow or wide aisles?
  • What lifting height are required?
  • What is the type of load?
  • What is the maximum weight requirement?
  • What is the maximum travel distance in the work environment?
  • Do you need more than one?
  • What safety features are important?
  • What is the available turning space?
  • If you want to do pallet stacking, will it be double- or single-pallet stacking?

Once you have the answers, consider the various forklift types. Here is a short description of the main types.

Counterbalanced Units

These are standard types, easy to operate with the operator sitting on the unit. Such a forklift has a counterbalance in the back to make it stable. It normally has four wheels and because of the counterbalance, can handle larger or heavier loads. Internal combustion engine and electric forklifts are available. The fuel-driven types normally have pneumatic tyres.

Reach Trucks

These types of forklifts are suitable for applications requiring good stacking-height ability and are well suited for warehouses with extremely high shelves. Most types are for standing operation. Units are available in internal-combustion and electric types.

Narrow Aisle

Various types of forklifts are suitable for narrow-aisle operation environments. These units are essential in warehouses where shelves are nearer to each other in order to save space. Types include everything from side-loaders to pedestrian stackers. The units are compact in design and can manoeuvre in confined spaces.

Order Pickers

These units share some features with reach trucks, but instead of forks used for pallet picking, they are used where individual case-picking is needed. Order pickers are mostly electric, but various types can be distinguished based on lifting height, operation, capacity, and platform.

Where to Get Help

These are only a few broad categories. Various more types can be mentioned. However, even if you know your particular application requirements, you will still benefit from expert guidance regarding the selection of the best units for your warehouse. You will be glad to know that we have an extensive range of forklifts for sale. Our product portfolio includes a range of warehouse equipment, such as pedestrian stackers and order pickers, in addition to reach trucks. We also offer counterbalanced trucks. As such, we are able to help you determine which types are best suited for your particular requirements. View our full product range and let our consultants help you select the ones that are best for your business.


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