August 24, 2018

Warehouse Forklifts – Heavy-duty Forklifts

Gain an Understanding of The Basic Warehouse and Heavy-Duty Forklifts

Understanding the differences between warehouse forklifts and heavy-duty forklifts is essential if you plan on renting, buying, or leasing lifting equipment for your operations. We supply both warehouse and heavy-duty forklifts in South Africa and offer rental, lease, and buy options of new and used heavy-duty and warehouse forklifts. As such, you can expect us to be transparent about the advantages and disadvantages of the various types of equipment and their applications and capacities. We briefly explain some aspects of forklifts to help you understand which types are suitable for heavy-duty operations and which types to get for your warehouse applications.

4-Wheeled Counterbalanced

This is a straightforward lifting machine with four wheels for optimal stability and dual forks suitable for lifting heavy loads. The 4-wheeled types are usually powered by diesel, petrol, or LPG engines and well-suited for shipyard and outdoor warehouse applications. With this counterbalanced forklift, the operator sits on the machine and faces forward. The machine, whether it is for heavy-duty or light warehouse operations, has a counterweight system behind the front wheels to ensure stability of the machine when lifting the load with the forks.

3-Wheeled Counterbalanced

These forklifts are well-suited for warehouse operations where you need them to operate in narrow aisles. The 3-wheeled design enables the machines to turn in small spaces. These units are great for use in aisles ranging in width from 3 to 3,5 m.

Reach Trucks

These types of warehouse forklifts are designed for lifting loads high and they can also operate in narrow spaces. If you have a warehouse with high aisles that are narrow (between 2,5 and 3 m), you might want to consider buying one of these reach trucks. They come in designs that allow for standing or sitting operation. The operator has maximum visibility to the front and the rear. The operator normally sits sideways rather than facing forward, as is the case with the normal counterbalanced forklift.

Order Pickers

Most often not considered warehouse forklifts because of the design that allows for hand-picking instead of lifting pallets, these machines are perfect for applications where orders must be picked fast and efficiently.


The heavy-duty, outdoor forklifts normally have pneumatic tyres and are built to operate in harsh conditions. These machines emit exhaust gases, unlike the electrical types normally used in indoor operations. The designs make the machines suitable for operation on gravel, sand, and slightly uneven surfaces, as opposed to the smooth surfaces of the indoor areas of warehouses. Due to the design of heavy-duty forklifts, these machines require more space for turning. The rear end is larger because it has a large counterweight. This makes it possible for the machine to lift heavier materials.


It is also important to understand that if you have specialised material to lift that you will need additional extensions. The forklifts normally have forks for pallet and flat surface material lifting. If you need to move barrels, you will need a claw extension. If you need the machine to lift rolled loads such as steel or carpets, you will need to add a carpet-spike extension. You can also get fork slippers, which are used for loading large and long loads such as plasterboard, or handle two pallets in one go.

View our range of warehouse and heavy-duty forklifts and give us a call to discuss your lifting requirements to ensure that you get the right machine for the job. We will help you determine the machine type required based on the operational environment, maintenance considerations, speed requirements, performance, energy-efficiency, and budget.


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