Forklifts are some of the most important pieces of plant and warehouse equipment. They can also be some of the largest investments for a business. That means it is essential to find the best forklift type at a great price.If you are considering buying a forklift, keep reading to learn about the different types of lift trucks and the best uses for each type.
Counterbalance Forklift Trucks
These are the most common and versatile types of forklifts. They are suited for both indoor and outdoor use on flat outdoor surfaces. Counterbalance forklifts come in 3 and 4 wheel varieties and get their name from the counterbalance at the back of the lift truck. These forklifts come in electric, diesel and gas models so they are very versatile.
- Pros: Sturdy, powerful, versatile,
- Cons: Large turning circle, limited manoeuvrability
Reach trucks are commonly used in narrow aisles and in small areas where manoeuvrability is key. They can work both indoors and outdoors and are especially useful for anyone who needs to navigate narrow spaces while retaining an extended lift height. Reach trucks are also designed so the operator sits beside the load rather than behind it. This shortens the wheel base to improve turning radius while giving the user a better view of the load.
- Pros: Manoeuvrable, high reach, capable in narrow aisles
- Cons: Require level ground
Rough Terrain Forklift
Rough terrain forklifts are designed with inflatable tires, heavy duty tread, powerful engines and high ground clearance. They are great for construction sites, farms or uneven ground. The larger engines and powerful lift mechanisms mean they are generally more powerful and faster than most other forklift types. The drawback to these forklifts comes in the form of space, they are usually quite large and not built to work indoors as they are often diesel powered.
- Pros: Powerful, fast, operate on rough ground
- Cons: Large turning circle, not meant for indoor use
Side Loader Forklift
Side Loader forklifts are specifically designed to work with wide or long loads in narrow aisles. These trucks pick up and carry their load on their side, hence the name, and are particularly good at transporting tubing, sheet material and pipes. Side loaders use a scissor mechanism to extend their forks which means they never have to turn in an aisle. This means they can be the same width as your aisles.
- Pros: Great in narrow aisles, can carry long or awkward objects
- Cons: Works best inside, has limited applications
Telescopic handlers are great all rounders. They have a huge reach, work well on rough terrain, have a high lift capacity and can even be used as a small crane in a pinch. These are a favourite forklift for construction crews and are often used in agricultural applications. Their wheel base and added stabilisation legs also make this one of the most stable and safe lift trucks available on the market.
- Pros: Powerful, high lift height, great on rough terrain
- Cons, Large turning circle, poor manoeuvrability
This small pallet mover is a mainstay for warehouses, shops, stock rooms and anywhere else pallets are used. They are perfect for moving floor level stock form one place to another in tight conditions and require the lowest possible investment.
- Pros: Cheap, easy to use, manoeuvrable
- Cons: Cannot lift beyond a few inches, only suitable for pallets, can be slow
These forklifts allow you to pivot the forks and lift mechanism to operate in tight spaces and aisles. The truck gives you one of the tightest turning circles and allows the transport of large loads in very tight spaces. Articulated forklifts are very popular in warehouses and can help businesses move large loads quickly.
- Pros: Manoeuvrable, great in tight spaces, excellent lift height
- Cons: Needs level ground, requires wider aisles than VNA machines
VNA lift trucks come in man up and man down varieties. Man up lifts the operator to the same level as the forks giving them the best view of their load. Man down variants keep the operator on the floor. These Forklifts allow you to use the narrowest aisles and give operators maximum visibility which can lower breakage. This type of lift truck is perfect for the tightest aisles in a densely packed warehouse.
- Pros: Great in narrow aisles, fast, excellent operator visibility
- Cons: Price, versatility
If you would like to learn more about which type of forklift truck is right for your business pleasecontact PHL
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