How To Choose the Best Forklift for Your Workplace

Best Forklift For Your Workplace
Best forklift for your workplace. Image credit: Adobe Stock.

For many workplaces, forklifts aren’t just another piece of equipment but the fulcrum on which productivity hinges. Naturally, it’s important to have a forklift truck ideally suited for the work setting. If you need a new forklift for your workplace, we’ll help you choose the best truck with our tips below.

Determine the Application

First, consider how you’ll use the forklift and the environment in which you’ll use it. A wide range of forklifts are available. Some are best for outdoor applications, while others are ideal for confined indoor spaces.

How much will the truck need to lift, how high will it reach, and how many hours will it have to operate daily? Knowing the answers to these simple questions will help narrow the search to a few forklift truck choices.

Understand the Types of Forklifts

To choose the best forklift for your workplace, you’ll need to understand the many different types of forklifts. Forklifts fall into several unique classes, from electric rider trucks to narrow aisle forklifts and rough terrain diesel trucks.

Some classes of forklifts require hand operation, while others are riders. So there’s a lot of variety. Familiarize yourself with the types to understand their differences and narrow your search to one or two classes of forklift trucks.

Gas vs. Electric vs. Diesel

A key consideration when choosing a forklift is whether it’s a gas, electric, or diesel truck. Each type of forklift has benefits and disadvantages. Electric forklifts are more compact and require less maintenance but can’t handle extreme heat, cold, and other outdoor elements.

Diesel forklifts are heavy-duty trucks with better carrying capacity and durability for outdoor applications, but they’re much larger, less maneuverable, and more expensive than the other options. Gas trucks are a compromise between the two and can function indoors and outdoors. However, if the truck exclusively works indoors, its emissions could be uncomfortable for workers, and a gas engine requires more maintenance and care than an electric motor.

Reach vs. Counterbalance

For indoor applications, workplaces will want to consider reach and counterbalance forklifts. Counterbalance trucks are best for applications with exceptionally heavy loads since the forklift has a dense mass to counterbalance the front forks and is ideal for confined spaces.

Reach forklifts, as their name suggests, are great for reaching exceptionally high heights in workplaces like warehouses, logistic hubs, and distribution centers. Make a checklist of everything your new forklift needs, from reach to load capacity to maneuverability. From there, you’ll be able to find the ideal truck for your application.

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Paul Tomaszewski is a science & tech writer as well as a programmer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of CosmoBC. He has a degree in computer science from John Abbott College, a bachelor's degree in technology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and completed some business and economics classes at Concordia University in Montreal. While in college he was the vice-president of the Astronomy Club. In his spare time he is an amateur astronomer and enjoys reading or watching science-fiction. You can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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