Calculating how much aisle space your forklift needs

Calculating how much aisle space your forklift needs

When shopping for a forklift, most people are only focused on the carrying capacity and the type of motor without realizing another equally important criteria–the aisle space it needs to operate safely and efficiently. 


Wholesale Industrial Parts, a forklift parts and industrial accessories supplier, shares the formula below to help you calculate the minimum aisle space for a particular forklift. 


The formula for calculating the forklift aisle space 

The formula is quite simple: 

basic right-angle stacking width + load length + 12 inches = the minimum forklift aisle width. 


The basic right-angle stacking width measurement is the minimum amount of space a particular forklift needs to safely and efficiently operate, from entering a pallet and turning to exiting from a lane. Nevertheless, it still makes sense to add 12 inches of clearance to ensure that your forklift will have enough space to turn without hitting a shelf, pallet, wall or anything. 


Meanwhile, the load lengths depend on several factors, including your forklift’s rated capacity and its function. However, a good rule of thumb is to consider the pallet’s horizontal load center.



Imagine that a particular forklift has a basic right-angle stack of 86 inches and you’re using pallets with a load length of 36 inches. To make sure that it can enter and maneuver in your aisles quickly and safely, add 12 inches (clearance) and 36 inches (load length of your pallet) to the basic right-angle stack. 


When everything is summed up, you’ll come up with 134 inches as your forklift’s minimum aisle width requirement. 


An exception to this forklift aisle width calculation

If you’re lifting a load that is bigger than the standard pallet (48 inches x 40 inches), the calculation mentioned above does not apply; this is especially true if you are picking up remarkably wide loads.


When dealing with unusually wide loads, ensure that your aisle is at least 2 feet wider than the load’s. For example, if your load is 12 feet wide, you need a minimum of a 14 feet wide aisle.


Final word on Warehouse and Forklift Aisle Width Guide 

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