Ten Types of Forklift Trucks

Are you looking to move heavy loads over a short distance? If you need to lift and transfer heavy items in a warehouse, storage facility, or a construction site, you might need a forklift truck to make the job much more comfortable.

There are several kinds of forklift trucks, with each type offering its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Here are a few of the most common forklifts to help you better decide which style you should get for your purpose and environment.

1. Pedestrian Operated Pallet Trucks

Pedestrian operated pallet trucks are the most commonly used forklift trucks in storage spaces and warehouses. They are manually operated but simple to use. Just position the forks beneath the pallet, and you’ll be able to lift the load from the ground using a manual hydraulic jack. However, these trucks have a limited reach and can only move loads at ground level.

2. Power Pallet Trucks

Power pallet trucks are basically the electric version of the pedestrian operated pallet trucks. An electric motor powers up the truck to easily lift loads across areas. However, unlike its manual version, power pallet trucks can lift up to 100 meters off the ground.

3. Four-Wheel Counterbalance Forklifts

Another common choice on the market, counterbalance forklifts operate in a straightforward process using dual forks attached to the front. Like manual pallet tracks, an operator lifts the load using a hydraulic jack.

People like using four-wheel counterbalance forklifts because they can work with all three fuel types – electric, diesel, and liquefied petroleum gas. The trucks’ capacity varies depending on the fuel type used, so keep that in mind when choosing how to power your forklift.

4. Three-Wheel Counterbalance Forklifts

The three-wheel forklift is the same as the four-wheel version with one major difference; the back wheels are designed to be closer in the truck’s center area to improve its turning ability significantly. The improved maneuverability makes this the ideal forklift truck for narrow aisles and spaces.

5. Reach Trucks

Reach forklift trucks are named because of their extended reach in lifting, being able to lift to a height of ten meters. If you need to lift loads into high storage racks, reach trucks are the ideal match for you. They run an electric motor and have stabilizing legs installed at the front for better support and balance.

There are three subtypes of reach forklift trucks. Stand-up trucks are the most popular, but they can only lift one load per bay. Double-deep trucks use longer forks and can load multiple pallets in a bay. Lastly, saddle trucks are almost the same as double-deep forklifts, except they can grip onto the load’s edges for better stability. Saddle trucks are recommended if you need to lift loads at a specific angle.

6. Stackers

Stackers are also similar to power pallet trucks, but they come with a mast that allows them to lift pallets to a maximum height of 5.4 meters. These trucks are better suited for smaller warehouses and compact spaces.

7. Order Pickers

As the name aptly suggests, order pickers are made to pick orders in the warehouse instead of moving full pallets. These forklift trucks allow storage personnel to efficiently pick up orders while using a picking height that peaks at 11.5 meters, perfect for getting products stacked in very high places.

8. Side Loader Forklifts

Side loader forklifts work better in narrow spaces and smaller working environments. As the name implies, the forks are mounted to their sides to pick up wide and load longs such as pipes, sheets, and timber.

There are three subtypes of side loader forklifts. The ones you usually see outdoors are the enclosed cab models. Stand-up side loaders, on the other hand, are better for indoor use. Multi-way side loaders are the most mobile of the three, with wheels that can rotate up to 90 degrees, allowing the forklift to change directions while moving effortlessly.

9. Articulated Forklifts

Articulated forklifts are used for extremely narrow aisles, measuring 1.5 to 2 meters in width. They come with a unique mast that can form a joint with either side of the rack, allowing the forklift to pick up the load without adjusting to the angle.

10. Rough Terrain Forklifts

Finally, rough terrain forklifts are built to endure unstable conditions such as sand, mud, and gravel. Equipped with a powerful engine, heavy-duty tires, and thick threads, this forklift truck can stay durable despite harsh environmental effects. It also comes with a suspension system to maintain a better center of gravity while moving on rough surfaces.