Questions To Ask Yourself When Buying A Forklift
Choosing the right equipment for your needs can be confusing especially if you’re not familiar with the different types of forklifts out there. We want to help you make the best choice for your business. Below you’ll find common forklift questions to keep in mind when looking for a lift.
How high are you lifting and what is your load center?
How are you receiving and shipping your materials?
Where are you storing your materials?
There are several important things to keep in mind regarding how you store your material when choosing the right forklift for the job. Is the area well ventilated? Are there concerns with explosive material or environments? Are you in a warehouse where employees need to be lifted to break bulk and select merchandise? Do you move heavy loads in uneven terrain? Is it temperature controlled? How much room do you have to move around in? All these concerns factor into what forklift will be the best fit for your needs.
How high are you storing your materials?
What type of surface are you driving on?
Is it smooth and level or rough and uneven? If you work outdoors or on uneven surfaces you’ll want a pneumatic tire on your forklift or you may need to look for a rough-terrain lift. Rough terrain lifts are equipped with additional suspension capability and are generally wider than the standard forklift. This provides a more stable work platform with a lower center of gravity.
Common Questions About Forklifts
There are many types of forklifts, and each serves a specific need. Choosing the right lift for the job can make a big difference in how efficient and productive your company operates. With many factors to consider before buying or leasing a forklift, review some common questions below to see what type of forklift is right for you. If you still aren’t sure what is right for your needs, one of our material handling experts is happy to assist you!
You can also check out our Forklift Information page and Types of Forklifts page for even more helpful information!
What are the difference types of forklifts?
What are the seven classes of forklifts?
Class 1: Electric Motor Rider Forklifts
These lifts are electric-motor rider trucks. Trucks in this class may have 3 or 4 wheels with cushion (solid) or pneumatic (air-filled tires. Includes both sit down and stand up types.
Class 2: Electric Narrow Aisle Forklifts
These lifts have electric-motor and are used for narrow aisle or inventory stock/order picking applications. They have solid tires. This class includes reach and deep (double) reach trucks as well as order selector trucks which are also known as “order pickers” or “cherry pickers.” Other narrow aisle trucks include stand up straddles, swing masts, sideloaders and turret trucks.
Class 3: Electric Hand Pallet Jacks or Walkie/RiderJack Forklifts
Electric or hand-powered pallet jacks are primarily used for loading and unloading trailers and for short horizontal material handling. Low lift electric hand pallet jacks are also known as “walkies.” They have solid tires. They use pallet forks or a platform to haul loads several inches off the ground.
Class 4: Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Cushion Tire Forklifts
Traditional lifts powered by either liquid propane gas(LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG) or gasoline and used primarily indoors.
Class 5: Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Pneumatic Tire Forklifts
Traditional lifts powered by either liquid propane gas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG), gasoline or diesel fuel and used primarily outdoors.
Class 6: Electric and Internal Combustion Engine Tractor Forklifts
These lifts are sit-down riders or tow tractor forklifts and are supplied with electric or internal combustion engines. Solid or pneumatic tires.
Class 7: Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks
These lifts have pneumatic tires and are almost exclusively powered by diesel engines and used outdoors on rough terrain. Typical applications include agriculture, logging and construction.
What is the difference between electric lifts and internal combustion lifts?
Internal Combustion Forklifts
- Operate on gasoline, diesel, compressed natural gas or liquid propane gas
- Primarily used outdoors, limited indoor use under certain circumstances
- Able to operate in various conditions
- No batteries to recharge
- Some can lift over 50,000 pounds
- Lifespan depends on application, use and how you maintain it
- Noise emissions meet or exceed ANSI B56.1 Standards
- Typically less maintenance than an IC forklift
- Little emission sounds so quieter than an IC forklift
- No fuel-storage required
- A charging station is necessary
- Batteries are large and heavy to change out.
- No tailpipe emissions
- Lifespan depends on application, use and how you maintain it
- Better option for smaller, confined spaces
- Load capacity from 3,000 to 12,000 lb. capacity
What is the difference between cushion tires and pneumatic tires?
The majority of lifts are specifically designed for a particular type of tire, and the right tire impacts the handling and safety of your forklift. When choosing the right tire, the most common options are pneumatic tires and cushion tires. These 2 types of tires have big differences that should be considered when deciding which tire works best for your needs.
Forklift Cushion Tires
Made of smooth, solid rubber that are attached to a round metal band. Sit down rider (sits low to the ground) allows for small turning radiuses and can maneuver in tight aisle spaces. Electric forklifts (i.e. order pickers and reach trucks) only come in cushion tires.
Forklift Pneumatic Tires
Made of treaded rubber and filled with compressed air. There are two types of Pneumatic tires: solid and air. Solids are made solely of rubber and designed to prevent leakage and puncture wounds when driving on surface that may have sharp objects. Airs are made with less rubber material and typically foam filled with liquid polyurethane material to provide more durability when driving over rough terrain.
Which fuel type should I consider?
There are 3 main types of fuel for running a lift: Gas, Diesel and Electric. It’s a common misconception that the only major differences between fuel types are: cost of forklift, operating costs and environmental impact. Of course, both cost and environmental impact certainly play a big part in making the right decision on which fuel type is right for the material handling equipment your business will be using. But the fuel type you need could depend entirely on the kind of business you run.
LPG (Liquid Propane Gas) Forklifts
Gas forklifts are the most common type of forklift.
Pros: They can carry heavy loads, easy to refuel, low maintenance and have a longer life span.
Cons: Limited power and require a propane tank to provide fuel.
Electric forklifts are ideal for smaller warehouses and facilities.
Pros: Smaller in size, can be used in a non-ventilated closed environments and are quiet when operating.
Cons: Downtime when you need to recharge the machine and intermittent use can be detrimental to battery life.
Diesel forklifts are very powerful.
Pros: Low upkeep, easy to fuel and reliable.
Cons: Has emissions and are noisy.
What factors should I consider when buying a forklift?
- Do you need to stack materials?
- Will the forklift be used indoors or outdoors and what will the environment be like?
- What types of materials will you be moving with the forklift?
- How much is a typical load weight that you will be moving?
- What is your maximum rack height?
- What is the maximum lift height?
- What capacity forklift do you need?
- What is the width of the aisles the forklift has to go through?
- How often will you be using the forklift?
Our team of forklift experts are always on hand to answer your questions, contact us today!
How much does a forklift cost?
- Forklifts are an important investment for any business. and there are a few general rules to keep in mind when assessing the price of a forklift. It’s important to be aware of what you’re paying for, from upfront costs, to maintenance and the overall cost of ownership. Our forklift information guide gives you some key points to keep in mind when buying a forklift.As there is such a wide range of manufactureres and extras, it’s hard to determine the right price. But here are some key points to help guide your decision.
- The higher the capacity and forklift height, the more expensive the forklift will be.
- Top-of-the-line forklift brands will be more expensive than lesser-known brands, but their technology advantages usually offer greater productivity and reliability.
- Electric forklifts are generally more expensive upfront than internal combustion forklifts with identical specifications.
- Pneumatic tires are generally more expensive than cushion tires.
Check out our current New & Used Forklift For Sale to find the best forklift at the best price!