Different Forklift Types and Their Benefits

There are many different forklift types, classes, models and more. There are forklifts that work best outside and others that work best in a warehouse. There are lifts that you sit on and lifts that you walk behind. In order to make sure you get the correct lift for the job you are doing, it’s important to answer some questions first:

  • Where will the forklift be used?
  • What do you need the forklift to do?

Read below to see what forklift types work best for specific applications and environments.

Electric Forklifts

Electric forklifts are one of the most popular forklifts on the market. They are considered CLASS I, 346 series forklifts and are the most interchangeable forklift. You can get an E18 which has a capacity of 3,500 LBS or an E20 which has a capacity of 4,000 LBS. These forklifts are great for indoor environments such as warehouses. These lifts will work outside but make sure it’s a bright and sunny day because electricity and water don’t mix! <– safety alert! Since this lift is mainly used for indoor purposes, this lift comes with cushion tires. We remember cushion tires as being tires that work well on smooth surfaces, excellent turn radius due to the slickness and smoothness of the tire itself which make it perfect for tight quarters and narrow aisles and also this tire works best indoors but like stated before, can be used outdoors as long as the surface is not slick or wet because this could cause your forklift to lose traction and start sliding. This lift is available in 3-wheel and 4-wheel models.

linde-346-series3-wheel electric forklift:

  • Smaller turn radius makes it perfect for tight areas
  • Better for lower, inside stacking
  • Typically cost less than the 4-wheel model
  • Better maneuverability around the warehouse

4-wheel electric forklift:

  • Operates better in rough terrain such as gravel or bumpy areas
  • Higher capacity for heavier loads
  • More stability for transporting on an incline
  • More stable for medium to high stacking
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Narrow-Aisle Forklifts

Narrow-aisle forklifts are great for companies who strictly operate in a warehouse. These lifts are considered CLASS II, 011 & 1120 Series forklifts. Narrow-aisle lifts are perfect for when the operator needs to be at the same height as the inventory in order to pick a specific order. This works because most order pickers allow the cab to raise as the forks raise in order for the operator to be able to see the inventory that needs to be picked. These forklifts are also good when operators need to remove individual items from a rack instead of a whole pallet. Narrow-aisle forklifts are used best in narrow aisle (NA) warehouses or very narrow aisle (VNA) warehouses. These forklifts are available in the sit-down or the stand-up model. Narrow aisle lifts don’t tend to have a very large capacity since they are usually not used to lift a ton of heavy products. Narrow aisle lifts usually have a capacity of around 3,500 LBS. These lifts are usually always used indoors since the wheels are smaller than the regular forklift and it sits lower to the ground which makes it harder to go over rough terrain because the wheels get stuck. Narrow aisle forklifts can be ran by electricity, manually or wire guided. If you work in a warehouse and are constantly taking products off high racks, this lift is perfect for you.

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Pallet Jacks

Pallet jacks are great for warehouses and moving product from one spot in a warehouse to another spot without having to exert much force. Pallet jacks are classified under the “warehouse” category and are considered CLASS III, 1101, 1102 & 1151 series. These trucks are always used indoors since the caster wheels that move the jack around will get caught up on anything “bumpy” on the surface. Pallet jacks are used for solely moving and not stacking since the forks on the jack do not raise more than a couple of inches. This truck is available as a manual option where you pump the lever to make the forks move up and down and you just simply pull or push the jack where it needs to go and it also comes as an automatic option which has buttons you can push to make the forks raise or lower. Pallet jacks have around an 8,000 LB capacity which is great for moving heavy or light products.

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Internal Combustion (IC) Counterbalance 

IC counterbalance forklifts are the type of forklifts you see every day. These are the ones that you notice when you drive by a company or see one on TV. IC forklifts are considered CLASS IV, 391, 393, 394 & 396 series. These forklifts can be used indoors or outdoors and on any type of surface. The reason they can be used indoors or outdoors with ease is that they are available with cushion tires (smooth tires that work well with smooth surfaces with good turning radius) like mentioned before and pneumatic which as we know are rough, rugged tires that are made for being able to handle outside terrain. These tires are made with aggressive tread rubber and can be either solid (rubber filled) or air filled. IC lifts can be fueled by electricity which is great for indoor use, and diesel & LP which will work for both indoor and outdoor use. Due to the variety of tires you can get for your IC forklift, this lift can run on any surface… Smooth like a warehouse or rough like a rock quarry or concrete. These lifts have a capacity starting at around 3,500 LBS and can carry a load up to around 17,500 LBS. Since the capacity range on these forklifts is so wide, this lift is perfect for any type of job.

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Large Capacity Forklifts

Large capacity trucks are used for a select type of industry. These forklifts are considered to be CLASS V, 1401 & 1411 series. Large capacity forklifts can work indoors as well as outdoors, however, due to the nature of their size, they don’t get around a crowded warehouse very easily. These trucks come equipped with pneumatic (rough, rugged tires that are made with solid rubber or air-filled and have aggressive tread rubber) tires and are perfect for heavy-duty industries such as lumber yards, construction sites, landscaping and even recycling yards. Since these lifts are so big, it would take a lot of electricity to get them to run for an entire shift and that is why these lifts are only offered with diesel or LP fuel. These lifts have a starting capacity of 17,500 LBS and can go to around 35,000 LBS capacity. Large capacity lifts come with multiple safety features such as enclosed cabs, panoramic view mirrors, alarms, spotlights, etc. If you have a tough, rugged job that needs to be done, large capacity forklifts are the right trucks for you.

Large Capacity Forklifts

Lift Atlanta is proud to say that we have a ton of forklift types in our inventory. Call us today to get your very own electric, narrow-aisle, pallet jack, IC counterbalance or large capacity forklifts. 770-987-3200