Load Capacity: Forklifts are necessary when workplaces utilize heavy lifting and handle stacked-up loads on a daily basis. The standard sit down truck has a load capacity of 3,000 to 6,000 pounds. This kind of lift can also reach up to 15 feet or higher.
Workplace Efficiency: A forklift can remarkably increase productivity in your warehouse or retail workplace. Imagine if every employee had to lift each box of merchandise by hand instead of lifting one or several palettes at a time? A lift allows one employee to do the work of hundreds in a fraction of the time. Moving, sorting, and shifting heavy loads is incredibly easy and effective with a lift.
Mast: Size does matter. When selecting a forklift, make sure the mast height does not exceed the height of your facilities' lowest door clearance. Concurrently, be sure to take into consideration the reach/extension of the lift to be sure it meets with your needs.
- Cushion Tires: Solid rubber compound press-on tire. Available with a tread design or smooth. Also available in a white non-marking rubber compound.Solid
- Solid Pneumatic Tires: For use on dirt and gravel surfaces, or for "soft yard" applications. Solid Pneumatic tires do not hold air and are therefore good for construction or job sites where there are a lot of sharp objects, otherwise known as "flat hazards."
- Pneumatic Tires: Pneumatic tires are also used on dirt and gravel surfaces and soft yards. They provide slightly better traction than Solid Pneumatic tires, but they are susceptible to flats because they hold air. They are also about half the cost of solid pneumatic tires.
- Counter Weight: A large counter weight is always a good thing to have because it allows you to lift more with your truck. However, be sure to check the load bearing limitations of your warehouse floor or dock and take that into consideration when selecting your forklift.
- There are four fuel options to consider when purchasing a forklift.
- Diesel: Provides the most torque and power for outdoor construction and jobsite applications. Most diesel powered forklifts will be equipped with pneumatic tires.
- L.P. Gas: For use outdoors and indoors. Most Cushion Tire forklifts are powered with L.P. Gas. Because L.P. Gas forklifts produce lower emissions, they can be used in some indoor applications.
- Gasoline: Although gasoline is rarely used as fuel for forklifts, they are available and they can only be used for outdoor applications due to the high amount of emissions.
- Electric: For use mainly indoors on smooth, concrete surface. Electric forklifts can be used outdoors when conditions are dry. They are perfect for indoor warehouse applications because they do not produce exhaust and are quiet during operation.
Forks: Know your usage. 42" forks are most commonly used for standard 48" pallets. Forks should be slightly shorter than the pallet being moved because forks that stick out through the other side of the pallet being carried can cause damage to other shelved products. Longer forks will decrease a forklifts overall turning radius, so choose the shortest forks possible for the job.
Hours: Hours are the equivalent of miles on an odometer. The more hours used equals more wear and tear on its engine, transmission, and all other moving parts. Some brands and types will give you a breakdown of the hours; e.g. key on hours, drive motor hours, and pump motor hours.
Different Types for Different Needs: Two basic types of forklifts rule the industry: electric and combustion. The electric forklifts are best for indoors, where they can be easily plugged in and recharged. The combustion lifts are good for both outdoor and indoor use. Other models include:
- The Reach Truck: Reach trucks have a scissor mechanism, allowing the worker to stack pallets two-deep on a rack.
- The Order Picker: This model is designed primarily for smaller loads, but both the load and the operator can be lifted up to 30 feet.
- The Motorized Pallet Truck: This truck effectively moves loads in tight areas by allowing the mast to swing 90 degrees in one or both directions.