Forklifts are commonly used to handle and maneuver heavy materials within a warehouse setting. However, one type of forklift cannot handle every job that may be required in a warehouse. There are several types of forklifts that, when used together, can enhance the efficiency of any warehouse. But to do so, you must first understand the purpose of each type of forklift and which situations they are best used for. Here are a few of the most common types of forklifts you’ll encounter.
Counterbalance forklifts are the most commonly used forklifts. They are best used for material handling. Counterbalanced forklifts are designed with a weight in the back of the lift to offset the weight of the load being carried on the forks in front. This keeps the lift balanced, therefore, preventing it from tipping over. They are mostly used in warehouses or stores but can be used outside on even surfaces. Forklifts that are used outdoors on gravel or dirt are equipped with pneumatic tires while forklifts that operate indoors on a hard, even surface are equipped with cushion tires. The different types of tires are necessary for the environment you’re operating in.
There is the standard four-wheel counterbalance lift and then there is the three-wheel counterbalance lift. The three-wheel lift has two wheels in front and a third wheel centered in the back of the lift. This allows you to easily pivot and make tight turns, giving you much more maneuverability when operating in narrow aisles. Both the four-wheel and three-wheel counterbalance forklifts come in a variety of weight capacities and energy sources. Diesel forklifts can handle a capacity of up to 35,000 pounds, propane/gas forklifts can handle up to 22,000 pounds, and electric forklifts can handle up to 10,000 pounds. Exact weight capacities will depend on a combination of things including the forklift’s brand, the number of wheels it has, and its energy source. Make sure you know the correct weight capacity needed for the job.
The purpose of a reach truck is exactly what it sounds like. Best used in warehouses with tight spaces and high-rise pallet storage, reach trucks have the ability to extend its forks beyond the machine to grab pallets from the racking. Its stabilizing legs allow it to remain balanced while reaching out with the forks, leaving no need for a counterbalancing weight to be added to the machine. Reach trucks also come with a variety of weight capacities, depending on your needs.
Pulling down an entire pallet just to grab one or two items, only then to have to put the pallet back, is incredibly inefficient. Order pickers, sometimes confused with reach trucks, allow for the most efficient order fulfillment process within a warehouse. Unlike a reach truck, it is designed so that the operator can rise up with the lift, allowing them to clearly see all the items on the rack and pick out specific ones. These types of forklifts are best used within distribution centers that have high-rise racks and narrow aisles.
The forks of a pallet truck, also known as a pallet jack, have a limited reach. They are designed to quickly and conveniently move pallets from point A to Point B in a warehouse. Unlike a standard forklift, the operator walks behind the pallet truck when in operation. They are motorized so, depending on the type of pallet truck, they can handle up to 7,000 pounds. Though most pallet trucks are walk behinds, some do come with a platform for the operator to stand on. Brands like Big Joe offer a variety of pallet jacks for specific purposes of enhancing delivery and productivity.
Rent or Buy All Types of Forklifts
No matter which types of forklifts you are looking for, C&C Lift Truck can deliver. From counterbalance lifts to order pickers, we have a wide variety of forklifts that can handle all different weight capacities. Choose from our list of gas, diesel, and electric forklifts. Understanding which types of forklifts are needed for certain jobs is crucial when you are considering buying or renting any machine. Whatever your specific needs are, we will work with you to make sure you have the right forklift for the job. Take a look at our certified used and new equipment or contact us today for more information.