Understanding The Different Forklift Types

There are seven different types of forklifts and they are built for different applications. Read on to find out more about forklift classifications!

Productivity and efficiency can be increased in a workplace if one chooses the correct equipment for his or her needs. Today, warehouse operators and fleet managers have a wide array of material handling equipment to choose from. Some of the popular options include aerial lifts, electric forklifts, LPG forklifts, pallet jacks, side loaders, and even automated guided vehicles (or AGVs). If you are looking to get new equipment to accomplish key tasks more efficiently, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the forklift classifications set by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Below is a detailed look at forklift classifications Classes I through VII, including their key features and benefits:

Electric Motor Rider Trucks

Typically, Class I forklifts are designed for sit-down operation and have a weight capacity range of 3,000-8,000 pounds. In addition, these forklifts are counterbalanced, i.e., the battery acts as a counterweight for stability. As these forklifts are powered by electric batteries, they produce zero emissions and can operate quietly. One can use electric motor rider trucks to grab (roll) pallets right into the back of a tractor-trailer before transporting them to their next destination. In addition to that, one can even navigate tight spaces, e.g., small doorways, and drive into an elevator with ease!

CNC Forklift
CNC Forklift

Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks

These forklifts are powered by an electric motor and require minimal space to operate. If you own order pickers and/or reach trucks, adding Class II lift trucks to your narrow-aisle material handling equipment collection is a great idea. It can help maximize storage space use, move inventory, and handle pallets.

Electric Motor Hand Trucks or Hand/Rider Trucks

Class III lift equipment typically feature tight maneuverability, making them suitable for moving loads to a staging area, unloading deliveries from tractor-trailers, and more. These lift trucks are available in two models: walkie model and rider model. These lift trucks can be controlled with a steering tiller, which often features several controls mounted on top. If you work in a small warehouse or need lift trucks for short runs, you can never go wrong with using electric motor hand trucks.

Stacker Pallet
Clark Forklift

Internal Combustion Engine Trucks (with Solid or Cushion Tires)

ICE forklifts can handle loads of up to 15,500 pounds and are ideal for indoor operation on smooth floors. If you do not have recharging stations in your facility, Class IV forklifts are the next best alternatives. They typically work on liquid propane (LPG) fuel.

Internal Combustion Engine Trucks (with Pneumatic Tires)

If you are looking to get forklifts that can be used indoors in large warehouses or the outdoors, consider Class V ICE forklifts. Although they share the same chassis design as Class IV forklifts, they come with solid pneumatic tires that make them less prone to puncture incidents. Today, you can get Class V forklifts to handle everything from a few pallets to loaded 40-foot containers!

2007 Komatsu FG25T 16
Clarc CTX

Electric and Internal Combustion Engine Tractors

Also known as tuggers or tow tractors, Class VI forklifts are designed to tow loads. Designed for both indoor and outdoor applications, electric and internal combustion engine tractors have weight capacities of between 3,000 lbs. and 6,000 lbs.

Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks

Most of the available rough terrain forklift trucks are designed to be used on the most challenging outdoor terrain. In addition to being exclusively powered by diesel engines, Class VII forklifts are available in two-wheel and four-wheel drive versions. Operators can increase the lift truck’s reach by installing a telescoping mast or a traditional straight mast. Class VII forklifts are often found in construction sites and lumberyards that need to lift building materials to high-elevation work sites.

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Want to know more about forklift variations, do not hesitate to contact C&C Lift Truck for more information today!