Does Your Business Need Forklifts or Pallet Trucks?
Unsure of whether you need a forklift or pallet truck?
It is important to differentiate clearly between the two, in order to equip your business appropriately. Have a read of this article, and learn what’s best for you.
What is a Pallet Jack?
A pallet jack is a trolley with wheels that moves pallets within a warehouse. They are often used in stockrooms, warehouses or stores.
The Different Types of Pallet Jacks
Manual Pallet Jack
This is the most common and cheapest type of pallet jack. A manual pallet jack is operated by pumping a handle up and down.
Manual pallet jacks are known for being compact and can fit comfortably in a van. You will often find manual pallet jacks being used in supermarkets.
Walkie Pallet Jack
This form of pallet jack is electrical and usually twice the size of a manual pallet jack. Additionally, the lifting capacity for this pallet jack is greater than a manual pallet jack.
However, more maintenance is required for a walkie-pallet jack since there are complex components involved.
Rider Pallet Jack
A rider pallet jack is an extension of a walkie pallet jack, including an additional riding platform.
This option of pallet jack is more suitable for long-distance movement compared to the previous two.
What is a Forklift?
A forklift is an industrial vehicle, usually powered by an electrical battery, which can be used to transport heavy loads. Forklifts are often used in warehouses, dockyards and construction sites.
The Different Types of Forklifts
This forklift is generally considered the most standard type.
These forklifts are specialised to navigate within narrow spaces.
Electrical forklifts are powered by rechargeable batteries and produce zero emissions. The use of this forklift is gaining momentum due to the demand for eco-friendly practices.
Rough Terrain Forklifts
This forklift is suited for outdoor use, including uneven surfaces, due to its rugged tires and durable frame.
Key Features to Look Out For
Pallet jacks are significantly smaller than forklifts and can be folded away. For smaller spaces, a pallet jack would be more suitable since storage is easier.
The lift height your business requires will ultimately inform whether you choose a forklift or pallet jack. Pallet jacks have a limited lift height, ranging from three to eight inches – which can be useful for lighter operations.
By contrast, forklifts generally have a lift height between ten to fifteen feet. If you need to reach greater heights, a forklift is certainly the most practical option.
The smaller nature of pallet jacks allows them to move seamlessly within tight spaces. This feature could be of particular use to warehouses containing narrow aisles and turns. A forklift is unable to move in such an agile manner.
Most pallet jacks are operated manually. Extensive reliance on pallet jacks could equate to operator fatigue, which would hinder the efficiency of activity carried out. On the other hand, forklifts help to alleviate this issue of fatigue since operation is usually electrical.
Forklifts can hold heavier load capacities – a standard forklift can handle up to 40,000 pounds. Contrarily, a typical pallet jack can only lift up to 5,500 pounds.
In conjunction with the increased fatigue, pallet jacks are known to take longer than forklifts when handling pallet jacks. To achieve optimum efficiency for a high quantity of items, a forklift would be better suited as a greater number of pallets can be transported per hour.
The use of forklifts incurs significantly higher maintenance costs compared to pallet jacks. More specifically, a forklift requires a full maintenance check for every 200-250 hours of operation. However, pallet jacks simply require an easy oil level check every six months.
Using a forklift will be more expensive than a pallet jack. As well as higher maintenance costs, using a forklift also has higher upfront costs as well.
Ultimately, a forklift is more versatile than a pallet jack. Forklifts can be used in both indoor and outdoor settings, whereas pallet jacks are only accustomed to inside environments.
Additionally, the flexibility of a forklift can be extended even further through the application of different forklift attachments.
Before using both forklifts and pallet jacks, training is required. However, forklift usage requires a further certification and you must be a minimum of 18 years old too.
Which to Choose?
The overarching idea is that heavier pallets which will need to be lifted to greater heights will require a forklift. However, if you do not need to achieve such height, and the items are not too heavy, opting for a pallet jack is the optimal cost-friendly solution.
Ultimately, it is important to take into account the space you have, and the nature of your activity, in order to reach a decision.
Choosing a trustworthy brand is also an important factor to consider. Here at Trucks Direct, our LOLER certification and quality assurance can guarantee you confidence that you are getting the best value for your money.
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