What are the Different Types of Forklift?
Forklift trucks have always been the go to option for businesses that require heavy material handling. They are an investment that can make operations run much smoother – especially if you purchase the correct forklift.
With so many options available you may be wondering what the best type of forklift for your industry is.
The type of forklift you require will depend heavily on what you plan on using it for. Before you can make a decision based on your requirements you need to answer the question ‘what type of forklifts are there?’. After all, if you’re unaware of a solution you may overlook it and purchase the incorrect unit for your requirements. With this in mind, we have put some advice below to help you make an informed decision.
How Many Different Types Of Forklifts Are There?
There are many different types of forklifts such as gas forklifts, articulated forklifts, 4 wheel electric forklifts and sideloader forklifts. These all sit within a category type. Typically, we separate each type of forklift into six categories
- Rough Terrain
- Telescopic Handlers
- Pedestrian Operated Pallet Trucks
Once you recognise the type of forklift you require you can start to think about specifications such as gas, electric, container spec etc.
Type of Forklifts
Now that we have established that there are six forklift categories we can discuss what each one offers. Once you know the benefits, advantages and disadvantages you will have a much more informed idea of what to look for.
Reach forklifts are favoured in environments where lift height is essential. They are popular in warehouses with high pallet racking. There are a variety of different types of reach forklifts including ones you stand on and ones you sit on. Stand up reach trucks tend to be the most popular option in settings where there is only one load per bay. This is because they are easy to control and the forks easily slide under the pallet.
There is also double deep reach trucks. These are becoming ever more popular due to storage demands in warehousing. They allow the operator to lift and load pallets onto a shelf that sits behind the front shelf. You may have recognised the need for double deep reach trucks in shops such as Ikea where there is a need to store products behind products to keep up with consumer demand. Stand up reach trucks are best in environments where the operator needs to quickly jump on and off the unit.
Sit down reach trucks are also popular and tend to be used in warehouse environments where orders are picked more regularly. The operator sits to the side to reduce the turning circle.
There are alternatives to traditional reach trucks such as articulated forklifts. The allow the operator to lift and load items from the side without the need of any turning circle. However, these can prove to be harder to operate compared to reach trucks which is why reach trucks are extremely popular.
Conterbalance forklifts are one of the most popular types of trucks. They are used in most indoor warehouses and are also used in shops such as DIY stores. They can be used outside so long as the surface is leveled and without potholes. They are easy to operate and have high lift weight capacities because of the counterweight at the back. Counterbalance forklifts are available in a variety of specifications such as 3 wheel, 4 wheel, electric, LPG and diesel. Diesel units are most popular in outdoor environments because of the emissions that they release from the point of usage.
We now have the popular Still RC counterbalance forklifts available to buy brand new!
Rough Terrain Forklifts
Rough terrain forklifts are the preferred unit for construction environments and any settings with surfaces that are hard to navigate. They have inflatable tyres like a car or a bike meaning the thread is a lot thicker than counterbalance forklifts. This provide stability and helps on uneven ground. The engine is also a lot more powerful meaning they can reach higher speeds and push over slopes.
Sideloaders are the preferred unit in environments where storage spaces have very narrow aisles. They allow the operator to travel down the aisle with the forks facing to the side meaning there is no need for any awkward turning manoeuvre that you might face with other types of forklifts such as counterbalance.
Sideloaders are available with an enclosed cab so that you can use the unit outside without the inconvenience of getting wet. There are also stand up versions for indoor use where the operator needs to get on and off the unit regularly. There are also sideloaders available where the wheels rotate 90° making it easy to move in every direction.
They are popular for moving large items such as tubing, pipes, timber / wood, metal and other sheet materials.
Telescopic Boom Lifts
Popular in agricultural and construction environments, the telescopic boom lift is the unsung hero when it comes to heavy lifting and the requirement to load items onto hard to reach areas. They are thought of as small cranes rather than forklifts, but they still sit within the forklift family. They can be used as forklifts or further utilised thanks to attachment such as lift tables, buckets, pallet forks and muck grabbers.
Due to their flexibility they are typically preferred to rough terrain forklifts but rough terrain forklifts are still popular in more extreme environments.
Pallet trucks are less of a forklift and are better described as heavy material handling equipment. They are easy to operate and tend to be used in most warehouse environments. Thanks to the hydraulic jack they easily lift heavy pallets and can move them around the building. It is best to have both a pallet truck and a forklift so that you have complete flexibility and control over daily tasks.
What Is The Most Common Type Of Forklift?
Based on demand, the counterbalance forklift is by far one of the more popular forklifts that are bought and used. At the same time, reach trucks are very popular. It all depends on the industry and application.
Trucks Direct stock all types of forklifts and aims to ensure you benefit from expert advice. We pride ourselves on purchasing and selling the best used forklifts available in the UK. View our stock range now and contact us for any further details.