There are so many industries in which a forklift could be a helpful piece of equipment. There are several different types of forklifts to choose from, but not all forklifts are built the same. Some are best suited for construction jobs, others for agriculture, and some for warehouses. Depending on your industry, you may only need one or several lifts to meet your business needs. Not sure what you need? Check out what you should consider before making a purchase.

Forklift Engine Types

First and foremost, it’s important to determine what kind of engine should power your forklift. Lifts come with two different types of engines: electric or internal combustion (IC).Commonly found in indoor operations, electric forklifts offer an easy way to manage your material handling needs. While more expensive upfront, electric forklifts usually have a longer operating life and lower operating costs. These forklifts require you to charge the battery in order to operate. Depending on your lift brand and how long the forklift is in use, it may be required that you charge in between shifts.

If you’re looking to do some heavy lifting, IC forklifts might work best for you. IC forklifts offer dependable performance and are more typically found in outdoor settings for heavy lifting. How much weight the lift can carry varies from brand to brand.

Number of Wheels

The second thing you should consider when looking into forklifts for your business is the number of wheels your forklift will have. Forklifts usually come in three-wheel or four-wheel varieties. If you’re working with tight spaces, three-wheel lifts have a smaller turn radius than their four-wheeled counterparts, making them easy to maneuver and ideal for warehouse spaces. These also offer a counterbalance that allows your forklift to lift heavy items with ease.

Four-wheel forklifts are generally better when it comes to operating on a slope. These lifts have better stability and can operate with heavier loads. If construction work is something you need to consider, four-wheel forklifts have better stability on uneven surfaces, making them ideal for outdoor projects.

Narrow Aisle Forklifts

As implied by the name, these types of forklifts are ideal for narrow warehouse spaces. Also known as narrow aisle pickers, these forklifts can be categorized as both Narrow Aisle (NA) or Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) forklifts.

Pantograph and Moving Mast Reach Trucks

This forklift gets its name for it’s ability to “reach” beyond their stabilizing legs at great heights. Like three-wheeled lifts, they are very maneuverable and able to turn tight corners in crowded spaces.

Moving mast reach trucks are designed to move horizontally. This makes it easier for the operators to reach loads that are high up without moving the base of the forklift. These forklifts also offer an easier way to place forks—correct placement can result in improved productivity.

Turret Trucks

Turret forklifts are best suited for very narrow aisles. The carriage of the lift rotates 180° to reach items within warehouse storage aisles. The forks of this truck can also be rotated without moving the truck itself, making it an efficient tool in a warehouse.

Order Pickers

These types of lifts are specifically designed to make the order picking process go as smoothly as possible. Order pickers are designed to pick specific items from a pallet without lowering the contents of the pallet. These lifts will raise or lower their operators to the same level as the load where they need to grab something from. This makes the order picking process simple and cost efficient.

Hand Pallet Jacks

Hand pallet jacks are hand held and used to transport pallets within indoor warehouse environments or storage facilities. These types of lifts are manually operated by a hydraulic jack to lift a pallet load for transport at ground level and wouldn’t bode well in warehouse with tall shelving. Hand pallet jacks are small and easy to operate and can be made great use of in any warehouse environment.

Still not sure what you need? We have a wide selection of forklift types at Naumann Hobbs. Our forklift experts are ready to help—give us a call at 866-266-2244 to figure out your material handling needs.