How to Choose a Forklift

Forklifts can do it all, from transporting pallets around warehouses or loading docks to aiding workers on construction or agricultural sites. They come in various sizes, lifting capacities, and fuel types to suit multiple demanding applications. 


Here are the factors to consider when choosing a forklift for the job.

  • Lifting capacity: What is the maximum load you need to lift? Small forklifts can support up to 5,000 pounds, while industrial forklifts can handle up to 30,000 pounds. Be sure to buy or rent a forklift that can handle more than the heaviest load you anticipate having.
  • Load type: Forklift capacities are based on standard pallets with a 24-inch load center. But you might not transport pallets. Long, wide, or off-center loads affect forklift performance. Speak with a material handling expert to help you identify an accurate lifting capacity for the job at hand.
  • Weight: Are you working on a job site with temporary flooring? Choose a forklift that comes in well under the load limit. Skipping this step could leave you with an overweight machine and threaten the safety of your project.
  • Mast height: If you’re working indoors, know the height restrictions of the space. Make sure the forklift can move through doorways and other openings with its mast lowered. Then, double-check that the rising forklift mast won’t be problematic when the operator retrieves items stored up high.
  • Fuel type: There are three primary types of forklift fuels. Electric forklifts are mainly used indoors, offering quiet, emission-free operation. Gas forklifts operate on propane or natural gas. They have a long lifespan and can be used indoors or outside. Diesel forklifts have the highest lifting capacity but are only suitable for outdoor use.
  • Terrain: Forklifts with cushion tires are ideal for traversing the concrete floors in warehouses and loading docks. Alternatively, puncture-proof pneumatic tires are best for rough or unstable terrain, including asphalt, gravel, and dirt.
  • Maneuverability: If the job requires navigating narrow aisles and making tight turns, an electric three-wheel forklift is the most appropriate option. On the other hand, four-wheel forklifts can provide higher lifting capacity and traverse steep slopes more easily. They are also better suited for uneven, outdoor surfaces.
  • Operator ergonomics: If workers enter and exit their forklifts frequently, stand-up riders may be the most comfortable option. However, if your operators prefer to sit for the duration of their shifts, consider investing in sit-down forklifts.
  • Purchasing options: Buying a forklift is a big commitment. It may be better to rent one first, especially if you only need the machine temporarily.

At Ring Power Lift Trucks, we sell and rent all different types of forklifts to meet your unique needs. If you’re unsure which product is best for you, we can help you make the right call. Contact us today at 877-544-5438 to ask about our forklift rentals and sales in Florida. We operate out of several strategically located branches, from Tallahassee to Sarasota.


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