Reach Trucks vs Forklifts

Forklifts and reach trucks are both very useful for warehouses, but they work differently. Here’s an overview of each machine, showing their differences.


What is a Forklift?

Here’s how OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) describes forklifts: “Powered industrial trucks, commonly called forklifts or lift trucks, are used in many industries, primarily to move materials. They can also be used to raise, lower, or remove large objects or a number of smaller objects on pallets or in boxes, crates, or other containers. Powered industrial trucks can either be ridden by the operator or controlled by a walking operator.” This is a pretty broad definition of forklift. When using the term, people are usually referring to a counterbalance forklift. These machines have a heavy weight in the back to counterbalance the weight being lifted by the fork at the front. They come in many varieties. Some are only used indoors, some are used outdoors on rough terrain, and some can be used in a variety of settings, both indoor and outdoor.


What is a Reach Truck?

Here’s how OSHA describes reach trucks: “Reach trucks are a type of Class II electric motor narrow aisle truck. These trucks are used for high tiering, which involves storing material in multiple tiers high off the ground.” Cat® Lift Trucks, one of the biggest manufacturers of lift trucks in the world, says “Reach trucks are amongst the most popular types of warehousing equipment and are used in many warehouse applications where high storage density or fast storage and retrieval of goods are required. Reach forklift trucks have a mast which can be moved forwards with the load. This function, together with a narrow chassis, specifically equips them for pallet storage and retrieval in narrow aisles. Depending on model and mast choice, our reach trucks can lift to levels of up to 13 meters [42.6 inches] in high racking.” Regular forklifts don’t reach nearly that high. This allows you to make efficient use of vertical space to store inventory. Reach trucks are also agile enough to retrieve these items quickly.


Reach trucks do not have a weight in the back to counterbalance their loads. Instead, they have base legs, an apparatus which surrounds the bottom of the machine and stabilizes it. As with forklifts, reach trucks are available in different sizes, with different load capacities and special features. But they are for indoor use only and run on rechargeable batteries, while forklifts are available with different fuel types such as diesel, natural gas and propane, as well as electric batteries.


And if you’re looking for high-quality new and used forklifts from today’s top brands, choose Ring Power Lift Trucks as your reliable forklift dealer in Florida. We’re the Sunshine State’s top source for forklift rentals, sales, parts, and services, with several convenient locations to choose from. For more information, please call us at 877-544-5438 or contact us online today.


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