Types of Motors Used in Forklifts

Are you shopping for forklifts? Will you choose a diesel, propane, or electric forklift? It pays to understand a little bit about each kind of forklift motor before you make your decision about which kind to purchase.


  • Diesel Motors: A forklift with a diesel motor offers plenty of power. These forklifts can typically outclass the power and torque of most other types of forklifts. They’re a great option for intense jobs like construction sites and large shipping yards. If you have to handle extremely heavy workloads, are operating on rough terrain, or need to do heavy-duty work that uses attachments like spreaders, clamps, or tipplers, a diesel forklift may be your best option. However, it’s not a good choice if you will be working in close quarters or an indoor environment. It’s also not a green option, so if running an environmentally-friendly operation is your priority, diesel is not for you.
  • Propane Motors: Propane-powered forklifts are middle of the road machines, with exceptional power and clean-burning fuel. They can operate at full capacity from a full tank until it’s empty, and don’t produce dangerous exhaust, so they can even be used inside for short periods, as long as they are paired with a catalytic converter. They’re a good option if you want to work long shifts without lengthy refueling times, or you want the tax credits you get from using clean-burning equipment. If the propane tank on the forklift could pose a safety issue in your environment, or you don’t have the storage capacity for empty and replacement propane tanks, this type of forklift is not for you.
  • Electric Motors: An electric forklift motor works by converting electro-chemical energy into mechanical energy. It needs no fuel source except rechargeable batteries and operates extremely quietly. An electric forklift battery can be fast-charged during breaks, so it doesn’t require long charging periods. Look for an electric forklift for sale if you want a forklift that will run quietly. Electric forklifts are the perfect choice for indoor work, such as warehouse, retail stocking, or factory work. They run smoothly and efficiently, and while they cost more than other forklifts up front, they’re extremely cost-effective in the long run, offering an excellent return on investment.

Ready to buy a forklift? Come and talk to us at Ring Power Lift Trucks. For 60 years, our locally-owned and operated business has provided superior products and the newest technology in forklift vehicles, meeting or exceeding our customers’ expectations. With 14 convenient locations throughout Florida, Ring Power Corporation has become one of the largest Caterpillar® dealers in the Southeastern United States because of our dedication to customer service. Whether you need to buy a new or used forklift, or you’d prefer a short-term or long-term forklift rental, we’re here for you. We also supply forklift parts and service in north and central Florida for every make and model of forklift.  Call 877.544.5438 or visit our website for more information.


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