Types of Forklifts

We understand that choosing equipment for your application can be difficult, especially if you’re not familiar with the basic types of forklifts and other material handling equipment. That’s why we’ve provided this information on the most common types of forklifts and other warehouse equipment.

If you still can’t decide which type of equipment fits your needs, feel free to contact us.

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Three-Wheel Forklifts

Types of Forklifts - Three-Wheel Forklifts
  • Mainly indoor, warehouse or other smooth surface use where maneuverability and space requirements make four-wheel trucks inefficient
  • Electric Powered
  • Cushion tires
  • Capacities range from 3,000 lbs – 5,000 lbs
  • Use for unloading trucks and moving pallets and other loads

Four-Wheel Forklifts

Types of Forklifts - Four-Wheel Forklifts
  • Use for unloading trucks and moving pallets and other loads
  • Electric, propane, diesel or gasoline engines
  • Cushion or pneumatic tires
  • Electric units fitted with cushion tires are mainly indoor trucks and run on smooth surfaces
  • Electric units do not release emissions and work well where ventilation is poor
  • Internal combustion forklifts (propane, gasoline, and diesel) will generate more power than electric trucks and move faster over long distances
  • Propane forklifts can be used indoors where there is some ventilation
  • If equipped with pneumatic tires, internal combustion units will have greater ground clearance and can travel on a variety of surfaces
  • Capacities range from 3,000lbs – 80,000lbs

Reach Trucks / Narrow-Aisle Trucks

Types of Forklifts - Reach Trucks / Narrow-Aisle Trucks
  • Use to rack pallets on smooth surfaces
  • Single-reach trucks can extend the distance of one pallet
  • Double-reach trucks can extend the distance of two pallets
  • Outriggers on the front of the forklift support the weight of the load
  • Electric Powered
  • Capacities range from 2,500lbs – 5,500lbs

Order-Pickers / Stock-Pickers / Man-Up Units

Types of Forklifts - Order-Pickers / Stock-Pickers / Man-Up Units
  • Use for rider to stand on an elevating platform along with forks so rider may rise to select load
  • Used in very narrow aisles
  • Electric Powered
  • Capacities are typically 3,500lbs

Turret Trucks

Types of Forklifts - Turret Trucks
  • Forks are mounted on a mast and carriage that operates on a turret able to rotate 90 degrees in either direction for picking or stocking without turning the base of the forklift
  • Use in very narrow aisles and employ a rotating mast
  • Electric Powered
  • Capacities range from 3,000lbs – 8,000lbs

Jacks / Stackers

Types of Forklifts - Jacks / Stackers
  • Use as an economical solution for transporting loads short distances
  • Walk-behind or ride-on
  • Fork length is usually 48” but some are double-long for loading two pallets
  • Forks, or tines, rise slightly off the ground
  • Wheels are solid
  • Walk behind units may be equipped with a mast, and sometimes a reach and are used to raise loads onto racking
  • Electric Powered
  • Capacities range from 3,000lbs to 8,000lb

Stand-Up Counter Balance forklifts

Types of Forklifts - Stand-Up Counter Balance forklifts
  • Use for quick loading and unloading of trucks, in conditions were rider frequently needs to mount and dismount
  • Primarily used indoors and on smooth surfaces
  • Electric Powered
  • Capacities range from 3,000lbs – 5,500lbs

Sweepers & Scrubbers

Sweepers & Scrubbers
  • Use to sweep or scrub surfaces – some models do both
  • Units are walk-behind or ride-on
  • Powered by propane, gasoline, diesel or electric batteries
  • Some models used either indoors or outdoors

Aerial / Scissor Lifts

Types of Lift trucks - Aerial / Scissor Lifts
  • Use for maintenance work – can be small, one man scissor units or larger bucket control units with hydraulic folding support arm
  • Electric or propane powered

Personnel Carts

Personnel carts
  • Use for quick movement of personnel around warehouse or farm
  • Small one-man units with three wheels or large four-man trucks with beds on back used for hauling loads
  • Powered by electric, diesel, gasoline and sometimes propane
  • Pneumatic or cushion tires available

Tow Tractors / Tuggers

Types of Forklifts - Tow Tractors / Tuggers
  • Use to pull loads on wheel-buggies around a warehouse
  • Powered by electric, gas, propane or diesel
  • Capacities are measured in ‘draw bar pull,’ – how much weight needs to be pulled

Rough Terrain Forklifts

Types of Forklifts - Rough Terrain Forklifts
  • Outdoors over uneven ground with pneumatic tires
  • Powered by gasoline, diesel fuel, lpg or compressed natural gas
  • Ideal for lumberyards, construction projects, landscaping and other outdoor applications.
  • Maximum available capacity – 35,000 lbs. or more

Piggy Back Lifts or Truck Mounted Forklifts

Types of forklifts - Piggy Back Lifts or Truck Mounted Forklifts
  • Truck-mounted forklift used for a variety of jobs and products such as roofing, lumber, sod, etc.

Hand Pallet Jacks

Hand Pallet Jacks
  • Quickly transport pallets from one location to another with ease