Buying a Forklift
A forklift is a long time necessary piece of equipment for the movement of equipment and product in manufacturing, lumber yards, distribution centers for both large and small company operations. From 24-7 operational needs to 1-2 hours a day to load and unload deliveries, the forklift perfoms its function effectively and productivily.
Forklifts are available with a multitude of options and accessories as required to perform its functions and at capacities from 1500 lbs to 30,000 lbs or more. Loads under 1500 lbs usually are performed by manual or electric pallet jacks.
Purchase of a forklift can be a large investment for smaller companies. Forklift requirements should be carefully considered and listed to ensure that those requirements are met. Contact one of ASI's technicians to discuss your needs at 800-876-3736.
Let’s choose a forklift:
What work will the forklift perform?
- Maximum size and weight for heaviest and typical size loads
- Height product to be lifted (top of beam height)
- To be used outside or inside or both
- What are your aisle dimensions, Narrowest ?
- How many hours per day will forklift be used
Forklifts are categorized based on several factors. Weight capacity is of great importance. Forklift capacity ranges from 1500 lbs for a small 3 wheel lift to over 30,000 lbs for a heavy duty 4- wheeler. Typical small business forklift capacities are 1500,3000 or 5000 lbs. The size of your typical load will affect the weight capacity required. Forklift capacity is based on a 24” load center. Load size is anther critical factor in choosing a capacity for your forklift.
Another factor in choosing a forklift is “how high your load will be lifted”? You will need top of deck height plus 6” to lift product off the rack deck.
New vs Used
As is the case, whenever choosing between new and used equipment the question is “how long you will use the forklift per day? Specific to meeting your needs keep in mind that both new and used equipment can be purchased with warranty protection (view Limited Gurantee). All forklifts have usage meters that identify hours of operational use. The following check list can be used to justify your purchase;
1- Average number of hours used per day for next 3 years
2- Weight and size of typical product to be handled
3- Climate and condition of area the truck will be operated and stored in.
Electric and internal combustion forklifts provide two types of available power. Electric power through the use of a battery or an internal combustion engine will run on propane, gas or diesel.
Electric- Large lead-acid batteries are available to power a forklift similar to a car battery only much larger and with more power. New batteries should provide power service for one standard shift, i.e. 5-6 hours of constant usage.
Electric power has a number of advantages. No adverse emissions to cause operator or environmental pollution during inside usage. The internal combustion powered forklifts fueled with propane can be used indoors but require very good ventilation. Gas and diesel powered forklifts should not be used inside buildings.
Electric lifts are quiet and do not require space for any fuel storage. Electric forklifts usually have a longer life span and are chosen for use in cleaner environments.
Use the following checklist to determine type power.
||Higher operating costs
||Lower operating costs
||Lumber yards, docks, well ventilated warehouses
||5-15 minutes (change tank)
||typical process - charge 8 hours, runs 8 hours
||up to 35,000 lbs.
||up to 15,000 lbs.
||Liquid propane, gasoline, diesel
Propane powered vs Electric lifts:
A big advantage using propane powered forklifts is their low re-fueling time. Loading a full tank can take less than 5 minuets. The cost per hour of usage must be considered. Propane powered lifts cost usually runs higher than the battery operated forklifts. Another factor to be considered is that propane only requires space for a spare tank which usually is managed by a propane vendor.
Your aisle width must be considered when choosing a forklift. A typical forklift requires an aisle width of 11’ or wider. For narrow aisles 8-10’ you will require the use of a (NA) narrow aisle forklift, and for aisles down to 6’ a VNA very narrow Aisle forklift is required. Refer to the “Space Utilization Guide” for a information on aisle widths and applicable forklifts.
Other forklift features to be considered:
Safety Features- discuss this in detail with one of our experienced technicians at 800-876-3736.
Attachments- forklifts can be chosen with features specific to your operation such as attachments to pickup rolls of wire, steel or tongs for handling drums, etc.