How to Choose the Perfect Forklift Truck For Your Warehouse

February 7, 2022

Running a warehouse requires planning and attention to detail, from the space to storing solutions to the equipment you choose. Most warehouses will need to invest in some type of forklift to be able to move heavy items throughout the facility. Depending on your facility you’ll have to factor in a few factors. Will the forklift be operating indoors or outdoors, does the facility have height constraints, and finally they accessibility of the items being transported? Forklifts come in a variety of models, all with advantages and disadvantages depending on the industry you work in. Here we'll go over the options of forklifts and how you can decide which is best for your warehouse.

Electric Forklift

Electric forklifts have a lot of benefits for warehouses, and their weight capacity is up to 40,000. They are one of the most cost-effective options as electric forklifts can charge at charging stations and electricity is far less expensive than propane costs and they don’t need constant replacement of oil, coolant, and fuel. Electric forklifts make for great models for companies looking to be more environmentally friendly as they have zero emissions and are silent except for their backup alarm. With these types of forklifts ventilation systems are not required within the facility.

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However, electric forklifts don’t always work within older facilities as they need charging stations with certain voltage requirements to function. Warehouses will also have to have lifts specifically designed to change their heavy batteries.

Overall if your company can spend the money to purchase an electric forklift, and your facility can handle the voltage requirements they are a great choice.

Diesel Forklift

Diesel forklifts are a good option for facilities that move large or heavy items, as they have the highest carrying capacity, often up to 120,000 pounds. Because diesel forklifts have a much higher capacity than other models, they’re attractive to warehouses that function on a large scale. They run without any accessories other than fuel making them easy to manage.

They do have some disadvantages, such as their use of fossil fuels, which negatively impact the environment, and they produce emissions making it unsafe for workers in an enclosed facility. Their operational costs can fluctuate a lot as gasoline prices surge, and they can be cumbersome.

If you need to lift heavy inventory and work in an open environment, diesel forklifts are a fine option, but they come with quite a few disadvantages that company’s need to be aware of.

Gas Forklift

Gas and diesel forklifts are similar, but not the same, as gas forklifts are slightly more efficient for tank filling, have a longer lifespan, and have a far lower impact on the environment. Because gas forklifts don’t give off the harmful emissions that diesel forklifts do, they can be used in order facilities as well as outdoor facilities making them optimal for moving items from large facilities in and out of moving trucks.

If your facility has moderately or relatively inexperienced employees, gas forklifts can be dangerous, as their tank is located on the rear of the forklift and can make them more cumbersome to drive. You want your employees to have as much visibility as possible to operate the machine safely and due to the gas forklift’s design, they visibility can be blocked making them difficult to operate. They also require a fair amount of maintenance that can be costly compared to diesel motors and the like.

All forklift designs have advantages and disadvantages, it all depends on what your company needs, as well as the experience of the employees who operate them. Considering the space, duties, and longevity one’s looking for in a forklift is extremely important.

American Surplus Inc. has a wide selection of used forklifts, order pickers, and reach trucks. So, when considering purchasing a forklift turn to the industries most trusted used material handling supplier. Call one of our knowledgeable sales associates today at (800) 876-3736 or request a quote online.


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