Forklifts come in many shapes and many sizes, they also come in many varieties and fulfill multiple purposes. While some may know forklifts primarily as a material handling appliance, there are in fact many different categories of forklifts. For example a pallet jack is not the same as a three-wheel counterbalance lift truck yet they are both classed as a forklift. Whether you are trying to learn more about these wonderful machines or perhaps hoping to diversify your fleet, here are the seven different categories of forklifts and a breakdown of what they are used for.
1. Counterbalance – Counterbalance forklifts are the most common trucks used in virtually all material handling capacities. Counterbalance forklifts are a straightforward appliance that feature dual forks for heavy loads and bulky items.
2. Three-Wheel Counterbalance – These forklifts feature three wheels as opposed to four in their counterbalance forerunners. Three-wheel counterbalance forklifts are ideal for narrow aisles as they have enhanced maneuverability for tight spaces.
3. Reach Trucks – Reach trucks are known for what they are named after, their extended lift height. Reach trucks are optimal in any warehousing situation with high rise storage pallet racking. Reach trucks come in multiple forms, including the Stand-Up truck and Double-Deep truck. According to HST, Stand-Up trucks are the most common and are often used where there’s only one load per bay. Double-Deep trucks are similar, but with longer forks, making them perfect for areas where multiple pallet loads are stored in each bay as they will reach right to the back of the bay.
4. Pump Trucks – Pump trucks are considered a bit of a throwback. Pump trucks are primarily used as a pallet jack but do not use any electric power to lift any materials. Instead, pump trucks rely on good old-fashioned manual labor as the operator “pumps” the jack to lift the skids with their own force.
5. Powered Pallet Trucks – Conversely, the powered pallet truck is a modernized innovation of a pump truck. The powered pallet truck does all the heavy lifting for you! Mirroring functionality of a pump truck, powered pallet trucks are ideal for skids and small packages that need to be stored or transported.
6. Sideloaders – Sideloaders are primed to operate in narrow aisles as well. Sidelines feature forks which are mounted to the side of the truck and are designed to pick up wide or long loads that would cumbersome to the typical forklift. Just like many other species of forklift, these to come in various forms. First is the Enclosed Cab that is frequently used outdoors and the Stand-Up which is geared to handle indoor assignments.
7. Teletrucks – Short for telescopic hander forklift, these devices are another option for users that are tasked with high lifting or facilitation of mezzanine storage. These devices are often mistaken for cranes and are able to reach heights and angles that standard lift trucks cannot.