Different Types of Forklifts and Their Uses

Different Types of Forklifts
Image credit: Sims Crane & Equipment

Every day, we use a forklift and take it for granted as a massive piece of machinery that can lift, load, and unload our stuff quickly in time.


But did you know that there are types of forklifts out there? Different forklifts with unique names that one may not hear little or anything about before.

What are Forklifts?

They are industrial trucks used to lift and transport pallets or containers of products. They were first introduced in the early 20th century and have evolved into several different types.

These trucks have become a common sight in warehouses, distribution centers, and retail stores, where they are used to move materials from one point to another.

Forklifts are often seen as significant, intimidating vehicles. However, they are beneficial for business operations because they help companies save money by reducing the number of workers required to move inventory around a warehouse.

Different Types of Forklifts

Forklifts are used in different types of industries. Some forklifts are used in warehouses and factories to move materials around, while others are used in ports to load and unload ships and transport containers.

The different types of forklifts are listed below.

Counterbalance Forklifts

A counterbalance forklift is a machine that is used for lifting heavy materials. It is a truck with two wheels at the front and two wheels at the back. It also has an upright mast, to which a boom can be attached.

The pivot point of the forklift is between the four wheels, and it helps move materials in factories, warehouses, and docks.

Counterbalance forklifts are used to lift heavy materials such as wood, metal, or cement blocks. They are also used to transport goods from one place to another.

They are also used in hospitals to transport consumable items and patients. Hospitals have many consumable items that have to be transported every day.

To use the forklift, you need to make sure that you know where its weight distribution is before you start using it. Weight distribution is an integral part of using any vehicle.

If you do not see the weight distribution of your forklift, then it might fall over while you are using it, and it would result in an accident or injury.

Ensure that your vehicle’s weight distribution is visible on your forklift to avoid accidents.

Side loader

The side loaders are generally less expensive than the overhead lift trucks.

The side loader is generally more efficient on a small pallet or small item because the operator can load the pallet or item closer to the ground, therefore eliminating the need to lift as high, reducing wear and tear on the forks reduces strain on the forklift operator.

The side loader can transport either a single stack of products or multiple nested piles together. The side loader is not designed to stack/unstack from a trailer or similar equipment.

This type of forklift has the added benefit of turning on a dime, making them ideal for picking from racks. This allows for more time efficiency if you don’t have to move shelves and set them back up to get to your product.

A side loader can maneuver around and under other warehouse equipment, making it easier to pick in areas with limited space, such as between racks or aisles.

Rough Terrain Forklift

Rough terrain forklifts are used outdoors with little or no paved areas, such as construction sites, storage yards, loading docks, and container terminals.

They are mainly diesel-powered and have large pneumatic tires, and their forks lift much heavier loads than indoor forklifts.

A rough terrain forklift’s load capacity can range from 6000 pounds to 35000 pounds. Most small rough terrain forklifts (with a load capacity of 6000 pounds) have an electric power steering system.

The bigger ones (with a load capacity of 35000 pounds) use a hydraulic power steering system.

The Rough Terrain Forklift moves items in the warehouse or grocery store. They can be either gas or electric powered, and the gas-powered forklifts are usually more powerful when lifting heavy loads.

However, the electric ones are much easier to work with around people and can be moved into areas with a lot of electricity thanks to their battery power.

The Rough Terrain Forklift comes in three sizes: the 4×4, 6×4, and 8×4 models. The number refers to the number of wheels on the front and rear of the forklift.

The 4×4 holds up to 5,000 pounds, the 6×4 holds up to 7,000 pounds, and the 8×4 holds up to 10,000 pounds.

The four-wheeled models have a turning radius of 43 feet, while the six-wheeled models have a turning radius of 40 feet and eight-wheeled models have a turning radius of 32 feet.

Electric forklift

 This type of forklift uses an internal combustion engine to power it up. It has a diesel engine, so you need to check that before buying one. These also require that you use special diesel fuel to get them going.

As you can see, they are not very good for people concerned about the environment because they produce carbon emissions that may endanger the ozone layer or contribute to global warming.

Also, their engines usually run on gas or diesel fuel which can cost you a lot more than electricity for your business needs.

 Forklift. An electric option is often chosen because of the reliability of the machine. They have no gas or an internal combustion engine, so maintenance is limited to replacing batteries every few years.

Electric forklifts are also more environmentally friendly than other types of forklifts.

However, electric forklifts are not as powerful as other options, making them more suited for indoor use around warehouses, factories, and facilities than outdoor use on rough terrains such as in construction sites or outside warehouses.

Electric forklifts run on rechargeable batteries and can travel up to 20 miles per hour with a maximum load capacity of 1,000 pounds. The battery will last for about two hours before needing to be recharged.

Warehouse Forklifts

The Warehouse Forklift is another different type of forklift. The Warehouse Forklift is a versatile piece of equipment for someone working in an environment with high storage needs.

It has a long, wide fork and a flatbed, allowing it to transport pallets and boxes from one end of the warehouse.

The Warehouse Forklift can be used both indoors and outdoors. They are designed with a tilt mechanism that helps the operator raise the forks enough to slide pallets.

The Warehouse Forklift also has a lift capacity of 1,000 pounds.

How Do Warehouse Forklifts Work?

Warehouse Forklifts must operate on smooth surfaces free of obstructions such as nails or other sharp objects that could puncture or damage their tires or wheels.

These forklifts have a special valve that allows you to adjust the tire pressure so they can operate on various surfaces.

The forks are hydraulically operated and controlled by levers mounted on either side of the machine. You push forward to lower the forks and pull back to lift them to use them.

You can also control their position by using pedals under your feet.

Industrial Forklifts

The Industrial Forklift is a large industrial vehicle used for lifting and moving materials. It is designed with operator safety in mind and features several safety features.

The Industrial Forklift also has many different forks designed to hold different kinds of materials securely.

The knives are attached to the lift truck by hinged arms that allow the forks to extend and retract freely.

There are many different names for the Industrial Forklift, including a lift truck, fork truck, and pallet truck.

It can be either front- or rear-wheel drive, with rear-wheel Industrial Forklifts being more popular because they can carry more weight.

Industrial Forklifts usually have lifted from 500 lbs to 5 tons or more.

An Industrial Forklift may also have attachments that help it move other things besides pallets, such as large sheets of material or sheet metal.

Pallet Jack

A pallet jack is a platform on wheels that can be raised and lowered from the ground. It moves heavy objects by raising the pallet jack to the thing and then lowering it under the object.

A forklift is a device with a long lifting arm used to lift items from one place to another. Forklifts are used for moving heavy items and are commonly seen in warehouses.

Many different forklifts include stackers, reach trucks, rough terrain forklifts, electric forklifts, and pallet jacks.

Different Types of Pallet Jacks

Pallet jacks are used mainly in warehouses and factories to move heavy objects by raising the pallet jack and then lowering the pallet jack under the thing.

The different pallet jacks include scissor lifts, boom lifts, mast lifts, and articulating boom lifts.

A scissor lift has two large wheels on one end and two small wheels on another end. The large wheels rest on the floor, while the small wheels support it when lifted off the floor. The other end has four wheels instead of two.


A telehandler is a type of forklift used for heavy lifting, and it can lift objects too large or heavy for a standard forklift and easily handle tough terrains.

Telehandlers have been in use since the 1960s and were created by the Hyster Company.

The most common way to use a telehandler is to lift an object vertically in the air, and this method of lifting is called “boom lifting.” However, telehandlers can also carry loads horizontally on their forks, like other forklifts.

The forks on a telehandler are longer than those on standard forklifts, and they have three segments instead of two. This allows them to carry heavier loads.

Telehandlers can be found in warehouses, manufacturing plants, and construction sites worldwide. They are often used to move goods from one place to another and machinery around a factory.

In construction, telehandlers are often used for digging ditches or trenches for sewer lines or electrical wiring. They may also be used to move materials from one place to another and remove debris materials.

Walkie Stacker

Brand Name, Walkie Stacker: The Walkie Stacker is a forklift that has been designed to carry pallets. Although it’s still in its early stages, the idea behind it is excellent.

It features a range of 32 km and can carry up to 2000 kg of goods. It has full maneuverability on-site compared to other forklifts, traveling through doorways without difficulty.

It also has complete visibility from the driver’s seat and can be operated by anyone who holds a class 1 license.

As for the electronics, the Walkie Stacker includes an optional collision warning system that activates whenever an obstacle is detected, as well as a lane-keeping system that keeps the operator in their designated lane during travel.

The Walkie Stacker’s advanced GPS enables it to travel throughout a warehouse without human intervention and measure distances accurately.

Due to its weight (1.8 tonnes) and size (4 meters), it’s not ideal for carrying high numbers of small items but instead is better suited to transporting oversized pallets around warehouses.

However, with time and improvements in technology, this could be modified in future models.

Order Picker

Order pickers are used in large warehouses and distribution centers, and they are designed to lift and move pallets of goods and can be operated efficiently by one person.

The order picker is the most compact of the forklift classes, and its smaller size makes it ideal for maneuvering in aisles or moving quickly between pallets.

A common type of order picker is the scissor lift, which has two long-traveled, articulated arms that form a “V” shape.

The operator stands between the scissor lift’s arms and uses a joystick to control operating functions, such as raising and lowering the lift’s platform and turning.

Use an order picker to load or unload trucks in areas difficult to reach with a reach truck. It is also used to load or unload trailers on docks or move materials from one location to another within a warehouse or distribution center.

Order pickers are often used in conjunction with other lifts because they can maneuver easily through tighter spaces than other models. This is particularly useful when you need to get around obstacles such as forklifts, cars, or stacks of goods.

Reach Fork Truck

Reach Fork Trucks are used to transport palletized or containerized loads in a warehouse or storage area.

The forks on this type of forklift can extend out up to 25 feet, which means they can carry much longer loads than other types of forklifts.

Because they can reach so far, they are often used to lift items from high shelves and load trucks with containers.

The reach fork truck is best for transporting heavy loads stacked high, such as pallets or containers, in warehouses and storage areas.

Because it has such long forks, it can lift these loads from a much greater distance than other types of forklifts.

In addition, its long forks help it fit into spaces where other types of trucks might not be able to go.

When repositioning the load on the forks, the operator must support the load at all times with both hands on the joystick control.

It is important to keep your hands in a stable position, even when lifting or lowering the load, because any sudden movement could cause the load to slip off of the forks.

To use a Reach Truck safely, you should follow a few simple rules: Be sure to have enough room before extending the forks (don’t hit anything!).

The four-wheeled forklifts are called Reach Trucks which can fit into restricted areas of the warehouse. These trucks have a lift height of about 3 meters (10 feet). These trucks are used mostly for transporting pallets between shelves.

The six-wheeled counterbalanced forklift is called the Reach Truck, which can lift loads to 3,500 kgs (8,500 lbs) and utilize a lift height of about 4 meters (13 feet). This truck is used in warehouses to transport pallets on the main warehouse floor.

The eight-wheeled counterbalanced forklift is called the walkie stacker or Warehouse Truck which can handle loads of up to 10,000 kgs (22,000 lbs) and utilizes a lift height of 6 meters (20 feet).

This type of truck is used in warehousing operations with high stacks of material or lots of pallet racking.

Three-wheeled forklifts are called Reach Trucks which have a lift height up to 2 meters (7 ft.).These trucks are used in confined spaces, low ceiling warehouses, or indoor storage facilities.

There are many different types of forklifts for a variety of applications in the end. You choose which forklift to rent or buy, largely dependent on how and where you will be using it.

Hopefully, our guide above has helped you better understand the different types of forks available. Now, it’s just up to you when it comes to finding which type is best for your particular needs!

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