Which Forklift Is Best For Your Warehouse?

Forklifts are likely a vital component in the operations of your warehouse and are used in lifting and transporting heavy loads to and from your workspace. But with so many different types of lifts to choose from, how do you decide which forklift would work best in your warehouse?

Forklifts are organized by classifications set up by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, making it easier for you to determine which class would best suit your warehouse. Here is what you need to know about choosing the best forklift for your company’s needs.

What are the classifications?

forklift being used in warehouse

Forklifts are placed into seven classifications. These classifications include:

  • Class I is for forklifts and electric motor rider trucks
  • Class II is for electric motor narrow aisle trucks
  • Class III is for electric motor hand trucks and hand trucks
  • Class IV is for internal combustion engine trucks
  • Class V is for internal combustion engine trucks using pneumatic tires
  • Class VI is for electric or internal combustion engine tractors
  • Class VII is for rough terrain forklift trucks

Which class of forklift do I need?

As you can see by the classifications, there are forklifts that run off internal combustion engines and others that run with electric engines. Forklifts are also separated by their lift codes. You’ll also want to consider the size of space you have available, potential storage room for fuel and if your warehouse can handle the level of noise. By looking at these various differences, you can decide which makes more sense for your warehouse.

Differences between electric and internal combustion forklifts

Electric forklifts are going to use an onboard battery to stay powered. Forklifts running with an internal combustion engine require compressed natural gas, liquid petroleum gas or diesel to run.

When looking for a qualified forklift, the lift code classification will help you determine what you need most. This classifies a forklift by carriage, mast and fork. Internal combustion engines will allow you to lift up to 35,000 pounds, while electric forklifts can only handle loads up to 15,000 pounds.

Electric forklifts are going to cost more at first, but could end up saving you money since the operation costs are lower. There is no need to fuel the forklift, so you’ll save on fuel costs and storage. It may be useful to look for a used forklift for sale to keep the cost down.

Internal combustion engine forklifts cost less upon purchase, but are more expensive to maintain. You’ll have to make space for fuel storage and pay for fuel on a regular basis. They are also louder in your warehouse than electric forklifts.

If you have big loads to transport, internal combustion engine forklifts are best. While one forklift may sound more appealing to you than the other, be sure to get the forklift that best suits your warehouse needs.

For more information on all things forklifts, give us a call today at (888) 329-5438.