Types of Forklifts 

Each forklift type serves a very specific purpose and has unique characteristics that users require. If you are new to buying a forklift, carefully consider what type of forklift you need.

What will the forklifts be used for?
How much weight will you be lifting at one time?
How high does the forklift need to reach?
Will the forklift be driven indoors, outdoors or both? 
Is fuel type important to you?

Forklifts run on diesel, liquid propane and electric. Electric forklifts run on a battery and or more expensive than their IC counterparts upfront, but are much less expensive long-term (no fuel costs).

Click on the links below to learn more about the different forklift types, or scroll over the forklifts image above.

Types of Forklift Engines 

The two main types of forklift engine types are electric forklifts, powered by a battery, and internal combustion (IC) forklifts, which have a traditional engine that runs on liquid propane, gas or diesel.

From a pricing standpoint, electric forklifts are more expensive than their IC counterparts upfront, but pay themselves back over time. Electric forklifts are suited for indoor use and have several advantages. They are eco-friendly in that they emit no harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. Since electric forklifts use a battery, there are no fuel costs; they operate a great deal more quietly than internal combustion engines and last longer than internal combustion engines because they have less moving parts. It is important to note; however, that electric forklifts have a limited run cycle, usually 4 – 6 hours and are less capable of lifting loads greater than 15,000 pounds. In addition, you will need to purchase a battery charger and keep it in a well-ventilated room. It is recommended that you purchase and extra battery so that the forklift can be used continually without having to cool it and re-charge every six hours.

Internal combustion (IC) forklifts can handle heavy loads and better apt to work on uneven pavement like gravel outdoors and are capable of lifting heavy objects greater than 15,000 pounds. The cost for a typical IC forklift is also much less than its electric counterpart upfront, but costs more over time due to fuel costs. IC engines run on gasoline, diesel fuel, or liquid propane gas (LPG). Since burning these fuels produces emissions, the environment is impacted to a certain degree. These types of forklifts are faster and much more powerful than electric forklifts, but are also much louder.

Types of Forklift Tires 

The type of tires you choose for your forklift greatly depends on the type of forklift you purchase and the driving environment.

Cushion tires made of solid rubber and are generally used indoors on level surfaces. It is common for indoor electric forklifts to use cushion tires. These tires appear to have a flat surface with no ridges and work best for internal applications.

Pneumatic tires are inflated rubber and are more expensive than cushion tires. IC forklifts will generally use pneumatic tires for heavy lifting and lifting on uneven surfaces.

Solid pneumatic tires are not filled with air, but do have the ridged texture of the typical pneumatic tire making them a perfect solution for rough terrain applications.