How To Select Your Forklift

How To Select Your Forklift

Date:Mar 22, 2019

Tips for Choosing the Right Forklift for the Job

Knowing how to choose the right forklift for the job requires specialized insight if you hope to find the most productive, cost-effective machine. Beyond the size and power source, when choosing a forklift you need to evaluate a variety of factors that impact your long-term cost, including how much and how high the machine can lift, how careful you need to be when manipulating the load in sensitive areas and whether you should buy or rent a forklift.

With the variety of technological advancements and new ergonomic designs available, even the smallest adjustment can save your operators’ time, while simultaneously boosting their productivity and the cost-effectiveness of your operation. To find the forklift that’s best suited to your business needs, you can sift through the countless offerings available online — or, you can simply consult a reputable forklift sales or forklift rental dealer.

Unlike a piece of machinery purchased over the Internet, professional forklift dealers specialize in pairing industries with the appropriate machinery — easily matching your business process with a forklift that meets your requirements.

Choosing the right forklift is important for your business. It affects everything from operation costs, productivity, employee morale and stock management. There is a large range of forklifts available, and each one is designed to be used for specific jobs.

Buying a forklift is a lot more complicated than most people realize. Without researching and learning your options, you’re bound to end up with the wrong equipment for your particular application. To select the correct equipment for your work environment, it’s important to do your homework. This can be a time-consuming process, and our forklift purchasing guide tells you exactly where to start in choosing the right forklift.


The foremost factor in how to choose the right forklift is the specifics of your site and your intended application. You must consider whether the forklift will be working indoors or outdoors, whether it will work on smooth floors or rough terrain and what lift heights and types of product or materials will be involved.

Getting the right equipment for the right application is extremely important. There are a variety of manufacturers and thousands of different models of forklifts to choose from in today’s market. At first, it can seem very daunting. However, by assessing your application needs, you’ll be able to narrow down the choices and ultimately choose the right forklift for the job.


When selecting the right forklift, the primary criteria are the load capacity, the lift height, the fuel type, the tire composition and the ergonomic implications to the operator. Let’s look at each one:

1. Load capacity 

It would be a big mistake to choose a forklift with a maximum lift capacity that’s below your requirements. It is important to look at:

  • What is the stock the forklift be handling?

  • What is your average load weight?

  • What is the heaviest load you need to lift?

  • What is the width of your loads?

The type of load also matters as there are specific forklift attachments that can enhance a standard forklift and help you move the load more efficiently.

2. Lift height

Knowing your required lift height is equally important and will affect your unit’s load-carrying capacity.

Average forklifts for everyday usage start at a lift height of eight feet and go all the way up to 20 feet, but there are units that reach far above those levels. Again, it largely will depend on the nature of your business, your warehouse size and specifically what you intend to use the forklift for.

Similar to maximum load, you want to ensure you choose a forklift that will meet your height restrictions. You need to consider:

  • What is your typical lift height?

  • What is the highest point the forklift needs to reach?

  • Are there any height restrictions to consider (e.g. ceiling beams or low hanging lights)?

You must also consider the collapsed height of the mast, especially if you require the forklift to move underneath a fixed height structure, like a garage or container door. Also, check your warehouse height and aisle width requirements as this will greatly assist you in finding the right forklift.

3. Fuel type

Forklifts have two fuel options: electric and internal combustion.

  • Electric

Powered by large, heavy lead-acid batteries, electric forklifts typically provide enough power for one standard eight-hour shift or about five to six hours of continuous use. The two biggest advantages of this system are that it produces zero emissions, a necessity if the forklift is operated indoors, and is highly economical in terms of fuel.

Electric models offer a substantially lower cost per hour-of-operation than any of the internal combustion lifts. That said, electric forklifts have a higher upfront cost in comparison to combustion models — as much as 20% to 40% more. Depending on the efficiency of the charger you use and the cost of electricity in your area, a standard industrial battery can be recharged for about $3 per charge.

Electric forklifts will cost more initially, but you will reap the rewards over time as they have a longer lifespan and cheaper consumption compared to other types of forklifts. They produce no emissions, and are, therefore, recommended for working indoors or in cold climates. Electric forklifts are quiet as well, making them ideal for warehouse and other indoor use. However, time needs to be allowed for battery recharging.

An electric forklift is also easy to move around and offers long service life, but operational maintenance costs are usually higher than for diesel and gas models.

  • Now you can select your forklift accoring to the need!

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