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Types Of Forklifts - The 5 Categories + Buyers Guide

September 30, 2020 GMT

Los Angeles, CA - ( NewMediaWire ) - September 30, 2020 - There are many different types of forklifts out there that one must consider when purchasing. The type of forklift that you buy will completely depend on how you intend to use it.

That is why  Manlift Engineering put together this guide to help you navigate through the buying process with ease.

Listed below are the most common types of forklifts around with a guide to help you decide which one is right for you.

The 5 Types of Forklifts


Pallet Stackers

Pallet stackers are used for when light loads need to be elevated in a vertical fashion or moved horizontally.

>> Get customized price quotes from multiple forklift dealers

Pallet Jacks 

Pallet jacks are a step down from pallet stackers and are the most basic form of materials handling machinery. They are great for light loads or for when pallets simply need to be shuffled around a business. Pallet jacks typically come in electric or manual modes.

Order Pickers 

You will usually find  order pickers in wholesale businesses or warehouses, such as Costco. Order pickers are great for picking up inventory and stock, as well as optimizing the speed when assembling orders for shipping.

Counter-Balance Ride-On Forklifts 

Counter-balance ride-on forklifts are what most people think of when they close their eyes and imagine a forklift. They are incredibly recognizable and work for a variety of applications. Pretty much any forklift brand that you find will manufacture a counter-balance ride-on forklift, though the features and applications may vary.

Heavy-Duty Forklifts

Heavy-duty forklifts are the largest forklift models in the industry. These are necessary for large-load applications. Heavy-duty lifts can vary in terms of applications, meaning you’ll find side-loaders, articulated lifts, multi-directional lifts, and rough-terrain lifts.

>> See Price Quotes for All Forklift Types


What Should I Look For When Buying a Forklift?

Application and Environment

Once you have a good grasp of the different types of forklifts out there, you will want to consider your place of business. Forklifts are used in hundreds of different applications around the world in all types of environments. Essentially, you won’t find a forklift that is universal. Here are some of the most common forklift applications:

Construction Sites

Construction sites may require heavy-duty forklifts to get the job done, including moving girders or steel beams. Of course, they also might just need light-load lifts. For example, you might just need to move some small pieces of lumber around. With that said, the majority of construction sites utilize heavy-duty, outdoor lifts. The same goes for lumberyards.

Industrial Facilities 

You won’t find an industrial site that doesn’t have some type of forklift on the grounds. Some of the top forklifts can lift massive, multi-thousand-pound loads high up in the air. If you work in the mining, oil, gas, or wood industry, then you will likely want to get a heavy-duty forklift.


Another place that you won’t find without a forklift is a warehouse. Forklifts are used to load and unload delivery trucks or raise and lower products onto and from shelving. You may need to get a few different lifts depending on the size of your warehouse, as some will work for narrow-aisle uses and others will be needed for extreme weight.

Retail Applications

Most big-box retail stores use lifts of some kind. Of course, they likely don’t need heavy-duty forklifts to deal with inventory, though order pickers, aisle lifts, pallet jacks, and ride-on lifts, are almost always necessary.

Docks and Ports

To move bulk cargo to and from ships, docks and ports need forklifts that are both small and large.


If we didn’t have materials handling equipment, the airline industry wouldn’t be a thing. A top forklift can help to move millions of pounds of precious cargo onto planes every single day. Airports will typically use smaller forms of lifts.


Farms and agricultural facilities require forklifts too. Many forklifts specialize in moving sod or have heavy-duty pneumatic tires that are meant for moving around on uneven terrain.

Private Use

If you are planning on doing some renovation or storage organization at home, you may even want to consider using a small forklift to help make the job easier.

Forklift Specs

You’ll definitely want to consider the smaller factors and specs that make up the body of a forklift before you purchase it as well. Here are some of the top design parameters that one must understand before making a decision:

Load Capacity

Load capacity is extremely important. You need to know what type of material you will be lifting and how heavy that material is. The last thing you want is to get ahold of a forklift that can’t handle the job.

Lift Height

Another major consideration when purchasing a forklift is the lift height. Will your forklift have the necessary height to get where it needs to go? Will it be too high in your small warehouse space?

Tire Type

There are different types of tires available on different models. What you choose will depend on your workplace and application. Most brands have a variety of tires, including pneumatic tires, rubber tires, cushion tires, and more. You may even want to consider purchasing non-marking tires so that you don’t leave streaks across the floors of your warehouse. 

Fuel Source

When it comes to fuel source on these machines, you will typically be dealing with two main types of power, including Internal Combustion (IC) and electric. IC engines typically use gasoline, diesel, or propane to run. Electric lift trucks, on the other hand, typically run off of battery power. If you do some research, you will also find a few different forklift brands that are beginning to experiment with different types of fuel sources, including hydrogen cell fuel. These are far more environmentally friendly.

For more information and to connect with top forklift dealers, visit the link below:

>> Compare Price Quotes for Forklifts and Save - Click Here