Need a Forklift? – Let’s Review the Types Available.

Need a Forklift? – Let’s Review the Types Available.

Forklifts are one of the most significant, multipurpose pieces of equipment used in the material handling industry. Lift trucks come in various types and sizes and are engineered for operations ranging from large warehouses and manufacturing plants to small garage-based businesses. The hours of daily use and how the vehicle is used in your daily operation is key to what you should consider when choosing the right truck. Whether you’re renting or purchasing a forklift for the first time or an experienced buyer, reviewing the types of powered industrial trucks (see OSHA chart [1]) will help in your decision-making process. Here is an overview of the many options available.

Class I: Electric Motor Rider Trucks

This type of forklift can be equipped with either cushion or pneumatic tires. Cushion tire lift trucks are intended for indoor use on smooth floors. The pneumatic tire models can be used in outdoor applications. These versatile machines are powered by industrial batteries and are used from the loading dock to the storage facility. Because they are electric there are no emissions and minimal noise. This makes them the standard choice in applications where air quality factors need to be considered.

  • Counterbalanced Rider Type, Stand Up 
  • Three Wheel Electric Trucks, Sit Down
  • Counterbalanced Rider, Cushion Tires,
  • Sit Down Counterbalanced Rider, Pneumatic or Either Type Tire, Sit Down

Class II: Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks

This type of forklift is for companies opting for a very narrow aisle operation. This allows them to maximize the use of storage space. These vehicles have been developed with unique features that are designed to minimize the space occupied by the truck and to improve speed and efficiency. They are well-suited for warehousing and distribution centers.

  • High Lift Straddle
  • Order Picker
  • Reach Type Outrigger
  • Side Loaders: Platforms
  • Side Loaders: High Lift Pallet
  • Turret Trucks
  • Low Lift Platform
  • Low Lift Pallet

Class III: Electric Motor Hand Trucks or Hand/Rider Trucks

Class III lifts are hand-controlled by use of a steering tiller where the operator walks with the vehicle or rides in a standing position. The controls are mounted on the top of the tiller with the tiller being moved side-to-side to steer the truck. These machines are battery powered and best used in small warehouses or for short runs.

  • Low Lift Platform
  • Low Lift Walkie Pallet
  • Tractors
  • Low Lift Walkie/Center Control                                                     
  • Reach Type Outrigger
  • High Lift Straddle
  • Single Face Pallet
  • High Lift Platform
  • High Lift Counterbalanced
  • Low Lift Walkie/Rider Pallet and End Control  

Class IV: Internal Combustion Engine Forklift Trucks (Solid/Cushion Tires)

These forklifts are used inside on smooth dry floors, primarily for transporting palletized loads to and from the loading dock and the storage area. Cushion tire forklifts are lower to the ground than pneumatic tire forklift trucks. This allows cushion tire forklift trucks to be more useful in low clearance applications.

  • Fork, Counterbalanced (Cushion Tire)

Class V: Internal Combustion Engine Trucks (Pneumatic Tires)

These trucks can be used either inside or outside and are used in virtually any type of application. Because of the large capacity range of this series of lift trucks, they can be found handling small single pallet loads to loading large containers. These lift trucks can be powered by internal combustion engines and are available for use with LPG, Gasoline, Diesel, and Compressed Natural Gas fuel systems.

  • Fork, Counterbalanced (Pneumatic Tire)

The Nomad ® Platinum II is a UniCarriers exclusive and a Class V forklift.


Class VI: Electric and Internal Combustion Engine Tractors

These vehicles are versatile and can be used in a variety of applications. They can be equipped with either internal combustion engines for outdoor use or battery powered electric motors for indoor use.

  • Sit-Down Rider (Draw Bar Pull Over 999 lbs.)

Class VII: Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks

Rough terrain forklifts are fitted with large floatation type tires for outdoor use on difficult surfaces. They are often used at construction sites to transport and lift building materials to various job site locations. They are also common with lumber yards and auto recyclers.

  • Vertical mast type forklift trucks
  • Variable reach type forklift trucks
  • Truck/trailer mounted forklift trucks

This is a basic overview of the different classifications of OSHA approved forklifts (more detail can be found here [2].In the examples provided we hope to give you a good idea of the wide variety of forklifts available. In NE Pennsylvania if you need additional information or have any questions, please contact Action Lift. We are prepared to be your material-handling solutions partner.









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