Forklifts are used widely throughout many industries. From small material handling units moving pallets in warehouses to large telehandlers used on construction projects.
Due to the large number of styles and models available in the market, it may be challenging to select the best forklift for your project. Before scheduling your next forklift rental this guide can assist by providing some special considerations as well as some of the most popular types, classifications, and sizes.
What to Consider When Selecting a Forklift
How to choose a forklift begins with understanding your working conditions, environment, and tasks required. Considering the many types of forklifts offered by National Dispatching, we can help you select a forklift that will meet your needs while analyzing the following:
- What is the maximum payload weight you will be lifting?
- What is the maximum vertical height or horizontal distance you will need to lift the maximum payload weight to?
- What are the ground conditions of where the unit will be operated?
- Do you plan on operating the unit indoors, or outdoors?
- Are there any special height or width clearance restrictions where the unit will be working?
There are seven forklift classifications outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that describe their fuel option and use. Forklift operators must be aware of the necessary forklift safety practices for each classification, must be trained by a qualified trainer, and possess a valid certification for the respective class of forklift to operate it.
The different forklift classifications as defined by OSHA are:
- Class I: Electric motor rider trucks
- Class II: Electric motor narrow aisle trucks
- Class III: Electric motor hand trucks or hand/rider trucks
- Class IV: Internal combustion engine trucks (solid/cushion tires)
- Class V: Internal combustion engine trucks (pneumatic tires)
- Class VI: Electric and internal combustion engine tractors
- Class VII: Rough terrain forklift trucks
Within each classification of forklift there is a range in size, and capacity. Even though each forklift has a wide operating and payload range, selecting the right one will depend on matching the payload capacity of the forklift to your needs.
The working weight of a forklift should be considered in many scenarios but it is a key factor when operating in settings where there is a maximum allowable load per square foot. Some examples of this are high rise buildings, or in areas with delicate floor finishes.
The operating environment, including ground conditions, will typically determine the best tire and power source for the forklift. If you are using the forklift indoors or in areas with poor air circulation an electric unit may be required. If you are operating outdoors where there may be other hazards such as inclement weather, or poor soil conditions, you will need a unit that can handle the payload safely.
These are just a few factors to evaluate to help select the right unit for the task at hand.
Types of Forklifts
Warehouse Forklifts are the most familiar design to most individuals. Most of us encounter a Warehouse Forklift in big box retailers and warehouse store settings. Warehouse Forklifts are commonly used for light material handling and moving pallets of goods.
National Dispatching offers Warehouse Forklift rental units with 48” forks and lift capacities ranging from 2,500-6,000 lbs.
Telehandlers also known as Telescopic Reach Forklifts, Reach Forks, High Reach Forklifts, Tele Lifts, and Zoom Booms are widely used in construction and industrial settings.
There are many variations of Telehandlers to handle a range of conditions, lifting capacities and boom reach. The main characteristic of a Telehandler is the telescoping boom. During operation, the forks remain level so loads are stable while the boom extends and lifts materials to the required height. Many Telehandlers also have outriggers to maintain stability when lifting payloads to certain heights or distances.
Telehandlers are an essential piece of equipment for job sites. Delivering materials quickly and safely is vital to every construction project. Choosing the proper telehandler is important because carrying capacity, and stability must be calculated.
National Dispatching offers a wide range of Telehandler including:
Always refer to the certified manufacturer load chart prior to lifting operations, and be mindful of the stability triangle when operating Telehandlers.
Rough Terrain Forklift
Rough Terrain Forklifts have been designed to handle unpaved and uneven terrain. In order to operate safely in these conditions, Rough Terrain Forklifts have large pneumatic tires and multiple gear selections. These units are often used in agricultural and industrial settings or environments without concrete or pavement.
These forklifts also have larger and longer bodies than their smaller counterparts. Lift capacity, increased productivity and reliability makes Rough Terrain Forklifts a popular rental product.
Heavy-Duty Forklifts are also known as Large-Capacity Forklifts, or High-Capacity Forklifts. These units are often found in shipping yards, ports, or heavy industrial settings. A Heavy-Duty Forklift has a much higher payload and lifting capacity and is often used where payloads exceed 25,000 pounds.
Walkie Stackers occupy a hybrid space between forklifts and pallet jacks. Like Pallet Jacks the operator walks when using a Walkie Stacker while using handle controls to operate the unit. With lift capacities of up to 1500 lbs and height ranges from 6-14 feet, these products are exceptional tools for indoor warehouses, retail spaces and other areas where operating space is limited. Because of their small footprint, walkie stackers are more agile than many other forklifts.
Order Pickers are designed to maximize efficiency while maintaining safety in warehouses. These forklifts are designed for indoor use. Operators control the forklift from a masthead position. The height of the operator can be raised or lowered to the specific shelf for order picking onto pallets. Order Pickers offer many time saving and safety features including safety harness, padded masthead platforms and optimized travel speeds for various heights.
Manual Pallet Jacks or even Powered Pallet Jacks are very common in grocery or retail stores and are used to relocate pallets to their final stocking area. Pallet jacks have forks, wheels and an operator handle that is purposed for both lifting, and maneuvering the Pallet Jack. Powered Pallet Jacks improve lift capacity and speed using electric motors and reduce the manpower needed to operate the unit. Pallet Jacks are generally used in environments with a paved, level, and smooth surface.
Renting a Forklift with National Dispatching
There is no single forklift for every job. When selected appropriately, these highly specialized machines serve to get the job done safely, quickly and without interruption. Just like matching your best employees to their specialties, National Dispatching can help you match the most efficient equipment for your project or task at hand.