Just like any other piece of large equipment, choosing the right forklift for your business is a big decision and sometimes an overwhelming one. But with a little planning and by making a few decisions ahead of time, you will find it much easier to choose your forklift.
Before you do anything, you’ll need to examine your business’s needs carefully. What will you be using your forklift for? This brings us to your first decision in choosing a forklift, the load capacity.
Knowing how much weight you are looking to use your forklift for will help you choose the right load capacity. Diesel and Gas forklifts have the highest load capacity, meaning that you can use them for industrial jobs. Electric forklifts will have a smaller capacity, but have other advantages which will be detailed below. Try and take into account the future of your business, and if you will need a higher load capacity in the future. Your forklift will be a part of your business for quite some time, so make sure you’re thinking of your future needs. To learn how much load capacity a specific forklift has, take a look at this helpful guide.
Along with the different forklifts having different load capacities, there are many other things to consider when choosing which one is best for your business.
Type of forklifts
As mentioned above, the electric forklift will have the least load capacity, but comes with a big perk of having a rechargeable battery rather than using a fuel source. This could also be considered a disadvantage, as charging can take some time once the battery is drained. 24 operation would not be possible for an electric forklift. As a positive, they are the quietest of all the forklifts, which can be helpful to cut down noise for businesses, especially those with their warehouse attached to their customer area.
Gas forklifts will be your most economical choice initially, as they are typically the cheapest to purchase. Its cost over the long run, however, will depend on how often you will use it. As you can probably guess, the more you use the forklift, the more fuel you’ll have to purchase.
Diesel forklifts can be more pricy to purchase initially, but typically have cheaper fuel over the long run. They also tend to have a longer engine life, so keep that in mind if you are concerned about the higher initial cost. The biggest disadvantage to diesel forklifts is that due to their emissions, you can only use the forklift outside. This will obviously limit some buyers, especially those looking to use their forklift in an enclosed warehouse. Further advice on choosing between electric, gas and diesel forklifts can be found here.
Heavy duty forklifts are another type of forklifts that are best used for, you guessed it, heavy duty jobs. They typically have the highest load capacity out of all types of forklifts. They are also excellent for rougher terrain and uneven ground.
New or used?
Once you have decided on the type of forklift that is best for your business, the next step is to decide on a new or used forklift. Just like buying a car, both new and second hand forklifts for sale have their pros and cons.
Consider asking your employees if anyone has repair experience, as you can expect to need more maintenance on a used forklift. An in house repair expert will save you quite a bit of money rather than outsourcing the work. If not, a new forklift will most likely not require expensive maintenance for some time, or may even come with a warranty. Being proactive about maintenance by using a checklist such as this one will help reduce your repair needs in the future as well.
Another option is to consider hiring a forklift. Make sure you have done your research on how often you will be using your forklift, or if you will only need it for a certain length of time before considering hiring. Forklifts can be hired out for long periods of time, so if your project is short and/or one period of time only, this could be a good option for you.
Now that you’ve decided on the type of forklift you want, and if you’re going to buy new or used, one final decision you’ll want to make is the type of tyre. Once again, take stock of when and where you’ll be using your forklift. Will it be outside in the elements or purely in a warehouse? These questions will help you decide between pneumatic or cushion tyres.
Pneumatic tyres will have better traction, and are therefore better for gritty, outdoor work. If you plan on using your forklift in all elements, or rough and uneven surfaces, pneumatic tyres may be for you.
Cushion tyres are made of smooth rubber around a metal band. The advantage of them is their low cost, but this also means more frequent replacement. They are also great for small spaces, as they have a small turning radius. Cushion tyres are best used indoors as they are not as sturdy on rough terrain as pneumatic tyres. This article goes into further depth on the differences between cushion and pneumatic if you are still deciding.
Ask an expert
If you are having trouble with making these initial decisions, a great idea is to simply ask the experts in forklifts. Find a reputable business such as Stellar Machinery, who offer new and used forklifts, as well as forklifts for hire, who can walk you through your business needs. This way, you can ensure that all your questions are answered by professionals.
Congratulations! You hopefully have successfully made all your initial decisions about your forklift, and now are ready to purchase. All of your research is done, and now your final decision about which forklift to choose will be simple and stress free.