Learn about the variety of forklifts and lift trucks available

Forklifts are a part of just about every warehouse and manufacturing facility in the world, and can be used to complete a wide variety of specialized tasks. There are many different types available, from standard warehouse forklifts and hand-operated lift trucks to explosion-proof forklifts and rough terrain forklifts for rugged outdoor environments.

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Forklifts are powered using three main technologies. Electric forklifts are the most common, as they do not produce exhaust and are therefore ideal for indoor use. Internal combustion forklifts are more powerful, but they do create exhaust fumes and are best used in outdoor environments. Finally, manual forklifts are available, though these are typically simpler hand-powered lift trucks rather than fully equipped forklifts.

Forklift Classifications

There are five official classifications that define the different types of forklifts:

  • Electric riders. These forklifts have electric engines and offer seating for one operator. They are counterbalanced, and they are available with either solid or pneumatic tires.
  • Electric walkers. Sometimes called lift trucks or hand trucks, electric walker forklifts do not have a seat, but are instead controlled with a manually operated handle. They are best for lifting light to moderate loads and can easily be stored in out-of-the-way places. You can get low-lift, high-lift and counterbalanced high-lift electric forklifts.
  • Internal combustion riders (solid tires). These fuel-powered forklifts have cushion tires and seating for one operator.
  • Internal combustion riders (pneumatic tires). These forklifts are identical to the previous type, except that they have pneumatic rather than cushion tires.
  • Rough terrain forklifts. With superior suspensions and a more rugged design, rough terrain forklifts are intended for use on uneven ground. They are commonly used in the construction industry.
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