Types of forklift

Forklifts comes in various types and shapes, they can be classified based on their tiers, shapes, capacity, power, workplace adaptation etc... But we will base our classification on two main features only, their power source and their shape.

Classification by shape

The most known shapes of forklifts are: counterbalance forklifts, reach truck, order picker, multi directional forklifts, side loaders and some other types that are designed for specific requirements. For the counterbalanced forklifts, they are the most common shape, it is what most people think of when thinking of forklifts. As the name hints, counterbalance trucks use a counterbalance weight design, with a weight at the rear of the truck countering the load to be lifted at the front, see the figure below.

types of forklift

Counter balance is available as electric, gas or diesel powered. Electric counterbalance forklift has an advantage over the gas powered one the electric machines are able to operate with a smaller counterweight because the battery works as a counter weight as well as a source of power. On counterbalance trucks, many have side shifts, a mast tilt facility, and often driver cabs.

There are many other shapes of forklifts like 3-wheel counterbalance forklifts, reach truck, order picker forklifts, multi directional forklifts, side loaders There is also narrow-aisle forklift, an electric forklift designed to function in small areas. These are narrower than standard forklifts, and they often have additional features like the ability to move the forks without moving the entire forklift or a cab that rises with the forks to improve driver visibility. Some other shapes of a forklift are rough terrain forklifts, Hand or Motorized pallet trucks, Swing mast trucks, Turret trucks.

Classification by Power Sources

Based on the power sources there are two types of forklifts: electric powered forklifts and internal combustion powered forklifts. The internal combustion forklifts run on gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), diesel or compressed natural gas (CNG). While electric forklifts powered by an electric motor, there are many differences between electric powered and internal combustion powered forklifts in capacity, price, running cost, maintenance cost and working conditions.

Electric forklifts use either rechargeable industrial batteries or external ways of conveying power like wire or rail. The electric forklifts are ideal for indoor conditions where there is low ventilation because they are quieter and do not exhaust like the gas powered forklifts, but these types of forklifts can't be use while it's raining, they also have lower running-costs, but the problem with electric forklifts is that their capacity does not exceed 7 tons, and they run on batteries that need to be charged for 16 hours, like any other lift truck the electric variation is used to lift and transport materials for short distances but they also have a slower acceleration than those trucks that run on gas.

Electric forklifts are also rather large and forceful because they contain lead-acid batteries that are relatively large and heavy to power them. Many benefits to electric forklifts include no emissions or exhaust, reduced noise during operation, lower maintenance and servicing costs and a longer life span.

There are many types of electric forklifts classified based on their capacity, tires, workplace adaptation, purpose of use, low or high maintenance and maintain an all-electric fleet. Core electric forklift, large electric forklift, 3-wheel electric forklift, stand up rider forklift, electric pneumatic forklift and high capacity electric cushion forklift these are some types of electric forklifts.