Choosing the Right Forklift

Mid-to-large-sized warehouses can increase their productivity not only by having an organized flow of inventory and specific guidelines for fulfillment, but also by having the right equipment for the job. At the top of the list should be the forklift.

We see them zooming around the warehouse floor daily. These vehicles come in handy when the floor space is vast and difficult to cover efficiently on foot. They are also key to moving heavy loads for any order fulfillment. For a seemingly run-of-the-mill machine, there is an overwhelming number of features and benefits. How do you choose what’s right for you?

Start with the power source. Do you prefer gas or electric? Traditional forklifts are run on internal combustion propane and can be refilled as necessary. Electric requires no emissions maintenance, but it does require the purchase of a battery that will be useful for a minimum of seven years. Think of it as fuel in advance.

Next, consider your capacity. If you have a small forklift with which you’re attempting to move heavy loads, don’t do it. Match the weight of the load with the height you’ll be lifting. The higher you lift, the more effort the forklift requires. Standard forklifts usually lift pallets approximately 15.5 feet into the air. In addition, know whether the forklift will be moving items in and out of trailers. Be sure the forklift cab itself is not too high. It needs to be able to clear doorways and entry points on trailers.

Decide what forklift fits your application the best, then consider buying a used vehicle. It will be a fraction of the cost of new. As long as it has been checked over very carefully, you should be able to get a good working unit with lots of life left in it for about $15,000-$20,000 less than a new forklift.

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