If you have never owned a forklift before, or are simply unsure of which type of forklift would be suitable for your application, this page should help you.

 

There are a number of advantages and disadvantages of each fuel type - these are listed below:

 

Electric

 

Electric machines have become increasingly popular. Especially as technology has advanced, batteries have been able to be made more efficient and longer lasting. Electric powered forklifts tend to be very compact, as the traction battery can act as the counterweight and is very dense, meaning that even a small battery can be of significant weight. Because of this, electric machines can often have a superior turning circle as they can be shorter, and this can be made even better in the form of a 3 wheeled machine. These are just a few key points about electric machines. Listed below are more factors about this fuel type:

 

Advantages:

 

  • Often more compact to use in smaller areas
  • 3 Wheel versions can be used in even smaller spaces where other machines wouldn't fit
  • No fumes or gasses released when being used, so ideal for being used inside (unlike gas and diesel)
  • Quieter when in use
  • Cheaper to fuel (electricity rather than fossil fuels)
  • More environmentally friendly
  • Less moving parts than engine-powered machines, so can be more reliable and cheaper to run

 

Disadvantages:

 

  • Often have less ground clearance (unable to use on rougher terrain)
  • Take a long time to recharge
  • If the battery fails, this can be expensive to replace
  • Requires a battery charge station in a well ventilated, dry and temperature controlled area
  • Not ideal for use outside, especially in wet conditions

 

 

Gas/LPG

 

Gas machines are somewhere in the middle of electric and diesel. They offer the ability to work outside, however produce less fumes than diesel so are more suitable for working inside as well (although ventilation is still important). They are great for companies that need more outside ability than an electric machine, however still want to be able to do work inside their warehouse.

 

Advantages:

 

  • Usually more ground clearance than electric machines
  • Able to work outside more appropriately than electric machines, especially when wet
  • Much faster to refuel than to charge an electric machine
  • Still able to work inside providing adquate ventilation
  • Cleaner burning than diesel

 

Disadvantages:

 

  • Usually less compact, unable to work in areas as small as an electric machine
  • Less appropriate for constant inside use, especially if there is not much ventilation
  • Fuel is more expensive
  • More moving parts, possibility for higher servicing costs
  • LPG fuel is potentially hazardous when mishandled

 

 

Diesel

 

Diesel machines are predominantly for use outside. This is partly to do with the fumes when running (these get dispersed into open air when outside), and also because they are usually better for working more rugged terrain. Diesels are often used as yard trucks because of their high torque output and ground clearance, meaning they can carry heavy weights over different terrain.

 

Advantages:

 

  • Usually higher torque output than other fuel types
  • Ideal for outside use
  • Running costs are usually lower than LPG trucks
  • Engine and mechanics are usually simpler, leading to more reliability
  • Quick to refuel

 

Disadvantages:

 

  • Can be more expensive to buy
  • Diesel engines are louder
  • Requires more servicing
  • Due to fumes they can only be used outside, or inside in extremely well ventilated areas
  • Total weight of machine is usually heavier due to additional parts

 

 

You should be able to think about your specific use for a forklift and match up to see which machine would suit you best. If you would like more advice regarding what machine to choose, please feel free to contact us.