April 08, 2024

When it comes to choosing a forklift for your business, there are several important factors to consider. Forklifts come in various types and sizes, each designed for specific operating conditions. Selecting the right forklift can greatly impact the efficiency and productivity of your operations.  


What should you keep in mind when choosing a forklift? 


Operating Environment 

The first factor to consider is the operating environment. Forklifts are designed to operate in different settings, such as warehouses, construction sites, or outdoor yards. It is essential to assess the terrain, surface conditions, and any potential obstacles in your workplace. This will help you determine the type of forklift that is suitable for your specific environment. 

For indoor operations, electric forklifts are a popular choice due to their low noise levels and zero emissions. They are also well-suited for narrow aisles and confined spaces. On the other hand, outdoor applications may require forklifts with larger tyres and more robust features to handle uneven terrain and weather conditions. 


Capacity and Load Size 

Another crucial consideration is the capacity and load size that the forklift will be required to handle. Forklifts are available in different weight capacities, ranging from light-duty to heavy-duty models. It is essential to accurately assess the maximum weight of the loads you will be lifting to ensure the forklift can handle the workload. 

Additionally, consider the dimensions and shape of the loads. Some forklifts are specifically designed to handle long or bulky items, while others are better suited for palletised loads. Evaluating your specific load requirements will help you select a forklift with the appropriate capacity and attachments. 


Lift Height  

The lifting height required for your operations is another important factor to consider. Forklifts come with varying maximum lift heights, and it is crucial to select one that can reach the desired elevation. It is essential to account for any height restrictions in your facility, such as doorways or racking systems. 

If you require the ability to lift loads to significant heights, you may need to consider a forklift with additional mast options, such as a triple-stage mast. These masts provide increased lifting capabilities and improved stability at higher elevations. 


Fuel Type 

The choice of fuel type for your forklift is another critical decision. Forklifts can be powered by different fuels, including electricity, diesel or gas. Each fuel type has its advantages and considerations. 

Electric forklifts are environmentally friendly, produce no emissions, and have low noise levels. They are ideal for indoor use, but they may have limited battery life and require a charging infrastructure. Diesel forklifts are better suited for outdoor applications due to their higher power output and longer runtime. Gas forklifts offer versatility and can be used both indoors and outdoors, with quick refuelling capabilities. 

Consider your operational needs, cost factors, and any specific regulations or restrictions in your area when choosing the fuel type for your forklift. 


Maintenance & Servicing  

Regular maintenance and servicing are essential for keeping your forklift in optimal condition and ensuring its longevity. When selecting a forklift, consider the ease of maintenance and accessibility of critical components. Forklifts with easily accessible engine compartments and well-designed maintenance points can save time and money during servicing. 


Parts Availability  

In line with maintenance considerations, it is crucial to assess the availability of parts for the forklift you choose. Choice a forklift brand that has a wide range of readily available parts. This ensures that any necessary repairs or replacements can be quickly carried out, minimising downtime, and maintaining productivity. 


Own Outright or Hire

Deciding whether to purchase a forklift outright or to choose short-term or contract hire is another factor to consider. Purchasing a forklift gives you full ownership and control over the equipment, allowing you to customise it to your specific needs. However, it also involves upfront costs, maintenance responsibilities, and potential depreciation. 

Hiring a forklift, on the other hand, offers flexibility and eliminates the need for upfront capital investment. It is suitable for businesses with fluctuating or seasonal demand, as you can adjust the fleet size as needed. However, it is essential to evaluate the long-term costs and terms of the hire agreement. 


Choosing the right forklift for your business is a decision that can significantly impact your operations. Considering factors such as the operating environment, capacity and load size, height requirements, fuel type, maintenance and servicing, parts availability, and ownership options will help you make an informed decision. 

Take the time to assess your specific needs and consult with industry experts like Rushlift. Our team of dedicated Area Sales Managers, spread across the UK, are committed to working closely with you to understand your business and provide tailored solutions. Whether you need a forklift for a short-term project or long-term contract hire, we have you covered. Contact us today!