How do I find the right forklift for my needs?

The world of warehouse trucks is a varied one, ranging from counterbalanced and reach vehicles, to very-narrow-aisle forklifts, to pallet stackers, and more. And each type fulfills a particular set of requirements. To gain an overview and determine the right vehicle for your unique scenario, it helps to ask five basic questions. 

  • Where will it be deployed?

The first question asked should be about the working environment. After all, where and how the forklift will be used is crucial to decision-making. Will it be deployed mainly indoors or outdoors? What is the floor like, and how narrow or broad are the aisles? For instance, in a very-narrow-aisle warehouse, additional requirements must be met: typically, goods must be hoisted up to great heights, and in a very tight space. The ideal option here would be a turret truck.

  • How much weight must it lift?

What the forklift will convey should have heft in any decision. In particular, the maximum size and weight of loads must be taken into consideration. Additionally, the type of goods is also significant, as they may require special attachments, such as clamps, rotators or fork positioners.

  • How high must it go?

A further pivotal factor is the reach height. This is determined by the height of the racking. And since each and every square meter of logistics space is priced at a premium, towers of tall shelving are common. And that calls for forklifts with a long reach to match. In fact, reach trucks can quickly access dizzying heights of some 13 meters. And at the same time, intelligent assistance systems help reduce vibrations and mast swaying.

  • Are there any special requirements or working conditions?

Depending on the industry, forklifts must meet additional demands. In various production environments, flammable gases or fumes, for instance, might be emitted; in these instances, the truck must be equipped with explosion protection. Or in extremely cold scenarios, such as freezer storage, forklifts with lithium-ion batteries are a popular solution, as these withstand frosty conditions better than lead-acid batteries. And that leads us to our final question.

  • What type of propulsion makes the most sense?

When it comes to drives, there is a choice of electric or combustion-engine trucks – and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Where and how the forklift will be used remains crucial. Electric forklifts with lead-acid or lithium-ion batteries are very quiet and emissions-free, and are therefore often preferred for interiors. Diesel forklifts, in contrast, are better suited to outdoor tasks. Meanwhile, hydrogen-powered vehicles offer outstanding performance inside and out, but require specialized infrastructure.

You’ve got the power: To find out in a matter of clicks which technology best fits which specific use case, there are online tools available – such as the Energy Quick Check from Linde Material Handling. 

  • And how do I find the right forklift for me?

Intralogistics providers such as Linde Material Handling and STILL offer a broad portfolio of forklift models. Clear categories and a special product-finder simplify the search for the ideal truck. In addition, experts at both manufacturers can offer comprehensive assistance and advice.