A forklift, also known as a lift truck, might seem like a common piece of industrial equipment. However, it actually requires a lot of expertise to drive, and although one might seem very similar in function to another, there are a lot of options that make each forklift fit for one job but not another. In fact, buying a forklift requires you to consider a variety of functional, mechanical, and safety features. Not doing so can be dangerous. Additionally, disregarding important features on a lift truck can end up with a company receiving fines for not following various work-safety codes.

1. Weight

The amount of weight a lift truck can handle is referred to as its load capacity. The most common type of lift truck is a counterbalanced lift truck, and it is used in warehouses and on construction sites. Due to the extra weight that is located in the rear of this type of lift truck, it can lift loads between 3,000 and 80,000 pounds without tipping over. However, some models are capable of lifting up to 120,000 pounds. If you are looking for something with a relatively low capacity, you should consider an order picker as this type of lift will handle loads ranging from 400 to 700 pounds.

2. Outdoor versus indoor

Outdoor lift trucks are powered by diesel fuel, liquid petroleum, or gas. The type of climate and work you will be doing will determine the type of lift you will need. For instance, if you will be operating your lift truck on rugged terrain as well as in rugged conditions, you should consider a lift truck that is powered by diesel. However, you should only consider this type if operations require constant use because you do not want to be shutting off and re-starting the engine. Repeated ignition results in the fuel being sprayed into the crankcase. This contaminates the oil, causing a myriad of problems.

Liquid-petroleum powered lifts are a good choice for operations that call for both outdoor and indoor work because the fumes are far less toxic than a gas-powered lift. However, if your work is conducted primarily in a cold climate, you should choose a truck that is powered by gasoline, especially if the engine will frequently be started and stopped. For indoor usage, you can also select an electric-powered lift truck.

3. Width

The width of the forklift will determine how safely you can maneuver through narrow aisles. For indoor usage in a warehouse, most safety laws require the aisle to be 23.6 inches wider than the forklift. For larger loads, the space is required to be 35.4 inches wider.

4. Tires

The tires for many forklifts are puncture proof. Pneumatic tires are for outdoor usage, and they come in versions that are either solid rubber or inflatable. Cushion-style tires are primarily used indoors. They are smaller in diameter and have a much smaller diameter chassis than pneumatic tires.

5. Used versus new

A new forklift will last for years and come with a manufacturer’s warranty. A used forklift, however, may still have many hours of quality usage remaining in the motor and the hydraulic system. You will have to determine how often you will use the forklift and compare it against the hydraulics, which usually last between 8,000 to 20,000 hours.

6. Accessories

You will want to purchase a forklift that allows for the most matching accessories. For instance, such things as loading mirrors and fork grips make your driving safer. Alarms help a driver back safely. Carriage bumpers protect against impact damage, and crane hooks help stabilize odd loads that cannot be simply lifted with forks.

7. Maximum lift height

Many loading racks can reach up to 10 feet in height. Some, however, can reach up to 15 feet in height. Ones for specialized use can reach over 55 feet. The important thing to remember in each case is how the center of weight is distributed as height increases. The center of weight must remain in the center of the forks to reduce the danger of tipping. For many forklifts, the center of weight is approximately 24 inches. However, this distance will need to vary according to the typical loads you will carry. For larger loads, the center of gravity shifts forward, reducing the forklift’s maximum safe lift height.

8. Lease or purchase

It is recommended that you rent before you buy. You can typically rent a lift truck from a reputable dealer for up to 60 days. This will give you ample time to make your final determination. Additionally, you can typically apply the rental cost towards the purchase of the lift truck.

When purchasing a lift truck, it is critical that you do so from a reputable dealer, such as Queensland ForkLift. By shopping at a reputable dealer, your investment will be protected, and you will have access to expert representatives able to help you with any questions or problems.

Author Bio: Lisa Eclesworth is a notable and influential lifestyle writer. She is a mom of two and a successful homemaker. She loves to cook and create beautiful projects with her family. She writes informative and fun articles that her readers love and enjoy.