How do you buy a Forklift? Start with these 5 things

Forksales Blog • 6th December 2021
Written by James Lynch

Before purchasing a forklift, there are many factors to carefully consider to ensure you purchase the right machine the first time. In this article we will cover the essential components of a forklifts specification, and what to understand and be aware of before committing with your local forklift dealer.

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Capacity

Each forklift is rated based on its lifting capacity, however choosing a forklift based of its capacity is not always so simple. 

It’s crucial to be aware not only of the maximum weight, but also the dimensions of the load you will need to lift. The dimensions of the load will set your load centre, that is, the distance from centre of gravity and it’s length away from the forklift. 

An easy example for comparison is holding weights against your chest, and stretching your arms to full length. The weight stays the same, but it gets much harder to hold further away from you. 

Typically, these load centres capacities are rated at 600mm and 1200mm. 

 

Height

As all working environments are different, understanding a forklifts height specifications is integral.

Consider the maximum height you need to lift to, and the lowest heights you have to work in or around. A common example is sea container loading and unloading; this requires a low mast height to access sea containers yet may still need a lift height capable to stack racking. 

 

Fuel Type

Not only is choosing the correct fuel type important for cost efficiency, but safety is paramount. Consider the environment the forklift will be predominantly used, and what safety hazards may arise. 

Indoor warehousing facilities commonly utilise electric forklifts, for their zero emissions and long lasting deep-cycle batteries that are efficient for a days’ work. 

Larger facilities and outdoor yards often require more powerful engine configurations, which may be LPG, petrol or diesel powered. LPG is a common option, as it offers uncompromised performance and produces fewer exhaust fumes than other fuel types.

 

Tyres

Forklifts can be fitted with various tyre types and these can be critical to the performance of your forklift depending on the ground surfaces you work with. The three common tyre selections are traditional pneumatic tyres, solid tyres and cushion tyres. 

Pneumatic tyres are filled with compressed air and are suitable for indoor and outdoor applications, mainly seen in outdoor applications, rough surfaces and uneven ground. 

Solid Tyres are as the name suggests, solid rubber. They are extremely durable, sturdy, and not prone to puncturing.

Cushion tyres are more common only on electric forklifts, or forklifts operating only indoors on smooth surfaces. They offer high traction and good stability but can’t cope with rough surfaces. 

Some forklift tyres are available in non-marking rubber if the surface is to be tyre mark free. 

 

Configurations and Attachments

Forklifts can be configured to suit a whole heap of different working applications. Many forklifts are fitted with different attachments so the machine can be used in different ways, or help make your job easier, more efficient and safe.  

Attachments like Hydraulic Fork Positioners can save the operator from manually adjusting the fork tines, so instead they can simply adjust with the pull of a lever. Other attachments include sideshifts, rotators, fork tine extensions, bin tippers, drum grab and crane jibs. 

 

Speak to Your Local Dealer

This article just touches the surface of buying the correct forklift, however it’s important to have this information ready to give to your experienced forklift dealer who can confirm what’s best for your business.

Buying a forklift may seem overwhelming because of so many variations that must be considered, however with the right research and the help of your local trusted forklift dealer, buying the right machine the first time around will save you time and money in the long run.

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