What type of surface will you be driving on (i.e.) concrete, asphalt, dirt, gravel? Cushion (rubber, indoor) tires are for use on concrete and can be driven on asphalt as well. Pneumatic (air, outdoor) tires are designed for use on asphalt, hard packed dirt or firm large-stone gravel. These units are also “higher profile” than cushion fork lifts. Rough terrain fork lifts trucks, with large tractor-type tires, are needed for work in sand, loose gravel and for construction sites.
How much weight are you lifting, what are the physical dimensions of the load, how high do you need to lift? In determining the capacity that you need, keep in mind that typically, fork lifts are rated on a 24″ load center. Any load that is over 48″ in length will affect the fork lift trucks load capacity. The lift height is measured at the forks and can also affect the capacity of the forklift truck.
What are your aisle widths? “Right angle stacking” is the key to storing pallets on racking. If you are in a confined area and have aisle spacing less than 11′, you will need a 3-wheeled unit or a stand-up fork lift.
How many hours per week will you use the fork lift truck? Your usage will help determine which forklift will be most cost-effective for you. For example, an older forklift can work well under a low use application. By the same token, if you need a forklift to be operated four or more hours per day, you may want to consider a new unit.
Will you be driving into tractor-trailers? Some fork lifts are designed to work in tractor-trailers, and others are not.
Are you in the food business? If you are in the food business, you should strongly consider investing in an electric fork lift.