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How to Choose the Best Forklift For Your Storage Needs



Besides employees, forklifts are perhaps one of the most important components of any warehouse. They lift cumbersome material and transport it throughout the warehouse, freeing your employees’ time for other important tasks and protecting them from physical issues such as back and neck pain. However, forklifts come in several classes, and different forklifts work best for certain warehouses. Today, we’ll help you decide which forklift is right for you based on the type of warehouse you have, what you’re willing to spend, and other factors.

Consider Your SpaceSit-Down-Forklifts

Your first consideration should be how much space you have. If your warehouse utilizes narrow aisles and small inventory space, you probably need an electrically-powered forklift with a reach or order picker design. These forklifts run on less power than their gas-operated counterparts and can move more orders throughout the warehouse in a shorter amount of time. If you have a large warehouse with wide aisles, consider using a gas-powered forklift. These are best if you use a conventional storage system such as a 12-rack, or have to move thousands of pounds of inventory per day. Gas-powered forklifts can normally move about 15,000-35,000 pounds of inventory at once.

Consider Your Budget

The next factor to examine is how much you can afford to spend on a forklift. For example, gas-powered forklifts are great for moving heavy inventory quickly, but they also cost a great deal to maintain and fuel. This can strain your budget in other, more important areas and lead to environmental concerns. By contrast, electric forklifts emit less fuel and are easier to maintain, but the initial purchasing and installation costs are generally higher. Specialized electric lifts can cost as much as $90,000 and are more difficult to repair and replace if they break down. Another factor to consider would be new vs. used forklifts – what would be best for your budget?

Consider Your Inventory and Atmosphere

Finally, the type of forklift you need will depend on the type of inventory you’re moving. For example, gas-powered forklifts aren’t recommended for retail storage warehouses because they’re noisy and emit exhaust fumes. This can negatively influence employee attitudes and in some cases, damage the inventory. For example, continued exposure to exhaust and gas may compromise clothing material or harm the inner workings of electronics.

In contrast, if you are transporting heavy inventory – pallets of food or drinks from a grocery warehouse, for instance – you’ll probably want a gas-powered forklift. Inventory like this must be moved out of the warehouse quickly, so you’ll want to load as many pallets on the forklift at once as possible.

Still have questions about lift equipment? Contact us at Warehouse1 today!