What are the different kinds of forklift trucks?

, , Leave a comment

What are the different kinds of forklift trucks?

Have you’ve ever wondered about the variety of forklift trucks there are out there or about the different of methods of propulsion for each?  What’s the difference between a counterbalance forklift truck and a reach truck?

Well if you’ve ever wanted to know the difference between an LPG and or an electric forklift truck read on.

The different kind of forklift trucks

As a quick outline here’s the different forklift trucks listed:

  • Counterbalance
  • 3 Wheel counterbalance
  • Reach trucks
  • Hand pallet trucks
  • Powered pallet trucks

Propulsion systems (for the machine powered types)

Briefly mentioning the propulsion of each of which there are 3 main types:

  • Electric
  • LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas)
  • Diesel


These are the ‘typical’ forklift trucks people often tend to think about when someone mentions the word ‘forklift truck’.  They operate on the principal that at the front of the vehicle there’s the forks that do the lifting and the rear a counterbalance that stops the truck tilting forward when it lifts.

These trucks are highly manoeuvrable and often have a drivers cab to prevent the operator from being injured in the event that the palette should fall back.

A 3 Wheeled forklift truck

This is much like the previous mentioned and actually has the counter balance as well.  It differs however in its 3 wheels.  The power is transmitted through a central wheel which is back at the rear of the forklift truck.  This makes it highly manoeuvrable; even more so than the previous.  Ever heard of the saying ‘it can turn on a penny’?  Well that’s what this can do.

Reach trucks

Reach trucks operate in very much the same kind of environment as a counterbalance truck but are intended to be able to access much greater heights whilst maintaining a safe degree of stability.

These trucks forks also have the ability to reach into a shelf whilst the main arm is fully extended.  Some manufactures will install cameras so the operator can see what’s going on out of site next to the forks.

Hand palette trucks

Also known as ‘pump trucks’, these are usually human powered, hydraulic forks that a user pushes under a palette and then pumps the handle.  The palette is lifted a few inches from the ground and can then be pulled by the user and manoeuvred into place.

These trucks are great when there’s no need to move the palettes to a height and all that you need to do is tow them across a horizontal surface.

Powered palette trucks

Powered palette trucks are much like the above mentioned but have powered assistance to manoeuvre them and a place that the operator can stand on.

These are useful if the operator needs to shift a large quantity of palettes throughout the day or the palettes are particularly hard to haul due to their shear weight.

What are the differences between LPG, diesel and electric?

Every different propulsion system has its ups and downs whether it be due to noxious fumes or lack of operational time at full power.  In the table below you can see some of the differences between liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), diesel and electric powered forklift trucks.

LPG Diesel Electric
Quick fuel refill? * *
Needs ventilation during operation? *
Indoor & outdoor use? * * *
Maintain 100% operational power 24/7? * *
Fuel easily pilfered? *
Low exhaust emissions? * *
Fuel expensive? *
Operational temperature at -20 degrees Celsius? * *
Ability to be used on steep inclines and uneven ground? * *
Generates noise pollution? *
Storage needed for fuel? * *


placeholder What are the different kinds of forklift trucks?


I like to write about a variety of topics and generate discussions in blogs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


HTML tags are not allowed.