If you have never used a forklift, then you might assume they are all the same. However, there are multiple types of forklifts that each have a different load and size capacity. Some forklifts are better used in warehouses while others are more appropriate for construction sites.

The good news is that each type of forklift is operated in a similar way. Of course, you must have the appropriate education and certification to operate a forklift for commercial purposes. Otherwise, you could be putting other people’s lives at risk while getting yourself into big legal trouble.

Check out these the six primary types of forklifts, which each serve their own unique purpose.

Industrial Counterbalance

If you were to go into any indoor warehouse in Australia, you would likely find counterbalance forklifts being used. They have two forks in the front that are used to lift heavy loads and transport them.

To ensure the weight in the front doesn’t throw the balance out of whack, the back of these forklifts have extra weight already there to counterbalance the machine from the weight in the front.

The forklift has a total of four wheels touching the floor: two back steering wheels and two front drive wheels; although there are some industrial counterbalance forklifts with three wheels for a better range of motion. An LF High-Risk Work Licence is required to operate all counterbalance forklifts in Australia.

Industrial Reach

Industrial reach forklifts are often used in warehouses and industrial facilities. Their forks can reach a lot higher than your average forklift. This extra length gives them the ability to reach pallets or stock inventory that is stored high in the warehouse.

There are stabilising legs on the bottom to help you balance the vehicle throughout the lifting and transporting process. There are two variations to the industrial reach forklifts: double deep and stand up. The difference is that double deep’s forks are longer, allowing them to reach deeper and lift multiple pallets at the same time.

Pedestrian Operated Pallet Trucks

Pedestrian-operated pallet trucks are found in most storage facilities and warehouses. They are easy to use because you can just slide the forks underneath the pallet before lifting it with a hydraulic jack.

But you won’t get to sit down in this forklift since it doesn’t have a seat. It also doesn’t have a high lift capacity, so you’ll need to keep the load at a lower point as you transport the pallet. On the upside, you don’t need a special certification or licence to legally operate this vehicle.

Sideloaders

Sideloader forklifts are appropriate for use in narrow aisles of your warehouse. The forks are located on the vehicle’s side, allowing you to lift longer and wider loads.

There are two variations to the sideloader forklift: the enclosed cab and the stand-up. The main difference is that the enclosed cab gets used outside instead of inside. You’ll need an LF High Risk Work Licence to operate the sideloader.

Rough Terrain Forklifts

Rough terrain forklifts are made specifically for outdoor use on rocky or “rough” terrain. They have very thick treads on big, inflatable tires. This is how the forklift can climb over challenging terrain on the ground – that, and a very powerful internal combustion engine.

If you’re looking for a durable forklift that can take punishment outside, then you will want a rough terrain forklift. You won’t have to worry about balancing, either, when lifting and moving heavy loads.

Telescopic Handlers

Telescopic handlers are forklifts suitable for agricultural work. The telescopic boom of this forklift allows it to be flexible in its operation.

You can attach all sorts of add-ons to the boom, giving you much higher lifting abilities and more versatility. There is a jib attachment on the telescopic handler that works like a crane. The operator is required to have a non-slew crane licence in addition to Elevated Work Platform High-Risk Work License (if lifting at heights that exceed 11 metres).

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