A forklift can be a game-changing labour saving device when it comes to projects that require heavy lifting, and there are a huge number of options available suited to almost any situation, but what are they all for – and how should you choose which solution is right for you? Take a look at the guide below to find out.
Forklifts for Indoor use
Forklifts are a very popular choice in shops, warehouses and building projects, but if you’re working in a space that’s not designed for regular use by forklift trucks, a smaller solution may be better. Counterbalance Trucks require more room to manoeuvre, so a Pallet Truck might be a better option if you’re short of space, and you want to get the most lifting power out of a compact vehicle. Pallet Trucks are suitable for a wide variety of applications such as supermarket aisles and even domestic houses, and can assist with heavy lifting without the bulk of a larger machine.
They may be smaller, but that doesn’t mean they’re less versatile. You can hire many different kinds of Pallet Truck with options that can help you whatever your needs, from basic hand operated models to power-assisted versions that can manage heavier loads. Pallet Trucks are great for moving heavy objects around, but they aren’t designed for lifting – so if your project requires it, you may be better off hiring a Stacker.
Stackers are a great option for projects with space constraints: Like Pallet Trucks they are designed to be compact in order to work in warehouse aisles and other small spaces, with a focus on lifting heavy objects to height in order to stack them in piles or on shelves. Available in power assisted models with a range of different weight classes, and as a self-propelled vehicle, there are a wide variety of options for hire that depend on the size of the objects you are moving and the conditions of the site.
If you are working in a small building, it might pay to sacrifice mobility for size and choose a hand Pallet Truck or a smaller Stacker, so that you can fit your forklift anywhere you need to go. Conversely, if you are working across a larger space, a self-propelled or power-assisted model will make it much easier to cover long distances with less effort. Whatever your choice, it’s important that you consider your available space and the size and weight of loads to be carried when you’re choosing which forklift to hire.
Forklifts for Outdoor use
It’s also common to see forklifts in outdoor sites, from building sites to yards and storage areas, and there are plenty of options to help you do your job. However, to get the most for your money when you hire, it’s important to consider your options. First, consider the amount of space you’ve got. If your outdoor location has plenty of room to move, you should consider a Counterbalance Forklift, which tends to have more power and a higher top speed than hand-operated alternatives.
You should also consider how much weight you’ll need to carry. Three wheeled Counterbalance Forklift trucks are more manoeuvrable in tight spaces and with lighter weights, but if your main concern is power then you should probably opt for a four wheeled model that is designed for larger loads. Four wheels can also be an advantage on difficult terrain, if you’re working on a building site or on grass, while a three wheeled model might struggle.
If you’ve got more complex requirements, it’s a good idea to check if there’s a forklift for hire that has special features that can make your life easier. If you’re trying to get the maximum lifting performance out of your forklift, it might be a good idea to hire a hydrostatic model – which uses hydraulics to boost the amount that the forks are able to lift. If you’re more concerned about the weight that the forklift is able to carry, you might want to consider a model with a torque converter instead, which boosts the power available to the engine so that it can move heavier loads around. There are also compact models of Counterbalance forklift, which allow you to gain the maximum performance in the minimum space.
A final consideration is the fuel your forklift uses. The most common type of engine in a Counterbalance Forklift is petrol, but electric models are also available for hire. There may be restrictions on operating combustion engines indoors, or environmental and noise concerns on site, which make electric models preferable. They are also more economical, and cost less to run, which can save you money across the length of your hire. As well as protecting your environmental credentials, going electric eliminates the need to keep and store fuel for your vehicles, which can be an added danger and expense on site.