Types of Lift Trucks: Choose the Right Lift Truck for Your Business

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Looking for a new lift truck for your business? In your search you may have noticed all the various types of lift trucks available for sale. Which begs the question, which one is right for my business? Lift trucks, also known as powered industrial trucks or forklifts; are used to move product and people in various ways. Depending on the application, forklift companies have to design their products in correspondence with OSHA’s classifications and regulations. These regulations affect the design of order picker baskets, safety baskets and all fork lift attachments. In addition, every forklift attachment must have a data tag stating their lift capacity. This information is very important for business to use in order to determine what they can or cannot use on the various types of lift trucks and attachments.

Class I: Electric Motor Rider Trucks

The Class on lift truck is most commonly used in settings where air quality factors are a primary consideration. Included in this class are lift trucks with 3 or 4 wheels and either cushion (solid) or pneumatic (air filled) tires. Cushion tired forklifts are intended to be used indoors on smooth floors. The pneumatic tired models can be used outdoors in dry conditions. Both sit down and stand up style forklift trucks are included in this classification. Powered by industrial batteries, these lift trucks use transistor motor controllers to control travel and hoisting movements. Class I lift trucks are extremely versatile and can be used in many areas of a production operation from the loading dock to the storage facility.

Weight Capacity of Class 1 Lift Trucks: 3,000-12,000 lbs

Class II: Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks

If your company utilizes a very narrow aisle operation this classification of lift trucks is for you. These powered industrial trucks includes reach and deep (or double) reach lift trucks as well as order selector trucks (also known as order pickers or cherry pickers). These fork lifts are designed to minimize the space occupied by the truck in order to improve speed and efficiency in tight spaces. The order selector operators ride up and down with the load and must be secured to the truck using a belt and tether system. Other narrow aisle trucks include stand up straddles, swing masts, side loaders, and turret trucks.

Weight Capacity of Class 2 Lift Trucks: 4,000-5,000 lbs

Class III: Electric Motor Hand Trucks or Hand/Rider Trucks

These types of forklifts are all hand controlled where the operator is in the front of the truck and controls the lift truck through a steering tiller. The low lift electric hand pallet jacks, also known as “walkies” are a common type of class three forklift. Unlike other industrial trucks, they don’t have a mast and use pallet forks or a platform to haul loads several inches off of the ground.

Weight Capacity of Class 3 Lift Trucks: 3,000-60,000 lbs

Class IV: Internal Combustion Engine Trucks (Solid/Cushion Tires)

Class four forklifts are designed for inside use on smooth, dry floors. They are typically used for transporting palletized loads to and from the loading dock and storage area. The cushioned tired lift trucks in this classification are designed to sit lower to the ground than pneumatic tired forklift trucks in order to allow use in low clearance situations.

Weight Capacity of Class 4 Lift Trucks: 3,000- 60,000 lbs

Class V: Internal Combustion Engine Trucks (Pneumatic Tires)

Class five lift trucks are most commonly seen in warehouses. Used both inside or outside in virtually any type of application, these forklifts have a large capacity range. They can handle anything from small single pallet loads to 40-foot loaded containers. This classification of lift trucks are powered by internal combustion engines and can be used with LPG, gasoline, diesel, and compressed natural gas fuel systems.

Weight Capacity of Class 5 Lift Trucks: 3,000-115,000 lbs

Class VI: Electric and Internal Combustion Engine Tractors

These lift trucks are sit-down rider, tow tractor lifts with versatile uses making them popular in a variety of applications. Class six forklifts can utilize either internal combustion engines for outdoor use or battery powered electric motors for indoor use.

Weight Capacity of Class 6 Lift Trucks: Up to 2,000 lbs

Class VII: Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks

Class seven forklifts utilize large floatation type tires for use outdoors on difficult services. These types of powered industrial trucks are almost exclusively powered by diesel engines and have pneumatic (air filled) tires. You will commonly see these lift trucks used at construction sites to transport and lift building materials. You may also spot these trucks in lumber yards and auto recyclers. Some of these Class VII trucks are equipped with a traditional, or fixed, mast while others use a telescopic style.

Weight Capacity of Class 7 Lift Trucks: 6,000-16,000 lbs

Be sure you are selecting the right forklift for your intended application and weight loads. Koke Inc. has over 40 years of experience supplying customers with the right material handling and industrial equipment for their needs. Contact us today to discuss how we can help ensure you get the most out of your material handling equipment purchase.