Choosing forklifts for specific jobs requires care and informed decision-making. You need to consider multiple factors to choose the right lift. If you choose the wrong type of lift for your job, you could end up damaging it and risking the safety of your employees and colleagues. For instance, you should not use an electric forklift, which is best for indoor jobs, for an outdoor job that would best suit an internal combustion forklift. Here are several tips for choosing the right forklift for your business and your next lift application.
Consider Key Selection Criteria
You should use these four criteria when you select a lift:
- Site and Application Specifics: Consider whether the job is mainly outdoors, indoors, or a combination of both. How heavy will the potential loads be? If it’s an outdoor job, think about the terrain: is it flat and smooth, or it is rough and uneven?
- Lift Height: Lifts made for everyday use reach an average of 8 to 20 feet, but you may need a lift that reaches taller heights. You will need to consider what kinds of loads the lift truck will be moving and how high it will need to reach to move those loads. You should also think about any height limitations such as low-hanging beams or ceilings.
- Fuel Type: Forklifts have two main fuel and engine types: electric and internal combustion engines. Electric forklifts are better for indoor jobs because they do not release fumes, while internal combustion forklifts are better for outdoor jobs. IC forklifts include rough terrain and diesel forklifts, as well as liquid petroleum and gas lifts.
- Tire Composition: Three types of forklift tires should factor in to your decisions:
- Pneumatic Tires: These are filled with air, like car or truck tires. They are often used with diesel or rough-terrain forklifts. While they are durable and can handle uneven outdoor terrain, they can be punctured.
- Solid Tires: This is a pneumatic tire that will not pop or go flat. It’s best for construction work or workplaces with large shards of metal or glass that might get caught in the tires.
- Cushion Tires: These tires are made from solid rubber and are best for indoor jobs. They sit lower to the ground than pneumatic tires, which gives them a smaller turn radius and makes them appropriate for navigating narrow aisles and other tight spaces.
- Ergonomic Features: Take note of control layouts and seat adjustment capabilities when you select a forklift. You should look for lifts with features that allow your forklift operators to perform their jobs comfortably. If they are uncomfortable while driving the lifts for several hours per shift, they could be at risk of developing back problems and other medical conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome.
Forklift Rental vs. Forklift Purchase
Selecting a lift rental versus a lift purchase is its own decision, but it’s also an important factor in your lift choice. Renting is a better option if you need lifts for a short period or for seasonal work. When you rent a forklift, the rental company takes care of maintenance, so it’s also a way to keep your business’s repair and preventative maintenance costs low.
Purchasing a lift is optimal if your business requires it over longer periods of time, and if you have the capital to invest in such a large equipment purchase. It’s also a better choice if you have an in-house maintenance team ready to perform lift repairs. Weigh these factors carefully before you decide whether to rent or buy a forklift.
Forklift Selection for Ohio and Indiana
If you’re ready to rent or buy a forklift in the Toledo, Columbus, or Indianapolis areas, contact us today. Our team of experts can help you choose a lift that fits with your business operations. We also offer other material handling services, including fleet management and fleet battery management. When you want to focus more on managing your core business, we can take over handling your forklift needs.