If your warehouse space is confined by narrow aisles, your team needs a specialized narrow aisle solution. Fortunately, narrow aisle forklifts are designed and built to operate in tight quarters while still handling high load stacking demands. By choosing a forklift that’s optimized for your unique work environment, you can ensure your products are protected during transportation, employees remain safe, and your facility infrastructure isn’t damaged. 

If your business needs a forklift designed to operate in confined spaces, these are the factors you need to consider before investing in a narrow aisle forklift:

Aisle Width

Standard forklifts are typically designed to operate in a conventional rack storage environment with aisles that are 12 feet (144 inches) wide. However, many rack systems are slightly or substantially narrower than 12 feet. If that’s the case at your facility, measure the narrowest aisle your forklift needs to operate in. From there, you’ll be able to eliminate many of the options that simply aren’t suited to work in your space.

Reach vs. Double-Reach Forklifts

Reach and double-reach forklifts are specifically designed to work in narrow aisle environments. With compact bodies and outer legs, reach and double-reach machines are able to offset the weight of heavier loads while still being able to move materials between multiple storage tiers.

Deciding between reach and double-reach forklifts comes down to the weight of the loads your forklifts need to carry. For heavier loads, a double-reach forklift is the better option. That’s because the heavy-duty outriggers on a double-reach forklift allow for higher weight capacities while remaining stable. As the name suggests, double-reach forklifts also offer twice the reach length of reach forklifts, making it easier to access deeper rack systems. However, if your forklift only needs to transport lighter loads without reaching into deep racks, a standard reach forklift is likely a more economical option.

While they’re optimized for narrow aisle rack systems, be aware that reach and double-reach forklifts also come with some drawbacks. Because they have low clearance, they’re generally restricted to indoor warehouse spaces with even floors. These low clearances make them more stable under loads, but can lead to undercarriage damage if they’re operated outdoors or on uneven floors.

Order Picker Forklifts

If your team needs a forklift that can reach 300 inches or higher while carrying lighter loads, order picker forklifts are specifically designed to handle the job. While they won’t be able to handle the heavier loads of a reach or double-reach forklift, they’re able to reach higher while still operating in narrow and high-density conditions. Overall, order picker forklifts are ideal for warehouses with smaller inventories where multiple small items are regularly picked.

The Narrow Aisle Forklift Specialists

If your business needs a narrow aisle solution optimized for your unique environment, contact the experts at Brennan Equipment Services today. Whether you need a single forklift or a dozen, our team will take the time to understand your specific work environment and requirements, so we can deliver a forklift solution that adds long-term value to your operation.

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