Beginners Guide to Forklifts

Material Handling Best Practices, Tips, Information and More from Toyota

Choosing the right forklift for your application can make all the difference in your level of productivity.  Many factors should be considered before choosing a forklift. Use the information below as a quick guide or introduction to the forklift industry:

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.44.26 PMForklifts are classified by the Industrial Truck Association (ITA) as:

Choose IC or Electric:

  • Decide whether an internal combustion forklift or electric forklift is appropriate for your application.

    • Internal Combustion Forklifts

      • Operate on gasoline, diesel, compressed natural gas or liquid propane gas

      • Primarily used outdoors, but can be used in moderation in some indoor applications

      • Can operate in various conditions

      • No batteries to recharge

      • Toyota’s IC forklift line can lift over 51,000 lbs.

      • Lifespan depends on application, use and maintenance

      • Noise emissions meet or exceed ANSI B56.1 Standards

      • Toyota forklifts are designed to meet EPA Standards for emissions

    • Electric

      • Typically less maintenance than I/C forklifts

      • Quieter with little emission sounds

      • No fuel-storage requirements

      • Requires a charging station

      • Batteries are large and heavy to change out.  Battery extraction equipment may be required

      • No tailpipe emissions

      • Lifespan depends on application, use and maintenance

      • Better option for smaller, confined areas

      • Load capacity limited to 3,000 to 12,000 lb. capacity

Determine Use of Forklift:

  • Application:

    • Do you need to stack?

    • Is it an indoor or outdoor application?

    • What material is being moved?

    • How much does a typical load weigh?

    • What is the maximum racking height?

    • What is your aisle width?

  • Environment:

    • Freezer

    • Ambient

    • Hot

    • Extreme weather (for outdoor applications)

    • Dusty/dirty

    • Loud

Types of Forklifts:

  • Counterbalance Sit-Down Forklift –Typical forklift for indoor and outdoor use

  • Reach Truck – Narrow aisle application designed for pallet storage. Forks move vertically and horizontally.

  • Pallet Jack– Also referred to as “walkies." Operators walk behind or along side the truck as loads are moved.  Often used for maneuvering loads in tight areas.

    • Walkie Riders- The operator stands on a small platform.  Used for moving loads over a longer horizontal distances.

  • Stand-Up Counterbalance Forklift- Similar to a traditional counterbalance sit-down forklift, but rather than sitting on a seat, the operator stands on a platform. Stand-Up Riders are common for frequent on and off truck usage and they are also useful in narrow aisles.

  • Tow Tractor– Used for towing products / carts. More commonly found in manufacturing facilities and at airports.

  • Order Picker –Loads are small and both load and operator are lifted up with the mast. Typically used to pick product from racking in a narrow aisle environment.

Other Considerations:

  • What capacity do you need?  Toyota forklifts range from 3,000 lbs. to 51,000 lbs.

  • What is your maximum lift height?

  • Frequency of use.  Will you use the forklift a few hours a day or during the entire day more than one shift?

  • Environmental considerations:  UL rating required,  cold storage conditions, rust proof specifications, etc.

Check out the our Find a Forklift tool to help you decide what Toyota forklift is best for your needs.

Request A Quote or for pricing, parts & more, click here to find a dealer near you.

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