Selecting the Right Forklift Tires: Pneumatic vs. Cushion

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When choosing the right tire for your forklift, the most common options are pneumatic forklift tires or cushion forklift tires.  These two types of tires have significant differences between them that should be considered when evaluating which works best for your application.

Choosing the right tire impacts the handling and safety* of your forklift.  The majority of forklifts are specifically designed for a particular tire and tires are designed for specific applications or industries.

Pneumatic Forklift Tires

ptirePneumatic tires are similar to a car or truck tire and offer high performance and versatility.  Pneumatic tires provide strong grip on uneven surfaces and rough terrain and are popular on construction sites, in lumber yards and indoor/outdoor warehouses.  There are two types of pneumatic tires:  Solid Pneumatics, which are made of solid rubber and are more puncture proof, and Air Pneumatics, which are air-filled.

Cushion Forklift Tires

CtireCushion tires are made of smooth solid rubber and are fitted around a metal band.  They are cheaper to manufacture and easier to maintain, but cushion tires do not get the same level of traction as a pneumatic tire, particularly outdoors.  Cushion tires are best for smooth surface applications, primarily indoors or on loading docks.  They also help with handling in smaller spaces, as they facilitate a smaller turning radius.


Before you make your initial forklift purchase, decide whether a pneumatic or cushion tire forklift is best for you.  Start by determining how the forklift will be used.  Consider your capacity and any multi-use functions.  Then, consider space constraints and application; will it be used inside or out, or both?  Will it be used on smooth or rough terrain?

Remember that most forklifts require specific tires so do some research before you make your initial forklift purchase to be sure it will work for you.

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*All Toyota forklifts are designed with safety in mind, and safety is a standard feature. The standard features on our forklifts ensure the product can be safely operated in all appropriate work environments when operated by a certified forklift operator and surrounded by those who are trained on proper behavior around forklifts. We do not put mirrors, lights, alarms, etc. as standard on our products because research shows that some applications will actually be made less safe if those devices are used. Instead, we rely upon our customers, who have the best understanding of the operating environment, to determine if additional accessories would benefit them.

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