A Forklift For Every Job – Forklift Styles and Uses

There are many forklifts styles that are a vital tool for many industries today, from construction to retail. Aside from their place in construction work, the various forklift styles offer diverse services for their ability to perform the tough jobs of carrying loads that human beings can’t handle manually.

Because of the diversity of service, demand, and popularity, dozens of forklift styles have come into the market, facilitating people from different fields and categories. Now it’s time for a closer look at these vital and hard-working machines.

Need for many Forklift styles

The job of a forklift can be described as being used to shift heavy objects to different places. From manual forklifts to all terrain telehandlers, the specifics of how the job are what made the developments of the many different forklift styles necessary.

Within retail and warehousing, the need to move pallets and other organized compartments is critical. However, physical limitations led to innovations such as narrow-fork lifts and walkie-stackers. Separately, the continued demand for new construction has taken forklifts in the direction the telehandler and all-terrain forklift, which can handle rough physical conditions and weather.

Between these extremes we find the range of forklift styles family:

Pallet Jack:

The pallet jack forklift is best used in situations with optimal settings. These forklifts rely 100% on the strength and wisdom of the user. The biggest limitation is its inability to carry large loads due to its small size. However, the pallet jack can be operated with minimal training or need for supervision.

Walkie Stacker:

A walkie stacker is a manual forklift that doesn’t feature any cab. However, walkie stackers, such as those by Toyota, will typically be powered through a motor. The operator stands behind and steers it through an attached handle. While they are limited in speed and power, a walkie stacker will serve best when you need to lift taller and heavy loads at high levels.

Many models carry about 4000 lbs. Weight, and it is comparable to Yale Pallet Jack.

Counterbalance Forklifts:

For a superstore or warehouse, the counterbalance forklift style is a great option. It has forks and loads at the front to counterbalance the cargo load. Electrical counterbalance forklifts, made by brands like Hyster, can work with lighter counterweight since their battery supplies most power. Most models don’t offer any extended arm, which allows it to drive smoothly through the shelves and cabins of the superstore.

Forklift Styles

Types of Counterbalance Forklifts

Varieties of Counterbalance Forklifts include electrical, gas, and diesel-powered forklifts; many come equipped with driver cabs, side shifts, and a mass tilt mechanism. Top manufacturers include Yale and Caterpillar.

Reach Forklifts:

Reach Forklifts are popular for their ability to deliver heavy loads at the height of up to 10 meters. They have an electrically-powered battery and stabilizing legs; thus, it doesn’t require a counterweight.

It is best for indoor use, and using them on uneven surfaces may be hazardous because of their low undercarriage ground clearance. Many models are built with a mechanism that allows the operator to visualize and supervise the work.

3 Types of Reach Forklift Styles

Reach Forklifts come in three forms: saddle trucks, stand-up trucks, and double-deep trucks.

Side Loader:

Some top manufacturers of the Side-Loader Forklifts include Toyota Forklifts and Hyundai. Side-loaders are often found in the steel industries, and the operator stands sideways. The forklift loads and unloads the bulky and heavy items on the racks.

This type of forklift easily runs through the narrow aisles due to its tall and slim build. It can also successfully hold and transfer long pipes or tall equipment. The sideways compartment moves in the direction of the load, ultimately easing the heavy load shifting process across different departments.

Telescoping Handler (Telehandler):

Telescoping Handlers are more commonly known as ‘Telehandlers.’ Telehandlers are a useful combination of a forklift and a crane with an articulating, extendable arm that can move three-dimensionally. Twin forks attached to its arm can use used to load around 5500 lbs. off the ground and shifted to heights of around 19 feet, even at odd and narrow angles.

Many popular companies like JCB, Caterpillars, Bobcat, and Genie have shifted their focus to Telehandlers for increased demand and functionality. Some offer even heavier jobs that can lift heavy loads around 55 feet above the ground. The articulating boom makes it more useful at construction sites.

Rough Terrain Forklift Styles:

Rough Terrain Forklifts are specifically built to perform heavy-duty activities in areas on harsh and uneven surfaces. The oversized tires are heavy-guage and deeply-treaded. These characteristics allow the tire to keep its balance and stay stable while lifting and delivering heavy loads. These are essential for work on rocky roads, in inclement weather, and especially on construction sites.

4WD Rough-Terrain Forklift

JCB and Case models offering four-wheel drive are the best options in this category; most models can lift loads heavier than most forklifts at around 6000-8000 lbs. The all-wheel drive models are critical for construction projects completed in harsh or consistently wet weather.

Heavy-duty Forklifts:

The heavy-duty forklift is the combination of a telehandler and a warehouse forklift. It lacks the telehandler’s ability to reach the narrow spaces. However, it offers a very specialized use by offering a weight-carrying capacity of whopping 30,000 lbs.

Around 20 manufacturers produce this forklift despite the narrow scope, and big names like NARCO have produced lifts that can carry up to 36,000 lbs. Its hydraulic levers balance the reach and power to deliver the best functionality. It is most popular in the large and heavy industries.

Yale forklift parts diagram
Yale Parts Manual

Parts Diagrams

Regardless of the make or exact model style, a forklift parts diagram for the exact model is a critical tool to keep on standby. While servicing or under repair, the parts catalog will help ensure you return the many vital components of the machine so it will remain in working order.

In addition to its practical benefits, the parts diagram fosters a proactive approach to forklift maintenance. By having a detailed reference at hand, operators and maintenance teams can anticipate potential issues and schedule preventive maintenance, mitigating the risk of unexpected breakdowns. This approach not only preserves the forklift’s longevity but also reduces maintenance costs by addressing issues before they occur.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are all the parts on a forklift?

The forklift is composed of a chassis, wheels, cab, mast, tynes and a overhead safety guard. However, there can be hundreds or thousands of individual parts that make up each machine. Forklifts are used to carry large or heavy pallets and loads. Further, a regular or narrow-tyne fork attachment may be needed depending on the width of the pallet being handled.

What are the 5 classes of forklifts?

Class I – V Forklifts are broken down with Classes I, II, & III utilizing electric motors, while Classes IV & V utilize combustion engines. Additional breakdowns divide Class II as narrow aisle with Class III as hand trucks. Subsequently, gas engines are divided by the tire; Class IV have solid tires and Class V pneumatic tires.