Warehouse Forklift Types


Forklifts can be used indoors and outdoors, on flat surfaces and on rough terrain, and are used generally in construction or in warehouses. Any warehouse forklift generally only needs to be used on flat surfaces. There are different classes of forklifts, and the higher classes are hardier and used more outdoors. Lower classes of forklifts are used in warehouses.

  1. Classes of Forklifts

    • Warehouse forklift types fit into the first four out of seven classes for forklifts. Classes five to seven of forklifts generally describe forklifts used on rough surfaces outdoors or forklifts that tow large loads. Forklifts of classes one to three use electric propulsion, usually ideal for indoor use. Class four forklifts actually use internal combustion power, but still can be used indoors, but probably would be better fit for an open air warehouse due to the fumes created. You will rarely find these in strictly indoor warehouses.

    Class One Forklifts

    • Class one forklifts can be broken down into four subcategories or lift codes (lift codes one, four, five and six). The rider or operator stands up in a lift code one forklift, while he sits down in lift codes four through six. To differentiate between the latter three, lift code four forklifts have three wheels, lift code five forklifts have cushion tires and lift code six forklifts have pneumatic tires.

    Classes Two and Three

    • Class two forklifts, also referred to as “narrow aisle” forklifts, are used in tight spaces by a standing rider and are ideal for spaces too large for a sit-down rider forklift. Class three forklifts, electrical hand trucks, can also fit in to tighter spaces. The operator for class three forklifts either stands or walks behind the device depending on the model. Lift models will be able to lift pallets and loads several feet off the ground.

    Electrical Forklifts

    • Electrical forklifts, more commonly used in warehouses as opposed to internal combustion engine forklifts, have advantages and disadvantages. They last longer, are environmentally friendly, cut down on noise pollution and cost less to run. However, they also have a higher upfront cost, need recharging most commonly every six hours and do not do well outdoors in bad weather. Regardless, for warehouses, electrical-powered forklifts obviously make the most sense the majority of the time.