Forklifts vs. Pallet Jacks in Indiana Warehouses

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No matter what industry you’re in, using the wrong tools for the job can cost you time and money. For a warehouse or distribution center, that could mean using the wrong material handling equipment. Making the right call for when to use forklifts or pallet jacks for certain jobs can make your team more efficient, safer, and more productive.

Let’s take a closer look at forklifts vs. pallet jacks to make the distinction a little more clear.

Forklifts vs. Pallet Jacks - The Basics

You likely already know the basics of when to have your team use a forklift over a pallet jack or vice-versa.

You definitely need to have your team hop on the forklifts if:

  • Your pallets are over 4,000 lbs (depending on the pallet jack capacity and if it’s motorized or not)
  • Your pallets need to be lifted onto shelves
  • You’re going outside with the pallet, or going over uneven surfaces
  • You’re working on a grade (again, can depend on if your pallet jacks are motorized)

Otherwise, most jobs can be handled by manual pallet jacks, or even both forklifts and pallet jacks in tandem. But what if none of those conditions apply? Are there other circumstances in which you should use one over the other?

Forklifts vs. Pallet Jacks - Other Circumstances

Say that the pallets just need to be moved across the warehouse floor, and they’re not excessively heavy. The choice is simple then, right? Not quite. There are some circumstances that should definitely guide your team toward using either pallet jacks or forklifts.

Floor Conditions

Even if the job looks straightforward, the floor of your warehouse on a particular day could cause trouble for pallet jacks. Say employees are tracking in winter slush, resulting in a slippery floor. Operating a pallet jack on wet floors could be a recipe for disaster or injury – in which case motorized pallet jacks or forklifts might be better suited.

Pallet Conditions

How tall is the pallet stacked, and how securely are the items wrapped on the pallet? Being much lower to the ground and less “wobbly,” a pallet jack is better suited to handle taller and less secure pallets. Pallets are less likely to topple off a pallet jack compared to a forklift, and if they do somehow topple, they’ll fall a shorter distance.

Loading Conditions

There’s such a thing as “too many cooks in the kitchen” when loading orders. Too many forklifts trying to load up and navigate through loading docks and racking is a sure cause of logjams and bottlenecks. That means more downtime and fewer completed orders. Pallet jacks on the other hand are much more easily maneuverable when multiple people are working together.

Forklift Or Pallet Jacks – The Verdict

For most workplaces of a certain size, it’s best to have multiple forklifts and pallet jacks at the ready. But knowing which piece of equipment is best suited to each job can help you figure out how stocked you need to keep your material handling fleet. For more info on Indiana forklifts and pallet jacks, turn to Tynan. Call us at 317-597-4003 for help with any material handling needs in the Hoosier state.
Forklifts and pallet jacks do similar jobs, but they also have certain niches in your workspace.

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