You need a new forklift. Whether it’s to replace an old one that’s run its course, or you’re making an addition to your fleet, the right choice for your new forklift could have a big impact on your bottom line. Probably the most important differentiator between forklifts is the type of engine.

Here we’ll help guide you through the main forklift engine types, as well as when and when not to choose them.

Electric Forklifts – The Cleanest, Quietest Movers

Unlike internal combustion engines, the only fuel source electric forklifts need are their rechargeable batteries. That means no space needed for extra fuel storage, no risk of spilling flammable materials, a quieter engine, and no emissions. The downsides of electric forklifts are in their lower workload relative to bigger IC engines.

Choose an electric forklift if:

  • All your work is going to be done indoors, like in a warehouse, retail stocking, or factory.
  • You need equipment that runs more quietly.
  • A low cost of ownership over time is a high priority.

Don’t choose an electric forklift if:

  • You need a forklift that can regularly lift loads of more than 6,000 lbs.
  • You need equipment that can move over rugged terrain or on graded surfaces.
  • You can’t dedicate time (usually at least 6 hours) for recharging periods at night.

Learn more about electric forklifts

Diesel Forklifts – More Power At Your Disposal

Nothing gives you the same amount of power as does a diesel engine lift truck. Diesel engine forklifts typically outclass the power and torque of other types of forklifts, which makes them the natural choice for the most intense jobs. Construction sites and large shipping yards are perfect fits for diesel forklifts.

Choose a diesel engine forklift if:

  • Your workloads are going to be in excess of 7,000 lbs.
  • You need the extra torque to move on a graded surface, or on rough outdoor terrain.
  • You need to do heavy-duty work with attachments such as clamps, tipplers, or spreaders.

Don’t choose a diesel engine forklift if:

  • You need to work in close quarters with other personnel or will be inside at all.
  • Going “green” is a priority for your business.

Learn more about Diesel Engine Forklifts

Propane Forklifts – Clean-Burning Efficiency

Propane powered forklifts are somewhere in the middle of the two extremes of electric and diesel engine lift trucks. Like diesel trucks, their lift power is exceptional, and they’ll always operate at full capacity from full tank to empty. Like electrics, a propane forklift avoid dangerous exhaust. They can even be used inside for short periods when properly maintained and paired with a catalytic converter.

Choose a propane forklift if:

  • You want a forklift that can work long hours without the need for lengthy refueling times.
  • You want to take advantage of clean-burning equipment energy tax credits.

Don’t choose a propane forklift if:

  • A rear-mounted propane tank on a forklift could pose a safety issue with other equipment or hazards.
  • You don’t have the storage capacity for both replacement and empty propane tanks not in use.

Learn more about Propane Engine Forklifts

Find The Right Forklift For Your Indiana Business

This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the types of forklift engines, but it’s a great way to start narrowing down your search. To dig deeper into the nuts and bolts of your search, give us a call at 317-597-4003. You’ll find your perfect fit when you turn to Tynan.

Related Articles