With many types of forklifts to choose from, selecting the right forklift can be difficult. Each forklift type is designed for different applications and choosing the right forklift can greatly improve your efficiency and productivity. Understanding the differences between the seven classes can help you start searching for what you require and pick the correct forklift for your needs.
Different Types of Forklifts
Class I: Electric Motor Riders
Ideal for carrying and moving pallets, Class I forklifts are known as electric motor riders. They are electrically powered, and they are used in a variety of indoor settings and industries, like food storage, retail, factories, and warehouses. With multiple applicable uses, Class I forklifts are quieter and do not create emissions. Their lift capacity ranges from 3,000 to 40,000 pounds, and their electrical systems are between 24-volt and 80-volt.
Class II: Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Forklifts (Reach Truck, Order Pickers)
Electric, narrow aisle forklifts are also called reach trucks and order pickers. These Class II forklifts are built to over maneuverability to move easily throw aisles; with this feature, they are ideal for moving inventory, and they are consistently used to increase racking space in warehouses.
Class III: Electric Pallet Jacks, Stackers, and Tow Tractors
Class III includes electric pallet jacks, stackers, and tow tractors. This equipment is used to unload deliveries, as well as move items that will be later moved by other types of forklifts. Electric Pallet Jacks, Stackers, and Tow Tractors are offered in both walk-behind and rider models.
Class IV: Internal Combustion Cushion Tire Forklifts
Internal Combustion Cushion Tire Forklifts are classified as Class IV. These sit-down forklifts are powered by internal combustion engines that are fueled by diesel, LP gas, or compressed natural gas. These indoor use forklifts have solid, cushioned tires to give a smooth ride and avoid punctures. Class IV forklifts are used in warehousing, distribution, retail, and automotive settings. Their lift capacity is between 3,000 to 100,000 pounds.
Class V: Internal Combustion Pneumatic Tire Forklifts
These forklifts are commonly used for outdoor application due to their durability. Internal Combustion Pneumatic Tire forklifts are ideal for lumberyards and construction sites due to their high lift capacity, 3,000 to 125,000 pounds, and design.
Class VI: Electric/IC Engine Tow Tractors
Electric and Internal Combustion Engine Tow Tractors make up Class VI. Rather than lifting materials, these forklifts are used to tow loads. They are frequently used in airports and assembly line areas. While they boast a towing capacity of over 50,000 pounds, they have an extremely tight turn radius. Their AC Drive system allows for quicker acceleration, high speeds, and extended peak operating time.
Class VII: Rough Terrain Forklifts
Class VII, known as rough terrain forklifts, are intended for use in rough terrain. They have large, tractor-style tires, so they are commonly used in constructions sites and lumberyards to assist in lifting building materials to elevated work-sites. Rough terrain forklifts usually require diesel engines due to outdoor use and the uneven and coarse terrain.