A Simple Breakdown of Common Types of Forklift and Their Uses


Over the course of a six-year period in the United States, there were more than 7,000 injuries involving a forklift. While there’s a risk involved every time you operate a forklift, knowledge is key to your safety.

If you learn about the different forklift types and their purposes, you’re more likely to stay safe the next time you use one.

So, what are some of the different types of forklifts, and when should they be used? You’ve come to the right place! Keep reading for a quick overview of the most popular forklift types.

Side Loader Forklift

As the name suggests, a side loader forklift has its forks on the side of the machine instead of the front. This allows it to pick up loads in narrow aisles that would otherwise be hard to reach.

Unlike a typical front-loading forklift, side loaders don’t have to turn, because they can unload from the side and drive alongside aisles.

Rough Terrain Forklift

Rough terrain forklifts are specifically made to be used outside. They have tough, durable tires that are designed to handle uneven surfaces without the risk of dropping the load.

Rough terrain forklifts can operate in inclement weather conditions and are typically enclosed to protect the operator.

Counterbalance Forklift

Counterbalance lift trucks by Lakeport Metalcraft Inc. come equipped with a weight in the back of the truck. This helps to counterbalance the weight of the load in the front to keep the machine stable.

If your job requires turns, you might opt for a three-wheel model, which is easier to maneuver in circles. Talking to a forklift dealer can help you decide which type of forklift is the right fit for your needs.

Order Picker Forklift

An order picker forklift is perfect for hard-to-reach loads. Using an order picker, the operator can reach products that are on high shelves that would otherwise be hard to reach.

Order pickers are also great for handling smaller items and carrying partial loads when needed.

Telehandler Forklift

Similar to a crane you might see on a construction site, a telehandler forklift includes an extendable arm. This can be used to pick up pallets from the ground and transport them to a new location.

It varies by model, but most telehandler forklifts can lift loads up over 15 feet in the air.

Walkie Stacker Forklift

Unlike most forklifts, walkie stackers do not include a cab for the operator. Instead, the operator stands behind the machine and uses an attached handler to maneuver it.

An electric motor within the machine then raises and lowers pallets as needed.

Choose the Right Forklift Types for Your Needs

When you’re working on a job that requires a forklift, come back and reference this guide for a quick refresher on the different forklift types and their uses. This will help keep you safe and it will allow you to work more efficiently.

Want to learn even more about different types of transportation and safety? Read through our website for additional articles that can help you expand your knowledge.

Author: Brandon Park