Five Common Types of Forklifts and Their Uses

Five Common Types of Forklifts and Their Uses

Forklifts are one of the most powerful and regularly used vehicles for builders in industrial areas. No matter if you need to transport or unload heavy stocks and goods in a warehouse or construction site, forklifts can lift objects humans cannot safely, this makes them absolutely necessary for any job site that requires heavy lifting. 

It can be tricky to choose a forklift considering the fact that there is a big selection of different styles and models of forklifts. In case you happen to be looking to rent or buy a forklift for your future project, here is a list of the five most common types of forklifts, the benefits of each forklift as well as the well-known forklift models that could help you make up your mind to buy the right forklift for your needs.


1. Telehandler 

  • Also known as a telescopic forklift or a reach forklift
  • A telehandler is a combination of a forklift and a crane, as it has a boom and an extendable arm
  • A telehandler has a pair of twin forks attached to its arm, and are used to lift pallets off the ground
  • A regular telehandler is capable of lifting about 5,500 lbs of materials from up to 19 ft in the air
  • Telehandlers are suitable for reaching into tight spaces and odd angles


2. Counterbalance Forklift

  • One of the most commonly used and famous types of forklifts 
  • A counterbalance forklift has forks in the front and a weight in the back of the vehicle to balance the load weight 
  • Counterbalance forklifts do not have extending arms, this allows them to move to the load directly.
  • There are different types of counterbalance forklifts available on market 
  • The 3-wheel variant is suitable for conditions that needs the operator to turn and maneuver the vehicle in circles.
  • The stand-up counterbalance forklift allows its operators to hop on and off between loads with ease.


3. Side Loader

  • A subtype for warehouse forklifts
  • This type of forklift is commonly found in steel service centers as well as in manufacturing factories with heavy and large items
  • An operator would stand beside the sideways compartment while the side loader unloads objects on its side.
  • Due to the sideways operation, side load forklifts can drive up easily alongside racks, and be able to load and unload the stocks without having the need to turn.
  • Side loaders are suitable for navigating narrow aisles and dealing with long loads such as timber and pipes.


4. Industrial Forklifts

  • Generally known as a Large capacity forklift
  • An industrial forklift combines the purposes of a warehouse forklift and a telehandler
  • Despite being unable to reach tight spaces and odd angles, an industrial forklift is capable of lifting and carrying loads higher off the ground compared to a warehouse forklift 
  • An industrial forklift has a 30,000 lbs maximum lift
  • One of the industrial forklift’s advantages is that it has a narrow scope in comparison to the telehandler and warehouse forklift.



5. Warehouse Forklifts

  • The most regularly used and distinguishable lift truck
  • By looking at the front, warehouse forklifts look like a yellow golf cart but with extending twin forks.
  • Warehouse forklifts are commonly used in industrial areas like factories and warehouses to load and unload large numbers of stored items in the inventory
  • Warehouse forklifts are suitable for loading and unloading pallets and stored goods
  • Warehouse forklifts are suitable for retrieving and transporting items from delivery vehicles.
  • The subtypes of warehouse forklifts include the side loader and counterbalance forklift.


To conclude, the types of forklifts can vary in some aspects, ranging from their fuel type and tire composition to their lift capacity and height. It’s very important to consider the working environment and other factors when buying a forklift. With the capability to lift and transport things of different shapes and sizes, forklifts play a crucial role in any job site that involves heavy lifting.