How to Choose the Right Forklift

When deciding to rent, lease, or purchase a forklift there are so many brands, dealers and options that the decision can quickly become confusing and sometimes downright difficult. Here are some easy points to consider to help you come out of the deal with the equipment you need at the right price, along with great service after the sale!

What is Capacity & Why Do I Need to Know It?

The rated capacity of a forklift is the amount of weight it is able to lift. Forklift capacity is found on the unit’s data plate along with other important information. Keep in mind that the higher you are lifting a load the lower the capacity will become. If you add an attachment this will also effect the unit’s capacity. Most capacities are rated at a 24″ load center. Before deciding on what forklift to purchase or rent, make sure you have a good idea of the weights and sizes of the loads you intend to lift. Any good dealer can help you with this if needed. The most commonly used capacities range from 3,000-6,000 pound units, however forklifts can range anywhere from 2,000-65,000 pounds or more. The more the unit can lift, the more expensive it is. It is important to know what capacity unit you need not only to make sure you get the job done, but that you get it done safely. Using a forklift with too small of a capacity can cause damage to the goods you are lifting and can be potentially deadly to operators and those around them.

Lift Height & Collapsed Height

Along with capacity, you also need to know how high you want to lift your material and if you have any height restrictions. Lift height can be key if you are working on projects that reach above the typical 188″-189″ of a triple stage upright. “Quad” units have a fourth mast, allowing them to lift to heights of 240″ or more. A forklift’s collapsed height is measured from the tallest part of the unit to the floor, when the forks are completely lowered. This measurement is important if you have low doors or ceilings in the building you are working in, or in the trucks you are loading/unloading.

What is My Application? How Does This Help Me Choose My Forklift?

When selecting a forklift one of the very first questions that should come to mind is “What am I using this forklift for and where am I using it?” The answer to that question is your application. What are you using it for: to stack pallets, move large rolls of paper, carpet or logs, piping? The possibilities are endless. Where are you doing the primary lifting: in a warehouse, outside on asphalt, gravel, mud, grass, in the woods? The product you are moving and the type of environment you are working in determines your application. The type of application you have determines certain specifications on your forklift such as the type of fuel, tires, and any attachments you might need. If you are working in an environment where certain safety precautions must be taken talk to your dealer about specially safety-rated units. If you are working outside in grass or mud and have heavy loads to lift, ask your dealer about rough terrain and four wheel drive units.¬†¬†Should you loved this information and you would want to receive details with regards to used forklift singapore please visit the site.

Attachments

There are multiple attachment options available for your forklift. Carton clamps, rotating clamps, sideshifters, marble clamps, battery retrievals, drum handlers, carpet poles, push-pulls, fork positioners and hydraulic clamps are all examples. Once you have established your capacity and application with your dealer, ask about attachments and if they could benefit you. Special attachments may also increase the residual value of your unit. When purchasing a unit with more than one feature or attachment you may want to consider a forklift that has a fourth operating lever. Talk to your dealer to decide what attachment options are best for you.

Fuel Options

You also have multiple fuel options to consider when selecting a forklift: electric powered, gasoline, LP gas, diesel and dual fuel gasoline/LP gas. Your application can help determine which fuel source to choose along with cost and preference. If you are working inside in a closed facility it is unlikely that you would want an internal combustion unit because of the exhaust fumes, so an electric powered forklift would be ideal. However, electric forklifts are generally more expensive to purchase, and their batteries require specific chargers and special care & maintenance. If you need a heavy-duty forklift chances are it will be diesel. Dual fuel forklifts offer flexibility and a little more mobility, in that if you run out of gasoline you can simply switch the unit over to LP gas to finish the job. The cost and availability of fuel is something to keep in mind, as this will be a required expense through the life of your forklift.

Tire Options

Forklifts have numerous tire options. Cushion, air pneumatic, solid pneumatic and foam-filled are only some of them. Again, knowing your application will help determine the correct tire for your forklift. If you are working primarily indoors, on asphalt or cement then a smooth cushion tire will do. These tires are also available in a non-marking style, which will keep black marks off the floor. If you are working outside on rough asphalt, in gravel, mud or grass you will need a pneumatic tire. These tires have actual tread and add more of a cushion between the forklift and the ground. Keep in mind that forklifts do not come with their own suspension. The tires on your unit can greatly influence the comfort of your operators. Aftermarket tires that wear longer are also available. Consult your local dealer for your best options.

Warranty

Just like automobiles, new (and sometimes used) forklifts come with warranties. A common forklift warranty covers major component repairs for one year/2000 hours, and wearable items for around 90 days. Certain parts may also be covered for a longer period. Extended warranties are available for an additional price. Be sure to ask the dealers you are consulting about the different warranty options that their manufacturers offer. Some are better than others, so check thoroughly. Before making any major repairs to your forklift always consult your dealer first. Even if the unit it is out of warranty there is still a possibility that the manufacturer will offer a little assistance, especially if the unit has low run hours.

Maintenance and Service

We are so quick to compare purchase, lease or rental prices that we easily overlook the costs associated with maintaining our forklifts. This can lead to trouble in the long run. Manufacturers have recommended services that should be performed on their units at certain intervals. Review these with your dealer along with planned maintenance and periodic maintenance options. Planned maintenance is usually scheduled every 200 hours or 30-120 days, depending on how much you use your unit. This service includes oil & filter changes, fluid checks, lubrication and other various maintenance depending on your type of unit. Periodic maintenance is less frequent and covers differential fluid changes along with other less common maintenance, and occurs approximately once a year or every 2000 hours. A good dealer will offer you planned and periodic maintenance packages for your forklift, and come to your location routinely to perform them. This also gives the technician a chance to notice any existing or potential problems and correct them before they lead to larger failures. If you are leasing a forklift then you will have the option to purchase a full maintenance package and let the dealer take care of everything, or service the unit by your own means. The latter option, while presently saving you money, may cost you in the end if you return the unit from lease with failed parts. If you are renting a forklift as a short-term rental then all maintenance excluding damages/abuse, daily fluid checks & battery watering should be covered by the dealer.

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