Used Forklifts For Sale Types, Classifications, and Uses

April 17, 2023

Are you looking to purchase or rent a forklift? If so, it's important that you understand the different types out there and their classifications to select one suited to your specific needs.

While others can readily afford brand-new ones, some simply don't have the resources to buy an expensive forklift. Leasing or getting a used one can save many business owners a lot of money. But first, you need to know the different classes out there to choose better.

Different Types and Classifications

From warehouses to construction sites, forklifts are crucial for moving heavy materials safely and efficiently. But with so many different types and classifications available, knowing which one to choose can be overwhelming.

Side Loaders

You can get side loaders that are great for warehouses, and they are usually found in manufacturing facilities where they can handle most bulky and heavy items. There are also sideway compartments and their ability to lift pipes, timber, and heavier merchandise. More about a side loader on this page here.

Electric Forklifts

These are the ones that have batteries and are becoming popular all over the world. They are great for balance, require lower maintenance, and are eco-friendly. They also don't have any transmission or engine, so fewer parts will eventually need replacement.


This type is very popular because it tends to counter the balance of the load, which enables safer operations. They are very popular with operators who need to maneuver and turn in circles around the warehouse to get the items. They have back mounts for more balancing.


This is a telescopic forklift with a crane used to move pallets around. It has twin forks attached to it, and it can lift about 5000 pounds of materials to a height of 19 ft. There's also an articulating boom and an extendable arm attachment included.

Pallet Jacks

These are specialized in nature, and they are known to be pump trucks as well. They are incapable of a larger load because of their size, but they are very handy in small quarters. While this may seem like sacrificing maneuverability and power, you can expect lower costs over the long run.

Common Uses of Forklifts

Forklifts are one of the most versatile tools in material handling. With each type serving its purpose in specific industries, it's important to understand how to use each to its fullest potential. Electric forklifts are popular in indoor settings such as warehouses due to their quiet operation and zero emissions, which can benefit the environment.

The rough terrain type is preferred for outdoor applications as it can handle uneven surfaces and harsh weather conditions. The manual pallet jack is perfect for moving small loads and is commonly used in retail stores or small factories. The reach variety is designed for high storage and narrow aisles. Whether in construction, manufacturing, or retail, understanding the various types can help you do your job more efficiently and safely and choose which ones are a great fit for you.

Pros and Cons to Know About

When choosing the electric types, some of the advantages that you can look forward to are zero emissions and lower maintenance. These won't exhale toxic fumes like LPG or diesel, and they are great in industries where the warehouses are small and if the business belongs to the food industry. The tight turning radius can also be a great addition to a workspace where the operator can control what they do, and there will be less damage to the products. The improved visibility can also be worth it since it will improve the safety of the workforce.

However, you need to know about the battery-charging, which can be a hassle, especially if it requires a multi-shift operation. They are very expensive and can be susceptible to damage if there are frequent temperature fluctuations. You might want to get Used Forklifts For Sale instead of brand-new ones to save more. These pieces of equipment have been inspected and tested for quality, so you will get a guarantee that they will still work well, but they will be almost half the price.

Consider Safety Features

When selecting a forklift, it's important to prioritize safety features to ensure the well-being of workers and goods alike. One crucial feature to look for is a reliable braking system, which can help prevent accidents caused by mishaps in stopping or sudden stops.

Another essential feature is effective steering and suspension, which can aid in keeping the forklift under control and avoiding crashes or tipping. Also, a clear and unobstructed view from the operator's seat should be a top priority to avoid potential hazards and accidents.

Get the ones with blue spot LED lamps that warn others if the truck is near. Flashing beacons can also be placed overhead to be used as a hazard warning, which will avoid collisions and decrease downtime. Panoramic rearview mirrors, where the operator will have a 180-degree view of other vehicles, people, or objects, can also be important.

Maintenance Tips

Regular maintenance is essential to keep your forklift operating at peak performance and extend its lifespan, and this should be done at least every three months. Neglecting the vehicle can lead to costly repairs and downtime, so regularly check the brakes, tires, hydraulic systems, and battery.

Keep the forklift clean, free of debris, and well-lubricated. It's also important to train your operators to identify and report any potential issues immediately. It's also best to familiarize yourself with many problems, including oil leaks, loose bolts, malfunctioning seat belts, steering wheels that are not as responsive, scarred lift cylinders, and cracked hydraulic lines so they can get repaired immediately. Greasing the chain pulleys, wheels, u-joints, and steer axles can also help.

Proper Use of the Forklift

Improper use of a forklift can result in serious injury or even death. It's crucial to ensure you're trained and educated on the proper use and operation of the vehicle before getting started. Inspect your forklift before and after each use, and always wear the necessary safety gear.

Keep a clear view while driving and follow recommended speed limits, and never carry loads in a way that obstructs your view. By adhering to these tips and taking the necessary precautions, you can ensure this heavy equipment's safe and effective use, whether inside or outside the warehouse.

Things to Look for When Buying a Used Forklift

Check the Load Capacity

When choosing equipment to transport heavy loads, checking the load capacity is crucial to ensure the safety and integrity of the items being moved. It's important to consider not only the objects' weight but also any additional weight that may be added, such as packaging or accessories.

Do your research and choose a forklift type that matches your needs to avoid accidents or damage to your goods. It's always better to err on the side of caution and go for a higher load capacity if you're unsure, as this will provide added peace of mind and ensure successful transport.

Inspect for Signs of Loose Parts or Rust

Before operating, renting, or buying a used forklift, it's crucial to inspect it thoroughly for signs of wear and tear. Rust and loose parts are two common issues to look out for during an inspection. Not only can rust weaken the vehicle's structural integrity, but loose parts can also pose a significant safety risk. See more about pre-checks that are needed at this link:

It's essential to promptly catch any potential problems and address them to ensure a safe and efficient working environment. Inspecting the forklift before use can prevent accidents and damage to the equipment, providing a more productive and smooth operation.

Test Drive the Machine for Performance Assessment

Before deciding to make that big purchase, it's important to test drive it to get a feel for how it operates. By getting behind the wheel or controls and putting the vehicle through its paces, you can assess its performance and ensure it meets your needs.

A test drive will allow you to evaluate things like acceleration, handling, and overall functionality to make an informed decision about whether to purchase. After all, you don't want to be left with buyer's remorse and a forklift that doesn't meet your expectations. So, take it for a spin and see what it's made of.

Ask About Service and Maintenance Records

When investing in used equipment, it's important to make sure that it has been well-maintained before you make the purchase. Asking for service and maintenance records is a crucial step in this process.

Reviewing the paperwork lets you know how often the forklift has been serviced and what type of repairs or maintenance has been done. This information can help you make an informed decision about whether or not the forklift is in good working condition and worth the investment. Taking the time to do the proper research beforehand can save you from costly repairs and downtime in the future.

Consider the Lift Height and Reach

Investing in a forklift can be a significant decision for any business, and it is crucial to consider all the work requirements before purchasing. One important consideration is the lift height and reach of the forklift. Depending on your business needs, you may require a machine that can reach higher shelves or longer reach.

For instance, a forklift with a higher lift height is essential if your business involves loading and unloading materials from a high-rise warehouse. Similarly, if you need to move bulky items from one place to another, a forklift with a more extended reach will provide greater flexibility. In short, choosing the right lift height and reach for your forklift can significantly impact your business productivity and efficiency.

Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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