What is the Difference Between Counterbalance and Reach Forklifts?

Have you been deliberating purchasing forklift for your fleet but find yourself stuck in between choosing a counterbalance or reach forklift? Are you unsure of which is the more appropriate material handling solution? There are varying differences between the two appliances, but they both provide benefits to your operation in their own way. Whether it be a forklift for everyday use that you would expect to see on the warehouse floor or an apparatus utilized for the most unique situations, counterbalance and reach forklifts are sophisticated pieces of machinery each with their own optimal environments for deployment. Here is a breakdown on the difference between the two breeds of forklift trucks:

Counterbalance Forklift Truck

When you think forklift truck, the counter balance forklift truck is what comes to the mind and imagination of many. These vehicles come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Counterbalance forklift trucks are powered by gas, diesel, or electric. They are used both indoors or outdoors and can be utilized in heavy operational capacities. Whether it be a pallet jack or a traditional combustion unit, counterbalance forklifts can be a one-size-fits all solution for basic material handling operations. Counterbalance forklift truck gets its name from its design and specification. The vehicle features a large counterweight placed at the back of the truck to offset the load being lifted towards the front.

Reach Forklift Trucks

The moniker for this vehicle comes from what its usage entails. Reach forklift trucks are designed for ‘reaching’ extreme heights. These vehicles are great to be used in narrow aisles or towering mezzanines. More often than not you find these appliances indoors as they are not traditionally found in outdoor operations. According to H&F Lift Trucks, reach trucks offer maximum lift height capacity with incredible maneuverability. Furthermore, these contraptions have a capability to reach out further than its stabilizing legs. Additionally, many producers and manufacturers of these vehicles design trucks with a tilt mechanism, allowing the cab to tilt slightly and create a more efficient and optimal viewing position for the operator. To complement this, a reach truck may also feature a totally open overhead guard to meet the same specification and demand. Some reach trucks can be fitted with cameras that broadcast video to an LCD screen within the cab. Very simply, reach forklift trucks are all about immersing the senses for detail-oriented operations.

To conclude, each of these vehicles have their own unique design and skill set. For intricate indoor operations, reach forklift trucks can provide drivers with another set of eyes when they are handling a robust inventory. Counterbalance forklifts are a traditional solution to tackle many material handling scenarios and situations. They can weather any environment and derive fuel from multiple sources, but they do not have the unique capacities that reach forklifts do. After learning about each of these appliances and their uses, it is essential to sit down and reflect. Whatever you do conclude, both can make a wonderful addition to your fleet.

About Tom Reddon

Tom has been involved in the forklift industry since 1986. He loves doing research, blogging, and speaking about forklifts. You can contact Tom on his Twitter or Google+ profiles.

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