When To Use a Forklift vs a Pallet Jack

One of the most important debates any warehouse or construction site worker should be well-versed in concerns the forklift vs pallet jack. It’s vital for operators to know what job, environment, and load each type of equipment should be used for so that they make the most efficient and safest decisions.


What are the differences between a forklift & pallet jack?

There are some key differences between the two pieces of equipment.

A forklift is a large piece of machinery that can typically power any materials-handling job. It can move and stack materials, load products onto trucks and even lift workers. Depending on its design, a forklift can navigate tight, narrow aisles and also reach extra-high shelving. Capacities vary, with some forklifts able to load several thousand pounds, and others able to take on up to 70,000 pounds. There are three primary ways a forklift is powered—electric, diesel or gas—with each option offering varying benefits when it comes to cost and efficiency.

On the other hand, a pallet jack is for smaller jobs, designed for moving pallet-sized loads. Typically, a pallet jack can carry no more than 8,000 pounds. Workers slide the forks underneath the pallet and then, if it’s a pump design, crank the handle to raise the forks high enough off the ground to carry the load, which can then be transported to its destination.


Forklift vs Pallet Jack — Which is best?

There are pros and cons of both types of equipment, and it all comes down to the type of job needed, as well as the budget. Forklifts are designed for larger projects, while pallet jacks are better for lighter, smaller loads. Because of their size and power, forklifts are more costly, which can prompt some to consider a pallet jack; however, it’s important to not over-exert a pallet jack with a heavier load only to cut costs. Instead, consider choosing a used forklift as a compromise between the two options. With this choice, you still get the same power and force as a new forklift but without the price tag, so you can still get your job done quickly and safely while staying on budget.


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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