Finding the Right Forklift Truck to Buy – Top Tips

Posted on March 17, 2017

When it comes to finding the right forklift truck for your business, there are a number of key points to bear in mind. Maybe your old forklift truck has packed in, or you had issues with your forklift rental company, perhaps your business has grown and expanded to the point where you need a forklift truck and a bigger and more efficient operation. Whatever the reason, forklifts can be hugely effective time and cost saving machines, allowing you to move a lot of heavy things very quickly with minimal manpower.

Things to bear in mind when sourcing your new forklift truck include environment, as in the area the machine will be working, capacity, how much does it need to lift? As well as lift height and fuel type. Much like any commercial vehicle, there are a lot of variations, which can make choosing a hassle, but it does mean you’re sure to find the perfect truck for your business. When it comes to things like fuel type, you’ve got electric, diesel and petrol, all of which have their own pros and cons. We’ve listed some of the key considerations you need to bear in mind.

As stated, environment is almost definitely the most important factor when choosing your new forklift. Look at the area and operation the truck will be working in, and make notes of all the basic requirements the forklift will need to satisfy.

Indoors or outdoors?

Is the forklift going to be working inside or out? This is important because different machines can cope with being outside better than others. You might need to use the machine both indoors and out, in which case you’re best off getting a truck that can cope best with the worst weather the UK can throw at it.

How much usage?

Is it going to be working twelve hours a day, incessantly, all week every week? Or more infrequently? You need to get a machine designed to cope with constant heavy work, and with the best reputation for reliability possible if it’s going to be constantly used.

What surfaces will it be working on?

It makes a big difference what surfaces the forklift trucks operate on. Loose dirt or sand could be a real ordeal for a truck not designed to work on such a surface. Smooth or rough, you need the right forklift for the surface.


Another hugely important aspect is load size and height. How much does the vehicle lift, and to what height? You don’t want the inconvenience of selecting a forklift that can’t lift what you need it to, or reach the heights that you need it to. Make sure you measure and note down the weights and heights you’re going to be needing. Points include heaviest load weight, what kind of stock, average load weight, width of loads, as well as typical lift height, highest lift height and low ceiling areas.
It’s important to mention sideshift too, as that allows the truck to shimmy left and right, allowing for more accurate load placing. Knowing the stock type you’re going to be shifting allows you to choose the right lifting attachments too. You should take into account aisle width sizing too, you don’t want a machine too big for the job.
Choosing the correct fuel type is important too, and you’ve got three choices. Diesel, petrol or electric, each with their own pros and cons. Electric cost more initially but are substantially cheaper to run with a longer lifespan compared to the other types. Ideal for cold climates, and with no emissions, they’re very green. They also make very little noise, which is great if noise is a consideration for your business.
Diesel and petrol forklifts are more powerful, as well as faster. For particularly heavy, outdoors lifting, petrol and diesel trucks are ideal, but you do have to take into account the noise, engine upkeep and emissions.