Up and Out: A Forklift Buying Guide for 2012

By Freddie Pierce
Click here to read this article in the magazine edition! Toyota Capacity: 3,000-51,000 lbs. Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor, Pal...

Click here to read this article in the magazine edition!


Capacity: 3,000-51,000 lbs.

Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor, Pallet Trucks, Reach Trucks, Order Pickers

With perhaps the largest offering of lift trucks currently on the market, Toyota has established itself as a global leader when it comes to forklifts. The company offers both cushion and pneumatic tires on its internal combustion lift trucks, with capacity all the way up to 51,000 pounds. Toyota’s electric motor lift trucks are equipped with either cushion or pneumatic tires, and are generally regarded as some of the most dependable models in the marketplace.


Linde Material Handling

Capacity: 1,000-46,000 kg
Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor, Electric Motor, Sideloaders, Heavy Trucks, Container Handlers, Reach Stacker, Pallet Stacker, Order Pickers

If you’re looking to stack weighty loads, look no further. Linde Material Handling offers a full line of heavy-duty lift trucks, with load capacity that reaches 46,000 kilograms. That’s over 100,000 pounds to our American readers. Capacity like that requires sound engineering, and this company has built its reputation on such. With competitive lines that feature standard forklift sizes, Linde Material Handling has a lift truck to meet any warehouse manager’s needs.



Capacity: 800-10,000 kg

Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor, Diesel and Gas Motor, Reach Trucks, Horizontal and Vertical Order Pickers, Pallet Stackers

Originally founded in 1899 in Milan, Italy as an Italian car and truck manufacturer, OM (or Officine Meccaniche) saw its auto making business end in 1975, but lift truck production has been thriving. Stressing functionality over brute strength, OM’s lift trucks specialize in working in tighter warehouse spaces. The company is especially strong when it comes to electric lift trucks, where OM offers 18 different models to choose from.



Capacity: 1,000-10,000 kg

Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor

Owned by the KION Group in Germany and operated in China, Baoli offers state-of-the-art forklift trucks to over 80 countries worldwide. A newer player in the global warehouse marketplace, Baoli is able to offer substantially lower prices than some of its competitors by offering fewer models and thanks in large part to its cutting-edge manufacturing center. If price is a factor, look to Baoli first.



Capacity: 1,600-9,000 kg

Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor, Counterbalance Trucks, Order Pickers, Reach Trucks, Pallet Stackers, Compact Shuttle Storage Systems

Some people can’t get enough of German engineering. For those warehouse managers who follow that mindset, Jungheinrich may be just the brand. Legendary dependability and performance come standard with this Hamburg-based brand. In addition to offering a full line of lift trucks to serve just about any warehousing function, Jungheinrich’s Compact Shuttle Storage Systems offer pallet carriers that are capable of independently travelling and racking.



Capacity: Unknown

Features: Cushion Tires, Pneumatic Tires, Electric Motor, Remanufactured Lift Trucks, Narrow Aisle, Very Narrow Aisle

Our first American lift truck manufacturer on this list, Crown is the fourth largest manufacturer of powered industrial forklift trucks in the world. Based in Ohio, the company offers a full line of lift trucks, ranging from gas-powered models to sleek electrical varieties. Crown is especially proud of its C-5 internal combustion lift truck series, which features a John Deere engine. The company claims the C-5 has a lifespan of 20,000 hours, which would be any warehouse manager’s dream.



Capacity: 3,000-105,821 lbs.

Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor, Narrow Aisle, Very Narrow Aisle, Heavy Trucks, Electric Counterbalanced, Container Handlers, Reach Trucks

Fleet managers who like to stay within one brand but have a multitude of needs should seriously consider the Hyster brand. With models that specialize in the very narrow aisle space, all the way up to varieties that handle over 105,000 pounds, Hyster offers the most diverse product portfolio in the lift truck market. The company’s H1050HD/S diesel engine powered lift truck is a masterpiece of modern engineering.



Capacity: 2,500-15,500 lbs.

Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor, Narrow Aisle

Mitsubishi falls behind its chief Japanese rival Toyota in terms of capacity, but bigger isn’t always better. Mitsubishi has found somewhat of a niche in the market by offering a line of narrow aisle electric lift trucks. The company’s electric high-level order pickers are a perfect match for warehouse managers who like to maximize the vertical and horizontal inventory space, while the electric motor cuts down on fuel costs.



Capacity: 3,000-36,000 lbs.

Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor, Narrow Aisle, Very Narrow Aisle

Warehouse managers looking to maximize aisle space need not look only at Mitsubishi, however. Yale offers not only narrow aisle lift truck models, but very narrow aisle varieties. The very narrow aisle forklifts specialize in aisles as narrow at 16 feet, allowing the Yale lift truck to pick and pack in aisles that its competitors would have difficulty simply driving through. With its pneumatic tire models ranging all the way up to 36,000 pounds, Yale has a lift truck for just about any job.



Capacity: 2,500-36,000 lbs.

Features: Cushion Tire, Pneumatic Tire, Electric Motor, Read Trucks, Order Pickers

Warehouse managers looking to buy American will have a tough time passing up a brand as trusted as Caterpillar (Cat for short). With a range of lift trucks ranging from smaller electric models to the heavy-duty internal combustion Class V models, CAT offers a line of forklifts that can handle almost any job. The company’s fast charge batteries offer warehouse managers flexibility, cutting traditional charge time from 8 hours to as little as 90 minutes.


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