Forklifts: The Pros and Cons of Diesel, Gas/Petrol and Electric Forklifts

Forklifts are now very common in a large variety of workplaces due to their ease of use. They are extremely customizable permitting you to effortlessly move a spool of wire, lift a pallet 10 meters in the air, or steer down the tightest of warehouse corridors.

There are three key types of forklift fuels: Electricity in the form of batteries, liquid propane gas (LPG), and diesel fuel. There are different factors that will influence the type of forklift you will choose. This can include where you plan to use it, what you want to do with it, and how much your budget is.

Let’s go through some pros and cons of each forklift type, to insure you make the correct decision.

Diesel Forklift Pros:

  • Most powerful forklift type, which is very rugged.
  • Diesel engines are fairly simple and straightforward, which means that the maintenance is often simple and cheap.
  • Lower fuel costs.
  • Best option for outdoor use. Most heavy-duty and all-terrain forklifts are diesel powered.

Diesel Forklift Cons:

  • They can be noisy.
  • Not really suitable for indoor use, due to exhaust fumes.
  • They are a bit bulkier, which means they can struggle with short turns and tight spaces.

Petrol/Gas Forklift Pros:

  • Fuel burns relatively clean so there are less emissions.
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors.
  • Fuel can last relatively long.
  • Initial investment is cheaper compared to diesel and electrical forklifts

Petrol/Gas Forklift Cons:

  • Fuels costs can be unpredictable.
  • Maintenance costs tend to be higher due to a more complicated engine.
  • Rearward visibility is limited due to the position of the propane tank.

Electric Forklift Pros:

  • No emissions / exhaust fumes.
  • Less noise during operation.
  • Best for indoor use.
  • More compact, which means they can get into tight spots and make smaller turns.

Electric Forklift Cons:

  • One of the biggest cons in South Africa is load shedding, and this effects when the batteries can be charged.
  • They aren’t as robust as the diesel, and can’t really be used for outdoor environments.
  • Electric forklifts also tend to be pricier. So not suitable if you are on a budget.

The type of forklift you choose in the end, depends greatly on your needs and how much your budget is for a forklift. Contact JAC Forklifts to find out which forklift will suite your needs.

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