Whether you own and operate a small warehouse or are the foreman of a massive factory, a forklift is one of the most essential tools in your arsenal.
However, with all the different types and classes of forklifts available, it can be challenging to determine which is the right for your needs, environment, and budget.
At Rent A Tool NY, we can help you understand the seven forklift classifications and why understanding the difference between internal combustion engine trucks, motor ride trucks, and motor narrow aisle trucks is so important.
Why Do Forklift Classes Matter?
Purchasing or renting a forklift is a substantial financial investment. You want to obtain the ideal forklift for your industry and needs. Each forklift class has its own strengths, weaknesses, classifications, and limits.
Understanding these will help your business run more smoothly and protect your floors from potential damage.
Consider the Capacity and Forklift Dimensions
The two most significant considerations any business owner, foreperson, or homebuilder should consider when considering each forklift class are capacity and dimensions.
The capacity refers to the amount of weight that can be lifted, pulled, or handled by the forklift.
Smaller forklifts might have a capacity of only 1,000 pounds, while a massive diesel-powered forklift will have the ability to handle over 50,000 pounds.
The forklift’s dimensions refer to the width, length, and height, including the collapsed height, of the seven classes of forklifts. These numbers come into play when you attempt to not only use the forklift but also drive the material handler or truck into your building or through the front gates of your worksite.
Double-check that whichever forklift you rent or purchase can not only handle the weight of the load but will also comfortably fit and can be operated in your facility.
Forklift Class I: Electric Motor Rider Trucks
If you work in a smaller indoor environment that prohibits using internal combustion engine tractors or does not have the ventilation to distribute fumes properly, air quality is a consideration. Class I electric motor rider trucks are an ideal option.
These forklift trucks feature cushion tires or pneumatic tires, which means you can use them indoors or outdoors.
One of the most popular varieties of lift trucks, Class I forklifts and electric motor rider trucks are also rated for smooth floors and transporting pallets or unloading tractor trailers and are great for smaller warehouses and businesses.
The load capacity of a Class I forklift is between 2,500 to 12,000 pounds and comes in 3-wheel and 4-wheel varieties.
Types of Class I motor rider trucks include:
- Three-wheel electric trucks
- Counterbalanced rider type with cushion tires
Class I, Class II, and Class III forklift trucks run on an electric motor with industrial batteries.
Forklift Class II: Electric Motor Hand Trucks for Narrow Aisles
Class II, narrow aisle trucks with an electric motor, is divided into three main categories:
- Turret trucks
- Reach trucks
- Order pickers
As the name would suggest, these forklift trucks are used in narrow spaces. Because these forklifts utilize electric motors, they are also rated for use in indoor areas without the proper ventilation for gas-powered models.
A Class II forklift is the best option if you own or operate a large warehouse with narrow aisles and high shelves. These forklift trucks are rated for 1,500 to 5,500 pounds.
Forklift Class III: Motor Hand Trucks/Rider Trucks: Electrical
All forklifts that fit into the class III category are controlled by hand and are either walked behind, or the rider stands on the forklift and operates it with a steering tiller. The rider will never sit on a class III forklift.
There are two main functions for class III hand trucks:
- Loading and unloading tractor trailers
- Moving loads in narrow aisles for short and long distances
Examples of class III forklifts include:
- Reach type outrigger
- Pallet jacks
- Single face pallet
- High lift straddle
Once again, these forklifts are rated for indoor use where minimal fuel fumes can be emitted. Class III forklift trucks have a weight capacity between 2,000 to 10,000 pounds.
Forklift Class IV: Trucks Featuring an Internal Combustion Engine With Solid or Cushion Tires
Unlike Class I-III forklifts, Class IV runs off compressed natural gas, diesel fuel, or liquid propane, LP, gas. Because these forklift trucks feature cushion tires, they ride lower to the ground and are ideal for several indoor applications on smooth floors.
Class IV forklift trucks closely resemble class I trucks, but with one distinct difference: the use of combustible fuels. These types of forklift trucks allow the operator to sit and are rated to handle between 3,000 to 15,5000 pounds.
Forklift Class V With Internal Combustion Engine Trucks
Class IV internal combustion and class V forklift trucks are almost identical but with one significant difference: the tires. Class V trucks feature a combustible engine and pneumatic tires, which are massive tires. This means that Class V forklifts utilize pneumatic tires that are designed for use on rough terrain. The sit-down rider can also operate a class V forklift truck on smooth floors.
Just like Class IV trucks, this class of forklifts also runs on LP gas, compressed natural gas, and diesel fuel. The massive tires and taller profile mean this forklift classification is rated for much higher weight and can handle anywhere from 3,000 to 36,000 pounds. You can often see a class V truck expertly handling the rough terrain of lumberyards or construction sites.
Forklift Class VI: Tractors Featuring an Electric or Combustion Engine
Otherwise known as a “tugger” or “tow tractors,” Class VI are material handlers rather than traditional forklifts used for lifting items and materials. Instead, a Class VI forklift is used for towing and transporting materials. These forklifts are powered by industrial batteries, LP gas, diesel, or natural gas.
A sit-down rider is a popular type of Class VI engine tractor that can pull heavy loads of over 1,000 pounds. This includes the sit-down rider, which features a draw bar pull of over 999 pounds.
Forklift Class VII: Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks
If you need a heavy-duty forklift that can handle the most significant loads in the roughest terrain, including on construction sites, Class VII Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks are the best option.
This Class features specialized pneumatic tires designed to handle heavy loads in treacherous conditions, including the conditions you would find in agriculture and farming or in an automotive scrapyard.
Most Class VII forklifts feature an internal combustion engine that runs on diesel. There are several different varieties of forklifts under this classification, including:
- Variable mast
- Variable reach trucks
- Truck and trailer-mounted lift trucks
Which Class of Forklift Is Right For My Company and Me?
Although there are seven classes of forklifts available to purchase or rent, dozens of individual varieties of powered industrial trucks can be found in these classes. How do you know which type of forklift is right for your business or needs? Would you benefit from a cushion tire variety of forklifts, or do you need a rugged forklift featuring an internal combustion engine?
Forklift Storage Space
Whether you are purchasing or renting a forklift, you need to consider the unit’s storage. For example, a Class VII forklift can be very large, and if you are storing the forklift for several months, you need enough space to accommodate the lift truck.
Another huge consideration is the load capacity of the machine. If you are lifting smaller loads, a Class III or Class IV internal combustion forklift is the best option. However, opt for a Class IV, Class V, or Class VII rough terrain forklift truck for larger loads that are several thousands of pounds.
The Usage of the Forklifts
Pallet jacks are ideal for a narrow space where you must move materials rather than stack or lift materials, including unloading delivery trucks. A Class II electric motor narrow aisle (high-lift forklift) is the better option if you have narrow aisles. For large loads in a rough outdoor environment, opt for a Class VII forklift.
The Work Environment
Finally, you need to consider the impact the forklift classes will have on the air quality of your building or warehouse. If you work in tight quarters with limited ventilation, electric motor forklifts are the best option for your clients and employees.
However, if you work outdoors and need the extra power that only internal combustion engine trucks can provide, opt for a Class IV, Class V, or Class VII forklift type.
Contact Rent A Tool NY With All Your Questions About Forklift Rentals
You are ready to enjoy the convenience and power that only a forklift can provide. However, instead of spending thousands of dollars on a piece of machinery, you will need to store and service, why not rent a forklift truck instead?
What We Offer
At Rent A Tool NY, we can rent you any class of forklift and material handler available, from a small Class I model to massive rough terrain forklifts. Still trying to decide which of the seven forklift classes is the right fit for your business? Don’t worry; our expert team can help determine what forklift will help you do your job correctly!
In addition to renting electric and internal combustion forklifts to small businesses or colossal Class VII forklifts to construction sites, we also rent almost any tool imaginable you will need to run your business, including:
The Best Forklift Rental in Brooklyn, NY
Rent A Tool NY is your go-to source for renting gas and electric forklifts or rough terrain forklifts for any job. We offer quality rental services at competitive prices, with experienced staff available to answer any of your questions or concerns.
Whether you need a Class I electric motor narrow aisle or a colossal Class IV internal combustion engine forklift, we can help! Give us a call! A friendly representative from Rent A Tool NY will help guide you through the 7 classes of forklifts that will best suit your forklift operator.