Forklift Tire Types: A Simple Guide

If you are looking for the best forklift tire types to improve your operational performance, you’ve come to the right place. When properly monitored and managed, forklift tires can improve workplace safety, reduce fuel consumption, and increase productivity in your business.

Are you searching for the best forklift tire types? We explore the best options, including cushion, pneumatic, and specialty forklift tires. Share on X

The type of forklift tires you need will depend on the conditions of your floor. Thankfully, there are many forklift tire types to consider, including the following:

  • Cushion tires
  • Pneumatic tires
  • Specialty tires

Cushion Tires

Also known as press-on tires, cushion forklift tires consist of solid rubber directly molded to a steel band which is then pressed onto a hub. Cushion tires are ideal for smooth floor surfaces. They’re definitely not ‘soft & fluffy’ as their name might seem to indicate, and they perform well in compact areas of a warehouse.

Incredibly, cushion tires are also ideal for:

  • Small forklift frames
  • Indoor warehouses and job sites
  • Narrow aisle navigation
  • Compact floor spaces

Besides their suitability for smooth surfaces, cushion tires have many different advantages. They are highly maneuverable, cheaper, and more durable compared to some alternatives.

Pneumatic Tires

Pneumatic tires are similar to those of road vehicles, including trucks and cars. The tires have thicker treads, larger diameters, and increased tread widths. While you can use pneumatic tires indoors, they work best outdoors due to their flotation and better chassis ground clearance.

Notably, there are two types of pneumatic forklift tires: standard air pneumatic and solid pneumatic tires.

  • Air pneumatic tires work best for:
    • High-capacity and heavy-load projects
    • Tasks that require steady and shock-absorbing rides
    • Projects that involve the movement of forklifts on gravel and small rocks
  • Solid pneumatic tires consist of solid rubber that cannot puncture easily. They work well in outdoor work environments such as railyards, lumberyards, and loading sites where the possibility of puncture should be avoided. Solid pneumatic tires have become the industry standard for outdoor lifts with capacities of 20,000# and below.

Specialty Tires

In addition, there are also many different types of specialty forklift tires to consider, including polyurethane and non-marking tires.

Polyurethane Forklift Tires

Polyurethane tires are special press-on tires designed to resist splitting and tearing under a load. Since the tires are lightweight, they are ideal for:

  • Heavy warehouse projects where capacity retention is critical
  • Warehouses that require chemical resistance
  • Electric forklifts with minimal rolling resistance

Non-marking Forklift Tires

If you don’t want to leave any tire mark on your warehouse floor, consider the non-marking tires. You can use these tires in sensitive places such as:

  • Paper production sites
  • Food packaging and storage operations
  • Job sites that require the prevention of cross-contamination

Tire Sizing

As an operations manager or forklift operator, you need to understand the size of tires that work best for your forklift. However, interpreting the dimensions can be quite tricky if you don’t understand the essential components of tire geometry. As you’re trying to make the best decision, make sure you know the basic elements of a tire, including:

  • Rim: Metal part of the wheel holding the forklift tire in place
  • Tread: Raised rubber of the tire that touches the ground
  • Sidewall: Shows tire information such as size, brand, and type

To read the size of a forklift tire, be sure to check the tire’s sidewall or the manufacturer’s manual. That being said, the writing format of the dimensions tends to vary depending on the type of tire.

Pneumatic dimensions are shown as “Width x Rim Inside Diameter,” while press-on sizes are indicated as “Height of the Outer Diameter x Width x Rim Inside Diameter.”

For example, a manufacturer would list the size of a 16-inch cushion tire as “16 x 6 x 10.5” and size a 14-inch wide pneumatic tire as “14 x 24.”

Pro Tip: Verify the size of a forklift tire by measuring the diameter, width, and height dimensions using a tape measure.

Finding the Right Tires for Your Forklift

Now that you know all the forklift tire types, you can select the best forklift tires to suit your operational needs and chassis type. Once you’ve checked your floor conditions and requirements, you’ll be able to quickly find the right tires. No matter what type or size of forklift tires you’re looking for, HTX Material Handling has a variety of service options available at affordable prices.

Contact us to find the best forklift tire deals for your specific application.

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