Electric vs. Propane Forklift: Which Should You Purchase?

Both electric and propane forklifts can, in some cases, provide a cleaner and quieter alternative to diesel-powered units. Choosing between the two can sometimes pose a challenge for even the most experienced buyers, especially with the rapid advancements in electric forklift technology in recent years.  There is new and used equipment to choose from and other options to consider when deciding on fuel type.

Electric vs propane-powered lift trucks. Which would best suit your business? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of both electric and propane forklift trucks:

Electric Forklifts 

An electric lift truck is cleaner, quieter, and has a lower cost of ownership than an LP forklift overall. Electric forklifts have no emissions, which means no harmful gases for employees to inhale and they are safe for food and medical-grade applications. With the advent of 80-Volt technology, high-frequency charging, Lithium-Ion and Fuel Cell power sources, concerns over speed, gradeability, run-time, and environmental conditions have virtually become a thing of the past.  There are now electric forklifts with the capacities and features to handle almost any indoor or outdoor application.  Multi-Shift operations can now operate with a single battery.

Propane Forklifts

A propane-powered forklift, with the correct tires, can operate just about anywhere.  Use them on dirt or gravel, indoors or out.  As for Total Cost of Ownership, LPG forklifts are less expensive upfront, but if you plan to keep the equipment for more than two years, an electric lift truck will generally provide lower operating costs which will offset the premium paid on the front end.

Best Forklifts for Your Industry

Some industries, like food processing, pharmaceutical, or underground facilities are required to use electric forklifts because of their environmental friendliness. Additionally, electric forklifts cost much less to operate over the long term. What will work best for you depends on what your applications are.


When it comes to understanding how best to choose between electric vs propane forklifts, speak with a knowledgeable professional at HTX to learn more and to find the forklift that’s right for you and your company. 

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