Forklift Capacity: How Much Weight Can a Forklift Lift?

How Is Forklift Capacity Determined?

It’s easiest to think of a forklift as a seesaw, which is a simple machine with three parts: the fulcrum, the counterbalance, and the load-bearing mechanism.

The front wheels of a forklift are its fulcrum, balancing the weight on their larger diameter. The forklift’s heavy backend is the counterbalance. The back of the forklift is where batteries, fuel, and other essential heavy components rest. Lastly, the load-bearing mechanism is the front carriage, forks, and additional attachments.

Here are some terms that relate to a forklift’s load capacity:

  • Rated Capacity – This is the term on the data plack that lists how much weight the forklift model can theoretically handle in perfect conditions.
  • Actual Weight Capacity – Unlike rated capacity, actual weight capacity is how much a forklift can lift in real scenarios. Additional forklift add-ons, longer load length, and raised lifting height often cause the actual weight capacity to differ from the rated capacity.
  • Lifting Height – This term refers to the maximum height a forklift can raise a load. Forklift capacity lowers the height something can be raised because of the change in center of gravity.
  • Center of Gravity – A forklift’s center of gravity is the point of center mass for the weight of its body. An operator raising and lowering a forklift’s front load shifts this vital balance.

Linde Forklift Capacity

Certain brands prioritize different material handling needs. For example, some forklift providers mainly sell electric forklifts for their simpler, more efficient models, which are perfect for indoor use. Others sell internal combustion forklifts for heavy lifting and outdoor usage.

Here are some of Linde’s forklifts and their material handling capacity.

Linde Electric Counterbalance Forklifts

Linde has an impressive line of electric forklifts. On average, Linde’s electric forklifts can handle a rated capacity of 4,000 to 6,000 pounds. Some more powerful trucks can even manage a forklift capacity of 17,500 pounds. These electric forklifts are perfect for indoor material handling and transportation.

Linde Internal Combustion Forklifts

Linda also offers internal combustion lift trucks powered by diesel and LP gasses. These forklifts can have different wheel types, offering different trade-offs in forklift capacity. Cushioned wheels can lift around 4,000 to 6,000 pounds, but pneumatic-wheeled forklift trucks can lift a staggering 40,000 pounds, making them heavy-duty material handling equipment.

Linde Electric Narrow-Aisle Forklifts

Order picking and automated storage require narrow forklifts to fit and maneuver between tight spaces. Linde’s standard narrow-aisle forklifts have a 3,000-pound capacity, with 4,500 pounds on shorter models. Remember, lifting something high requires a heavy counterbalance to offset the center of gravity. The higher something is raised, the more the center of gravity shifts, making it harder to hold heavy weight.

General Forklift Capacities

Now that we’ve discussed Linde’s line of material handling equipment, let’s briefly go over the average weight capacities for different forklift models.

Here’s a list of the general forklift capacities for base material handling models:

  • Electric 3-Wheelers: 3,000 to 5,000 pounds
  • Electric 4-Wheelers: 3,000 to 12,000 pounds
  • Electric Stand-Up Riders: 3,000 to 5,000 pounds
  • Electric Reach Trucks: 3,000 to 4,500 pounds
  • Electric Order Pickers: 3,000 pounds
  • Internal Combustion Sit-Down Counterbalance: 3,000 to 150,000 pounds
  • Rough Terrain Forklifts: 5,500 to 35,500 pounds

The general rule of thumb: the heavier and longer the forklift, the more weight it can lift. Returning to the seesaw example, a heavy weight requires another similar weight to counterbalance the load.

HTX Material Handling has you covered if you require a forklift rental in Dallas, Houston, or the surrounding areas. We offer high-quality brands of material handling equipment and warehouse solutions. We also provide equipment rentals if you only need a forklift for a short period. Contact us today.

Safely Choosing and Operating a Forklift With Forklift Capacity in Mind

Knowing how to safely operate your forklift is essential. Forklifts are large machines carrying thousands of pounds of weight. Any mistake can cause severe injury or even death.

Never exceed a forklift’s maximum weight capacity, rated or actual. Ignoring a forklift’s lifting capacity can cause tipping and loss of rear steering that lead to damage. Always center a load before transporting heavy material. Follow the safe loading capacity guidelines on the forklift’s data plate. Data plates tell you vital information about the equipment, like model number, tire size, and the amount of weight that can be lifted.Here are some more helpful tips:

  • When carrying irregular-sized loads, distribute the weight evenly.
  • Ensure the center of gravity of a load is close to the carriage’s center going horizontally across the forks.
  • Keep the center of gravity of a load as close to the front wheels as possible.
  • Do not operate a forklift if the back wheels are off the ground.
  • Handle only stable or safely arranged loads. Exercise caution when handling off-center loads that cannot be centered.
  • Never travel with an elevated load. Keep a forklift’s load as low to the ground as possible to lower its center of gravity.
  • Tilt the forklift’s mast back and position the heaviest part of the load against the carriage.

Forklift Rental in Houston, Texas

Whether you need a forklift for sale in Houston or a rental in Dallas, HTX Material Handling has you covered. We offer a variety of material handling equipment, such as forklifts, aerial lifts, electric tugs, terminal tractors, and more. We’ve partnered with Linde, Baoli, JLG, and other excellent material handling brands to offer you the best, most efficient equipment on the market.

If you operate a warehouse or commercial business in Dallas, TX, or the surrounding areas, don’t hesitate to reach out to HTX Material Handling. Contact us today.