What Are the Different Types of Forklifts?

There are many types of forklifts, and the kind you need depends on your industry and daily requirements. Learn the key differences between multiple lift truck types before finalizing your investment.

What’s the Functionality of a Forklift?

Forklifts, also known as lift trucks, come in different shapes and sizes, and they perform well under many conditions in various environments. Forklifts have different features and specifications depending on how they will be used. However, they all serve the same ultimate purpose, which is to lift, stack, and transport heavy loads with ease in production environments and in warehouses.

Different environments and materials call for different types of forklifts. Key decision makers, or KDMs, choose what type is best for their facility or project, so they can alleviate strenuous manual labor that their workers are incapable of doing on their own. When choosing a forklift, it’s important to think about how and where the machinery will be used.

What Are the Elements of a Forklift?

There are three main elements to consider when choosing a lift truck: load center, lift capacity, and stability. It’s crucial to understand these elements and analyze a forklift’s abilities in each category before making a decision.

Lift Capacity

The lift capacity is the amount of weight a forklift can safely carry. This key factor is vital to the truck’s stability too; if it carries more weight than it’s supposed to, it leads to serious accidents that are costly and dangerous.

Load Center

The load center is the distance from the forks to the center of gravity from the load. The amount of distance varies depending on the weight, lift, and angle of the load. Therefore, once these specifications are verified, the forklift operator must remember to keep the load balanced and avoid trying to lift loads that exceed its limits.


The worker operating the forklift must thoroughly review the stability triangle area located underneath the equipment. This triangle allows the truck to take care of load center issues on its own.

After taking the lift capacity, load center, and stability into consideration, also keep in mind where work will be performed. The kind of forklift you need greatly depends on whether it’s for indoor or outdoor use.


HTX Material Handling has the most reliable equipment for the best prices. Shop Our Inventory


Indoor Forklifts

Indoor forklifts have cushion tires, which are made of smooth, solid rubber fitted around a metal band. With cushion tires, the turning radius is smaller. Because of this, they’re perfect for warehouses and factories, as they provide great traction on industrial floors. Some examples of indoor forklifts include:


Counterbalance forklifts are a warehouse and superstore necessity. This kind of lift truck features forks and a weight at the front of the vehicle, which helps to counterbalance the load to eliminate tipping hazards. Counterbalance forklifts are fueled by diesel, gas, or electricity.

The battery-operated or electric-powered counterbalance forklifts can work with a lighter load at the back too. Since the battery is the source of power, it stabilizes the vehicle, offering safe productivity.

Very Narrow Aisle

A very narrow aisle forklift (VNA) is also called a turret truck. VNA forklifts are designed to operate in tight, narrow spaces. These battery-operated machines use electric energy in addition to the battery and operator compartment to counterbalance the weight. VNA forklifts operate on ground-based lasers or a rail-guided system, which reduces error.

This machine helps with fast pallet-handling and higher productivity. Thanks to VNA forklifts, aisle length is reduced to 1.6 meters, which means facility managers increase their warehouse’s storage capacity.

Outdoor Forklifts

Outdoor forklifts use pneumatic tires, which are longer and wider than the cushion tires on indoor forklifts. Pneumatic tires can either be solid rubber, filled with air, or filled with foam for a smoother ride. While the solid tires cannot be punctured or popped, tires filled with air must steer clear of sharp objects in the work area.

What Are the Best Forklifts?

There are a plethora of forklift brands, including Haulotte, Linde, and Baoli. Each of these are manufactured by the leaders in industrial equipment, The KION Group. Their sophisticated machinery isn’t just innovative, but it also scores high in dependability, safety, and precision. Prioritize the safety of your workers by providing them with a fleet of unmatched industrial vehicles from the best brands on the market.

Explore the Diverse Fleet of Forklifts at HTX Material Handling

HTX Material Handling is a proud affiliate of The KION Group. Our partnership with these industry leaders enables us to provide our valued customers with the world’s most trusted industrial trucks under the Linde and Baoli brands.

In addition to our inventory of several types of lift trucks, we provide unbeatable customer service. Our specialists educate you on the many brands you have to choose from, and our technicians come and perform ongoing maintenance on your equipment to keep your investments in pristine condition. Call us today to come and see our lineup of new and used equipment and make the best choice for your business.

Start a Conversation with HTX