Forklifts are powered by 3 main sources of fuel – diesel, gas (LPG) and batteries. Below is a rough guide to each type of power source and their most suitable usage along with the various advantages and disadvantages of each.
Without a doubt, the ideal forklift for outdoor usage. Diesel forklifts are the cheapest to run fuel wise (a tank of red diesel will last longer than an LPG cylinder). The engines will also have the longest life as they are made from sturdy components and operate at lower revs compared to gas engines.
✓ Best for outdoor use ✓Lower purchase cost ✓Quick and easy to refuel ✓Better acceleration and lift speeds ✓High load capacities
☓Noisy in operation ☓Higher fuel costs ☓Not suitable for indoor use ☓Need more space to operate in ☓Give off exhaust fumes and emissions
The most versatile type of forklift due to their suitability to work both indoors and outdoors. They are quieter and give off less offensive fumes than diesel forklifts. The engines of these forklifts are usually modified car engines, so parts are readily available at competitive prices.
✓ Can be used both inside and outside ✓ High load capacities ✓ Quick and easy to refuel ✓ Affordable to purchase ✓ Better power to weight ratio
☓ Highest fuel costs ☓ Not for continuous indoor use ☓ High maintenance costs ☓ Give off emissions ☓ Need to store gas bottles
Generally the most suitable type of forklift for indoor use and occasional outdoor use. They don’t give off any harmful emissions and are fume free. Although they are the most expensive to purchase, they are the easiest to operate, the cheapest to run and easier to maintain than engine powered forklifts.
✓ Quiet in operation ✓ No fumes or harmful emissions ✓ No fuel storage required ✓ Low running costs ✓ Generally easier to operate
☓ More expensive to purchase ☓ Needs a smooth, flat surface ☓ Batteries are expensive to replace ☓ Not suitable for prolonged outdoor usage ☓ Cannot be used while charging