forklift vs pallet jackForklift and pallet jacks are heavy duty and powerful pieces of equipment that not only serve its intended use but also efficient in material-handling work.

If the work involves dealing with different sizes and weight of loads, forklift and pallet jacks are the perfect tools to get the job. They’re tough and durable for many types of material handling applications.

If you have to choose between a forklift and a pallet jack, which one would you pick? Although, they both have the same purpose but they are different in many factors that you need to know before acquiring one for your business in order to determine what equipment is best suited for your application.

In this article, we laid down the pros and cons and benefits of acquiring forklift and pallet jack that will help you decide which one is right for your requirement.

Advantages of Using a Forklift and Pallet Jack

Forklift and pallet jack are two different varieties of lifting equipment making the lifting and moving of loads much simple and convenient. They offer their own set of advantages such the ones below:


  • If the application deals with storing of heavy materials on elevated racks, the forklift, specifically the order picker or reach truck, is the only equipment you can use for this type of work - they’re capable to put heavy loads to great heights. Storing of materials on racks will give you more floor space and create paths for other vehicles and workers at the worksite.

  • Forklifts have more power and reliable for any kind of lifting operations which makes them safer to use for that type of application while the pallet jack has limited power.
  • They are also great for outdoor application. The rough terrain trucks are best suited in the mining and construction sites because of its capability to negotiate different terrains as its name implies.

  • They have more lifting height, which means the forks can be raised once the mast is extended to maximum reach. The forks can be raised 25 up to 30 feet in the air. The lifting height can be verified at the truck’s data plate.

Pallet Jack

  • If your workplace aisle has limited room, using a pallet jack to load and unload from and to the rack is the most efficient approach because of its maneuverability.

  • If the materials to be handled are lightweight, pallet jacks are cost-effective to acquire than a forklift.

  • Pallet jack can be used in the application such as low-level case picking. Its lifting height is just above the ground, not more than around 20 cm., although it has this limitation, they do make the lifting of pallet on low shelves easier.

  • A pallet jack is much more ideal to use in long-distance horizontal travel of loads.

  • Pallet jacks require minimum maintenance unlike a forklift while it still does the job and performs its intended purpose.

  • The pallet jacks don’t require a large room for storage, while the forklifts need a designated room for refueling and recharging.
  • Since the pallet jack is smaller than a forklift, this equipment is great to have in the warehouse for lightweight load transport. 

Disadvantages of Using Forklift and Pallet Jack


  • Because of their size, they take up larger space for storage. This means it will also take up a bigger investment to maintain it.

  • You need to put up a designated recharging/refueling station which means additional cost and manpower in order to maintain the station.

  • It is an expensive solution to purchase for warehousing needs. But you have the option to rent forklift equipment if the job is just short-term or if you only require forklift during the peak season of the business.

  • Depending on the specifications, the cost of acquiring forklift can burn a hole in the company’s pocket. Forklift costs around $15,000 or more depending on whether you can want brand new or used.

  • Forklifts entail more maintenance to keep it in tiptop shape. In addition, the forklift may break down every now and then requiring repair.

Pallet Jack

  • Pallet jacks can only be operated on smooth concrete surfaces.

  • It has limited lifting power and can only lift load just a few centimeters above the ground.
    It is not adaptable enough to do other applications.

  • Pallet jacks put more stress on the worker since there’s still a lot of manual handling involved.

Which Equipment to Buy for Your Business?

Forklifts and Pallet Jacks have their own pros and cons. Now, if you’re planning to buy and you don’t know which one is suitable for your application, take these important details into consideration before making a final decision: the weight of load to be handled and the number of pallets to be moved on a regular basis, the available space and floor room you have in the workplace, and the investment you can afford.

Based on those factors, you can now be able to decide whether you need a forklift or a pallet jack for your business. All that is needed before making up your mind which type equipment that best matches your specific requirement.

To Make a Finalization

Both of these lifting equipment have their own set of pros and cons. When choosing between the two, you need to consider many factors as mentioned above and your specific circumstances why you need this one over the other. What matters is your specific requirement and application that will able you to pick between forklift vs. pallet jack.

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