Now that you made a decision that renting is the practical solution to run your business, you might be asking what fuel source is the right for a rental forklift.

To give a short answer to that question, well, that depends on the intended application and workplace condition.

Determining the application and the site condition are the important factors in choosing the exact rental forklift that suits the application since there is a wide range of forklifts nowadays and each one is meant to be used for a specific task.

Without knowing your available options, you are destined to end up having the wrong machine – and you don’t want that to happen.
In this article, we will describe the three (3) most common fuel types: Electric, Diesel, and LPG, together with an explanation of what condition each type is best suited for.

With that information, I know you will be able to come up with a good decision on which type of forklift would be most suitable to rent for your workplace’s current setting and condition.

Different Types of Forklift for Your Workplace

Every model of forklift has its own unique benefits as they also differ in the fuel they run on. Using the right rental forklift for the job is crucial for work productivity and workers’ safety.

If you are planning to rent the equipment and you don’t know which fuel source is best for your site, below are the characteristics for you to determine what forklift to choose:

Electric Forklifts

Fuel SourceThe very unique advantage of electric forklifts is that they are primarily for indoor applications as they do not emit smoke and noise that you would observe in internal combustion (IC) forklifts. It is ideal use in cold storage, depot, or warehouse where the work environment needs to be clean and quiet. If your business has these requirements, then electric forklift is the variation to rent.

Electric forklifts are more economical to maintain and run compared to IC-type forklift as they have fewer moving parts to repair and do not require engine oil and coolant. The cost of electricity is considerably lower than fuel so operating electric forklifts have a great advantage for saving money.

While you may have read the pros, electric forklift, like any other types, is not without its cons.

If you would like to operate the electric forklift more than the normal operating period, you may need an extra set of batteries, and buying them could burn a hole in your pocket. The batteries take 8 hours to fully charge and not to mention an additional time for cooling down, thus you would not be able to use the truck immediately if you need it.

The electric variant is much more expensive to purchase compared to other trucks therefore the rental fee for this variant could be more expensive as well. There is an upfront cost for the installation of a charging station, if you think you need the equipment for a long period and you don’t have such a facility, you may request the installation to the dealer or rental company and incorporate that as a term in the written agreement.

They carry materials in much shorter distances compared to diesel trucks and have limited lifting capacity – 12,00 lbs or less.

Diesel Forklifts

dieselIf you need extra muscle then diesel-type forklifts is the right machine to rent as they have much higher lifting capacity compared to the electric counterpart. Their primary use is for outdoor setting only as they emit poisonous fumes. They can be used in inclement weather conditions.

Diesel forklifts are ideal use in the construction site, large yard, laydown area or in other open areas where noise and fumes are not a problem.

One great benefit of diesel forklifts is that they can be refueled in no time and be back to operation unlike electric variants that would take not only time but also effort to complete this process.

Diesel forklifts don’t require a charging station or place to store the tanks or cylinders. When not in use, they can be parked anywhere safe.

Diesel forklifts outperform the electric and LPG variants in terms of versatility and power.

While on the downside, diesel forklifts require periodic maintenance and consume more fuel than electrical and LPG. This type could not be used for indoor applications, as a matter of fact, special training is needed if use indoor.

LPG Forklifts

LPGIf you like to have more versatility, LPG forklifts are the solution as this type can be used in both indoor and outdoor applications. The LPG type emits much fewer fumes than the diesel variant making it suitable for indoor use and no issue for electrical short circuits making it ideal for work in the rain or snow.

Because of the power to weight ratio and responsive engines, LPG forklifts accelerate faster than the electrical and diesel types allowing them to cover more distance in a short period of time – suited for huge warehouses and construction sites.

When they run out of fuel, the tank or cylinder can easily be detached and exchanged with a new one, unlike electrical forklift that takes an amount of effort to swap batteries due to weight and bulkiness.

Unlike the diesel type, LPG forklifts deliver less power. Since the tanks cylinders are required to be stored in a safe place, you may have to assign dedicated storage.

Their turning radius is larger thus they are less maneuverable when use indoor in tight spaces or narrow aisles. Freezing temperature can have adverse effects causing it not to start or lose power.

Because the tank or cylinder is located in the rear, this comes with visibility restriction and prone to leakage. Special operator training may be needed because there is a greater possibility of injury due to the sheer weight of cylinders and the frequency they need to be changed.

Other Considerations to Take Note of When Renting 

By this time you might already know what fuel source is ideal for your application. But there are other considerations you need to take note of when renting forklifts such as the following:

  • Lift capacity - it would not be appropriate to rent a forklift with lift capacity that is below what your particular job requires. To determine the lift capacity, you must understand some few things such as what is the heaviest load the forklift needs to lift and its width. It is important to convey that information to the rental company when ordering.

  • Lift height – you also have to accurately determine the lift height because you want to make sure you get a rental forklift the meets the height restriction of the workplace. When assessing, consider the highest rack or point the rental forklift needs to reach and obstruction such as ceiling and low-hanging lights and fixtures.

  • Applicable tire for the site surface – you might find easy determining which type of tire is applicable for a particular work environment - whether to be used indoor or outdoor or in paved or rough surfaces. There are three (3) types of tires: pneumatic, solid and cushion tires. The pneumatic type is ideal for heavy lifting jobs and outdoor use; the solid tires are not easily punctured therefore its best application are construction sites, mines, lumber yards, and other similar work environments; the cushion tire is for indoor use because of its maneuverability in tight spaces and narrow aisles.

If You Think You Need Operator Training, Here's a Video How It Is Done

To Make a Conclusion

Choosing the best fuel source for the forklift you want to rent affects many aspects such as safety, operational cost and employee productivity – that is why you should not commit mistakes in this matter.

And the advantage you would get will ultimately determine by your particular application, so consult the rental company representative for more details on the fuel source that will best suit your job.

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