How to Buy a Forklift

Choosing a forklift can be overwhelming. It’s a big investment and there are a lot of options. Below are some questions, developed by our staff, to help buyers choose the best forklift at the best price that will meet their operational needs for many years.

Questions to Answer Before You Buy a Forklift

  • What’s the average load weight the forklift will transport?
  • What's the maximum weight the forklift will transport?
  • What size pallets do you normally use / what are the dimensions of your loads?
    Forklift capacities are based on a standard pallet with a 24″ load center. If you don’t use pallets, or if the load is longer than 48″, this affects which forklift is best for your operation.
  • How high will the load be lifted? You'll need to know the specific height in inches.
  • How many loads will be handled during an eight-hour shift?
  • How many shifts will the forklift operate per day? Per week?
  • How far will the load be transported and across what types of surfaces?

7 Reasons to Choose a GEM Versus a Golf Cart

Let’s be honest, golf carts weren’t made for industrial or commercial applications. They were made for leisurely drives around a golf course.

For light duty applications, such as transporting passengers and light cargo, a golf cart may be fine. But for heavy-duty applications that require transporting cargo, covering long distances, and/or traversing steep or rough terrain, you’ll want the suspension strength, clearance and braking capacity of a commercial electric vehicle like a GEM.

With a GEM, you can drive on-road or off-road with confidence. You won’t have to worry if your vehicle’s brakes are strong enough to stop a heavy load going down a steep grade, or if all your tools and supplies will fit securely.

Generally speaking, a NEV such as a GEM is a better choice (versus a golf cart) for: shuttles and tours (especially those that cross city streets), indoor / outdoor hauling, park maintenance, and patrol / security applications.

Forklift Battery Types and Battery Changers

Most forklifts come with a standard flat plate battery. You may be wondering if a waterless battery or tubular plate battery would service your operational needs better. In this post, we’ll review the pros and cons of different types of forklift batteries. We’ll also go over a few ways multi-shift operations can save time (and therefore money) changing out batteries between shifts.

Forklift Batteries: Conventional Vs. Fast Vs. Opportunity Charging

What's the difference between the conventional method of charging a forklift battery versus fast-charing and opportunity charging? G enerally speaking, conventional charging is best for single-shift operations. Multi-shift facilities can save time and money with fast or opportunity charging. In this post, we’ll review the pros and cons of each method and special considerations like truck modifications and the cost of new chargers. 

Warehouse Racking Permits in California - Know Before You Buy

Many California cities (Folsom, San Jose, West Sacramento, Dublin, Richmond and others) require a permit for warehouse racks taller than 5’ 9”. The state of California also requires warehouse pallet racks meet seismic (earthquake) code. Before you buy pallet racks from the east coast, Canada, or elsewhere, find out what you need to know about installing pallet racks, or other warehouse shelving.

How Much Does it Cost to Repair Forklift Brakes

Brake malfunction can cause serious damage to your facility and equipment, and may result in the injury or death of personnel. How many hours has it been since your forklift had its brakes inspected or serviced?

How Often Do Forklift Brakes Need Service?*
- Every 250 hours: blowout brake dust
- Every 2,000 hours: inspect brake drums
- Every 5,000-7,000 hours: replace brake shoes

*Basic guidelines only. Environmental conditions and operator behavior determine how frequently forklift brakes need to be inspected or replaced. Consult a certified technician.

What to Do When You Run Out of Warehouse Space

It’s a good news / bad news situation when a warehouse runs out of space. Good news that the operation is successful, but bad news because expansion can be expensive. A move means massive downtime, and if you expand, it’s a huge capital investment. But there is another option: find or create new space in your existing building.

Here are a few of the most popular ways to maximize your warehouse space.

Review: Polaris GEM eL XD

Product Name: Polaris GEM eL XD
Manufacturer: GEM by Polaris
Interesting Features:  Can be made street legal up to 25MPH
Price Range: $12,999-$34,999 (depends on options)  
Value for the money:  
Good
Recommended for:  Any application with large distances to cover - the bigger the better. This vehicle is popular with universities, airports, large warehousing, and corporate campuses that cover multiple city blocks. It's also good for maintenance departments, or general contractors in major cities. The eL XD also works great in state parks because it performs well in cold or warm weather.

The GEM eL XD can be operated on many streets with posted speed limits of 35 mph or less. But be sure to check local laws regarding street use and vehicle equipment requirements. 

Structural vs. Roll Form Pallet Racks

When is it better to choose structural steel versus roll-formed pallet racks? The answer is different for each operation and may involve a blend of both. In this article, we’ll review when to use structural steel versus roll form pallet racks in various applications.

Buying a Used Forklift - Do Hours Matter?

Used equipment is a great way for you to get a quality machine at a lower price. But when choosing a used forklift, too many buyers just look at the price and how many hours the equipment has. Ask these questions listed below if you want to save a lot of heartburn and wasted money. Questions such as:

- How this equipment been well-maintained?
- Does the equipment come with a warranty?
- Is the manufacturer known for long-lasting equipment?

Read on to for our top tips to find a quality used forklift at an affordable price.