Should You Buy an LP Forklift or an Electric Forklift?

by TMH on December 14, 2017
should you buy an lp forklift or an electric forklift Both liquified petroleum (LP) forklifts and electric forklifts offer a cleaner, quieter alternative to gas or diesel-powered lift trucks. So which is better?

- Some applications, like food, pharmaceutical or underground facilities are required to use electric forklifts. Electric forklifts also have a lower cost of ownership in the long term.
- On the other hand, propane forklifts can be used indoors or outdoors, and changing tanks is easier than changing a forklift battery.

Read on to read a complete list of the major pros and cons of electric vs. propane forklifts.

Electric Vs. Propane Forklifts

Propane Forklift Pros:
With the right tires, a propane-powered forklift can operate just about anywhere: dirt, gravel, rain or even snow. LP fuel also gives consistent power throughout the shift. When the tank empties, simply replace with a full one. This is especially important for applications where the forklift needs to operate remotely and valuable time would be lost bringing it back inside to charge or swap batteries.

Propane Forklift Cons:
Liquid propane is a fossil fuel, which can’t be used for certain applications. This also means the price can fluctuate. LPG forklifts are less expensive upfront, but if you plan to keep the equipment for more than two years, an electric lift truck will eventually pay for itself through lower operating costs. Propane forklifts are also noisier than electric forklifts. If you’re curious to hear the difference, visit our Livermore demo center to test drive a forklift.

Electric Forklift Pros:
An electric lift truck is cleaner, quieter and has a lower cost of ownership than an LP forklift. Electric forklifts have no emissions, which means no harmful gases for employees to inhale and they are safe for food and medical applications. Electric lift trucks also have fewer moving parts, require less maintenance, and have fewer parts that can break - versus LP forklifts. Lastly, a facility with an all-electric fleet can avoid storing potentially-hazardous fuel.

Electric Forklift Cons:
Electric forklifts cost more upfront, although the low cost of ownership generally offsets the initial cost within two years. Also, most electric forklifts aren’t designed for outdoor use, however, more rugged electric lift trucks with pneumatic tires are available.

In years past, electric forklifts were an expensive option for multi-shift operations - requiring multiple batteries and changing equipment. But technology has evolved, and batteries can be topped up during the day with fast or opportunity charging. With the right battery and charger, a two-shift operation can manage with only one battery.

For additional questions, or to test drive an electric or LP forklift, contact TMH online or by phone. You can also view our online inventory of new LP forklifts and  used propane forklifts. We look forward to earning your business!

East Bay - Livermore (510) 675-0500
Fresno (559) 834-9500
Sacramento (916) 376-0500
Salinas (831) 757-1091

Further Reading
How Long Can a Forklift Run on a Single Tank of Propane? 
Lithium-Ion Forklift Batteries - What You Need to Know 
Forklift Battery Types and Battery Changers
How to Improve Electric Forklift Battery Life 

The Electric Forklift Buyer's Guide

Topics: Electric Forklifts, LPG Forklifts, Forklift FAQs

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