In construction, material handling, warehousing and manufacturing operation, forklifts are normally used to move and lift palletized loads. With manual-drive forklifts, the travel or load movement is either walk-behind or manually powered. Motorized drive forklifts have a motorized drive. In many models, the forklift has a protected seat or cab for the driver. Fork trucks have features such as cabs, and backup alarms and are additionally motorized. Various kinds of forklifts are counterbalanced in order to prevent the vehicle from tipping over. Other models come outfitted with safety rails, or a rotating element like a hand rail or a turntable.
Other specifications which are important to consider when selecting a forklift are the stroke and lift capacity. Lift capacity is defined as the supportable, maximum load or force. Stroke is defined as the difference between completely raised and fully lowered lift positions.
Several of the other vital specifications for the forklift include fuel type and tire type. The fuel choices available include: natural gas, LP or liquid propane, compressed natural gas or CNG, electricity, gasoline, propane or diesel.
For fork trucks and forklifts, there are two basic types of tires that could be utilized. They are: pneumatic and solid. The cushion or solid tires require less maintenance compared to pneumatic tires and do not easily puncture. Pneumatic or air-inflated tires provide load cushioning and great drive traction. At the end of the day, solid or cushion tires provide less shock absorption.
Normally used on rough terrain are Class VII forklifts. These types of equipment are normally utilized in construction, agriculture and in logging environments. Lastly, Class VIII forklifts include all personnel and burden carriers. Dual Fuel lift trucks often fit in this class.