Forklift Truck Buyers Guide7/8

Image of a forklift with lift capacity

Lift Capacity

Forklift capacity is the maximum weight that a forklift can safely lift. Capacities can differ massively between models, and will be affected by numerous factors. Usually the lift capacity is outlined in the manufacturer’s instructions or as part of the vehicle’s data plate.

Why is lift capacity important?

Depending on what your forklift will be used for will depend which lift capacity is most appropriate. For example, if your business is centred around the efficient transportation of pallets around a warehouse, it will save you time and trips to choose a forklift with a higher load capacity. Measure the dimensions of your usual loads, and if weights/sizes/shapes vary then factor this into your decision making.

What factors affect lift capacity?

  • The model you choose: Each model is built to handle a specific load capacity, which is described on the vehicle data plate.
  • Lift height: The machine’s ability to lift certain weight will depend on the lift height, or how far the mast is extended e.g. the higher the mast is extended, the less weight the attachment can bear. These differences in load capacity based on lift height may be outlined on the vehicle's data plate.
  • Attachments: With an array of attachments available for forklift machines, it’s worth noting that these may also have load capacities of their own and change the base machine’s initial load capacity.

What applications are they suited for?

If your forklift will be in constant, daily use then it would be wise to opt for a new model. Should a used model experience constant stress and strain throughout the working week, it is more likely to burn out quickly due to the effect of its previous life of work. A brand new model will perform to highest possible standards from the very beginning.

A used model will be valuable for occasional use where investment in a new model is not worth the limited time spent using it. Older machines may also have lower lift capacities, so if your project will involve lifting lighter loads, a used machine may be more suitable.

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