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5 important questions to ask when purchasing a counterbalance forklift truck

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With its strength and versatility, the counterbalance forklift truck plays a key role in most business operations, but what’s the right counterbalance truck for your application?
Toyota Material Handling have compiled the following list of the most common questions you should ask yourself before buying your new machine.

1. What type of load are you handling?

What You need to know:





The likelihood is that you are already aware that your counterbalance forklift truck capacity must exceed the maximum weight of your load, but it is not just as simple as that.

The residual capacity of your truck refers to the true lifting capacity capabilities of your forklift in the specific conditions in which it will be operated. The residual capacity of your truck can be affected by a variety of different factors.

On top of load weight, you must also consider the shape and size of your load. You must also consider how the weight is distributed across the load, the clearance of your storage area and if you require any special forklift truck attachments.

In order to operate your machine safely, you must calculate the residual capacity of your truck correctly before you purchase your new forklift. If you are uncertain or require assistance, our friendly product specialists are happy to help!

Contact our Sales Department

2. How often will you use your counterbalance forklift truck?

What You need to know:

How many shifts will the truck be operating

Required uptime


available charge time

A major decision you will need to make is if you will switch to an electric counterbalance truck or stick with a traditional engine-powered machine. Consider the quantity of shifts the truck will be operating, how many hours per shift the truck will be used, and how this effects the trucks downtime.

Electric trucks consist of less moving parts compared to traditional forklift trucks, this decreases the likelihood that your machine will develop faults and require unwanted downtime.

The higher price tag that comes with an electric truck is subsidised by lower fuel and maintenance costs. Battery technology has developed impressively over recent times, however, before purchase you must allocate time to charge or replace the battery in your electric forklift.

An immediate benefit of Engine-Powered Trucks is that they do not require any charge time, and can be quickly refuelled when needed. Engine-Powered forklift trucks are available with Diesel and LPG options.

Undecided on whether to switch to electric or stick with an engine-powered truck?

Arrange your free, no obligation fuel calculation today!

3. What's the Environment of the truck's application?

What You need to know:

Will the truck be operating indoors, outdoors, or both

Is there adequate space for charging

Is there is a diesel tank available

Is there the necessary ventilation available

An Engine-Powered truck will perform excellently outdoors, even in strenuous weather conditions. However, these trucks are heavily restrictive when used for indoor applications. Within the United Kingdom it is illegal to operate a diesel truck for indoor use.  LPG counterbalance trucks may be used indoors but require a sufficient ventilation system which is often pricy to install and maintain. On top of this, Diesel forklift trucks require a dedicated refuelling station, and LPG trucks must be kept in a protected outdoor area.

Electric forklift trucks can be used in both indoor and outdoor applications, however the performance of lead acid battery-powered trucks can be affected by cold temperatures and require a dedicated charging room. On the other hand, lithium-ion battery-powered trucks do not require battery maintenance, can be recharged anywhere, and perform well in chilled areas.

counterbalance forklift truck

4. What kind of space are you manoeuvring into?

What You need to know:

What application is the truck going to be used in

What is the width of your aisles

What is the required turning radius

Electric counterbalance trucks are available in both three and four-wheel variations. For areas that are limited in space, a three-wheel counterbalance truck is the way to go. Four-wheel trucks require a larger turning radius, however, offers far more stability when operating outdoors
or on uneven surfaces.

Narrow aisle specific trucks are also available. These compact machines allow for a smaller turning radius. You can find the turning radius of each truck on it’s datasheet. If the datasheet is not available through our website, our Sales Team are more than happy to help out.

Contact our Sales Department

5. What features do you need?

What You need to know:

Are there any challenges within your operating environment (uneven floors or slopes)

What is the width of your aisles

What is the required turning radius

Cost and efficiency are on the line if you purchase an unsuitable counterbalance forklift truck. Examples for consideration include:

Tyres: The truck will require tyres that are suitable for the application. If operating on slopes or ramps, ensure your truck has the correct gradeability for tackling these areas.

Cabin: If the truck is predominantly used outdoors, a cab will offer the driver a far nicer working environment, especially in harsh weather conditions. If the truck will predominantly be used indoors, a cab is not a necessity, however can protect the operator from noise pollution.

Driver Comfort: Electric Trucks excel in providing your driver with the best workplace conditions. These trucks do not produce fumes and are far quieter than their engine-powered counterparts. Electric trucks are the most popular machine for indoor applications but are becoming increasingly popular for outdoor use also.

Undecided on whether to switch to electric or stick with an engine-powered truck?

Arrange your free, no obligation fuel calculation today!

This blog post has been adapted from the Toyota Material Handling Website. To view original post click here.

Toyota Material Handling Forklift Trucks

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