Complete Guide on Different Types of Forklifts with Names & Pictures

A forklift is a specialized motorized truck commonly used in industrial settings to lift and move short distances. It was initially developed by companies like Clark and Yale & Towne Manufacturing in the early 1900s. Since World War II, forklifts have gained immense popularity and are now crucial to manufacturing and warehousing operations. Choosing the right forklift can be complex due to the variety of types and models available. Whether you’re considering renting or buying one, this guide will assist you in selecting the ideal forklift for your needs. It covers different types of forklifts, their advantages, and some standard models to give you a clear understanding of your options.

Forklift Types

Different Types of Forklifts, Names & Pictures

Different Types of Forklift Names

  • Warehouse Forklift
  • Side Loader
  • Counterbalance Forklift
  • Heavy Duty Forklifts
  • Telehandler
  • Rough Terrain Forklift
  • Pallet Jack
  • Walkie Stacker
  • Order Picker
  • Reach Fork Truck
  • Articulated Forklifts
  • Marina Forklifts
  • Stand-Up Rider

Types of Forklifts

Warehouse Forklift

Specialized material handling equipment, such as the Warehouse Forklift, efficiently installs and extracts commodities within industrial facilities or warehouses. Its primary function is to grip loads with forks and execute vertical movement using a refined carriage assembly by hydraulic cylinder arrangement.

This hydraulic system enables the forklift to lift and transfer things from various positions within the warehouse. It makes loading, unloading, and stacking commodities easy. Notably, the forklift’s adaptability is demonstrated by its ability to manage typical loads of up to 5,000 pounds.

Furthermore, certain heavy-duty varieties of this forklift have a genuinely astounding load-bearing capability, capable of lifting weights as large as 25000 pounds, making them a popular choice for heavyweight material handling needs.

The Hyster 36-38T, Komatsu 20 BX50 Hyster, and Toyota 3-Wheel Electric Forklift are prominent and widely recognized variants in stockroom forklifts.

Side Loader

Side loaders find use in heavy-duty applications within the steel and industrial sectors, where there is a need for efficient transportation of large loads. These types of forklifts come with a separate compartment for the operator to load and unload large products.

Notably, side loaders can move alongside narrow racks without turning plots. The operational advantages of side loader forklifts primarily derive from their superior safety features compared to conventional forklifts.

With lateral loading capacity, side loaders offer an enhanced view of potential hazards in both front and rear directions. In contrast, traditional forklifts face limited visibility in the forward movement once laden with goods.

Leading manufacturers in this domain, such as Toyota, Raymond, Yale, and Hyundai, have consistently shown their expertise by delivering these types of forklifts. These top companies provide high-quality products that meet the current demands of modern industries.

Counterbalance Forklift

The universal counterbalance forklift, renowned for its practical design, features anterior prongs and posterior ballast to effectively offset the cargo’s weight.

Unlike its articulated counterparts, the counterbalance forklift eschews extendable arms, enabling unswerving traversal to the load destination.

Diverse iterations of counterbalance forklifts abound, each tailored to distinct operational demands. The tricycle configuration, notable for its trio of wheels, excels in environments necessitating intricate pivoting maneuvers.

Swift embarkation and disembarkation of operators characterize the stand-up counterbalance forklift, ideal for interstitial load handling. Esteemed automotive manufacturers like Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Crown have all left indelible imprints in this arena.

Augmenting load equilibrium, the rear-mounted counterweight assumes a pivotal role. The necessity of circular locomotion arises in select operational scenarios.

Heavy Duty Forklifts

The robust high-capacity forklift, also recognized as the industrial telehandler hybrid, amalgamates the operational attributes of a warehousing forklift and a telehandler.

Although it lacks the agility for intricate angular maneuvering akin to a telehandler, it excels in elevating substantial loads to significantly greater heights than conventional warehousing forklifts.

This heavy-duty forklift has an impressive maximum lift capacity of 30,000 pounds; however, you should carefully direct its utilization toward specific assignments. Its operational domain remains narrower than a full-fledged telehandler or warehousing forklift.

Within the commercial landscape are two dozen prominent manufacturers of heavy-duty forklifts. NACCO Industries and Mitsubishi are established entities that offer specific exemplary iterations engineered to support capacities of up to 36,000 lbs. The primary utility resides in transporting substantial cargo for industrial applications.


The telehandler is a combination of a forklift and a crane. It incorporates a hydraulic extending arm with a boom, enabling it to reach elevated spaces efficiently. Its extendable boom terminates in a fork, easing the loading and unloading of heavy loads.

They are primarily designed for indoor and outdoor applications. This equipment excels at handling substantial loads at elevated heights. Telehandler has a lifting capacity of up to 5500 pounds, elevating loads to heights ranging from 16 to 19 feet.

Their exceptional maneuverability allows them to navigate in odd angles and confined spaces. Due to its popularity, leading industry players, including JCB, Caterpillar, Genic, and others, have started telehandler production.

These machines exhibit exceptional load-handling capabilities, effortlessly lifting loads at approximately 50-55 feet.

Rough Terrain Forklift

The rough terrain forklift, often called a straight pole forklift, is primarily designed for outdoor operations in challenging and uneven terrains. These forklifts have large, studded, solid pneumatic tires.

It provides superior stability and durability to ensure the safe transportation of goods over rugged surfaces. At the same time, indoor applications may not require such specialized equipment.

The rough terrain forklifts become necessary for outdoor tasks and construction sites. Prominent examples of four-wheel drive models in this category are the JCB 950 and CASE 588H.

The ability of rough terrain forklifts to handle more oversized loads is one of their key advantages. Its weight restrictions are usually between 6,000 and 8,000 pounds. Because of their increased lifting capacity, they are suited for demanding applications in harsh locations.

These forklifts are optimized to deliver unparalleled performance and productivity in outdoor settings.

Pallet Jack

Pallet jacks, called pump trucks, exhibit a distinct specialization tailored to their operational scope. These compact forklift variants prioritize spatial efficiency over load-bearing capacity, diminishing their ability to hoist substantial weights.

This trade-off between power and dimensionality enables pallet jacks to seamlessly navigate constricted environments and elevate minor loads within close parameters.

While potency and maneuvering prowess suffer, the costs related to procuring and renting pallet jacks are notably economic.

Prominent among the spectrum of pallet jack models are the Mighty Lift 20 x 36 36-inch pallet Truck and the Vestil Electric Pallet Truck. Prospective purchasers and lessees can choose between conventional manual pallet jacks and their electric counterparts.

Key features of the pallet jack are a miniature form factor, operable through manual labor or battery-driven mechanisms.

Applications include precision handling of pallets within confined spaces and during protracted transit across limited and extensive distances.

Walkie Stacker

Walkie stackers are a combination of the warehouse forklift and the pallet jack. It doesn’t have a cab for the operator, and the operator walks behind the pallet truck to operate.

Also, the operator can stand on the stand present behind the truck. It is suitable for crowded and tight workplaces. It is compact and easy to operate.

The manual walkie stacker has a pedal and handles to lift and lower the loads through the pallet. With the separate trigger, we can reduce the pressure to lower forks.

Whereas in the automatic walkie stacker, buttons raise and lower the load. The manual is suitable for light loads, and the automatic is fit for heavy loads.

Order Picker – Types of Forklifts

An order picker, a type of walkie-stacker, is designed for efficiently collecting and distributing goods within storage areas. These machines can reach impressive heights of up to 32 feet.

People primarily use them to lift operators to warehouse shelves and move individual items with ease. They work best in warehouses where specific products need selection without requiring the bringing down of entire pallets.

The order pickers can handle various sizes, from small car parts to large furniture pieces. They come with open windows for the operator and don’t involve taking pallets, making them stand out. These machines find their application in tasks like picking individual items and managing warehouse inventory.

Reach Fork Truck

The reach forklift is a specialized warehouse vehicular machine. Its main functionality is to extend its forks beyond the compartment and reach into warehouse racks in a way that standard forklifts cannot.

A unique feature of this equipment is its open operator compartment, affording enhanced visibility and spatial awareness. Notably, the reach forklift’s suitability for external tasks is constrained by its diminished ground clearance.

Manufacturers like UniCarriers, Clark Materials, and Yale are prominent contributors to superior-grade reach forklift fabrication.

Pivotal features encompass stabilizing legs for stability augmentation and forks that extend forward to facilitate going operations. This specialized machinery finds its niche in expedited and pinpoint-accurate indoor pallet retrieval endeavors.

Articulated Forklifts – Types of Forklifts

Articulated forklift trucks, commonly called swing mast forklift trucks, offer a possible solution for handling products within constrained aisle spaces.

These specialized types of forklifts have a pivotal fork platform that can independently rotate to the right or left, all while keeping the vehicle stationary. This innovative design enables the manipulation of the prongs in a torsional manner, enabling efficient access to cargo.

Consequently, the orientation of the forklift can remain linear during the process. These vehicles offer more benefits in situations characterized by confined space limitations, narrow transportation routes, and the challenges caused by refrigerated warehousing conditions.

Marina Forklifts

Marina forklifts represent robust material handling equipment explicitly engineered for yacht manipulation. These customized forklifts allow for the smooth movement of boats inside marine areas.

These devices can elevate and transport boats weighing up to 50,000 pounds and reaching towering heights of up to 20 feet. To ensure prolonged durability and corrosion resistance for maritime usage, we galvanize the carriage assembly of these forklifts using epoxy coating technology.

Stand-Up Rider – Types of Forklifts

A stand-up electric forklift for quick on-and-off access comes with a unique three-wheeled setup for easy turning in tight spaces. It is a compact counterweight type similar to larger counterbalanced forklifts but on a smaller scale.

These types of forklifts are typically battery-powered, ensuring quiet operation. Its design allows them to excel in narrow passages and confined areas. Operators control the platform’s movement using a floor pedal, while a simple handle manages direction and steering.

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