Forklifts have been in common use in material handling since the early part of the 20th century. Over the years, there have been many different iterations of forklift designs to accommodate an increasingly wider variety of applications and work environments. If you’re considering purchasing sit down vs. stand up forklifts for your facility or operation, it’s essential to research which models are right for you.
To shed some light on the subject, let’s take a closer look at the design, functions, benefits, and pros and cons of sit down and stand up forklifts.
Sit down forklifts are extremely productive and efficient machines. They are frequently used in high-volume applications such as commercial warehousing and distribution centers. Three-wheel models offer increased maneuverability in tight spaces but a reduced lift and carry capacity. Four-wheel sit down forklifts are more stable, handle well with a heavy load, and provide the highest weight capacity.
Among the primary sit down forklift benefits is the ability to travel and transport materials at greater speeds, plus faster lift and lower capabilities compared to stand up units. There’s also the comfort factor. Being able to sit down relieves stress on workers and is ideal for long shifts where operators are using the equipment for prolonged periods.
Since these forklifts use a traditional steering wheel and leveling controls, they reduce training requirements and improve precision performance. An additional sit down forklift benefit is that they are safer while operating on slippery, bumpy, and uneven surfaces.
Stand up forklifts are an ideal choice for operations that require navigating through tight aisles and challenging spaces. Also known as stand on or electric riders, these forklifts are shorter, more compact, and have a tighter turning radius than stand-ups, making them more maneuverable and providing better access.
Since the operator is standing up, it’s far more convenient to get on and off the machine to move products and materials around. Drivers stand in a sideways position, improving visibility moving forward and in reverse and eliminating having to twist the beck and body around to see where you are going. Studies also show a standing operator remains more alert on the job, which increases workplace safety and performance.
When compared to a three-wheel sit-down model, a stand up forklift will typically have a greater lift capacity, but it is also usually more expensive. You also have to account for the joystick controls that operators may not be used to, which may necessitate additional training.
To recap the question of which forklift to invest in, sit down models are usually the right choice for faster cycle times and maximum comfort, and stand up models are best when you need to get off and on throughout your shift and move around in confined areas.
If you are still wondering, “should I get a sit down forklift or a stand up model,” get in touch with the pros at Thompson Lift Truck. We’ll be happy to break down the sit down and stand up forklift pros and cons and assist in identifying the equipment that’s best suited to your specifications.