Which Type of Forklift Is Right for Your Business? 

Which Type of Forklift is Right for Your Business

Regardless of your application, forklifts are a worthwhile investment. As you go into the purchasing process, you will want to ensure you choose the right one for your business and its needs. Understanding the benefits and considerations of each type can help you find the forklift that meets your values and functional criteria. 

Diesel Forklifts 

Diesel forklifts are typically larger pieces of equipment that can function under many applications. Their durability and productivity make them excellent choices for jobs where you have to be on-site for long periods.  


When exploring the different forklift types, diesel can be an excellent choice that offers many advantages to your project and team. Some of the essential benefits of using a diesel forklift include: 

  • Functioning in rougher terrains: Their larger size and durability make it possible to use these forklifts on uneven grounds, like gravel and rocks. If you have a project where you need to navigate more challenging areas, a diesel forklift can help you safely and efficiently cross and carry materials. 
  • Increasing torque: While navigation is often essential for projects, you must also maneuver your job site. Diesel forklifts have high torque, allowing them to move well through different tasks. Whether you need to accelerate quickly or ascend a steeper ramp, a diesel forklift can help you continually carry even your heaviest loads where you need them to get the job done. 
  • Lowering upfront costs: If you are looking for a cheaper initial investment, diesel is the way to go. Of the different forklift types, diesel is often among the most affordable when buying new. Especially when compared to their long lifespans, diesel options can be great investments. 


Once you understand what makes diesel forklifts appealing, you should also know some considerations of owning and using this forklift type. The potential disadvantages of diesel forklifts include: 

  • Continuing fuel payments: While you can benefit from the lower upfront costs, diesel is costly. Diesel prices have risen over time, making it more expensive to refill your large diesel forklifts regularly. Especially compared to the costs to run and refuel gas and electric forklifts, diesel expenses can add up quickly. 
  • Functioning loudly: Because diesel forklifts require combustion, they can be very loud tools. They are the noisiest forklift type, requiring you to take extra precautions when using them. You will need to train your personnel to keep their ears and hearing safe and equip them with the right protective gear. 
  • Impacting the environment: Diesel is a fossil fuel, meaning it will emit carbon dioxide when you use it. For organizations passionate about protecting the environment, you might consider investing in a gas or electric forklift. 

Gas Forklifts 

Gas forklifts are versatile pieces of equipment that can meet several indoor and outdoor applications, making them great for companies with lots of variety in their projects. If you are considering investing in a new forklift, a gas or petrol forklift can be the tool you are looking for. 


When determining whether you want a gas versus electric forklift or diesel option, it can be helpful to know the benefits. Some of the advantages of owning and using a gas forklift include: 

  • Using fuel efficiently: Gas forklifts ration fuel to last entire shifts on a single tank. This feature means you can save time and money on refueling your forklift gas tank for quicker projects that are more cost-effective. Especially when gas prices are rising, you can better budget and manage your resources with a gas forklift. 
  • Increasing function flexibility: Diesel forklifts are best suited for outdoor use because they are so large, but you can use gas forklifts indoors and outdoors in well-ventilated areas. A gas forklift’s torque is good, making it a solid choice if you must complete complicated tasks.
  • Decreasing initial costs and emissions: Compared to diesel and electric forklifts, this forklift type is an excellent middle ground for relatively low investment costs and carbon dioxide emissions. While it can cost more to buy a new gas forklift than diesel, it is often cheaper than an electric option. Further, it will emit less carbon than a diesel selection, making it great if you want to be more conscientious of the environment. 


Like diesel forklifts, gas options will have select disadvantages, including: 

  • Decreasing visibility: While gas forklifts have relatively good torque and suit different applications, they have low rear visibility. This disadvantage can reduce mobility, making it challenging to reverse or navigate tighter spaces where you require the ability to see behind you. 
  • Impacting the environment negatively: While gas releases less carbon emissions than diesel, it is still a fossil fuel. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, you might want to consider an electric forklift or another eco-friendly option. 
  • Emitting carbon monoxide: Gas forklifts also emit carbon monoxide, a toxic gas if inhaled enough. Carbon monoxide is dangerous because it is odorless and colorless, causing people to rely on testing and symptoms to recognize the threat. Older forklifts that need maintenance or poorly ventilated workspaces can put your personnel at higher risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Electric Forklifts 

Benefits of Electric Forklifts

While the other two forklift types use fuel, electric forklifts have a rechargeable battery, eliminating the need to buy fuel. These forklifts are the smallest, making them ideal for indoor use and tighter spaces like warehouses. 


Electric forklifts have many unique benefits that lead people to invest in this forklift option. Some advantages to selecting a battery-powered forklift include: 

  • Eliminating fuel and maintenance costs: Because you can recharge the battery for your electric forklift, you can get rid of the need to buy fuel. These forklifts’ internal mechanics are straightforward, making them easy to maintain. If you are looking for equipment with outstanding cost-efficiency, consider the electric forklift. 
  • Reducing noise: Without combustion technology fueling them, electric forklifts eliminate a lot of noise that accompanies other forklift types. With this forklift, you can create a safer, healthier work environment for your employees. 
  • Decreasing environmental impact: Electric forklifts use an alternative power source to fossil fuels, meaning they have no carbon emissions. This equipment is excellent for companies dedicated to helping the environment. 


While electric forklifts have some great benefits that make them excellent choices for many companies, you should also know what to consider:

  • Recharging time: Recharge can take hours to reach total capacity. You will often need to leave it charging overnight to account for how much electricity a forklift uses. Failure to charge can cause delays in projects. 
  • Decreasing torque: Electric forklifts have very low torque compared to other forklifts. They can navigate tighter spaces, but it might be challenging to accelerate quickly, navigate steep ramps, and carry heavier loads. If this is a capability you need, consider a diesel option instead. 
  • Increasing upfront costs: An electric forklift is an investment. If you are looking for something more cost-efficient at the start, you might want to consider the fuel-based options. However, the rechargeable battery can help you save money in the future, making it a worthwhile investment. 

Explore Forklift Types

Explore Forklift Types With Thompson Lift Truck

When you must choose between several forklift types, you need a reliable distributor who can help you navigate the various options. At Thompson Lift Truck, we carry several types of forklifts, assisting businesses in Alabama and Northwest Florida in finding the best equipment. We also offer used forklifts to help meet your budget and project requirements. 

Explore our selection of forklifts or contact a Thompson Lift Truck representative today to discover how we can pair you with the equipment that will best suit your company. 

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