Pedestrian Forklifts Are Everywhere

It may have creped up on you when you weren’t noticing, but pedestrian forklifts have become a very popular vehicle in the material handling trade. And, it is expanding in popularity due to its capability and fresh enhancements.

The Quiet Laborer

Manual pallet truck.
(Courtesy: Atlet Inc. at

Some in the business look upon them as the quiet achievers of material handling equipment. They are used in just about every facet of material handling worldwide and are commonly involved in moving light loads on pallets of short or long distances, for unloading trucks, and to perform low-level stock picking. There are robust choices of models including manual, powered, pallet jacks that a person pushes or pulls, powered walkie stackers, and machines on which an operator can stand or sit.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, these machines have increased in sales, a modest 1 to 2 percent in 2019 and 2020. All other material handling vehicles have suffered a decline in sales.

Benefits Of Pedestrian Forklifts

These machines are versatile, inexpensive to both purchase and maintain, and extremely easy to use. In fact, the operator needs no training.

Previously, pedestrian forklifts were a simple machine. However, recently they have become more technological. They also include safety features and can be expanded into new applications.

Today’s pedestrian forklifts can deal with small, palletized loads as well as longer bulkier loads including sheet materials and metals. This has persuaded many a warehouse manager to change to pedestrian lifts.

The current pedestrian forklifts have made the need for humans to lift and carry items practically obsolete. The newly technological machines have even given a boost to e-commerce, which has become fully automated. Manual machines are being used in conjunction with packing stations and handling cumbersome items that are difficult for electric powered pedestrian forklifts to handle.

Moreover, due to the drop in the price of lithium-ion batteries, more warehouse managers are swapping out manual pedestrian machines with electric ones.

Technology Enhancements Have Made Pedestrian Lifts More Valuable

Lithium batteries are now slimmer and lighter and yet still are powerful. They carry enough energy to carry a pallet jack through a day of heavy work.
In addition, there are now high capacity walk-behind pallet trucks with 16,000 kg capacity, power steering, dual rear wheel drive, and AC motor technology. These pallet trucks are very maneuverable in tight spaces and make it easy for a person to move heavy and valuable loads safely.

And, customized attachments similar to those for forklifts, are available that makes these machines even more versatile. Smaller attachments designed for pedestrian forklifts include paper roll clamps, which are ideal for carrying small rolls of specialty material including blister wrap. These items are too large for a person to carry and too small for a typical forklift.

Ever evolving, pedestrian forklifts will become even more versatile and safer to use in the future.


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