Three-Wheel Electric Forklifts or Four-Wheel Electric Forklifts

We’ve already talked about electric forklifts as an option between diesel or propane lifts. You may or may not be aware that there are options among the electric forklifts that include three wheels or four wheels.

The three and four-wheel electric counter-balance (CB) forklifts have similar features that may make it difficult to differentiate between the two. For example, both use the same types of mast, motors, and drive train.

What features distinguish one from the other?

Three-Wheel Electric Forklifts

(Courtesy: Atlet Forklifts at

(Courtesy: Atlet Forklifts at

A three-wheel electric forklift has a drive structure that includes a dual steer wheel mounted in the center of the machine beneath the counterweight. Such a configuration allows this variety of lift to execute a smaller turning radius than the traditional four-wheel variety. The three-wheel lifts are ideal for lighter loads due to their load capacity range of from 1000-2500kg.

These forklifts are suggested for indoor warehousing where the floor is flat and smooth. They perform very well in high racking applications where there are smaller isles. It may also suffice for warehouses with smooth floors and selective racking.

These lifts are very popular in trade and retail applications like building supplies, plumbing, home improvement and garden centers. They can also be used in manufacturing and distribution as well as in some trade situations like food and beverage.

Advantages to this style of lift include:

· Small turning radius
· Lower cost

Disadvantages include:

· Limited capacity range.
· Problems on rough terrain or gravel.
· Stability problems when turning with loads.

Four-Wheel Electric Forklifts

(Courtesy: Atlet Forklifts at

(Courtesy: Atlet Forklifts at

The four-wheel electric lift features a dual acting hydraulic ram that controls a single steer wheel on each rear corner. This provides better stability than the three-wheel lift when turning and are better for rough yard and floors because of the articulated rear steer axle. The four-wheel lift has a range of capacity from 1600kg to 8000kg. They can be used for heavy lifting of such items as machinery and tool installation such as presses, dies and jigs. Retail outlets, hardware stores and other light duty work environments use these lifts.

They are great for loading and unloading trucks; floor stacking and medium high racks and they can handle rougher surfaces so they can be used in yards.

Other applications include high intensity duty cycles on uneven surfaces, and ramps. They can handle wider loads and are ideal for warehouses that handle transport and distribution items, general manufacturing goods, chemicals, foods and beverage, steel and aluminum, and fruits and vegetables.

Advantages include:

· Good rides on rougher surfaces
· Large capacity range of up to 8000kg

Disadvantages include:

· Larger turning radius.
· More expensive than three-wheel variety.

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