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Diesel, Electric or LPG Forklifts?

Forklift Trucks Buyers' Guide

When choosing a self-propelled forklift you have to consider what power source is best for your business. You will usually have to choose from three options: diesel, electric or LPG powered forklifts.

Diesel Forklifts

Sometimes referred to as internal combustion (IC) models. They are the most powerful forklifts so if you are looking for a model that can regularly carry weights in excess of 7000kg you should definitely consider a diesel powered option.

Diesel powered forklifts are generally bigger and more sturdy and more adept at carrying larger loads. Due to their engines, they have quicker acceleration and a higher top speed than other models and they can be refueled extremely quickly.

However, the diesel models are much noisier than other forklifts and their specific fuel makes them much more expensive to run than alternative models.

Electric Powered Forklifts

These are a really great option if you are planning to use your forklift indoors. Unlike the diesel models, electric forklifts do not produce any emissions so can be used safely indoors.

They are powered by batteries that have a usage life of 5-6 hours of constant use before needing to be recharged.

The batteries take quite a long period to be recharged - up to 16 hours on some models - so it will be useful to have multiple batteries and it will be vital to make sure you have a fully charged battery ready to be used at all times.

The electric models do not have such rapid acceleration at the IC forklifts, nor is their top speed as impressive, but they have significantly cheaper running costs than their diesel powered alternatives.

The initial cost is more (you can expect to pay 10% more for an electric model, plus you will need in to invest in extra batteries) but as fuel prices continue to rise an electric forklift will prove to be a much more economic investment in time.

Liquid Propane Gas (LPG) Forklifts

LPG models have a decent acceleration and top speed and can be used indoors - as long as the area is of a fair size and is well ventilated.

The gas tanks are easy to come by and can be ordered from an increasing amount of stockists nationwide.

However, each tank will only last as long as one full day’s shift so this may prove to be quite an expensive alternative if you are using your machine constantly, and the spare canisters will take up a lot of storage space.

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