Counterbalanced three and four wheel forklift trucks are the most widely used type of forklift across many different industries. They are especially popular in warehouse environments mostly due to the rear counterbalance allowing for heavier loads and higher stacking. They are also incredibly straightforward to operate, and unlike many other types of truck can even be used outside.
But just because counterbalanced forklifts are so versatile it doesn’t mean you can throw your money at any old model and hope for the best. At H&F lift trucks we have years of experience in forklift truck hire and sales, so we know the differences like the backs of our hands. Three and four wheel forklifts do have similarities, but they also have some very notable differences. Read on to find out which type best suits your needs and requirements.
3 Wheel Forklifts
Three wheel forklifts have a much smaller turning circle than those with four wheels, and they also tend to be much lower in cost. If you are dealing with tight spaces they are an absolute godsend, and provide a sleek alternative where a four wheel model may be seen as overkill.
With just three wheels to spread the load most forklifts of this ilk cannot take a load capacity over 2500kg, and anything approaching this weight is going to prove unstable whilst turning. So unless you want a Del Boy situation keep things light whilst taking corners. They are also quite difficult to use on uneven terrain such as gravel or soil.
Best Suited For
Indoor warehousing is where the three wheel forklifts really excel. You’ll often see this type of forklift in both trade and retail, as the smooth floors of garden centres and DIY stores are perfect terrain for this vehicle. They also serve warehouses which utilise selective and high racking applications very well.
4 Wheel Forklifts
If your workspace has a lot of rough, uneven surfaces then a four wheel is your best bet at navigating them safely. Their loading capacity far exceeds that of a three wheeler, and some models can take up to 8000kg. Turning in a four wheel truck is also much more stable.
The turning circle of a four wheel truck is much larger, so you are essentially trading off space for safety and stability. Four wheel trucks are also more expensive than three wheelers, so make sure you actually need the increased load capabilities they offer.
Best Suited For
Four wheelers have much higher gradeability, so if you need to shift heavy loads up steep inclines this is the vehicle for that job. Companies with large machinery often use a four wheel forklift to move their equipment, as do those who unload trucks with frequency. Their durability over uneven surfaces means they can endure high intensity work without fail.
So those are the basic pros and cons of three and four wheel trucks to help give you a rough guide of which truck you might need. It is important to make sure before buying or hiring a forklift that you fully understand your requirements, both in terms of the tasks undertaken and in the following of forklift truck safety procedures.
At H&F Lift trucks we offer a wide range of new and used forklift trucks, including Combi Lift and Doosan Forklifts, both for hire and purchase. If you need more information our industry experts would be happy to help you figure out which model best suits your business, so feel free to give us a call on 0800 298 8790 or book your free site survey today!