Here at H&F Lift Trucks we often get asked the question ‘what is the difference between a counterbalance forklift and a reach truck?’ This is a question that many of us in the industry take for granted but one that we are more than happy to answer. So read on below to find out the noticeable and important difference between both types of forklift truck.
Counterbalance Forklift Truck
A counterbalance forklift truck is the most common type of truck around and represents the image most people instinctively think of when imagining a forklift. The forks stick out from the front of the vehicle and there are no protruding arms or legs; meaning the truck can be manoeuvred right up close to the racking or location of the load. Therefore, no reach facility is necessary and the truck operates in a relatively straightforward fashion.
This type of forklift truck can be powered with gas, electric or diesel. Many models also feature a mast tilt facility, sideshifts and driver’s cab. The name of this truck derives from its design as a large counterweight is placed at the back of the truck to off-set the load being lifted towards the front. Electric powered counterbalance trucks are able to operate with a smaller counterweight as the battery is quite weighty too.
Reach trucks offer maximum lift height capacity with incredible manoeuvrability and, for these reasons, they are best suited to warehouse operations. The name takes influence from the machine’s ability to ‘reach’ out further than its stabilising legs. This makes it incredibly easy to reach out into racking and allows the truck to lift up to great heights in very tight working environments. The stabilising legs and batteries within a reach truck eradicates out the need for a counterweight also.
Many manufacturers out there design trucks with a tilt mechanism, allowing the cab to tilt slightly and provide a more comfortable viewing position for the driver. Alternatively, a reach truck may feature a totally open overhead guard to achieve the same effect. For even more visibility, reach trucks can be fitted with cameras that transmit video to an LCD screen within the cab.
This type of forklift truck is extremely well suited to indoor use but is not completely ideal for the outdoors. The low under-carriage clearance can cause issues, especially on uneven surfaces. In addition to this, the electric power systems can also suffer from contact issues if regularly shaken around due to uneven surfaces.
Forklift Trucks for Hire
Here at H&F Lift Trucks we have a range of new and used counterbalance forklifts and reach trucks available. Contact us today for more information or for some general advice on which truck best suits your requirements.