Basic types of forklift trucks.Nowadays, forklifts are used to transport loads needed by all major industries in the world - from grocery shops to large manufacturing companies. No one considers manual handling of larger goods by employees. There are different types of forklifts on the market that companies can use to make the best use of their valuable time. Their classification depends on their purpose, weight and also their drive. Each of them has an essential function, which is to transport goods from one place to another and to different heights without using human hands, which aims to reduce the risk of injury. It should be remembered that a forklift operator can only be a person with the appropriate licence, which allows them to be used in accordance with high safety standards.


In their construction, all trolleys have the same parts. The most important component is the mast for lifting the load. Together with the faceplate, the forks and the chain, it forms the basic lifting system. Each forklift truck has a frame, chassis and brake system, counterweights and a drive block. The steering wheel, lever and pedals allow efficient control of the vehicle. Some types also include a roof guard to increase operator safety. A properly mounted mast ensures safe lifting of the load to the required height. Thanks to it, it is possible to efficiently lift carriages with forks on which loads or pallets are placed. Modern technology has made this process faster and the work associated with storing and picking loads is much easier, positively influencing the efficiency of warehouse and material handling.


There are the following types of forklift trucks:

Basic types of forklift trucks. - by type of drive:

  • electric trucks (mains, battery)
  • diesel-powered trucks (LPG, diesel)
  • manually propelled trolleys

- in terms of governance:

  • driver-operated trucks
  • platform trucks steered from a platform on the truck
  • trolleys remotely controlled by automation system
  • wheelchairs with a driver's seat steered from the seat on the wheelchair.


Three-wheel and four-wheel trolleys are by far the most stable and are designed to perform a wide range of work in the warehouse. When choosing the right trolley, it should be taken into account how often it will be used, what functions it will perform in the company, as well as what activities it will be used for.


Internal combustion engine forklifts most often use diesel fuel as their fuel, but there are also LPG-powered forklifts on the market. This type of equipment can only be used outdoors due to the significant emissions into the environment. However, if there is a need to use a combustion engine trolley indoors, it must be fitted with the appropriate filters to reduce the emission of harmful exhaust fumes. Gas (LPG) trucks are an economical option compared to electric trucks. However, they are only recommended for outdoor use. Electric forklifts are also known as battery powered forklifts. They are ideal for use in halls and warehouses as they meet all safety standards. They are perfect for small spaces as they are comfortable, loadable and manoeuvrable. Their motor is much smaller than in other types of forklifts. Proper care of the battery will ensure that it will serve us for many years. Taking into account the variety of work required and the weight of the goods to be moved, we can distinguish different types of forklifts by application.


A reach truck is an electric device that allows loads to be moved and turned and lifted by extending the mast so that it is moved towards the centre of gravity of the device. High lift trucks are often referred to as "reach trucks" and fall into the general category of all lift trucks. One feature is the location of the operator station, which in this case is positioned sideways. The reach trucks are small in size, making them easy to manoeuvre in narrow storage spaces. They have a small turning radius thanks to a chassis design based on three wheels. The steering angle is 90°. The main feature that distinguishes reach trucks is the mast height. In these machines, two-piece and three-piece masts are used, which have a fixed frame and two extendible frames.


A forklift truck, commonly referred to as a forklift truck, is a motorised wheeled vehicle that is designed to transport heavy materials. It is used in material handling and in warehouses.


Torsion forklifts allow precise handling of goods, multi-directional forklifts are perfect for narrow aisles as well as between racks in a warehouse, while lateral forklifts are most often used for stacking pallets on racks without the need to turn the goods in the aisle.


Front forklifts are the most common type of forklift truck. Their main feature is the placement of the mast at the front end, so that the fork tines are parallel to the axis of the machine. Front forklifts are the most versatile. They are used for trans-shipment work, as well as for warehouse operations. Often used as equipment for moving loads on the shop floor, delivering raw materials or taking pallets of goods to warehouses and distribution. One of their disadvantages is their considerable length, which can sometimes make manoeuvring difficult.


Lateral forklifts are machines with the mast positioned in a way where, unlike front forklifts, the fork tines are perpendicular to the direction of travel. Their main advantage is their small size and their ability to manipulate in small spaces. They are not suitable for outdoor work.


A variable reach reach truck, also known as a telehandler or Manitou, named after its most popular manufacturer, is a specialised piece of material handling equipment. It is used to transport loads in difficult terrain (e.g. on construction sites). Telescopic handlers are quite expensive and complex machines. The main component is an arm with a variable outreach that allows for efficient vertical and horizontal handling of heavier loads and manoeuvring in space. It has 4-wheel drive and off-road pneumatic tyres. They are most often found on larger farms, construction sites or anywhere else where their greatest advantages can be exploited.


A hundred years have passed since the first forklift trucks were manufactured, and the continuous improvement of these devices has resulted in their use in many places, including hypermarkets and large construction warehouses, in warehouses, in open spaces, e.g. on construction sites and in industrial plants, where today it is very difficult to imagine working without them. In order to make our work significantly easier, in addition to obtaining the appropriate authorisations, proper operation and observance of safety principles, we should remember about valid UDT supervision and maintenance inspections. Remember that, according to the law, each forklift truck in use must be reported to the Office of Technical Inspection.