When people hear of a reach truck and a forklift, they will immediately think they are both the same vehicle. The terms forklift and reach truck may loosely be used and interchanged between the 2 vehicles. However, they are both just as different as apples and oranges.
Having said all of that, here are some key differences between a reach truck and a standard forklift.
|Standard forklift||Reach truck|
|It comes with front-facing cabs. That means the forklift driver always sees what is in front of him. If he is carrying larger loads, his visibility may be limited.||Reach trucks have many stance options. Its most common stance is a sideways-facing cab. In a reach truck, its driver can gain visibility through innovative mast designs, tilting cabs, and video feeds.|
|A typical forklift has a higher capacity than an average reach truck. Its lifting capacity can be anywhere between 3000 pounds to 19000 pounds. Some forklifts can carry more than that, reaching up to 28000 pounds to 100000 pounds.||Reach trucks have lift capacities between 3000 and 5500 pounds. Depending on each reach truck model, each can have a heavier lifting capacity whereas some others have less.|
|Forklifts are not made to navigate tighter and narrower spaces. More often than not, forklifts will need 12 feet of clearance at the very least.||Reach trucks usually have a smaller turn radius than forklifts by up to 35%. With these smaller wheels, it allows them to work through narrower aisles. Some reach trucks are so small they can operate in 8-foot wide aisles.|
|A forklift does have its own specialized set of forks to lift items. People often use forklifts to lift and transport items from one place to another.||A reach truck also has forks to lift and move pallets. It is practically a specialized type of forklift. Its forks build on the fork lifting design where it extends its reach to higher heights. It also has to stabilize its legs to support its loads.|
|Forklifts have flexibility in power sources. With forklifts, you can choose gasoline, diesel, LPG, or even an electric battery as its fuel source.||Reach trucks often operate on a 36-volt electric battery. Most times they operate on a battery to keep it functioning.|
|It’s good to use a forklift for outdoor work. They can operate indoors and outdoors. If outdoor work is necessary (loading dock, construction, supply yard), then a forklift is necessary. It can handle uneven terrain and safely operate in the rain.||Reach trucks are best used indoors as they are electric vehicles. They will need to operate on smooth surfaces and dry environment. As they are battery operated, they produce no emissions that can harm indoor air quality. They also operate more quietly than internal combustion forklifts.|
|It’s best to use a forklift in open spaces as it’s not good to be operated in tight spaces. Forklifts tend to be bigger than reach trucks as they usually are the better choice for bigger facilities with a storage height of 19 feet.||As you can operate reach trucks indoors, you can easily use them to navigate tighter spaces such as narrow aisles. That way, you can maximize warehouse space by placing storage racks closer together. Furthermore, reach trucks are unable to lift as much weight as forklifts. It can work with lighter loads, depending on the model.|
|A forklift’s controls are quite similar to what you can find on a regular car. It comes with a steering wheel, gear selector, accelerator pedal, and a brake pedal.|
It also has hydraulic controls where road cars do not have. Other than that, they are relatively easy to operate as soon as you have gotten ahold of it.
|A reach truck controls are much more different than what you see in a forklift. Its controls include steering wheel, joystick, and deadman pedal. The deadman pedal is a directional control for forward and reverse travel. It also comes with hydraulic controls for mast up/down movements, tilt, extend/retract, and auxiliary functions like the side shift.|
Those are some of the main and key differences between a reach truck and a forklift. If you ever need help with your forklifts or your reach trucks, do not hesitate to contact us for further assistance. We will be more than happy to assist you.