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If your goal is to move, by picking up and transporting, heavy materials over a short distance, then a forklift truck or forklift equipment is what you are aiming to use. This understanding, however, is not sufficient in itself. Proper knowledge requires you to understand that there are many types of forklift equipment. There are many forklift classes each of which serves a separate function and has its own uses, which can sometimes get overwhelming. As the experts in forklifts for over half a century, those at CFE Equipment can give you an easy run down of the seven different classes of forklifts, five being the most commonly well-known and well used.

Today in this article we will share with you what these top five classes of forklift are and what are the key defining and distinguishing features of each of them. This knowledge will help you feel better equipped to make the right selection for your equipment in your time of need.

  • Class I: Electric Counterbalanced

The load capacity of this class of forklift is between 2500 and 12000 lbs. This allows it to be used extensively indoors, in manufacturing facilities, and warehouses. It is important to remember not to use these in freezers (unless built with a freezer package). These forklifts are generally built with sit down operator compartments. They are powered by electricity in lead-acid, thin plate pure lead, lithium-ion, and hydrogen fuel cell form.

  • Class II: Electric Narrow Aisle

This forklift class is capable of lifting between 1500 and 5500 lbs. It is clearly not meant for lifting as heavy as some of the other classes. As the name itself suggests, narrow aisles are where it can be best used such as in large stores or warehouses. If you need to stack on high shelves, this Class is your guy. These machines are generally operated in a stand up position.  Like Class I these lifts are battery powered.

  • Class III: Electric Motorized Hand Trucks

With a capability of lifting between 2000 and 10000 lbs.  These lifts are very commonly used for transporting materials that require low lifts. These trucks can easily move product around the floor of the warehouse without the need to place the product on a high shelf or rack. Hand trucks are often operated by a handle at the rear of the truck and a hand control is used to steer as the operator walks, or rides, it to its destination. Like previous classes, Class III is powered by a battery.

Class IV: Internal Combustion Engine Trucks – Cushion Tire

A load capacity between 3000 and 15500 lbs allows this class of forklift to be used in exclusively in indoor applications. As the tire type is cushion, the applicability of this class comes mostly on smooth floors and in loading docks. Unlike the first three classes, the power here is not electrical but rather diesel fuel, LPG, gasoline, and CNG.

  • Class V: Internal Combustion Engine Trucks – Pneumatic Tire

The capacity that this class of forklift has in taking load is between 3000 and 36000 lbs. This makes it the most versatile class when it comes to loading. Lumberyards, both inside and outside, as well as construction sites, and warehouses see this class being used most. Just like Class IV, the power source here is diesel fuel, LPG, gasoline, and CNG.

Hopefully you feel a little more well versed in the top 5 most used forklift Classes. Leave a comment or drop us a line to see how CFE can help you choose your next forklift.