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What is a Counterbalance Forklift?

Counterbalance forklifts are incredibly popular with warehouse and business owners alike. Regardless of the industry you work in, a counterbalance forklift can always be counted upon to get the job done.

But a counterbalance forklift is just one piece of material handling equipment available on the market right now, so if you’re looking to replace a forklift or add a new one to your fleet, then you should consider:

  • The type of forklift you might need, including understanding their benefits
  • How suitable the forklift will be for the job
  • The capabilities of the forklift you have in mind

To help you make the decision, in this article, we’ll be explaining to you the advantages of implementing a counterbalance forklift throughout your warehouse, touching on the following subjects and questions in the process:

  • What is a counterbalance forklift, exactly?
  • What does a counterbalance forklift do?
  • How can a counterbalance forklift benefit your business?

What is a counterbalance forklift?

Many aren’t aware of this, but there are actually two different variations of a counterbalance forklift: combustion engine counterbalance forklifts and battery electric counterbalance forklifts. Essentially, one is fuelled differently from the other, with one being more suited to outdoor applications.

The combustion forklift has the counterbalance installed at the rear of the vehicle while with the electric forklift, the machine is counterbalanced using the additional weight of the batteries that are installed.

If the counterbalance was not present, then the forklift would, as you would expect, become extremely unbalanced, especially when lifting heavy loads. As a result, the vehicle could tip forwards or even end up tipping onto its side, making it completely unsafe for use. This is why the counterbalance forklift is extremely important to the construction of a counterbalance forklift, as the name would suggest.

A counterbalance forklift comes equipped with two forks placed at the front of the vehicle, enabling it to lift, raise, transport and unload stock with complete ease and as safely as possible.

A counterbalance forklift is available in both three and four-wheel models, meaning that, even if you own a small warehouse with narrow aisles and compact spaces, your business will be able to benefit from a counterbalance forklift, as long as it possesses three wheels instead of four.

Benefits of counterbalance forklift trucks

Counterbalance forklifts are extremely popular with warehouse owners around the world, and for good reason. They’re considered to be highly-versatile, powerful and reliable. With several fuel types to choose from and with the capability to lift a wide range of different weights, it’s no wonder that the counterbalance forklift is being chosen to perform warehouse operations regardless of the industry. So how else can a counterbalance forklift benefit your warehouse?

They have the capability to lift a wide variety of weights

Counterbalance forklifts are able to lift a variety of different weights, depending on the model you go for. Much like with traditional forklifts, the amount of weight it can lift largely depends on the vehicles’ size, age and capabilities, so make sure you check with the manufacturer before buying or hiring a counterbalance forklift.

Forklifts with larger lift capacities will, naturally, be larger in size than forklifts with the ability to carry less weight. A counterbalance forklift is able to lift loads that weigh anywhere between 1.8 tonnes right up to 48 tonnes.

There are different fuel types available

Much like with traditional, more basic forklifts, counterbalance forklift trucks can be powered using a wide range of different fuel types. A warehouse owner might pick one fuel type over another for very specific reasons, so what can each fuel type offer and which one would be best for your operations, your employees and your warehouse overall?

  • Electric counterbalance forklifts – incredibly eco-friendly, perfect for those wanting to keep their carbon footprints low. They’re also ideal for indoor use but less suited to outdoor operations
  • LPG counterbalance forklifts – also considered to be environmentally-friendly, LPG emits extremely low emission levels and so this allows them to be used indoors, but then they’re powerful enough to navigate through outdoor settings
  • Diesel counterbalance forklifts – mostly used for exterior applications thanks to their impressive performance and ease of navigating across loose, uneven or rough surfaces. Thanks to their emission levels, they cannot be considered eco-friendly and should not be used indoors

Numerous attachments can be used in conjunction with a counterbalance forklift

A counterbalance forklift can be enhanced and modified to meet your needs and requirements with the help of forklift attachments. This is a cost-effective, convenient way of changing your forklift in order to get the job done.

Where you might have thought you needed an additional forklift to carry out more heavy-duty tasks, this isn’t necessarily the case when you look at the number of attachments that are available. Some of the attachments you could use on an counterbalance forklift includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Clamps – bale or paper rolls, for example, allows a counterbalance forklift to load, lift and unload irregular-shaped objects, including wool bales and rolls of paper
  • Rotators & bin tippers – these allow a counterbalance forklift to lift, rotate and tip bins, namely industrial ones, efficiently and safely
  • Carpet poles – these fit over the standard tynes, allowing for lengths of material, such as fabrics, to be wrapped effectively around the central pole, ensuring safe transport

They can be used both indoors & outdoors

Warehouses vary considerably by way of size, applications and operations. This often depends on the materials they’re handling or the industry they work in. Some premises are even split across two different sites or they might have to operate outdoors as opposed to inside. A counterbalance forklift is incredibly versatile, so you won’t have to worry about buying one forklift for indoor use and another for outdoor applications.

The machine can be used interchangeably, effortlessly going between interior and exterior settings to ensure you get the job done. Those looking for such a versatile machine will often opt for LPG forklifts as opposed to solely diesel forklifts or electric forklifts.

This is because LPG counterbalance forklifts are powerful enough to work outdoors or rough, loose or uneven terrain and produce minimal emissions, therefore keeping your workers who are inside safe from harmful toxins.

Quality counterbalance forklifts have long lifespans, making it a reliable machine & a good investment

Forklifts, generally, have impressive lifespans, meaning they’ll provide you with many hours of uninterrupted service when you need it most. However, this doesn’t mean that you can let the maintenance of the machine fall by the wayside. It still needs as much maintenance and looking after as a conventional forklift.

This ensures, importantly, that it’s safe for the operator and those nearby. It will also help to elongate the life of the machine even further, so you won’t have to worry about replacing your counterbalance forklift for years to come; giving you absolute peace of mind that warehouse operations can continue to run as smoothly as possible for a long period of time.

Hire Forklifts are able to provide customers throughout the UK with high-calibre material handling equipment, including forklift hire and warehouse equipment rentals. Our material handling equipment hire contracts are transparent, cost-effective and reasonably-priced, so no matter what your needs are or how small or large your budget is, you’ll be able to benefit highly from our forklift rental and warehouse equipment hire. For more information, get in touch with a member of our professional team today – we’re always happy to hear from you.

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