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Counterbalance Forklift: Everything You Wanted to Know

Updated: May 1, 2021

A counterbalance forklift is one of the most common used vehicles to carry and transfer loads. It has a heavyweight on the back to balance the weight of the load it is carrying, hence called a counterbalance forklift.

In other words, these forklifts carry a very heavy weight at the rear of the truck to offset the cargo being loaded on the forks at the front of the truck. Otherwise, the forklift is likely to become unbalanced and tip over due to the extra weight on the forks that protrude out at the front of the vehicle.

Since the rear wheels become the turning wheels on a counterbalance forklift, they lack any out-rigging legs or arms to stabilize them.

Because of this, the forklift can be driven right up the precise spot where your load or racking is located.

Understanding the Difference between Electric and Propane Gas Counterbalance Forklifts:

An electric and a propane gas counterbalance seem similar due to the identical seats and steering wheels. However, there are some differences between the two forklifts.

Propane Gas Counterbalance Forklift:

Talking about propane counterbalance forklifts, it is an ideal forklift for day-long operations or multiple shifts. You can refuel them easily as all you need to remove the propane tank and refill. A propane counterbalance forklift is more efficient and can carry more weight than its electric counterpart and are faster than an electric one. The propane version also comes with one more hydraulic control than the electric one.

The forklift is equipped with an accelerator and brake pedals like a car. It also comes with an inching brake as an additional pedal that is left of the brake. The inching brake allows the operator to disengage the transmission hydraulically which is important as you need to hold down the accelerator pedal to raise or lower the forks without the truck moving forward. The other controls include the emergency brake pedal, steering column controls, and exhaust.

Electric Counterbalance Forklifts:

If your forklift is used to carry food items, then the electric counterbalance is a better choice. Propane gas releases carbon that can harm the food. It is ideal for indoor applications as it doesn’t release fumes.

An electric counterbalance forklift also doesn’t make as much noise. It is ideal for a single shift as the battery can only last so long without needing to pause and recharge before being used again. If you are looking to work multiple shifts, then you need to purchase extra batteries to avoid any interruption in your work. This version also doesn’t require an inching brake as it won’t forward as soon as you take your foot off the accelerator, similar to an automatic car.

Understanding the Difference between a Counterbalance Forklift and a Reach Truck:

A reach truck has two outer legs that can handle the load and there is a single set of wheels located at the back, below the operator. This is something that is not found in the counterbalance forklift. These trucks come with a very tight turning radius that lets them operate in a very narrow space. They can carry loads to specific heights. They are operated by battery and are meant for indoor use only.

The Uses of Counterbalance Forklift

Counterbalance forklifts are widely used in stores, warehouses, and stable surfaces. They are simple to operate and come with dual forks at the front of the truck to carry and transport items. They can carry up to 3,000 to 80,000 pounds, making them the most versatile model.

So this is all about counterbalance forklift. What do you think? Let us know by commenting below!


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