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Forklift Sizing Guide: 5 Things To Consider

What are the things you need to consider when choosing the right forklift size?

  1. Forklift capacity
  2. Load center
  3. Pallet dimensions
  4. Warehouse aisle width
  5. Lift height

Forklifts are industrial trucks used for lifting and moving heavy materials throughout a facility. Thanks to the invention of forklifts, operators are able to transport goods efficiently and with less physical labor. There is a wide range of forklifts available for you to choose from. If you’re considering buying a forklift in the Philippines, you’ll need to know your requirements first. One of the important things to know is the size of the forklift you need to buy. Below is a forklift sizing guide to help you. 

Forklift Capacity

Forklift Capacity

As a piece of material handling equipment, a forklift can help you lift and move heavy loads. But each forklift has its own limitations, so it’s important to know the forklift capacity that will match your requirements.


Forklift capacity refers to the measurement of the weight a forklift can lift. It’s the maximum amount of weight that the equipment can safely lift on a specific load center. In the data plate of the forklift, you can see the rated capacity. Lower capacities start at 3,000 pounds, while heavy-duty forklifts have more than 50,000 pounds of capacity. 


Remember that forklift capacity and forklift stability are directly related. If you put more than the load capacity, you compromise the stability of the equipment. To prevent this, calculate the usual weight of the load on your site. 


Load Center

The next important thing you should understand is the forklift’s load center. This refers to the horizontal distance of the front vertical face of the forks to the center of gravity of the load. You can calculate it by dividing the measurement of the load into two. This is assuming that the load is evenly distributed on the pallet. 


Most forklifts have a 24-inch load center because 48-inch pallets are commonly used. But there are also forklifts that are rated 36 or 48-inch load centers. Remember that as the load center increases, the lifting capacity will also decrease. 


Pallet Dimensions

Pallet Dimensions

Pallets protect the goods while shipping and make handling easier too. The pallet dimensions would also be an important factor in forklift sizing. Pallet sizes will differ depending on the standard of the country. These can also be customized depending on the load carried. It’s important to have the correct pallet size to accommodate your lifting needs. 


It’s also crucial to understand pallet distribution, as this affects the load capacity of the forklift. For instance, if the product is overhanging on the pallet, this can negatively affect the rated capacity of the forklift and become a safety issue.


Warehouse Aisle Width

Warehouse Aisle Width

Your goal is to find a forklift that will best match your warehouse requirements. For this reason, you also need to consider the width of the warehouse aisle, so you can determine what forklift size to buy. 


The standard aisle width for warehouses and distribution stations can vary. Since space is a premium for most of these businesses, there are aisles that are narrower than normal. 


Work with the space that you have and choose a forklift that you can safely operate in the environment that you have. Doing so can save you from headaches in the future. Make sure that the forklift has plenty of space to maneuver, even in a tight aisle. 


Lift Height

Another thing to consider is the lift height of the forklift. For example, if you have a racking system where the loads need to be raised and lowered, the height would be an important consideration for you. 


In this case, you should base on the maximum height when choosing a forklift. To calculate lift height, it’s recommended to add six inches to the height of your topmost shelf, so you have some wiggle room.


A counterbalance forklift, which is the most widely recognized forklift, is made to reach tall and heavy loads. This type of forklift has a lifting height of about 8 meters.


Key Takeaway

With their capacity to carry heavy loads, forklifts are an essential piece of material handling equipment for warehouses, logistics facilities, and distribution sites. But not all forklifts are made the same, so you need to consider your requirements before buying. One of these things is the size of the forklift. 


Hopefully, this forklift sizing guide has helped you! If you need assistance in purchasing a forklift, you can send us a message here at Multico. We can help you in choosing your material handling equipment, so you can make the most out of it on your site. We carry forklifts from the Clark Material Handling Company — one of the most widely known brands for forklifts! Aside from forklifts, you might also be interested in our Bishamon hand pallet trucks.

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