For inquiries, details and instructions, please see detailshere.

How to Choose a Forklift Mast

How do you choose a forklift mast?

  1. Consider the lift height
  2. Think of the collapsed height
  3. Learn about the free lift
  4. Know the types of forklift masts


A forklift is an important industrial vehicle for warehouses, dockyards, construction sites, and other industries. This material handling equipment can reduce the labor needed to transport and move heavy loads. When choosing a forklift, you need to consider the features and specifications that will match your site. One of these includes knowing how to choose a forklift mast. 

A forklift mast is the part of the forklift that is responsible for doing most of the lifting and moving work. It’s the structure at the front of the machinery that raises the loads. It is made of multiple sections, such as the nested rails, the carriage, and the forks. 

The nested rails are the section that allows the mast to extend and lower. The inner rails and chains are attached to the carriage. The forks ride the carriage and handle the material. All of these work together to move and lift loads. If you need a guide in choosing the right forklift mast, continue reading on. 


Consider the Lift Height

Consider The Lift Height

One of the first things you should do when choosing a forklift mast is to consider the lift height. This is the maximum lift height or the height of the forks when the mast is extended fully. Lift height is the measurement of the floor to the forks. 

You’ll need to know the highest point of your racking system, and choose a lift height that makes it possible to adjust loads at the top safely. It’s recommended to add additional lift height for allowance. Adding six inches above the highest shelf allows the forklift some room to maneuver. 

Keep in mind that the higher the forklift mast is extended, the lift capacity of the material handling equipment can also decrease. This ensures that the load is stable when the load is lifted. 


Think of the Collapsed Height

Other than the maximum lift height, the lowered or collapsed height is also important in choosing a forklift mast. The collapsed height is the distance of the top of the mast from the ground when the mast is lowered fully. 

It’s important to think of this, especially if your forklift needs to travel through confined spaces, such as doorways or underneath raised walkways. If the forklift masts have a collapsed height that is too high, then it can hit the doorways, resulting in damage to the forklift and the surroundings. 

Learn about the Free Lift

The free lift is the measurement of how high the forks can be raised without changing the mast height. This is the height you can lift a load before the mast begins to extend. Forklift masts without a free lift will extend immediately when the forklift is used to lift loads. Forklifts with a free lift can lift the forks to the top of the mast before it extends.

It’s important to know the free lift of the forklift, especially when operating in confined spaces with limited overhead clearance. This applies when you’re working in trailers, containers, and racking systems.

Know the Types of Forklift Masts

Know The Types Of Forklift Masts

Now that you have an idea of what to look for in a forklift mast depending on your requirements, the next step is to understand what type of forklift mast you need. Here are the different types available for you to choose from:

Single Stage Mast

A single-stage mast is made of one channel and has a limited lifting height. The limitation of this type of mast is the lack of free lift. This means that the mast needs to extend higher to stack loads. For this reason, a single-stage mast is often found in forklifts that are used outdoors. Outside, overhead clearance is less of a concern. 


2-Stage Mast

One of the more common types of mast is the 2-stage mast. Compared to the single-stage mast, it has a free lift. This type of mast is often used for indoor applications where limited overhead clearance is a concern. You can use them in trailers and box cars. This is also known as a duplex. 


3-Stage Mast

Also called a triplex, a 3-stage mast has outer rails that allow free lift. The two inner sections also allow the forklift to lift loads that are higher than a 2-stage mast. This type of mast is often used for general warehouse applications. 


4-Stage Mast

A 4-stage mast or a quad mast has a shorter collapsed height compared to a three-stage mast. It is also used for very high stacking since it has four sets of moving rails. This is often seen in specialized warehousing applications.  

Key Takeaway

It’s important to know about the forklift mast since it’s the part of the material handling equipment that does the work. Considering the maximum lift height, collapsed height, and free lift among others can be beneficial so that you don’t face problems using the forklift on your site. Fortunately, there are several types of forklift mast available for you to choose from. 

Now that you know how to choose a forklift mast, you can maximize the use of a forklift on your site! If you’re interested in purchasing a forklift, you can send us a message here at Multico. We will help you find the right type of forklift with the features and specifications that match your requirements. As the home of the best forklifts in the Philippines, we assure you that you will make the most out of this material handling equipment for a long time.

welcome to Asia's Equipment Specialist

view products