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Manual VS Electric Hand Pallet Trucks

What do you need to know about manual vs electric hand pallet trucks?

  1. Capacity
  2. Operation
  3. Operating environment
  4. Maintenance
  5. Cost

A pallet truck is a type of material handling equipment that is used to lift and move pallets. It’s mainly used in warehouse environments and storage operations. It has the ability to transport various weights, which helps increase productivity and make operations more efficient. For workers, it helps save energy, lessens fatigue, and reduces risk. In this article, we will compare the two main types you can choose from — manual vs electric hand pallet trucks. 

The main difference between the two is how they’re powered or operated. Just like the name, manual hand pallet trucks are used manually while electric hand pallet trucks are powered by electric motors. To make the best choice, you need to consider your unique needs and the benefits you want to experience. Keep on reading!



When looking for a pallet truck, you need to consider the size and weight capacities that will match your needs. Manual pallet trucks’ capacities range from 5,000 to 5,500 pounds. These have a basic design, so you can fit many kinds of pallets. This type of pallet truck can be used in operations of any scale. You can also choose pallet trucks with varying fork dimensions. 

Basic electric pallet trucks range from 2,000 to 6,000 pounds capacities. These perform similarly to a manual pallet truck, but the main difference is that the electric motor assists in propelling the truck and raising and lowering forks. In most cases, forks in electric pallet trucks can be raised higher. Because they’re power operated, the pallet truck is capable of doing the heavy work for the operator.


Manual pallet trucks are known for their ease of operation. Because of the simple design, manual pallet trucks require little training to operate. A manual pallet truck has a lever that you can use to lower the prongs, allowing you to insert the truck into a pallet. The handle can be used to lift the pallet.

Electric pallets are also easy to use, as long as you follow the instructions properly. On the handle of the truck, there are buttons that can control the direction of the prongs and the pallet truck itself. Many electric pallet trucks also offer a ride-on feature, which makes it easier to get around a facility. Electric pallet trucks require more training because they’re more complex to use. But they are also more ergonomic since there’s less muscular-skeletal strain involved.

Operating Environment

The operating environment is the area where you plan to use the pallet truck. Most of the time, pallet trucks are used indoors, such as inside warehouses. Manual pallet trucks are more accessible for smaller facilities because they have a smaller footprint. You can put them almost anywhere. 

On the other hand, electric pallet trucks are beneficial for larger facilities. They can travel long distances because they’re powered by an electric motor. You can also use them on an incline since they can easily climb grades.



One of the advantages of manual pallet trucks is that they don’t have electrical components. Because of the simple and basic design, they’re easier to maintain. Even if repairs are needed, it takes less time and the parts can be easily replaced. As long as the trucks are maintained properly, they’re always available for use. Manual pallet trucks are tough because of their strong and solid design. 

For electric pallet trucks, there is an increased need for maintenance since the design is more complex. The electrical components need to be taken care of properly. Other than that, electric pallet trucks require time-outs, during charging and maintenance. 



Cost is another important consideration before purchasing any equipment. One benefit of choosing manual pallet trucks is that they’re more affordable and also have a lower cost when it comes to maintenance. 

The cost of an electric pallet truck is usually higher, in addition to its maintenance costs. But you will also be able to get more done because it can cover longer distances. Electric pallet trucks can pay for themselves over time.


Key Takeaway

Both manual and electric hand pallet trucks are reliable when it comes to transporting pallets. Manual hand pallet trucks are easy to use, require less maintenance, and are also affordable to buy and maintain. On the other hand, electric hand pallet trucks can reach longer distances with ease and are suitable for larger facilities.

If you’re interested in learning more about manual vs electric hand pallet trucks, you can send us a message here at Multico! We can provide you with high-quality material handling equipment that can help you efficiently lift and transport goods in your facility. Aside from pallet trucks, we also have forklifts. 

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