What are the various types of forklift truck?

What are the various types of forklift truck?


  • forklift trucks
10 MIN

23 May, 2024

There is a wide variety of forklift trucks on the market today. Tasks, such as loading and unloading with different types of palletising or the handling of long loads can be made easier and more efficient with the right machines.


As a highly efficient, environmentally friendly and high-performance alternative, forklift trucks are indispensable for optimal warehouse operations.


In this post we tell you what they are and the different types that exist, from counterbalanced forklifts to all-terrain forklifts and reach trucks.


Let's get started.

What is a forklift truck?



A forklift truck is a rear-counterbalanced vehicle which, thanks to its twin forks, is used to lift, lower and transport pallets, containers and other types of loads.


Depending on whether it is manual or electric, the forklift truck has various functions. Also, in some models, operators can be either standing or seated. In order to operate this type of machinery, it is compulsory to obtain an official licence or qualification that enables the person to perform this function.


The main function of forklift trucks is to safely and efficiently manoeuvre various materials, normally arranged on pallets, which is why they are essential for the organisation and management of logistics warehouses.

Types of forklift truck

What types of forklift trucks are available on the market?




Although there are many different types of forklift trucks on the market, the main ones are as follows:


Pallet trucks

Pallet trucks are logistics machines used for loading and unloading of goods, transport and order picking.


There are two types of pallet trucks:

●  Manual pallet truck: the load-raising and travel movements are carried out manually by the operator.

●  Electric pallet truck: the loading, unloading and transport movements are carried out by the machine by means of an electric motor.


The stacker is a warehouse machine that performs the tasks of transporting, stacking and storing goods. The main difference between stackers and pallet trucks is that stackers have a mast to help lift the load.

There are different types of stacker: manual stacker, electric stacker, platform stacker, ride-on stacker, etc.


Reach trucks

Reach trucks are perfect for warehouse work. You can move them around and manoeuvre them by means of rotating and lifting movements. You can also perform transport and stacking functions.  


This machine is ideal for use in small spaces, where tight turning manoeuvres are required, where goods need to be transported and the load needs to be lifted to great heights.


Counterbalanced forklift trucks

These machines are among those most frequently used in a warehouse. Counterbalanced forklifts are used for loading and unloading goods, horizontal product transport, stacking and picking. They can also be used both indoors and outdoors, depending on the wheels they are fitted with.


They are very useful for handling heavy loads and are powered by various energy sources, i.e. you can find electric, diesel or petrol-powered forklifts.


Order picker

Order pickers are a type of forklift truck mainly used for preparing orders and picking work at various heights (low, medium, high).  

Normally, the forks of these forklift trucks are located at the rear and the driver rides on the machine while carrying out the work.


Trilateral forklift truck

Trilateral trucks, also known as VNA, or very narrow aisle trucks, are a type of forklift truck used for picking goods in very narrow and sometimes high spaces.

Due to their compact and lightweight design, they help maximise time and productivity in the warehouse.


Automatic forklift truck

The automated forklift truck, or automatic guided vehicle (AGV) operates without a driver, i.e. it is programmed to know where it should drive, where it should pick up and drop off its load, etc. To ensure safety at all times, this type of truck scans its surroundings and detects if there are people in the way to avoid possible injury to staff.

AGVs are perfect for repetitive work such as in production lines, warehouses or transport systems.


Tow tractors

These are quite versatile and are used for order picking and moving loads over long distances via trailers.

One advantage is that the tow tractor can be used both inside and outside the warehouse.


This is the classification of forklift trucks according to their application. However, we can also classify them according to:

●  The area where they work: indoor, outdoor or off-road.

●  The position of the operator: driver on foot, platform or mounted driver.

●  Power source: manual, electric or diesel/petrol.

●  Procurement: forklift truck purchases, rental or second-hand purchase.

This is a summary of the most commonly used forklift trucks, although there is an extensive list of many others. They will mainly help you to protect transported goods, reduce the risk of accidents and improve worker productivity.


If you are thinking of buying or renting a forklift truck, we at CYCLICA can help you with our extensive catalogue. Check them out  here!