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Seven Common Forklift Classes – How Many Classes of Forklifts are There?

Seven Common Forklift Classes

Operator Training for Different Types of Forklifts

The U.S. Industrial Truck Association (ITA) has established 7 different types of forkliftsbased on criteria such as the type of motor that powers the truck, its tire types and whether the operator rides on the body of the truck or operates it by hand. Rough terrain forklifts are in a class by themselves.

Knowing about the 7 different types of forklifts and the classes of forklift licenses is helpful in getting your workers OSHA compliant. (FLC) has a great selection of forklift classes to all the different powered industrial trucks as defined by OSHA.

As an employer, you’re responsible for seeing that your employees receive OSHA compliant training for all seven forklift classes. At, we’re thoroughly familiar with the 7 different types of forklift and the training requirements for each different type of forklifts your company needs to become OSHA compliant. Regardless of the forklift classes used at your business, our online training modules cover everything your drivers need to know about operating different types of forklifts.

Regardless of how much your workers may think they know about the 7 different types of forklift, FLC’s training will help ensure their safety and keep your business in compliance with OSHA regulations. Our comprehensive online Forklift Training Kit covers forklift classes I through VII, and can be completed in about one hour using a smartphone, tablet or other digital device anywhere there’s an internet connection – your operators can be certified as soon as today!’s training courses will teach your workers about different forklift classes, safe driving techniques, OSHA regulations, accident avoidance and more. We provide affordable training for all forklift classes, including everything your company needs for your operators to meet OSHA’s requirements, so sign up now.


OSHA’s 7 different types of forklift classifications:

✓ Class I

Electric motor rider trucks. These include electric motor-powered rider, and counterbalanced trucks with either solid or pneumatic tires. Class I electric forklifts include some of the most commonly used powered industrial trucks. They’re designed for use inside warehouses, since they don’t emit toxic fumes and are less noisy than their gasoline or diesel-powered counterparts.

✓ Class II

Electric motor narrow aisle trucks and Class III – Electric motor hand trucks hand/rider trucks. People are often confused by the differences between Class II & III forklifts. Both types are compact electric trucks that can maneuver through narrow warehouse aisles and other areas that can’t accommodate larger-sized forklifts.

 Class IV

Forklifts equipped with solid cushion tires powered by internal combustion engines. Of all the 7 different types of forklifts, Class IV is often the most confusing. Think of Class IV lifts as Class I lifts, but with an internal combustion engine, as opposed to an electric motor. Class V

Forklifts with pneumatic cushion tires powered by internal combustion engines. This forklift type is just like Class IV, but with air-filled tires.

Class VI

Tractors powered by either electric or internal combustion engines. This class of forklift goes into the heavy duty category, and is best exemplified by a sit-down rider with a draw bar pull of at least 999 pounds!

Class VII

These are forklift trucks with pneumatic tires designed for outdoor use over rough terrain. They’re frequently used on construction sites and lumberyards, and are able to operate on uneven terrain. Variable reach type, variable mast type and truck & trailer mounted lifts are good examples of Class VII forklfits.

Note on the 7 different types of forklifts: Class IV, V and VI forklifts are all very similar. Class IV internal combustion engine trucks with solid tires are for indoor use on smooth floors, while Class V internal combustion engine trucks with pneumatic tires are used outdoors on uneven terrain. Forklift classes IV and V are powered by gas, diesel or LP gas engines.


Forklift classes I, II and III are powered by electric motors. Powered by batteries, gasoline or LPG, Class I’s are warehouse forklifts, and come in both stand up and sit down models. Class II and III forklifts fall under the category of Pallet Jacks and Order Pickers. These include

✓ High-Lift straddles
✓ Reach type outriggers
✓ Side loaders
✓ Turret trucks,
✓ Swing masts
✓ Convertible turret/stockpickers
✓ Low lift pallets

Class VII forklifts are sit down riders designed for use on rough terrain, and are the most rigged and durable of the seven forklift categories. They include straight mast and telescopic forklifts, extended boom lifts and extended reach trucks. Of the seven forklift class types, Class VIIs are definitely the most durable and rugged!


The choice of a forklift depends upon the operating environment. Class II trucks are probably the best choice for maneuvering through narrow warehouse aisles.

OSHA requires all operators to routinely inspect their vehicles by going through a daily checklist before starting work. There are different checklists for each separate class of forklifts, such as electric versus internal combustion motors, stand-up as opposed to sit down lifts and high-lift straddles versus side loaders.


Forklift has training and certification courses that cover all 7 different types of forklift along with the varied classes of forklift licenses. . Each of our 100% OSHA compliant training courses is designed to give your employees the confidence they need to perform safely and avoid accidents and injuries while on the job. We’ll teach them everything they need to know about the seven forklift classes, including safe operating techniques, the types of forklift licenses needed and much more. Enroll your operators today and your business can become compliant in no time at all!

If you have questions about the classes of forklift license your employees need to comply with OSHA regulations, call our certification consultants at (888) 278-8896 or click here to contact us online. Our training courses include free lifetime customer support and refresher training. Sign up now and your company will enjoy a safer, more productive workplace!

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