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When to Use a Forklift Vs. a Pallet Jack

Forklift vs pallet jack

A warehouse is a large-scale handling facility that carries a wide range of goods and materials depending on the company. These types of workplaces, including construction sites, require the assistance of powerful material handling machines that are built to lift, handle, transport, and drop-off loads of various sizes, shapes, and weight. There are a number of companies that manufacturer material handling machines, but before choosing a make and model, the first step is figuring out which type of machine you need. The two main types of material handling equipment are forklifts and pallet jacks. They are both employed for lifting, loading, and moving goods around a warehouse, but they differ in their design and their capabilities. Regardless of the type of equipment you use, you need pallet jack forklift training to operate them.

What is a Forklift?

Forklifts are larger in scale and have the most lifting, loading, and moving capabilities compared to pallet jacks. They are used for heavy loads and for their reach power to lift goods on high locations. Lifting and storing materials up high allows for increased floor space for the maneuvering of lifts and pedestrian workers. Forklifts can be used indoors and out, and further expand into different types depending on their power source. Electric forklifts are used indoors to transport goods throughout a warehouse, maneuvering around corners and tight spots. Diesel forklifts are best used outdoors for heavy loads and on rough terrain. Gas powered forklifts can be used indoors and outdoors, and are the least expensive to purchase but make up for initial costs in fuel and maintenance over time. There are also four-wheel, three-wheel, and reach forklifts that are used for various tasks within a workplace.

When to Use a Forklift

The time to use a forklift is when you need to lift a heavy, large load onto a high spot, or if you simply deal with loads of all different sizes. Additionally, if you need to use the material handling machine outdoors, you will need to use a forklift because the sturdy wheels and power capabilities can maneuver rough terrain. If you are operating in a large warehouse with heavy materials that need to be stored on high racks, a forklift is not only your best bet but possibly the only machine you need. While pallet jacks don’t need to be fueled or re-charged and can be stored into small spaces, forklifts are the only type of material handling equipment that can handle bigger and more versatile types of jobs. If you need more power than a simple pallet jack and have the space, forklifts are definitely worth the investment.

What is a Pallet Jack?

Pallet jacks are simple material handling machines that are used for moving pallet-sized loads throughout a warehouse. They are smaller in size and have a maximum weight limit of 3,500kg. They are either hand pumped or powered; the main difference is the aid of the powered lift and the cost. The operator either stands behind the lift on the ground or on the rear footings, slides the forks underneath the pallet, and then pumps the handle to raise the forks off the ground and then transports the load to the designated area. While forklifts can move and lift loads to high areas, pallet jacks are designed to raise the forks just above the ground to make traveling possible.

When to Use a Pallet Jack

Pallet jacks are used when heavy loads that could not be lifted and carried by hand need to be transported throughout a warehouse. If you are operating in a small space and need to lift something that is lightweight, a pallet jack is the best option.

They are used when the worker only needs to lift the load just slightly to move it and not when a load needs to be raised onto a shelf, rack, or truck. They are best used indoors on solid, smooth concrete floors. Pallet jacks are affordable and require little maintenance, which makes them a great tool for everyday tasks. With their excellent maneuverability, pallet jacks speed up regular work practices and improve the efficiency of a warehouse. However, they don’t come with the versatility as forklifts and can only be used for very specific tasks.

Get Pallet Jack Forklift Training at

Choosing the right equipment for the job can improve productivity and safety in your workplace and help you accomplish daily tasks in the most time and cost efficient manner possible. But no matter whether you choose a forklift or a pallet jack, you need the right training. Yes, even pallet jacks require training before workers can use them, because any type of work handling loads from shelves that can become unstable and injure an employee requires training to help avoid hazards. Forklifts especially require training, and according to OSHA, only those who are trained and certified are allowed to operate forklifts without consequences, including a higher risk of accidents and fines.

Pallet jack forklift training teaches workers everything they need to know about how to operate both pallet jacks and electric and gas-powered forklifts. It also teaches operators how to perform inspections and basic maintenance, and how to recognize and avoid hazards to prevent injuries and fatalities. According to past findings, the number one underlying cause of the majority of forklift accidents is operator error. Pallet jack forklift training is the most effective way for operators to stay safe on the job.

Our program covers everything that OSHA requires for forklift training, including:

  • Warehouse Forklifts, Pallet Jacks and Order Pickers, and Rough Terrain Forklift training
  • Truck-related and workplace-related topics
  • A variety of training methods, including written instruction and the guides for leading practical training and evaluations
  • All necessary quizzes and tests
  • Printable proof of training
  • English and Spanish options
  • Free three-year renewals for life!

For only $299 for the complete training kit, workers receive everything they need to operate forklifts and pallet jacks, all in one easy online platform. Our program is 100% OSHA-compliant, but that doesn’t mean it’s difficult, or takes hours. Our online courses take only about one hour to complete, from any device with an internet connection. There’s no traveling to an offsite facility or taking time off involved.

In less than one afternoon, your workplace can be trained and certified to operate forklifts and pallet jacks, and prepared to prevent accidents with the pallet jack forklift training from FLC.

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