Today’s post is written by Ivy Ray, Account Manager at SafeSourcing Inc.
Finding the right forklift for your operation can be a challenge. You may have a good idea of what your capacity needs are, but there are many options from which to choose. How do you select the best piece of equipment that fits your needs and your budget?
- Electric forklifts are clean, quiet, compact and nimble with charging constraints.
- Gas forklifts are best performers and have indoor/ outdoor flexibility.
- Diesel forklifts are best outdoors and cheap to run.
Battery electric forklifts are the most environmentally friendly, and quiet. They are fume free in operation, giving off no harmful emissions. Powered by large, heavy lead-acid batteries, electric lifts typically provide enough power for one standard eight-hour shift or about 5 to 6 hours of continuous use. One of the main disadvantages is that electric fork lifts are not really suitable for prolonged use outside in wet weather, because the damp atmosphere cause problems with wiring circuitry and electrical components. The two biggest advantages to this system are that it produces zero emissions, a necessity if the lift is operated indoors, and is highly economical in terms of fuel.
Internal combustion (IC) engines run on a variety of fuels including gasoline, diesel fuel, liquid propane gas (LPG), or compressed natural gas (CNG). The main benefits of an IC forklift are the ability to operate them in any environment, a far greater capacity for weight (120,000 lbs. for diesel vs. 12,000 lbs. for an electric), and the ability to be refueled on the fly. They also have a slightly higher reach, usually capping out around 36 feet in comparison to electric lifts that typically don’t go higher than 30 feet.
Their upfront price is the inverse of electric, making them initially cheaper than electric models, but they cost more per hour to run. In fact, you can plan on paying about $30 to fill a 7-gallon diesel tank and $25 to $35 to fill a 33-lb propane tank. If you refuel the tanks twice a day, this equates to a yearly fuel cost of $1,500 for electric, $15,000 for diesel, and about $12,500 for propane.
Dual fuel – a happy median
With the cost of diesel rising, dual fuel engines are becoming the preferred engine type for forklifts and similar industrial equipment in the United States. Comparable in terms of output to single-power options, they provide the cost-saving ability to combine gas and liquid propane or diesel and electric operation, switching between the two modes when power needs change.
In addition to the cost-saving benefits achieved through fuel conservation, dual fuel systems do not require spark plugs or an ignition system, eliminating a good chunk of the maintenance associated with traditional IC engines and boosting overall ROI.
For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.
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