LP Gas vs. electric vs. diesel forklifts – which should you choose? If you’re looking for a new forklift but aren’t sure which type is most suitable for your application, we can help. As forklift truck specialists, we know it can be difficult to work out which forklift is best for your business. And as they are a significant investment, we know it’s essential to get the decision right.
So, what are the different types of forklift?
You have the choice of diesel, LP gas or electric-powered forklifts and each come with their own benefits and downsides. Below we summarise some of the pros and cons of each and the applications they are most suitable for.
About diesel forklifts
Diesel forklifts trucks are some of the toughest workhorses in the materials handling industry and as such, are suited to a wide range of applications. Designed to withstand tough, wet and dirty outdoor conditions, these forklifts are powered by a fuel that is not only easy to get hold of but straightforward to use too.
Diesel-powered forklifts are for outside use. They are the best option if your forklift will be used to transfer items from one site location to another. They are also suited to container stuffing and moving goods into or out of external storage areas.
The benefits of using a diesel forklift
- A durable forklift for outdoor applications
- Powerful engines mean these forklifts perform better on gradients than LP gas or electric-powered forklifts
- The most suited to towing duties
- Built with more power than alternatives, giving better acceleration and increased lift speeds
- No recharging required meaning the forklift can be kept in use
- Cheaper than an electric forklift
What are the downsides?
- Diesel forklifts are noisy which can be off-putting for workers
- They also produce exhaust fumes and harmful emissions causing a high carbon footprint
About electric forklifts
Electric forklifts are the most environmentally friendly forklift when compared to diesel- and LP gas-powered forklifts. Their build means they are both quick and easy to manoeuvre. They are particularly suited for indoor use and for handling a wide range of unit loads including pallets, pallet boxes, and stillages.
Electric forklifts are suitable for a wide range of indoor applications including lifting goods in and out of racking and moving loads at ground level around your site. They are also suited to production environments where you might need your forklift to bring supplies or components to a production line, or clear waste packaging and other production by-products. Electric forklifts are also suited to loading and unloading heavy goods vehicles.
The benefits of using an electric forklift
- The most environmentally friendly type of forklift truck
- Cleaner, easier and quieter to operate than other forklift types
- Lighter weight and concentrated mass of battery means they are easier to manoeuvre than LP gas- and diesel-powered forklifts
- Often cheaper to operate as re-charging an electric forklift’s battery is generally cheaper than a tank of diesel or a gas bottle
- Cheaper to maintain than LP gas- and diesel-powered forklifts
What are the downsides?
- Electric forklifts are often the most expensive
- There is some downtime as they can’t be used while the battery is being charged
- Not all electric forklifts are suitable for outdoor use due to the risk of wet weather. A wet atmosphere can cause problems with wiring and electrical components
- If attachments are used, it might increase drain on the battery
LP Gas-powered forklifts
About LP gas powered forklifts
LP Gas-powered forklifts are extremely flexible and as such, are suited for both inside and outside usage. More environmentally friendly than diesel-powered models, these forklifts offer the power and performance necessary for more demanding work. Just like electric lift trucks, LP gas-powered forklifts are clean and quiet; yet do not require hours of recharging between shifts.
LP Gas-powered forklifts are most suited to working in warehouse racking. They are also a great choice for loading goods vehicles and carrying goods between one site building to another. Also useful in delivering pallets of critical supplies to a production line – these forklifts are suitable for just about any materials handling task.
The benefits of using a gas-powered forklift
- Cheaper than alternatives
- Suitable for indoor and outdoor applications
- Limited downtime as there is no battery to re-charge
- Quieter and more environmentally friendly than diesel forklifts, but less so than electric forklifts
- Best rates of acceleration, travel and lift speeds
What are the downsides?
- Maintenance costs are higher than electric forklifts
- Gas tanks can reduce rear view visibility
Choosing the right forklift for your business
We hope this gives you more direction in choosing the right forklift for your business. Check out our lift truck selector where you can input your exact requirements, and we’ll determine the most suitable forklift for you.
Download our useful guide here