Choosing a forklift can be a difficult decision nowadays. Not only do we need to consider the type, make, and tech, but we must also factor in the fuel it consumes. Let’s simplify things by identifying the pros and cons of diesel, propane, and electric forklifts.

Propane (LPG) Forklifts

Propane forklifts are the cheapest to buy out of the three fuel-based options that we are comparing here today, but the same cannot always be said about their maintenance costs, unfortunately. Propane forklifts can be more expensive down the line for some businesses because of rising fuel prices, especially when compared to the more expensive, electric forklifts.

On the other hand, propane forklifts don’t need to be recharged, which ensures considerably higher uptime as compared to electric forklifts. They don’t pollute the environment with toxic emissions like diesel forklifts do, so that’s a major bonus. And that is the reason why propane forklifts are flexible enough to be used comfortably inside an enclosed environment like a warehouse, as well as for fieldwork at a construction site.

Gas-powered forklifts are in the middle as far as speed of operation is concerned, next only to diesel-powered forklifts. Propane tanks do tend to obstruct some of the rearview on older models though, so that’s something to consider before you buy or rent one. Look through your options for forklift rental in St. Louis and find a newer model with a better design for the gas tank.

Electric Forklifts

Electric forklifts are lighter and easier to maneuver inside enclosed buildings with narrow aisles, making them the best options for warehouse work. Being the quietest and cleanest option with no emissions, electrically powered forklifts are by far the most eco-friendly options. They don’t emit any fumes whatsoever, making electrically powered forklifts significantly safer than both diesel and propane forklifts for indoor use.

However, electric forklifts are also the most expensive forklifts you can buy right now, with a higher downtime than both diesel and propane alternatives. The long-term cost savings on fuel might be large enough to offset the initial cost as electric forklifts are the cheapest to maintain. However, the recharge time or downtime is both long and unavoidable for now.

Diesel Forklifts

Diesel-powered forklifts are considerably more capable than both electric and propane-powered forklifts in terms of speed, acceleration, and power. When lifting and towing capacity are of the highest importance, diesel forklifts are unbeatable. Just like propane forklifts, there is no significant downtime with diesel forklifts either. On top of all that, they are also cheaper than their electric counterparts.

It’s not all pros though, because the exhaust fumes from diesel forklifts are too toxic for them to be used in a sealed indoor environment. Therefore, they are unsuitable for frequent use inside temperature-controlled warehouses. There is also the fact that they cost more than propane forklifts and diesel-powered forklifts are certainly not cheap to maintain either.

All that being said, diesel forklifts are still the most powerful options for outdoor work. Nevertheless, now that you have information about each, making an informed decision to meet the needs of your business should be easier.

Image credit: Jennifer Uppendahl via Unsplash

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