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What is the difference between a pallet truck, a stacking truck and a forklift truck?

Pallet truck, stacking truck and forklift truck
Pallet truck, stacking truck and forklift truck

For a layperson, it is not easy to differentiate between these types of handling equipment. There are legions of them in factories, warehouses, loading and unloading areas. What are the differences between these three musketeers of logistics and handling?

Pallet truck: move without lifting too much

A pallet truck has a low height lift, not more than around twenty centimetres. This handling equipment is therefore suited for handling at ground level and transporting a load on a pallet. Pallet trucks are not designed for stacking. Manual, semi-electric, or electric, both use and applications of pallet trucks are very simple. They are mainly used in the sectors of transportation, wholesale or retail trade as well as in the food processing industry.

Depending on the type of goods and the load to be moved, a pallet truck suited to your needs may have long forks, an optional weighing scale, be built of a particular material such as stainless steel, or have a greater height of lift than standard pallet trucks.

The average prices for pallet trucks vary from €250 for an entry-level model, to €2,000 for more sophisticated models.

Stacking truck: an improved pallet truck capable of lifting to greater heights

The stacking truck is a close cousin of the pallet truck, but is capable of lifting pallets to heights of up to 5 metres. This is the most commonly used handling machine in storage warehouses for stacking goods: in other words, lifting and stacking of loads, or storage at heights. Manual, semi-electric or electric, generally compact and ergonomic, the ranges of stacking trucks offer various applications.

You will need to put aside at least €800 for a manual stacking truck and up to €5,000 for a more sophisticated electric stacker. The ranges offered by the main suppliers allow a suitable stacking truck to be found for every logistics problem, from low paces up to the most hectic activities.

Forklift truck: the strongest, highest, furthest

The forklift truck, pallet carrier or guided forklift is a lifting and handling device mainly used to transfer loads. It is normally used in factories, storage warehouses, for loading and unloading trucks, containers, wagons, etc. Different traction systems (generally with heat engines driven by gas or diesel), more or less powerful, enable an effective use irrespective of the terrain, both indoors and outdoors. It is suitable for hectic production activity as well as for long-distance transportation. It is able to bear loads of up to 8 tonnes, and offers a lifting height of up to 8 metres.  

Depending on the power and functionalities, the budget for buying a forklift truck can vary from a minimum of €6,000, to ultra-performance models that can cost up to €80,000. 

 

Refer to our detailed buyer’s guides on stacking trucks and forklift trucks. Contact our specialised suppliers to get a quote and finalise your purchase.

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