Elgas LPG Gas Blog

Don't Pick the Wrong Type of Forklift

If your business uses forklifts, it is important to pick the right type. 

There are three primary options: LPG Gas, Diesel and Electric.

The following is a review, by type, to help you make an informed decision when acquiring new or additional forklifts for your business. 

LPG Gas Forklifts

LPG forklifts are capable of maintaining 100% power throughout the day. LPG fuelled forklifts have the ability to push heavy loads at full capacity, up and down gradients faster and for a longer amount of time than electric forklifts. 

The initial capital cost for LPG gas forklifts is generally lower when compared with either electric or diesel forklifts

LPG forklifts can also be used both indoors and outdoors, unlike their electric and diesel counterparts.  

This increased flexibility is essential if your business has both yard and warehouse storage applications.  

Indoor workspaces should be ventilated

The time required to refuel an LPG forklift is much less when compared to electric powered forklifts.  

It takes only five minutes to refill or change an LPG cylinder. 

In contrast to an LPG forklift, an electric forklift could take up to eight hours to recharge. 

So, you have no down time or the added cost of acquiring extra batteries with LPG fuelled forklifts.

Finally, an LPG forklift cylinder storage cage or LPG forklift refuelling station saves valuable indoor storage space, when compared to an electric recharge station, as the LPG is stored outdoors. 

Cylinder storage cages are typically provided by your LPG forklift gas supplier.

Electric Forklifts

Battery-operated electric forklifts do not produce tailpipe emissions and are quiet in use. 

Food processing companies sometimes prefer electric forklifts because they produce no fumes. 

While good for indoor use, they are generally unsuitable for outdoor applications.

While electric forklifts are ‘greener’ on site, most of the Australian electricity used for the recharging comes from coal fired generating facilities. 

So, the resultant greenhouse gas emissions are based on this use of coal.

Electric forklifts must have a charged battery to operate.  

Forgetting to charge the battery overnight could result in significant productivity losses the next day, particularly when the business operates with one or a limited number of forklifts. 

Also, while a battery is charging, the forklift is unavailable for use, unless you invest in a unit with easily changeable batteries and the spare battery packs. 

Charging typically takes 8 hours, although some units do charge faster.

Due to battery and recharging requirements, the initial investment for an electric forklift is usually much higher than the other options.  

In addition, chargers have certain voltage and amperage requirements.  

Your existing electrical service may not meet these requirements, necessitating additional expense to remedy. 

In addition, the battery charging station takes up valuable warehouse space, including the ‘parking spaces’ required for the forklifts while charging. 

Diesel Forklifts

The cost of acquisition for diesel forklifts is generally higher than LPG forklifts but lower than electric models. Diesel forklifts require more space to manoeuvre than the electric or LPG forklift alternatives, since these units are larger in size.  

However, diesel models generally provide more torque output than the alternatives. 

Diesel models are good for sustained heavy loads.

One worrisome aspect of diesel forklifts is the operator health issue. 

Because these are internal combustion engines, which create exhaust fumes and diesel particulate matter, this option is not safe for indoor use.

The dirty black smoke that is seen coming from diesel vehicles is a fine particulate matter which is carcinogenic. 

Experts at the World Health Organisation (WHO) say diesel engine exhaust fumes can cause cancer in humans. 

While this may not be much of an issue with truck drivers, who sit in an enclosed cab, forklift operators are in close proximity to the exhaust. 




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The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free and may not be applicable in all circumstances.