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Forklifts are power-driven industrial trucks used to lift and move loads over short distances. When further modified, they can also carry out other industrial activities such as slipping sheets into pallets or even clamping and inverting loads. Since the early 20th century when forklifts were first introduced, they have become essential machines both in industrial and warehousing operations. Though they may be used for similar tasks, they vary greatly in terms of how they are powered.

Diesel Forklifts

Industrial diesel forklifts are best suited for heavy-duty operations that involve moving or lifting of heavy loads. This is largely due to the fact that diesel engines tend to be a lot more powerful. Other points worth consideration about these forklifts is that they are more fuel-efficient and often have lower operation costs compared to their alternatives. However, despite these advantages they are known to have higher emissions that make them more suitable for outdoor use. When used indoor, they can trigger smoke alarms and are noisier.

LPG Forklifts

LPG (liquid petroleum gas) forklifts are popular for their competitive prices and suitability for both indoor and outdoor operations. LPG is almost always used together with petrol (e.g. dual forklifts). Unlike diesel engines, they have lower emissions and are best for round the clock working. Their highly responsive engines and better power-to-weight ratios enable them to accelerate faster and perform tasks much quicker than electric or diesel engines. Despite outperforming their rivals in terms of performance, their fuel and maintenance costs are the highest.

Electric Forklifts

Industrial electric forklifts are the most environmentally friendly as they produce zero emissions. They are quiet while in use, are compact in size and their battery weight acts as a perfect counterbalance, thus enabling them to be more manoeuvrable than their engine powered rivals. Electric forklifts are easier to drive as there are no inching or clutch pedals involved. The fewer moving parts in their engines reduce their maintenance and servicing costs. Two notable disadvantages with these forklifts are that they are less powerful than fuel powered forklifts and using them in damp conditions can cause them to easily breakdown.

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