The Differences Between 3 Wheel Forklifts and 4 Wheel Forklifts

The Differences Between 3 Wheel Forklifts and 4 Wheel Forklifts

Jan 6, 2017

Just like any other type of vehicle, there are many models of forklifts that come in various designs and configurations to handle different types of jobs.  While the forklift types often differ by design and attachments, most models are available in 3 wheel and 4 wheel configurations.  It may not seem like there are major differences between the two options, especially when both configurations are available on the same forklift model, but there are some key differences that you must consider when making a forklift rental or purchase.  This guide explains the advantages and disadvantages to using 4 wheel and 3 wheel forklifts.


3 Wheel Forklifts


The main advantage of 3 wheel forklift models is the small turning radius.  This makes 3 wheel forklifts ideal for working in areas with limited space because they are much easier to handle in these scenarios than larger 4 wheel models.  The dual steer wheel configuration also makes it easy to handle 3 wheel forklifts as the steer wheel is generally mounted in the center under the counterweight.  Another advantage of 3 wheel forklifts is that they are usually more affordable than 4 wheel models.


The biggest disadvantage of 3 wheel forklifts is their limited weight capacity.  These forklifts generally cannot lift more than 5500 pounds because any more weight will make them unstable when they turn which is quite dangerous.  These forklifts are also not suited to handle rough terrain such as gravel, soil, uneven ground, or steep inclines.

4 Wheel Forklifts


The biggest advantage that 4 wheel forklifts have over 3 wheel models is that they can handle a much higher weight capacity.  Some 4 wheel models can handle up to 20,000 pounds and the single steer wheel configuration gives them stable turning when handling heavy loads.  These forklift models can also handle rough terrain and inclines much better than their 3 wheel counterparts.


The one major disadvantage of 4 wheel forklifts is their large turning radius which makes them very difficult to use in tight spaces.  These forklifts are also more expensive than 3 wheel forklift models because they are larger and can handle much bigger load capacities.

If you are looking for a forklift rental or to purchase a new forklift, you must consider your specific needs when choosing between 3 wheel and 4 wheel forklift models.  Jobs that must be done in tight spaces and require light loads are ideal for 3 wheel forklifts while 4 wheel models are suited for heavier loads and rough terrain.  RHI Lifts offers a range of forklifts for sale in the Chicago area and several of our new forklift models are available in 3 wheel and 4 wheel configurations.  Contact RHI Lifts or call us at (847) 923-0374 to talk to us about your options for a new forklift.

Store your Car for the Winter with our Storage/ Parking Lifts

Store your Car for the Winter with our Storage/ Parking Lifts

Nov 30, 2016

During the spring, summer, and fall in the Chicago area, those that own sports cars, convertibles, and classic cars drive these vehicles as much as they can before the harsh winter weather returns.  There is nothing like cruising on a pleasant day in a convertible or classic car, but with winter quickly approaching, it is time to start worrying about storing your vehicle.  Many homeowners only have space in their garages for one or two cars, which means that storing your classic car or convertible will force you to have to park your everyday car outside during the winter.  RHI Lifts provides and installs storage and parking lifts to help you get the most out of the space in your garage.

store-your-car-for-the-winter-with-our-storage-parking-liftsPaying for vehicle storage at a garage or parking lot can be expensive.  Storing your vehicles in your own garage is ideal, but many garages are not built to store more than two cars.  The parking and storage lifts from RHI Lifts essentially double the storage space of your garage by allowing you to lift your vehicle up with enough space to park another vehicle underneath it.  This way you can store two vehicles in a space that formally only accommodated one.

Four Post Lifts

Four post lifts are heavy duty storage lifts that lift your vehicle up on a platform supported by four posts.  These parking lifts can be installed in any space, including tight spaces such as a residential garage, and they double your car storage space by lifting your vehicle for usable space under the platform.  Four post parking lifts are ideal for protecting convertibles and classic cars as well as storing seasonal vehicles such as motorcycles, snowmobiles, and ATV’s.  With these lifts, you can fit your seasonal vehicle and your everyday car in your garage and avoid parking outside during the winter.  The key switch option for the four post lifts provides extra protection for your precious vehicles.

Single Post Lifts

Single post lifts are storage lifts that have a raiseable platform that moves up and down a single post.  These parking lifts can double the storage area in your garage while taking up less space than a four post lift.  Single post lifts have a load capacity of 4,500 pounds which makes them an effective option for storing sports cars and other seasonal vehicles during the winter.

If you have a convertible, classic car, motorcycle, ATV, or other seasonal vehicle and limited storage space in your garage, the single and four post parking lifts from RHI Lifts are an ideal solution.  These parking lifts will not only allow you to safely store your precious vehicles for the winter, but also provide space so you can park your everyday vehicle in the garage.  Contact RHI Lifts to talk to one of our professionals about installing parking lifts in your garage.

Forklift Maintenance and Safety Tips to Prepare for Winter

Forklift Maintenance and Safety Tips to Prepare for Winter

Nov 1, 2016

The dropping temperatures late this fall season are a reminder that the winter will be hitting the Chicago area very soon.  The harsh winter weather makes doing anything outside more difficult, including operating a forklift.  Many forklift operators work in environments such as warehouses and loading docks that can be affected by the winter weather.  Forklift accidents almost always increase in the winter, making it very important for operators to properly maintain their equipment and take the necessary safety precautions.  Effective forklift safety and maintenance will help keep your operators protected and avoid penalties from OSHA as they tend to visit areas in which forklifts are used during the winter.

The following forklift safety and maintenance tips will help you safely operate your forklift and keep your equipment functioning in harsh winter weather.

Dress Warm

Many work environments such as warehouses and loading docks are cold in the winter so forklift operators must dress warm.  Wear a warm windproof coat as well as hats and gloves to stay warm.  Dressing in layers helps and make sure to wear bright colors so you are easily seen.  It is very important to keep your entire body warm because numb fingers and toes can lead to a mistake when driving the forklift that can cause an accident.

RHI-Lifts-Forklift-Maintenance-and-Safety-Tips-to-Prepare-for-WinterInspect the Tires

Cold weather causes forklift tires to lose air faster so always make sure to check the tire pressure before operation.  You should also consider replacing the tires with ones more suitable for winter operation.  Pneumatic tires handle harsh conditions better than traditional tires and you can also use chains or studs on the tires to help with traction.  Make sure you check the treads as well because bald tires are dangerous in wet or icy conditions.

Provide Regular Forklift Maintenance

Make sure you fully inspect your forklift before operating it and take care of any needed maintenance.  This includes checking the lighting, fuel and fluid levels, starters, and other forklift parts that are important for safe operation.  You should also check the conditions before operation so you can prepare your forklift accordingly.  Regular inspections and maintenance will help you prevent your forklift from breaking down in harsh conditions.

Winter Attachments

There are several winter attachments available that you can install on your forklift to better handle the conditions.  These attachments are especially handy for working outdoors in the winter.  A plow or scoop attachment can push or lift snow out of the way and a salt spreader or sander can help melt ice and snow while providing traction.  Winter forklift attachments are optional and are the most helpful if the forklift is used outdoors during the winter.

Clear Indoor Areas

During the winter, it is easy for snow, slush, and ice to get tracked into a warehouse.  You must keep indoor paths clear of this debris and other objects for safe operation.

As the winter approaches, make sure you prepare your forklifts and discuss proper winter maintenance with your operators.  These simple forklift safety tips will help prevent accidents that could lead to employee injury or costly damage.  If any forklifts in your fleet breakdown or sustain any type of damage from winter operation, contact RHI Lifts for our forklift maintenance services.  We provide full forklift repair and maintenance services in the Chicago area and we also offer maintenance plans to keep your forklifts in good repair.

3 Areas of a Forklift You Must Be Familiar With

3 Areas of a Forklift You Must Be Familiar With

Sep 30, 2016

People that drive everyday are very familiar with their cars.  They know exactly how all the controls work, how to read the gauges, how to check for potential problems, and also how the car is supposed run which makes any problems noticeable.  If you use a forklift for your job every day, you should have the same level of familiarity with your forklift that you have with your car.  Much like your car, your forklift requires regular maintenance and must be handled properly.  There are three very important areas of a forklift that you should become familiar with in order to keep your forklift operating and get the most out of it.  Knowing these three areas very well will help you take better care of your forklift and recognize when there is a problem.

3 Areas of a Forklift You Must Be Familiar With in Chicago ILFluid Reservoirs

The fluid reservoirs in a forklift are located in engine block, trans axle, and radiator.  Checking the fluids, including the gas, oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid, battery acid, and hydraulic fluid should be part of your safety check before operating the forklift.  It is very important that all fluids are at the right level when driving the forklift because if any of these fluids are low, it can result in considerable damage.  Low antifreeze can cause the engine to overheat and low transmission or hydraulic fluids can cause damage to these systems.  Maintaining the level of fluids on a regular basis will help you become more familiar with the operation of your forklift.

Movable Parts

Forklifts consist of many moving parts that must all be in working order for the forklift to operate efficiently.  As part of your preliminary safety check, you should look under the hood and make sure the moving parts are lubricated and working properly.  If a part is not lubricated well enough, the friction can lead to damage.  Be sure to lubricate any forklift parts that need it and clean out any rust or oxidation buildup.

Dashboard Gauges

The dashboard in a forklift contains all the gauges, lights, and warnings that let you know how the forklift is operating.  It is important for you to not only pay attention to these gauges, but understand how to read them and what they are telling you.  If a certain warning light goes unnoticed, it can have very damaging or even dangerous consequences.  You should check all gauges and warning lamps right when you turn on the forklift and take care of any issues if there is a malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) on.  Most problems indicated by the warning lights are in a stage where they can be easily repaired, but ignoring these issues will only allow them to get worse.  You must also make sure each gauge and warning light works properly so that you are notified of any problems.  You can learn about each gauge and warning light on your forklift in the instruction manual.

If you are an everyday forklift operator, make sure you understand how to maintain these important areas of the forklift to keep it running efficiently for as long as possible.  Being familiar with these areas will help you learn more about how your forklift operates and recognize when your forklift needs maintenance.  Despite your best efforts to take care of your forklift, there will be times your forklift needs professional maintenance to get it back up and running.  Call the experts of RHI Lifts at (847) 447-0700 for reliable forklift maintenance and other Chicago forklifts services.

Signs That It’s Time to Replace your Forklift

Signs That It’s Time to Replace your Forklift

Aug 30, 2016

Forklifts are expensive pieces of machinery which is why many companies that use forklifts maintain them to keep them running as long as possible.  But like all heavy machinery, your forklift will eventually need to be retired and replaced.  The question is, when is it time to finally replace a forklift that has given you years of dependable service?  This can be a tough decision to make, but these tips will help you decide if it is truly time to replace your forklift.

Cost of Forklift Maintenance Becomes Too Much

All forklifts require a degree of maintenance throughout their operating lives to continue functioning efficiently.  However, your forklift will eventually become worn out to the point that continuing to maintain it is just too expensive.  Older forklifts may also experience unpredictable problems that are very expensive to fix.  At this point, it is often more cost effective to buy a new forklift.  New forklifts require very little and predictable maintenance for the first several years, and many of the parts will be under warrantee for a period of time to cover malfunctions.  If the maintenance costs of your old forklift are more than the cost and initial maintenance of a new forklift, it may be time to replace it.

Replace your ForkliftForklift Transmission Failure

Everyone knows that when the transmission of your car fails, it is time for a new car.  This same rule can be applied to forklifts.  Like in vehicles, forklift transmissions often fail after years of use and after any warranties have expired.  At this point, the cost of a new transmission is simply not worth it when the forklift is already old and might not have much time left even with a new transmission.  The amount of money it would take to replace the transmission can be used as a nice down payment on a new forklift.

Technology Becomes Outdated

Technology develops very fast, much faster than it takes for a forklift to live its entire operational life.  Generally, when a forklift is nearing the end of its life, the technology of that forklift is long outdated.  The maintenance and forklift parts for obsolete technology can become very expensive and it may be safer or more practical to upgrade to new technology.  New forklifts have the option of battery-powered instead of gas powered engines, which was not an option in the past, and modern displays and warning systems are much more accurate and easier to read.

If you are still using an old forklift that is costing you too much for parts, repair, and maintenance, it is time to consider retiring it for a new forklift.  You can actually save money by purchasing a new forklift that is more energy and fuel efficient than your older model with improved steering and braking systems for better and safer operation.  Call our professionals at RHI Lifts if you are considering a new forklift for your business in the Chicago area.  We offer new forklifts as well as forklift maintenance to make sure that your new machine runs for as long as possible.

The Energy Efficiency of an Electric Forklift

The Energy Efficiency of an Electric Forklift

Jul 29, 2016

“Going green” has become a big priority in many areas of life, especially when it comes to energy usage.  Diesel fuel, gas, and other types of energy sources are slowly being phased out as more cost effective alternatives such as electricity and solar power are being applied to more uses.   This is certainly the case for forklifts as electric forklifts have become a popular alternative to traditional forklifts that run on gasoline.  When a major technology change such as this takes place, it is fair to ask, “is this new development really more effective and cost-efficient than what we already have?”  In the case of electric forklifts, the answer is yes.  These green forklifts will save money due to their efficiency and have a smaller impact on the environment than forklifts that run on gasoline powered combustion engines.

Electric Forklift Operation

The Energy Efficiency of an Electric ForkliftAs the name suggests, electric forklifts run exclusively on electricity and they are charged through a wall plug.  Switching to an electric forklift will instantly save your company money on fuel costs while cutting down on the level of dangerous emissions.  Electric forklifts are also easier and cheaper to maintain than traditional forklifts.  There are less forklift parts in an electric engine than a combustion engine which means there is less of a chance for malfunction.  The maintenance services for electric forklifts are also more affordable as they have increased in popularity.

Environmentally Friendly Features of Electric Forklifts

Electric forklifts use fewer parts than traditional forklifts and they can operate on renewable parts.  This means that forklift parts can be recycled which will save money on replacement parts and help keep your forklift in top shape.  This also eliminates the need to produce and purchase new forklift parts which not only saves money, but also the resources used to produce the parts.  These renewable parts are as reliable as new parts and they are augmented to work every day in demanding environments.

Why Consider an Electric Forklift?

Electric forklifts are cheaper and easier to operate and maintain than traditional forklifts, and they are environmentally friendly because they use renewable parts and electric energy.  Many of the parts that typically wear out on a traditional forklift such as spark plugs, belts, pistons, and catalytic converters are simply not needed on electric forklifts.  With the use of electricity over gas, renewable parts, and less parts to wear out or malfunction, electric forklifts are much cheaper to own and operate.  They are also just as efficient as traditional forklifts so you will not compromise your capability by switching to electric forklifts.

If you are looking for ways to cut production costs or switch to green energy alternatives, electric forklifts are an excellent option.  You can trust electric forklifts to perform all the same work as traditional forklifts for a lower cost of operation while cutting down on dangerous emissions.  You can learn more about electric forklifts and the options we have available for new forklifts by talking to one of our professionals at RHI Lifts.

Forklift Safety Tips for Outdoor Use

Forklift Safety Tips for Outdoor Use

Jun 30, 2016

Summer is here in the Chicago area which means that much more work can be done outdoors.  There are certain instances when you may need to use a forklift outdoors such as loading or unloading a truck and transporting loads to and from the warehouse.  Operating heavy machinery such as forklifts outdoors can be more difficult because the environment poses different challenges that a forklift operator does not face indoors.  All forklift operators, regardless of their level of experience, should follow these forklift safety tips to ensure safe outdoor forklift operation.

Always Be Alert

Many forklift operators get to know their indoor environments well but there are many things outdoors not found in indoor environments that can compromise your safety.  You must always be alert and aware of your surroundings outdoors as tree branches, rocks, uneven surfaces, and even wildlife can pose a potential hazard.  Make sure you stay focused on your surroundings and communicate with your team members so you aren’t caught off guard by any surprises.

Forklifts Safety Tips for Outdoor UseBe Mindful of Hot Conditions

The temperature this summer has already reached high into the 90s only a few weeks into the season.  If you do any work outside in the next couple of months, chances are you will be working in hot or humid conditions.  It is important to keep yourself protected in the heat by taking regular breaks and drinking plenty of water.  By staying hydrated and alert in hot conditions, you can minimize your risk of illness or injury.

Check the Weather Forecast

Before doing any work outside, it is wise to check the weather forecast for that day.  Adverse weather conditions such as wind and rain can have an effect on outdoor forklift operation.  The rain can cause several issues as wet pavement can lead to poor traction which greatly increases the risk of accidents.  Forklifts may also get stuck in the mud which can cause stalling.  This is why it is important to always pay attention to the terrain because muddy and wet conditions from previous rainfall can cause issues on a clear day.  Checking the weather before beginning any work is the best way to plan out which jobs can be done and what may have to wait.

Be Aware of Every Surface

The surface plays a large role in safe forklift operation.  While many indoor surfaces are consistent, outdoor surfaces may vary widely from pavement to gravel or dirt and they can also be uneven.  Grading is another issue that may not exist indoors as you may be required to drive your forklift up or down hill on outdoor surfaces.  Forklift operators must be aware of the outdoor surfaces that they are working on so that they are prepared for the coarseness or unevenness.  It is also a good idea for forklift operators to receive training on driving a forklift on dirt or gravel surfaces.

It feels good to work outdoors sometimes and if you operate a forklift outside, make sure to follow these safety tips to make the experience more enjoyable.  Whether you are indoors or out, safety should always be a top priority when operating heaving machinery such as forklifts.  For more safety tips or information about forklift operator training, contact RHI Lifts by calling (847) 447-0700.

5 Common and Avoidable Forklift Mistakes

5 Common and Avoidable Forklift Mistakes

May 26, 2016

Like any other type of vehicle, accidents can happen with a forklift and many of them are avoidable with proper forklift maintenance and operation.  Forklift accidents in the workplace can be very dangerous which is why operators go through training that includes forklift safety before getting their license.  Operators with experience know how to avoid mistakes that can lead to accidents by checking the forklift before using it and exercising caution.  However, because these mistakes are so common, it is important for forklift operators to know the most common mistakes and how they can be avoided.

Forgetting to Check Tire Pressure

The tire pressure of the forklift tires should be checked every time before use because maintaining good tire pressure decreases the risk for accidents while improving the fuel economy.  Forklift tires can be dangerous if they are under-inflated because this decreases traction which could lead to accidents, and also if they are over-inflated because this can cause your tires to blow out at the worst possible time.  Make sure you always check the tire pressure of your forklift with a gauge and adjust the tire pressure accordingly.

5-Common-and-Avoidable-Forklift-MistakesDriving Dangerously

Careless driving is one of the top mistakes made by forklift operators, particularly those with less experience.  This is normally the result of driving at too high of speeds which makes certain maneuvers very dangerous.  It can be tempting to move quickly on a forklift when there is a deadline approaching but it is best to never exceed the recommended speeds to avoid a major accident.

Forgetting to Check the Forklift Battery

Like the tires, the forklift battery should be checked before each use to make sure it has power.  If the battery loses power during operation, especially if it is lifting a load, the consequences can be dangerous.  Checking the battery, terminal, and power gauge before each use can help you avoid forklift accidents caused by loss in power.

Forgetting to Check the Brakes

The brakes are another part that should be inspected before each use of a forklift as they are subject to normal wear and tear and break failures can be catastrophic.  If you have to push harder on the break to get the forklift to stop, this could be a sign that your brake pads need to be replaced.  It only takes a few minutes to install new brake pads which can help prevent a major accident.

Not Using Turn Signal

Most warehouse settings involve foot traffic as well as traffic from forklifts which makes it important to exercise proper safety, including the use of turn signals, to avoid accidents.  This is one aspect of forklift safety that is continuously overlooked when using turn signals can easily prevent workplace accidents.  Even if the turn signals on the forklift are not working, you can still signal your turns with hand signals.

Forklifts are very important pieces of equipment in many warehouse settings but improper maintenance and handling can lead to serious forklift accidents.  You can help cut down on forklift related accidents in your workplace by making inspections of the equipment before use mandatory and emphasizing the importance of safe driving and turn signals.  If you have employees that need training to get their licenses, RHI Lifts provides complete forklift operator training that includes classroom study, a written exam, and hand-on training.  You can call us at (847) 447-0700 for more about our forklift operator training.

Improve the Efficiency of Your Forklift with these 4 Tips

Improve the Efficiency of Your Forklift with these 4 Tips

May 4, 2016

RHI Lifts 4 Tips to improve your Forklift EfficiencyWhen it comes to choosing and using heavy machinery such as forklifts, one of the most important qualities that people often look for is efficiency.  The level of efficiency of a particular forklift has a direct effect on your bottom line as machines that can handle more work at a lower operation cost will ultimately save your company money.  If you are not getting the efficiency you want out of your equipment, there are several ways you can improve the efficiency of both new and used forklifts.  The following 4 tips will improve the efficiency of your forklifts for noticeable immediate results and long term improvements for your bottom line.

Improve Fuel Efficiency

One of the main ways to improve the overall efficiency of forklifts that run on gasoline is to maximize their fuel efficiency.  The fuel efficiency of your forklift can be improved and maintained by regularly checking and changing the oil and consistently maintaining the tire pressure.  Forklifts working on under-inflated tires have poor traction that lowers their fuel efficiency and greatly increases the likelihood of a workplace accident.  Overinflated forklift tires are also a problem as they can blow out and put your equipment out of commission.

Electric Forklifts

Electric forklifts are rising in popularity with the growing trend in green technology and they are an efficient alternative to fuel powered forklifts.  In addition to not having the fuel costs of other forklifts, electric forklifts function on fewer parts which require less maintenance and have a lower chance of breaking down.  The parts of an electric forklift are also easy to service which will reduce your overall cost of maintenance.

Recycled and Used Forklift Parts

Forklifts consist of many component parts and over time, individual parts can become worn out or broken which requires them to be replaced.  Replacing broken or worn out parts with recycled and used forklift parts will save you money while also eliminating the need to reproduce new parts.  It is important to remember that recycled parts are not lower quality than new parts, they are revitalized to their specifications in compliance with institutional standards and occupational guidelines.  You can rest assured that used forklift parts meet the industry standard to perform as well as new parts.

Fleet Management Software

If your company uses a fleet of forklifts on a regular basis to handle a high volume workload, you can ensure that your fleet is being used efficiently with fleet management software.  Fleet management software tracks the activity of the forklift fleet such as usage and idle time and allows you to pinpoint specific jobs and other issues that are bringing down the overall efficiency.  With this information, you can cut down on idle time and adjust the least efficient tasks so that your fleet gets the job done quicker and smoother.

Forklifts are expensive equipment to purchase and maintain which makes it important for your equipment to be as efficient as possible to help keep operational costs down and improve your bottom line.  Maximizing fuel efficiency, using recycled replacement parts, and incorporating fleet management software are effective ways to improve the efficiency of your current forklifts and you can also purchase electric forklifts which have a better overall efficiency than traditional fuel powered forklifts.  If your Chicago forklifts need maintenance or repair services to get them running more efficiently, contact RHI Lifts.  We provide professional forklift maintenance and repair services in Chicago and the surrounding areas.

Considerations for Buying a New Forklift

Considerations for Buying a New Forklift

Mar 24, 2016

Forklifts are very important pieces of equipment in many commercial settings and they are also a major investment for a company.  There are so many brands and types of forklifts available with different specifications, work capacities, and attachments to handle just about any job in a commercial or industrial setting.  The trick when getting a new forklift is finding one with the right specifications and attachments to handle the specific task that you need done.  Forklifts are not only an investment due to their purchase price, but also because they can increase production to benefit your bottom line.  It is important to find a cost-effective forklift that is best suited to handle your job for an improvement in your productivity.

This forklift buying guide explains the important considerations you must make when looking for a new forklift.

Forklift Maintenance TipsForklift Maintenance

Buying a forklift is a major purchase that involves several considerations to make sure that you get the best ROI for your equipment.  One of the most important things to consider before a forklift purchase, especially in terms of ROI, is the long-term cost of forklift maintenance.  Forklifts are typically used under demanding conditions and over time, they will need to be serviced and parts will need to be replaced to keep them performing at their maximum capability.  Many forklift dealers provide maintenance and support including new forklift parts and the best way to gauge the maintenance cost is to evaluate the post-purchase maintenance offered by the dealer.  You should take the following into consideration:

  • The rate of the service labor
  • The availability of a service technician
  • The availability of forklift parts
  • Turnaround time on a service call

Trends in Technology

The technology used on forklifts is constantly evolving to produce more cost-effective equipment and with the average cost of a forklift purchase being anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000, it is important to buy a forklift built with modern technology.  Forklifts built with the latest technological enhancements are more cost-efficient and up-to-date and the maintenance provided by forklift dealers is more effective on newer parts and attachments.  One example of an important technological advancement is the use of fuel cell technology in forklifts to replace diesel and battery powered equipment.  Forklift engines that operate on fuel cells work more efficiently for longer periods of time than traditional engines with much lower emissions.

New or Used Forklift

This is a very important consideration to make early in the process so that you know what you are looking for and the type of budget you will need.  Some companies may have no choice but to look for used equipment due to their budget and if this is the case, you must consider the following with used forklifts:

  • The year the forklift was built
  • The amount of service hours logged by the forklift
  • The type of jobs it has been used for
  • The physical condition of the forklift and its component parts


Forklift Types

ein mann auf gabelstapler transportiert eine kisteYou should already know what job you need your new forklift to handle which will help you decide on the right forklift type.  The following are the four most common forklift types to consider:

  • Order Pickers: These forklift types are generally used indoors in warehouses and retail stores to stock pallets of items on industrial shelves or racks. Order pickers have electronic lifts that move items on shelves up to 11 feet tall and they are available with different size platforms and weight capacity.
  • Pallet Jacks: Pallet jacks are hand-operated tools that can move pallets of product at the ground level. Because they are not ride along machines, pallet jacks require no licenses or training to operate.  They are available in several different configurations and some have the option of battery powered electric fingertip controls to lessen the amount of physical force needed by the operator.
  • Reach Trucks: Reach trucks are similar to order pickers but with extendable forks to reach higher shelves or racks and a much higher weight capacity. These forklifts can lift loads up to about 30 feet high and handle as much as 5,500 pounds.
  • Sit-Down Counterbalance Forklifts: These forklifts have the biggest weight capacities and highest lift capabilities and unlike order pickers and reach trucks, sit-down counterbalance forklifts can be used outdoors on difficult terrain. They have a weight installed on the back of the forklift body to counterbalance the load weight, allowing some counterbalance forklifts to lift between 80,000 and 120,000 pounds.  They are also available in 3 or 4 wheel models with several options for internal combustion engines that run on different types of fuel.

Forklift Attachments

There are a wide variety of forklift attachments and accessories available that allow a forklift to handle several different jobs for a better ROI.  Many of these attachments are also easy to install and remove so you can quickly prepare your forklift between tasks.  Once again, knowing exactly what you need your new forklift to do can help you decide on the right necessary attachments to complete the job more efficiently.  Some of the forklift attachments available include telescopic boom, fork extensions, lifting beams, drum snatchers, rotators, fork positioners, and pole attachments among many others.  Make sure you discuss your forklift attachment options with the dealer before making a purchase.

Forklifts are essential in many work environments and because of the investment they require, buying a forklift involves many careful considerations.  The first step of this process is to determine what tasks your new forklift will be used for as this will help guide your decisions while making the necessary considerations listed above.  Whether you are buying a new or used Chicago forklift, the professionals of RHI Lifts can help you choose appropriate Chicago forklifts that fit your budget and have the capabilities you need.  Contact us or call us at (847) 447-0700 if you are interested in a new forklift for your Chicago area business.