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Gas Forklifts

A Complete Guide to Gas Forklift Purchasing

10,000 lb forklift

Although electric forklifts are increasing in popularity, gas forklifts still remain a standard in most heavy-duty job environments. A gas lift truck is primarily used to lift and load heavy objects to increase productivity on a jobsite.

A gas forklift is classified as an internal combustion forklift and will run on one of the following fuels:

  • Gas
  • Liquid propane
  • Diesel
  • CNG (Compressed Natural Gas)

Forklifts powered by liquid propane will primarily be used in an indoor setting, while gas powered forklifts are preferred for outdoor use since they release harmful emissions. Most gas powered forklifts are intended to lift heavy loads ranging from as little as 3000 pounds up to 35,000 pounds.

What benefits can a gas powered forklift provide on-the-job?

As mentioned above, a gas powered forklift should be used in an outdoor environment since it releases potentially dangerous emissions that cannot be confined in an enclosed area. Nonetheless, some larger companies still prefer the use of heavy-duty gas powered forklifts in a large warehouse or factory with proper ventilation.

When used for construction, agriculture, or manufacturing, a gas lift truck can offer the following benefits:

  • Can handle larger loads
  • Capable of pushing and towing
  • Rides smoothly on rough/rugged terrain
  • Less expensive than an electric lift truck
  • Quick refueling in less than 15 minutes

How to make a buying decision: Pros and cons of gas powered forklifts

As you narrow down your decision in a lift truck, you may be caught between a rock and a hard place when comparing electric and various gas powered models.

At a glance, here are some of the standard differences between these forklift types:

  • Electric - Considered quiet, compact, and clean for indoor use; power is limited due to charging requirements.
  • Gas - Provides both indoor and outdoor flexibility with high power capabilities.
  • Diesel - Inexpensive to run and operate; best for outdoor use.

When comparing a gas to an electric forklift, many companies go for gas since the machinery is cheaper upfront versus an electric model. Gas lift trucks are also preferred for use in an outdoor environment to perform a wider range of heavy-duty job tasks in various industries, like manufacturing, farming, landscaping, and construction.

Nonetheless, it's important to consider the fact that a gas truck will incur an ongoing expense when it comes to regular refueling. Although an electric forklift may cost more at face value, it can be cheaper to operate by eliminating fuel costs altogether.

Gas powered forklifts are also noisy and can produce harmful emissions in an enclosed environment. In contrast, an electric forklift is eco-friendly and can run quietly with a longer lifespan that may double that of a gas lift truck, in some cases.

This brings us to diesel. If you've decided on a gas powered forklift for outdoor use, you can compare standard gas and diesel operation. Diesel forklifts are primarily used in an outdoor setting and are considered more fuel-efficient than LPG gas engines. A diesel lift truck is also higher performance than an electric lift truck for industrial use.

In order to decide if a gas powered forklift is right for your job type, consider the setting, use, and budget. Gas powered forklifts remain a popular choice because they are the cheapest to buy new, but long-term fuel and maintenance expenses could cost more than a diesel or electric forklift over time.