Best Practices

Understanding forklift capacity

Choosing the best forklift capacity for your operations is very important to ensure it’s as productive as possible in your facility, yard, or jobsite. You might know the rated capacity of your forklift, but that number doesn’t apply in all situations. The dimensions, placement, and weight distribution of the load can all change how much a forklift can lift. Plus, if you’re using attachments, then your forklift capacity may be less, depending on how much the attachment weighs.

Rated versus net forklift capacity

When figuring out a forklift’s capacity, you will typically see two numbers, rated capacity and net capacity. Net forklift capacity considers things like the mast type and attachments and then tells you how much weight the machine can lift in addition to that. Rated forklift capacity tells you how much a forklift can lift without taking those extra things into account.

What is a forklift load center?

When asking how much can a forklift lift, you have to take into account the load center. If your forklift load is not centered, then it will not be able to lift to its maximum capacity. The load center describes the distance from the vertical face of the forks to the center of gravity of the load. For a standard 48” x 48” pallet, the load center would be 24” from the face of the forks.

If you are carrying a longer load, then your load center is farther away from your machine, and the overall forklift capacity will be lower. The basics of your forklift capacity can be found in the owner’s manual or on its data plate, found on the instrument panel near the operating controls. If you are unsure about how much your forklift can lift, then please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team!

What’s the right forklift capacity for your job?

Before deciding which forklift is right for your operation, you should ask the following questions:

  • How heavy is my typical load?
  • How high do I need to lift my loads?
  • What length is my largest load?
  • Do you have height limitations while coming in and out of any buildings?

After answering those questions, contact our team. We will help you find the best type of forklift for your needs, including whether it should be standard or free lift, and what its maximum capacity should be.

If you’re wondering how much can a forklift lift, and want help determining what forklift capacity will work best for your operation, contact our team today!