Current 15 Best Forklift Truck Brand Recommendations

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Forklift truck are essential assets across various industries, playing a vital role in material handling tasks. Found in warehouses, distribution centers, manufacturing plants, and construction sites, these versatile machines streamline operations by efficiently lifting, moving, and stacking heavy loads.

Recognizing the significance of selecting the appropriate forklift brand is crucial to maintaining smooth and productive workflows. This comprehensive guide examines the fundamentals of forklift trucks, including their functionalities, types, and essential factors to consider when choosing the best brands available in the current market landscape.

Whether you’re an experienced professional or a newcomer seeking insights, this resource aims to offer valuable recommendations to assist you in your decision-making process.

What is a Forklift Truck?

Forklift Truck

A forklift truck, also known as a lift truck, is a versatile industrial vehicle typically powered by electricity or gas, used primarily for lifting and moving heavy loads within various environments such as warehouses, manufacturing facilities, shipping docks, and truck loading areas.

These trucks are equipped with a metal fork platform at the front, which can be inserted under cargo, pallets, or machinery for lifting and transporting purposes, as well as placing them in storage. The truck’s frame serves as the foundation for its lifting mechanism and includes essential components such as wheels, counterweights, a carriage, and a mast.

There are two main types of engines used in forklift trucks: electric and gas. Gas-powered forklifts typically run on fuels such as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG), diesel, or natural gas. Electric forklifts, on the other hand, are powered by rechargeable lead-acid batteries or fuel cells.

Due to their adaptability and diverse power sources, forklift trucks are utilized in a wide range of industries, from small businesses to large-scale industrial operations. Their applications are numerous, including but not limited to lifting, stacking, loading, unloading, and transporting materials across various work settings.

Current 15 Best Brand Recommendations for Forklift Truck

Forklifts serve as specialized industrial vehicles engineered to facilitate the transportation of materials and goods across diverse locations within industrial settings. Within the market, a variety of forklift types exist, each tailored to specific tasks and environments.

Globally, there exists a substantial number of manufacturers dedicated to producing forklifts of varying specifications. In this article, in collaboration with industry experts, we present a curated compilation highlighting some of the premier forklift brands and manufacturers worldwide.

This extensive roster delves into the background of each manufacturer, detailing their historical evolution and the geographic spread of their production facilities. Additionally, it provides insights into the array of forklift models offered by each brand, catering to the diverse needs of consumers. It’s important to note that the listing of these forklift brands and manufacturers is presented without any particular ranking or order.

1. Toyota Material Handling

Toyota entered the North American forklift market over five decades ago, establishing a significant presence by manufacturing more than 700,000 forklifts within the region. Headquartered in Indiana, United States, the company emerged as a leading brand in the industry since its inception in 1956 under the Toyota Material Handling Equipment Group, situated in Toyota, Japan.

Renowned for its commitment to quality, value, and durability, the Toyota Material Handling Equipment Group boasts a diverse portfolio of material handling solutions. Presently, it offers a comprehensive global range of forklifts, including:

  • Electric Forklifts
  • Electric Pallet Jacks
  • Electric Pallet Stackers
  • Reach Trucks
  • Order Pickers
  • Internal Combustion Forklifts
  • Heavy Duty Forklifts
  • Hand Pallet Jacks

2. Crown Equipment Corporation

Crown Equipment Corporation commenced operations in 1945 and has garnered renown for its innovative and dependable solutions and products. With a global presence, Crown operates 19 manufacturing facilities worldwide, with its principal headquarters situated in Ohio, United States.

Sales offices and production facilities are strategically located in the United States, Germany, Australia, Singapore, and China. Crown specializes in the production of various material handling equipment, such as forklifts, pallet trucks, and reach trucks.

The company prides itself on designing and manufacturing up to 85% of the components for each forklift, ensuring stringent quality control measures are maintained. Crown’s extensive forklift portfolio includes:

  • Electric Counterbalance Forklifts
  • IC Counterbalance Cushion Tire Forklifts
  • IC Counterbalance Forklifts
  • Pneumatic Tire Forklifts
  • Order Pickers
  • Reach Trucks

3. Linde Material Handling

Linde Material Handling, established in 1904 as Güldner-Motoren-Gesellschaft in Munich, Germany, has evolved into one of the premier forklift manufacturers globally. Presently, the company boasts a presence in over 100 countries and operates production and assembly facilities in key locations including Germany, the United States, France, China, and the Czech Republic.

Offering an extensive array of material handling solutions, Linde’s product portfolio encompasses 77 series featuring 382 variants. Leveraging a distinctive modular system, Linde excels in delivering innovative solutions tailored to meet the diverse needs of companies across various industries and applications.

Below is a breakdown of the forklift types manufactured by Linde:

  • Forklift Trucks
  • E-Trucks
  • Pallet Trucks
  • Order Pickers
  • Reach Trucks

4. Jungheinrich

Jungheinrich, established in 1953 in Hamburg, Germany, has emerged as a prominent entity in the realm of material handling equipment due to its innovative and dependable product line. Garnering global recognition, the brand boasts an extensive international distribution network, making its forklifts accessible worldwide.

Presently, the company offers a diverse array of over 600 forklifts. Its product range encompasses various categories of material handling equipment, such as:

  • Forklift Trucks
  • Pallet Trucks
  • Order Pickers
  • Reach Trucks
  • Narrow Aisle Trucks

5. Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks

Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks operates as a subsidiary within the Mitsubishi Logisnext group, established in Kyoto, Japan, in 1937. Over the decades, Mitsubishi has earned global recognition as a leading manufacturer of material handling equipment and industrial trucks.

With over 25 years of experience, Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks has developed a reputation for delivering dependable, cutting-edge, and environmentally friendly products. The company offers a diverse range of forklifts categorized into three main types:

  • IC Forklifts
  • Electric Forklifts
  • Warehouse Handling Equipment

6. Cat Lift Trucks

Caterpillar, a renowned name in material handling and construction equipment, originated in 1925 through the merger of the C.L. Best Tractor Company and Holt Manufacturing Company in California.

In 1965, Caterpillar expanded its portfolio by acquiring the Towmotor Corporation, leading to the establishment of Cat Lift Trucks. Presently, Caterpillar is recognized for its extensive array of industrial and commercial products. Within the forklift category, Caterpillar offers the following options:

  • Electric Forklifts
  • LPG Forklifts
  • Diesel Forklifts
  • Manual Forklifts
  • Reach Trucks
  • Platform Stackers
  • Turret Trucks

7. Hyster-Yale Material Handling

Hyster-Yale Material Handling, established in 1991, boasts over 90 years of industry service. With manufacturing and development facilities spanning five continents, including the United States, the United Kingdom, China, India, and Japan, the company maintains a robust global presence. Recognized internationally as a leading manufacturer of forklifts, Hyster-Yale serves primary markets in Eastern Europe, China, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America.

The company offers a diverse portfolio of over 45 models of material handling equipment, catering to various needs. This selection includes forklifts, pallet stackers, and more. Among its forklift offerings are the following categories:

  • IC Pneumatic Forklifts
  • IC Cushion Forklifts
  • High Capacity Forklift Trucks
  • 3 or 4 Wheel Electric Forklift Trucks
  • Reach Trucks
  • Narrow Aisle Forklift Trucks

8. Anhui HELI

Anhui HELI, established in 1958, operates as a subsidiary of the Anhui Forklift Group, headquartered in Hefei, China, deriving its name from the Anhui province. Consistently recognized as China’s leading forklift provider for 31 consecutive years, it holds the prestigious 7th position globally among forklift manufacturers.

HELI’s ascent to prominence spans a 61-year journey of relentless development. Presently, its market reach extends to over 150 countries, boasting an extensive portfolio of more than 1,700 distinct models. These offerings encompass various categories, including:

  • Electric Forklifts
  • Electric Reach Trucks
  • Heavy Forklifts
  • Wheel Loader Forklifts

9. Hangcha

Established initially as the Hangcha Repair Factory in 1956, Hangcha underwent a significant transformation in 2010, evolving into Hangcha Group Co. Its corporate headquarters is situated in Hangzhou, China, while it maintains operational facilities across the United States, Canada, and Europe.

With over 65 years of dedicated growth and continuous innovation, Hangcha has emerged as a hallmark of excellence in its industry. Annually, the company manufactures in excess of 250,000 forklifts and related warehouse equipment at its manufacturing hub in China. Among its diverse product offerings are:

  • Electric Forklifts
  • IC Forklifts
  • Pallet Trucks
  • Reach Trucks

10. Komatsu

Komatsu, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a prominent manufacturer specializing in material handling equipment. Established over a century ago in 1921, the company has established itself as a significant player within the industry. In the United States, it operates under the name Komatsu America Corp., with its headquarters situated in Chicago, Illinois.

While Komatsu’s forklift portfolio may not encompass the same breadth as some competitors, the company’s products boast exceptional quality. Currently, Komatsu offers over 10 forklift models spanning various categories, including:

  • Electric Forklifts
  • IC Pneumatic Forklifts
  • IC Cushion Forklifts
  • Narrow Aisle Forklifts.

11. Manitou Group

Manitou, as the flagship brand within the Manitou Group, traces its origins back to 1957 when Marcel Braud designed the first forklift truck under the brand’s banner. Headquartered in France, Manitou has garnered global recognition for its robust terrain forklifts.

Currently, the brand boasts a diverse portfolio comprising 58 distinct models of Forklift Trucks, offering consumers a choice between electric and diesel variants. Additionally, Manitou operates a dedicated Special Solutions department, catering to individual customer requirements by providing tailored forklift solutions.

Among the most sought-after offerings from Manitou are:

  • Telehandlers
  • IC Forklifts
  • Electric Forklifts
  • LPG Forklifts
  • Diesel Forklifts

12. Doosan Group

Based in Seoul, South Korea, Doosan is a longstanding brand renowned for manufacturing a diverse range of logistics equipment worldwide. Established by Park Seung-jik in 1896, the company boasts a rich history and extensive experience in the industry.

Doosan specializes in the design and development of both electric and IC forklifts, alongside various other material handling solutions. Its steadfast commitment to durability and innovation has solidified its position as a prominent global player in the field. The company’s product lineup spans from Class 1 to Class 3 Forklifts, encompassing reach trucks, order pickers, and an array of other equipment, including:

  • IC Pneumatic Forklifts
  • IC Cushion Forklifts
  • Electric Forklifts
  • Stackers
  • Reach Trucks
  • Order Pickers

13. CLARK Material Handling Company

Established in 1917 by Eugene B. Clark, the CLARK Material Handling Company has been a prominent player in the industry for over a century. Headquartered in Kentucky, USA, the company gained recognition in 1920 for pioneering the world’s first forklift equipped with a hydraulic lifting mechanism.

Today, CLARK boasts a global presence with over 350,000 forklifts operational worldwide, spanning five key categories. Renowned for its commitment to innovation, the company continually enhances its product line. The following is a breakdown of CLARK’s forklift offerings:

  • IC Pneumatic Forklifts
  • IC Cushion Forklifts
  • Electric Forklifts
  • Narrow Aisle Forklifts

14. Hyundai Material Handling

Hyundai, a prominent figure in the automotive sector, extends its expertise to the production of forklifts and other material handling machinery. Originating in 1947 in South Korea, the company expanded its operations to include forklift manufacturing in North America in 2000.

Hyundai Material Handling, the division responsible for forklifts and industrial trucks, is headquartered in Georgia, with its main corporate offices situated in Seoul, South Korea.

Benefiting from Hyundai’s renowned warranty programs, the diesel, electric, and LP-powered forklifts available are distinguished by their modern design, innovative features, and robust construction. This diverse range includes:

  • Diesel Forklifts
  • Electric Forklifts
  • LP Forklifts
  • Reach Trucks
  • Order Pickers
  • Standup Forklifts

14. Combilift

Combilift, established in 1998 and headquartered in Annahagh, Ireland, stands as a significant player in the realm of multi-directional forklift manufacturing. Despite its relatively recent inception compared to others in the industry, the company has rapidly expanded its presence globally.

Specializing in the production of multi-directional forklifts, Combilift boasts an extensive reach, with its products exported to over 85 countries worldwide. Currently, the company’s fleet comprises more than 60,000 trucks utilized across various industries and regions.

Combilift offers a diverse array of forklift models, including:

  • Multi-Directional Forklifts
  • Sideloading Forklifts
  • Articulated Forklifts

10 Essential Tips for Choosing the Right Forklift Brand

When choosing a forklift brand, there are several factors to consider to ensure you get the best fit for your needs:

  1. Usage Requirements: Assess your specific requirements such as load capacity, lift height, terrain, and the environment where the forklift will be used. Different brands offer models tailored for various applications.
  2. Quality and Reliability: Research the reputation of the brand for quality and reliability. Look for brands with a history of manufacturing durable and dependable forklifts that require minimal maintenance.
  3. Dealer Support and Service: Consider the availability of dealerships or service centers for the brand in your area. A reliable dealer network ensures timely support, maintenance, and access to spare parts when needed.
  4. Safety Features: Prioritize brands that prioritize safety features such as stability control systems, ergonomic design, and visibility enhancements. Safety should always be a top consideration when operating forklifts.
  5. Technology and Innovation: Evaluate brands that incorporate advanced technology and innovation into their forklift designs. Features such as telemetry systems for remote monitoring, energy-efficient engines, and ergonomic controls can improve productivity and reduce operating costs.
  6. Total Cost of Ownership: Look beyond the initial purchase price and consider the total cost of ownership over the lifespan of the forklift. This includes factors like fuel efficiency, maintenance costs, and resale value.
  7. User Reviews and Recommendations: Seek out reviews and recommendations from other businesses or operators who have experience with the brand you’re considering. Their insights can provide valuable perspective on real-world performance and customer satisfaction.
  8. Warranty and After-Sales Support: Check the warranty offered by the manufacturer and the after-sales support provided. A comprehensive warranty and responsive customer service can give you peace of mind and minimize downtime in case of issues.
  9. Environmental Impact: If sustainability is important to your business, consider brands that prioritize environmental sustainability through fuel-efficient engines, emissions control technologies, and recyclable materials in their forklifts.
  10. Future Expansion and Compatibility: If you anticipate expanding your fleet or integrating with other equipment in the future, choose a brand that offers a range of compatible models and accessories to support your long-term needs.

By carefully considering these factors, you can select a forklift brand that not only meets your current requirements but also aligns with your long-term business goals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Forklift Trucks

What is a forklift truck?

A forklift truck, also known as a forklift or lift truck, is a powered industrial truck used to lift, move, and transport materials over short distances. They are commonly used in warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers.

What are the different types of forklift trucks?

Forklift trucks come in various types, including counterbalance forklifts, reach trucks, pallet jacks, order pickers, and rough terrain forklifts. Each type is designed for specific applications and environments.

What are the primary uses of forklift trucks?

Forklift trucks are used for tasks such as loading and unloading goods from trucks and storage racks, transporting materials within a facility, stacking pallets, and picking orders in warehouses.

What are the safety considerations when operating a forklift truck?

Safety is paramount when operating a forklift. Operators should undergo proper training and certification, wear seat belts, use horns and lights to signal movements, observe load capacity limits, and maintain clear visibility while driving.

How do I choose the right forklift truck for my needs?

Consider factors such as load capacity, lift height, maneuverability, fuel type (electric, diesel, propane), tire type (pneumatic, cushion), and environmental conditions (indoor or outdoor use, rough terrain). Consulting with a forklift expert or dealer can help you make an informed decision.

What maintenance is required for forklift trucks?

Regular maintenance is essential to ensure the safe and efficient operation of forklift trucks. This includes daily inspections for fluid levels, tire condition, and any signs of wear or damage, as well as scheduled servicing for components such as brakes, hydraulics, and engines.

How can I extend the lifespan of my forklift truck?

Proper maintenance, timely repairs, and operator training can help prolong the lifespan of a forklift truck. Avoid overloading, operating on uneven terrain, or using the forklift for tasks it’s not designed for.

What are the legal requirements for operating a forklift truck?

Regulations vary by jurisdiction, but generally, operators must be trained and certified to operate forklifts. Employers are responsible for providing training, ensuring safe working conditions, and complying with relevant occupational health and safety regulations.

Can forklift trucks be rented or leased?

Yes, many companies offer forklift rental and leasing options, which can be a cost-effective solution for short-term or temporary needs. Rental agreements typically include maintenance and servicing, providing a hassle-free solution for businesses.

Are there any environmental considerations with forklift trucks?

Electric forklifts produce zero emissions and are suitable for indoor use, making them environmentally friendly options. However, diesel and propane forklifts emit pollutants and should be operated in well-ventilated areas or equipped with emission control technologies. Additionally, proper disposal of batteries and other hazardous materials is important for environmental sustainability.