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Is an Electric Pallet Jack a Forklift? No, Here’s Why

Have you ever been in the situation where you need to move a single load but don’t have access to a forklift? While it’s not ideal, an electric pallet jack can be used for this task.

Pallet jacks are being used increasingly by businesses and homeowners alike. It’s not uncommon to utilize pallet jacks for moving purposes. I know this because I have seen it plenty of times.

But are they a forklift? The short answer is NO. Electric pallet jacks are small, compact machines that can be used to lift heavy objects with a lower weight limit than forklifts.

This article will explore what electric pallet jacks do, how they operate and when you might need one!

What is an electric pallet jack and what does it do?

An electric pallet jack or walkie stacker is a battery operated device that can be used to move different types of material, typically goods in the warehouse or retail industries.

They often resemble a common forklift truck and come with a top-mounted “claw” to hold items and a long telescopic arm to reach more areas.

What makes it different from a forklift?

An electric pallet jack is similar to a normal powered pallet truck, except that it contains no internal combustion engine. 

The main job of the engine in a traditional forklift truck is to provide power for the hydraulic components and as such on an electric model these do not exist.

While a diesel powered forklift truck can hold up to 10 tonnes, the forks on a pallet jack are much smaller than a standard hydraulic forklift truck allowing it to carry loads of around 1000kg.

What are the different parts of an electric pallet jack?

As we’ve already seen, an electric pallet jack comes with components that work seamlessly to perform heavy lifting tasks.

It consists of a platform that moves up or down through the use of electricity, hydraulics, or other force.

The platform can be raised and lowered manually by hand cranking it in order to make adjustments with its height.

A cable system may also be attached for greater control during lifting and moving processes.

There are many types of jacks that offer specific features suited for various purposes such as picking up boxes from one level and carrying them to another level on a conveyor belt.

These come equipped with pneumatic tires so they can move on irregular surfaces with greater ease.

Other varieties include lift assist jacks since electric pallet jacks are not always capable of moving heavy loads that weigh more than a ton (992 kg) due to the mechanical defects of their design.

A forklift is a type of truck equipped with a loading platform used mainly for lifting and transporting heavy loads.

It is a type of lifting apparatus used since ancient times, and has been adapted to suit the modern environment with technological advances that have enabled it to move faster and more efficiently without compromising its load capacity. 

There are several kinds of forklifts, including standard side-lift models that can handle pallets weighing up to several tons, and models that can be used for specialized tasks such as loading bulky containers.

Forklifts have collapsible tines or prongs attached to the bottom of a truck, allowing it to lift heavy loads without toppling over due to instability.  

It has a built-in system that controls its movement by lifting or lowering the platform through hydraulic or pneumatic pressure.

Its name is derived from how it operates, which involves lifting loads at an angle with prongs and transporting them to their destination by pushing it with a steel tine on the front of the truck.

Benefits of using an electric pallet jack over a forklift

I agree with the claim that forklifts are a great tool to lift heavy objects.

However, forklifts are not the only reliable way to lift heavy objects. 

Unlike manual pallet jacks, electric jacks are an excellent alternative to forklifts and offer a number of advantages.

Here’s why electric pallet jacks may be a better solution for your lifting needs:  

1. Electric pallet jacks are both easier to use and cheaper than forklifts

Electric pallet jacks have the same general concept as a forklift, but without any of the dangerous elements. 

Because an electric pallet jack doesn’t require gasoline, it’s cheaper to own and operate.

2. Electric pallet jacks are safer than forklifts

Forklifts can be dangerous for several reasons.   

They have a heavy load capacity that could cause damage to both property and people if they were mishandled. 

In addition, forklifts require a lot of clearance, which means that it’s not easy to keep them in one place.

If you have the option to choose between an electric pallet jack and a forklift, choose the electric pallet jack.  

3. Ideal for small indoor environments

Electric pallet jacks have a much smaller footprint than powered industrial truck.  

They are easy to operate in small spaces and can be operated by a single operator.  

This makes them ideal for homes or warehouses with limited space or work force.

4. Better all-around maneuverability than forklifts

For several reasons, electric pallet jacks are better all around movers than forklifts.  

Electric pallet jacks have smaller turning radiuses, making them ideal for spaces with limited maneuvering space.  

In addition, they can be maneuvered to a working position from either side, whereas forklifts can only operate when they face the same way as the direction they are moving.  

Lastly, electric pallet jacks can handle side-to-side movement, where forklifts cannot.  

5. Better cost to value ratio than forklifts 

Electric pallet jacks can do the same job as a forklift and for much less money.    

Electric pallet jacks are designed to be compact and easy to move so that you can save on storage space.  

Because of the many different models available, electric pallet jacks can handle a variety of workloads.

Drawbacks of using an electric pallet jack over a forklift

With the right tools, you can unload the contents of your home or warehouse with ease.

Electric pallet jacks are a great solution for moving heavy items around, but there are times they won’t work for you.

Instead, industrial trucks will be a far better choice for lifting and transporting heavy items.

Here are a few reasons opting for an electric pallet jack could be a big mistake.

1. The weight limit is too low

One of the main advantages of an electric pallet jack over a forklift is that it has a lower weight limit.

In other words, you can carry lighter loads using an electric pallet jack rather than a forklift.

However, you should keep in mind that even if your load is below the weight limit, you may need to use a forklift instead.

Electric pallet jacks don’t have that much power and can struggle when it comes to lifting heavier items.

If your load weighs more than 1 ton, then an electric pallet jack simply won’t be able to handle it.

Forklifts can handle loads up to 15 tons or more, so they are better in many situations.

2. Long breaks required for charging

Using an electric walkie to move heavy items can be tiring, and you probably won’t want to keep going without a break.

Unfortunately, you may run into some problems if your battery is dead after just one or two loads.

You’ll have to wait for it to recharge, and you could lose your focus in the meantime.

Some batteries can take up to 8 hours to recharge, which will limit how long you can work with your electric pallet jack at a time.

That’s why using an electric pallet jack is not such a great idea if you have deadlines to meet, or if you need to load up a lot of items one after the other.

3. Loss of power while moving

You may be in trouble if you have to move your load across a significant distance.

Electric pallet jacks usually don’t perform well when it comes to distance because they lose electric power over time.

That means you will need to charge them up before you start moving your load.

That’s a big problem because it will prevent you from completing your task quickly and efficiently.

In this case, a forklift would be the best solution for distance moves.

Electric pallet jacks are very useful for short distances, but they may not perform well when used over longer distances or where there is a lot of weight.

If you need to move a large load from one place to another, it’s better to use a forklift.

4. You can’t access high areas

If you have a tall storage space or want to load items that are stacked on top of each other, then an electric pallet jack simply won’t be your best option.

Because sometimes they lack adjustable forks, electric pallet jacks don’t function well in these places.

For example, you won’t be able to use one in a warehouse with high ceilings.

If you want to load items from the top shelves, then you should consider using a forklift instead.

Forklifts are much more versatile and can help you get your load quickly.

5. Adjustable forks are unavailable

Some forklifts have adjustable forks, which means you can move large or small items with the same machine.

That’s especially useful if your job involves a wide variety of sizes and shapes.

Adjustable forks are not available for electric pallet jacks because they don’t have any moving parts.

Electric pallet jacks are usually designed to handle only one type of item, so you can’t use them for a wide variety of situations.

6. The weight is not properly balanced

Because electric pallet jacks have batteries and other parts attached to them, their load isn’t distributed evenly.

As a result, moving the item could be very slow or awkward.

Using an electric pallet jack to move heavy items would be more efficient if there were no parts to distract you from your task.

For example, the electric pallet jack wouldn’t have any cords or electrical wires attached to it.

That’s why it’s best to use a forklift in this situation, as they are able to move large and awkward loads much better than an electric pallet jack.

How to buy one and how much they cost

Every construction project needs to move heavy stuff around all the time, that means a crane isn’t readily available.

My personal favorite that I rely on any time it comes to juggling ladders, hoses and the roof load, such that I could never work without one.

If you’re thinking of buying a pallet jack to handle a large amount of pallets, there are a few things you should know.

The maximum overall weight is 3000 lbs, you can lift up to 1500 lbs as a single load.

With each of the 3 wheels being driven individually, any type of maneuvering in tight spots is possible.

A common suggestion is that you should be familiar with forklift tractions which are similar to how this electric pallet jack works.

You will also want to be very careful of the forklift jack dealers who are ready to sell you any model, without actually testing or knowing what is good and how much it can carry.

Models with a lower maximum capacity may be cheaper than models with higher maximum capacity because they cost less to manufacture.

Consumers have an easier task to search for a pallet jack that meets their needs.

You have to be able to buy one where you can lift up the door on your truck and use it with ease, as an example of what to look for in power automotive jacks.

How much should it cost?

The online market research and analysis company, Fact.MR, published a study that projected the demand for pallet jacks to increase significantly over the next 20 years.

Fact.MR predicts that by 2030, the global demand for pallet jacks will exceed $242 million dollars, which accounts for the manufacturing cost across a number of countries and regions.

Averagely, an electric pallet jack costs $150 to $3000, and for a little more money you can get a model within the 3300 lbs load capacity.

Carefully check into each feature that is provided with a power pallet jack, as well as, the design that is used for such equipment.

If you are trying to move a lot of weight whereas you can use a regular forklift, then it will be more suitable for your projects.