The Different Types of Pallet Trucks

Pallet trucks are generally the workhorse in any warehouse. Some of our tips for warehouse workers will help run the facility more efficiently. Save time and money by determining which types of pallet trucks will best fit your business needs.

Hand Pallet Truck

Although a hand truck is very basic, it is certainly a useful piece of equipment. Controlled manually, a hand pallet truck carries heavy loads from one location to another with a minimum of human effort. A hand pallet truck’s forks are placed under the item being moved, with the jack then lifting the object. The operator navigates the truck by the handle to transport the item to its new location. 

Various models provide assistance for making any moving job easier. Low profile trucks are helpful for moving very low pallets or crates, and trucks with longer forks are perfect for handling much longer items. An assortment of weight capabilities also exists for moving regular-sized to heavier loads.

Hand trucks are very convenient since they are small and lightweight. They can easily fit in the back of a pick-up truck or box van, and are perfect for use in tight spaces where lift height is not essential.

High Lift Truck

These types of pallet trucks are constructed to lift pallets to a practical and safe working height. This enables employees to handle items without needing to constantly bend and lift the items from floor level. High lift trucks can help alleviate or reduce muscular discomfort or injuries to employees on the job. They can also provide enormous assistance to workers on assembly lines and packing processors. 

Weighing Scale Truck

A scale on this pallet truck indicates the weight of the items being moved. This function is helpful in numerous situations, permitting objects to be weighed whenever required. A useful piece of equipment for busy factory floors and loading bays, this pallet truck fulfills a very specific function. 

Manual Stacker

This piece of equipment differs from a pallet truck since it takes functionality further by providing moving pallets, along with lift assistance. Since manual stackers make lifting much easier, they can be considered a less expensive option to a forklift. Their smaller size makes this device ideal to use in size-limited warehouses or loading areas where they are needed to lift items onto vehicles or into pallet stacking for off-ground storage.

Electric Walk Behind

This piece of equipment is the battery-powered form of the hand pallet truck. It is a small machine, approximately double the size of a hand pallet truck, with lifting ability of typically 4,500 pounds to 6,000 pounds.

The advantage of using an electric walk behind truck is the mechanical support for raising and driving the truck. By pressing a button, the operator can raise and lower a load, as the machine contains a drive wheel to assist in transferring the load. There is no need for the operator to pull the load and machine, or to pump the handle manually to lift the weight.

Either an onboard battery pack or industrial battery provides power to this truck. Disadvantages, however, are batteries need regular recharging, and the machine consists of more moving parts, which require more maintenance than the manual truck.  

Rider Pallet Truck

This machine is an electric walk behind with the added feature of a riding platform. As opposed to having to walk behind the truck, the operator steps onto a platform on the pallet truck and rides along. This feature allows the rider pallet truck a better range for moving loads longer distances. It is also battery-powered with an onboard industrial battery.

Disadvantages to using a rider pallet truck are that it has an awkward posture and exposes the operator to possible hazards. Since this machine weighs several thousand pounds, it can easily cause damage to adjacent structures or cause injury. These trucks are very popular and used on a daily basis, but they can be dangerous machines due to the way the operator is situated and exposed on the end of the machine.

Center Rider

This pallet truck is built similar to the rider pallet truck, but has the extra benefit of being safer to use and is better ergonomically designed. It allows the operator to look completely forward or backward instead of sideways as on a regular rider pallet truck. It is a much better machine for traveling longer and mainly straight distances. Since it can be slightly tougher to turn than a rider pallet truck, it operates better in areas where the operator mostly drives in a straight line.

Counterbalanced Walker Stacker

The jack on this machine is able to reach up to eight feet off the ground. All other pallet trucks mentioned have lift capabilities of not more than approximately eight inches. This stacker runs electrically, and contains a substantial chassis and lifting pole. It prevents tipping over by use of the counterweight of the industrial battery, equipment elements, and steel construction.

Some tips for warehouse workers – stacker machines are smaller and more economical than ride-on counterbalanced forklifts. It is a terrific choice for lifting pallets onto racks or moving machines in areas such as small storerooms and machine shops.

Walker Straddle Stacker

Very similar to the counterbalanced stacker, this machine is equipped with outrigger attachments to prevent it from tipping over when lifting a load. This machine has a smaller track than the counterbalanced stacker, but has comparable lifting abilities and capacity. Straddle stackers are also available with a reaching carriage that permits for use in narrow aisles.