is an electric pallet jack a forklift

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Pallet jacks and forklifts are two essential pieces of equipment that are widely used in warehouses and distribution centers. However, many people get confused about the difference between an electric pallet jack and a forklift. In this article, we will explore the similarities and differences between these two pieces of equipment.

What is an Electric Pallet Jack?

An electric pallet jack, also known as a powered pallet jack, is a material handling machine that is used to move pallets without a forklift. It features an electric motor that powers the lifting mechanism, allowing the operator to lift and move loads weighing up to 4,500 lbs. The electric pallet jack is capable of traveling up to 4 mph and has a turning radius of approximately 50 inches.

The Benefits of Using an Electric Pallet Jack

1. Increased Safety: Electric pallet jacks are designed with safety in mind. They come equipped with safety features such as limit switches that prevent the pallet jack from overloading or tipping over.

2. Improved Efficiency: Electric pallet jacks are faster and more efficient than manual pallet jacks. They are capable of lifting and moving heavy loads with ease, which reduces the time and effort required to move products.

3. Ease of Use: Electric pallet jacks are user-friendly and easy to operate. They come equipped with intuitive controls that make them easy to maneuver, even in tight spaces.

4. Reduced Maintenance: Electric pallet jacks require less maintenance compared to forklifts. They have fewer moving parts, which means there is less wear and tear on the machine.

Is an Electric Pallet Jack a Forklift?

While an electric pallet jack and a forklift share some similarities, they are not the same. The main difference between the two is the lifting mechanism. An electric pallet jack is designed to lift and move loads while keeping them close to the ground. On the other hand, a forklift is designed to lift loads high off the ground and stack them on shelves or racks.

Types of Forklifts

There are four main types of forklifts, each with its own unique features and capabilities.

1. Counterbalance Forklifts: Counterbalance forklifts are the most common type of forklift. They have a large counterweight at the back of the machine, which balances the weight of the load being lifted.

2. Reach Forklifts: Reach forklifts are designed for narrow aisles and high shelves. They have a telescoping mast that can extend to lift loads up to 30 feet high.

3. Order Picker Forklifts: Order picker forklifts are designed for order picking in a warehouse or distribution center. They have a platform for the operator to stand on, which allows them to pick items from shelves or racks at various heights.

4. Pallet Jack Forklifts: Pallet jack forklifts, also known as walkie forklifts, are used to move pallets on the ground. They are smaller and more maneuverable than traditional forklifts, making them ideal for smaller warehouses or tight spaces.

Which is Better for Your Business?

The choice between an electric pallet jack and a forklift depends on your specific business needs. If you are dealing with heavy loads that need to be lifted high off the ground and placed on shelves or racks, then a forklift is the better option. However, if you are moving loads on the ground and need a machine that is efficient and easy to use, then an electric pallet jack may be the better choice.


In conclusion, an electric pallet jack and a forklift may seem similar, but they are two different pieces of equipment with unique features and capabilities. If you are having trouble deciding which is the best option for your business, speak to a material handling expert who can help you make an informed decision.


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