Internal Combustion Vs. Electric

When considering which forklift to buy, an important aspect to look at is whether the forklift is powered by electricity or an internal combustion engine. Both have their pros and cons and which type is right for you is a matter of what you will need the forklift for and the environment it will be used in.

For example, internal combustion forklifts tend to more suited towards outdoor environments. Electric forklifts are much more susceptible to damage from adverse weather conditions, although electric forklifts with an IPX4 rating can work outside, even in light rain. Electric forklifts also drain their battery much faster than normal when they are working on uneven surfaces. Internal combustion forklifts are much more tolerant of poor weather and also don’t require a dry charging area that is well-ventilated and kept at a constant temperature.

Many times, electric forklifts are much more appropriate for indoor use. Unlike internal combustion forklifts, they do not emit noxious fumes, making them safer for employees working indoors. Electric forklifts are also a good choice if you need work done in a freezer, as they can be cold-protected up to -30ºC. Electric forklifts are generally smaller than their internal combustion cousins and require about a meter less of space to function. Electric forklifts are also much quieter than internal combustion ones.

Expected workload is another important factor to consider when choosing between electric and internal combustion. Internal combustion forklifts are easy to refuel, requiring very little downtime, although there is the additional cost of fuel storage. In contrast, charging an electric forklift’s battery takes a while, and multiple batteries need to be kept charged and ready to install if the forklift is expected to work around the clock. Internal combustion forklifts also offer superior performance in terms of acceleration and lift speeds.

Electric and internal combustion forklifts each have their pros and cons, and while neither is explicitly better than the other, it’s important that you do the research required to help you pick the one that suits your needs.

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