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Electric Forklifts or Propane Forklifts

FC 5200 Series

Choosing the Right Forklift: Electric Forklifts vs Propane Forklifts

The vast assortment of material handling equipment available today makes it easier than ever for a company to acquire the right tools for the job, but how does a company decide between two pieces of equipment that essentially do the same thing, but with different engine and fuel sources. Electric, Propane, Gas, or Diesel, they can all lift and move your product, so which one makes the most sense for you?

Comparing Internal Combustion Forklifts and Electric Forklifts

Whether you are interested in a new or used Crown or Unicarriers forklift, it is important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each power source; to simplify the internal combustion selections we will use Propane for our comparisons as it is the most prevalent option.

Propane Forklifts Benefits:

  • Consistent power – The power you start the shift with will not waver or decrease as time goes on. As long as there is fuel in the tank, your forklift will operate at full capacity.
  • Typically one tank can be used per shift – Get the job done on one LP tank, without interrupting your flow of work for refills or recharging.
  • Many options – The portability of these forklifts makes them a widely utilized product, which also means there are more varieties of options to choose from.
  • Indoor and outdoor use – Available in cushion or pneumatic tires, your material-handling possibilities won’t stop at the warehouse bay door, your propane powered forklift can handle gravel, dirt, pavement, rain, or snow.

Propane Forklifts Disadvantages:

  • Fossil fuel dependant – Your Company’s stance on the environment and green technology may make this option unacceptable.
  • Emissions in enclosed spaces – If your team works in tight or closed off spaces, the emissions and odours that propane forklifts produce must be considered.
  • Noisy – Once again, consider the space your forklift will be used in. If clients or customers are within earshot or your team requires a lot of communication, the noise of a propane forklift could create more than just a minor disturbance.

Electric Forklifts Benefits:

  • Less maintenance – Fewer moving parts means fewer parts that are likely to break. For that reason, electric forklifts tend to be lower maintenance.
  • Tighter Aisles means more Density – Modern Crown electrics can get more weight to higher levels in tighter Aisles than ever before.
  • On site fuel storage not required – If you have the right battery for your needs, a single shift operation should never run out of fuel. Plug the battery in each night, and you should be ready to go when you arrive for the next shift.
  • Multiple Shifts = Multiple Options – In the past a multi shift application relied on extra batteries and the potentially dangerous task of changing them out. With new technology in charging systems, a battery can be topped up during breaks in the day, with the right battery and charger, a two shift application may even be able to avoid battery changes completely.
  • No emissions – No smells, no harmful gases and no complaints from employees about inhaling fumes.
  • Quiet – The battery-operated forklifts are significantly quieter than their propane-powered counterparts, creating a more relaxed and unobtrusive use of the machine.

Electric Forklifts Disadvantages:

  • More expensive – Budget is among the biggest considerations for most companies buying a forklift, and electric forklifts are more expensive upfront. Over time though, costs will even out when you take into account maintenance, repairs, and the fuel required to operate a propane forklift.
  • Specialized Equipment can be difficult to rent –Some of the most advanced warehouses utilize equipment that is not typically found in a rental fleet, while the new Crowns and Unicarriers are very reliable, a model designed to work in a narrow aisle and lift a pallet over 500” is not readily accessible, it’s likely you would need to rent a unit with closer to 300” of lift until your unit is repaired.
  • Primarily for Indoor use – While there are some models that can function outside, the majority of electric forklifts should not. Dust, moisture and vibration are things you are better off avoiding.

Find the Perfect Forklift for Your Company

Ready to buy your forklift or learn more about propane and electric options? Arpac has a variety of makes, models, and price points to suit your company’s unique project requirements and budget needs. Our team of experts can help you understand your options and find the forklift that is right for you. Whether you already own a forklift and require repairs, have team members who need forklift operator training, or are looking to have more efficient and functional material-handling, we can help.

Call us at 800-946-8511 to learn more about our new and used forklifts. Fill out an online contact form to receive more information about forklifts in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge or Vancouver. Arpac is here to answer your questions and find the forklift that’s right for your company.