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Gas Vs Electric Forklifts: Which One is Best for Your Business?

It can be difficult to know exactly which type of forklift you need to ensure your warehouse operations run as smoothly as possible. But when it comes to actually making that decision, it’s important that you’re absolutely sure of what it is you need from your forklift. For instance, some models are better suited to outdoor applications, whereas others would be ideal for indoor operations.
Another factor that could be detrimental when choosing a forklift to enhance your warehouse operations could be that you’re looking to keep your carbon footprint low in order to limit the impact on the environment. With that being said, diesel machines would be out of the question, whereas you should seriously consider purchasing an electric alternative if you’re taking active steps to be more eco-friendly.

Factors to consider when purchasing an LP gas forklift

LP gas forklifts, as the name would suggest, runs purely on liquified petroleum gas (LPG). Having long been a popular choice among the material handling industry, they have a competitive initial price and can also be used for both indoor and outdoor applications. Unlike electric forklifts, you’ll have many hours of uninterrupted service with an LPG forklift, as they won’t need charging in order to function.

Maintenance and running costs are also relatively affordable in comparison to diesel alternatives. Deriving from car engines, parts and components are exceptionally easy to source and cheap to buy, meaning you’ll be able to keep an LPG forklift running for many years, ensuring your business continues to thrive.

Maneuverability is also an important factor, as they’re far easier to operate than their diesel counterparts. Also unlike diesel machines, LPG forklifts are far quieter when in use and they don’t give off harmful emissions.

In summary, the advantages of LPG forklifts are as follows:

  • Ideal for indoor and outdoor use
  • Perfect if you need uninterrupted service
  • They’re relatively cheap to run and maintain
  • Impressive maneuverability capabilities
  • Harmful emissions aren’t given off in operation

Together with the benefits associated with LPG forklifts, there are some other factors to consider if you’re thinking of purchasing one over an electric forklift. For example, where the machine itself is, initially, affordable to purchase, the fuel needed to power it could work out to be quite expensive over a period of time.

In addition to that, and much like diesel forklifts, an LPG machine will need to be regularly maintained, something that could take a hefty chunk of time out of your working day. As the cold weather sets in, these maintenance checks will need to become even more regular as parts and components can become brittle in freezing conditions.

When it comes to operating the forklift, you’ll only be given 5-20 seconds notice before the fuel runs out, meaning your forklift could cut out mid-operation. To avoid this, many warehouse owners look to hook up two gas tanks to the machine, although this can be an expensive way around the problem. This will also make the forklift more prone to leaks, which could cause slips, trips and falls in the workplace, as well as require more maintenance time on the vehicle itself.

In summary, some other factors to consider regarding the LPG forklift include:

  • Powering an LPG forklift can be expensive
  • Regular maintenance will be needed all year round, with more emphasis on this over the winter period
  • You won’t be given any warning before the forklift runs out of fuel
  • LPG forklifts can be prone to leaks

Factors to consider when purchasing an electric forklift

  • Perfect for indoor use, but they can be used outside if needed
  • Exceptionally eco-friendly
  • No harmful emissions are released when in operation
  • Quiet when in use
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Cheap to recharge
  • Maintenance and repair costs are incredibly affordable

However, there are some factors you should think about before opting to purchase an electric forklift over an LPG machine. It’s important to note that initial costs might be slightly higher, unless you go for a second-hand alternative. The machine will also be out of use whilst it’s charging, so you may well need a back-up option on hand just in case the forklift needs a top-up during the course of the day.

You will also have to find some space to put the charging station, something some warehouse owners struggle with, especially if their warehouse is rather small. In addition to that, electric forklifts will find it difficult to navigate rough or loose terrain and so a relatively even surface will be needed for the most part in order to use the electric forklift to its full potential.

If you’re looking to use the forklift outside as well as indoors, then it’s important to consider the fact that an electric forklift shouldn’t be used in wet weather, particularly for long periods of time, given the nature of how it’s powered and the parts and components that are involved as a whole.

In summary, some other factors to consider regarding electric forklifts include:

  • Initial costs will be high
  • Machine cannot be used whilst being charged
  • You’ll need to find the space to install a charging station
  • It cannot operate on loose or rough terrain
  • Wet weather makes it difficult to use an electric forklift outdoors