Most of the time choosing the proper forklift for your business is an otherwise straightforward task. There is rarely a time when it requires much thought beforehand outside of the general requirements you are looking for to successfully complete the tasks you will be using it.
However, choosing the right forklift to help handle more specialty items is a bit more in-depth.
For instance, when handling pharmaceutical or food products you really need a zero emission producing forklift, as to not affect the integrity or quality of the products that are being stored in the area with exhaust fumes. In this scenario, you may want to have an electric forklift at your disposal.
On the other hand, if you are utilizing your forklift to move around less-sensitive materials or need a forklift that doesn’t require a run back to the charging dock when it is on the other side of a large warehouse, then you may want to buy a propane forklift.
However, those are only but a couple of the many reasons to choose one type of forklift over the other. Here are a few more to consider:
Generally, electric forklifts are more expensive right out of the gate in comparison to their propane-powered counterparts. However, this is really a non-issue if you consider the long-term benefits such as the requirement of fewer mechanical parts to replace and the fact that there is no gas needed for refueling.
In the long-term, electric forklifts can potentially save you more money.
Having said that, propane forklifts give you an almost immediate return on investment. Not only are gas-powered forklifts still the easiest type to find used forklift parts for, they also do not require you to waste useful manhours waiting for them to recharge because you forgot to plug them in the night before or between shifts. This isn’t an issue for propane forklifts that can easily have their propane tanks switched out on the fly and put right back into operation.
When deciding which type of forklift to purchase, understand what the trade-offs are when it comes to how they are priced.
In general, there is a considerable gap in the total cost of ownership between electric forklifts and propane forklifts.
As we’ve covered already, electric forklifts are much less expensive than their propane counterparts because they do not require refueling. Additionally, electric forklifts are easier to take care of as they do not have gas-powered engines that require specialized maintenance or mechanical repairs.
But because electric forklifts are still not yet as prominent as propane-powered forklifts, finding parts for them can oftentimes prove to be a bit more difficult as well.
Weighing the pros and cons
Ultimately, whatever style of forklift you choose to purchase will come down to a matter of preference and expendable funds.
Both electric and propane forklifts come with their own specific sets of pros and cons…
If you go with an electric forklift, it is going to cost you a bit more upfront but this is offset by fewer mechanical maintenance requirements.
If you decide to instead purchase a propane forklift, it is easy on the wallet, but it is going to require a bit more maintenance and the cost of gas to keep it running might be a bit out of budget in the long-run.
Regardless of which type of forklift you purchase, so long as you understand the trade-offs of them both, you will be in a much better position to make the right call.