Which should I choose? Electric or a Propane Forklift?
Both offer the user a cleaner, quieter unit. Some applications for example, like food warehouses, pharmaceutical or underground facilities are required to use strictly Electric Units.
Keep in Mind, Electric Forklifts have a lower cost of ownership in the long run!
Propane Forklift Pros:
With the right tires, a propane-powered forklift can operate just about anywhere: dirt, gravel, rain or even snow. Propane also gives consistent power throughout the shift. When the tank empties, simply replace with a full one. This is especially important for applications where the forklift needs to operate remotely. If you are pushing or require a high torque, then propane would be the preferred unit for you.
Propane Forklift Cons: Liquid propane is a fossil fuel, which can’t be used for certain applications. This also means the price can fluctuate. Propane forklifts are less expensive upfront, but if you plan to keep the equipment for more than two years, an electric lift truck will eventually pay for itself through lower operating costs. Propane forklifts are also noisier than electric forklifts. Some people also tend to experience head aches because of the smell of the propane.
Electric Forklift Pros:
An electric lift truck is cleaner, quieter and has a lower cost of ownership than a Propane forklift. Electric forklifts have no emissions, which means no harmful gases for employees to inhale, and they are safe for food and medical applications. Electric lift trucks also have fewer moving parts, require less maintenance, and have fewer parts that can break - versus Propane forklifts. It can also opportunity charge. Lastly, a facility with an all-electric fleet can avoid storing potentially hazardous fuel.
An electric lift truck is cleaner, quitter, and more environmentally friendly when people are around. Lower cost of ownership in the long term.
Electric Forklift Cons: Electric forklifts cost more upfront, although the low cost of ownership generally offsets the initial cost within two years. Also, most electric forklifts aren’t designed for outdoor use, however, more rugged electric lift trucks with pneumatic tires are available.
In years past, electric forklifts were an expensive option for multi-shift operations - requiring multiple batteries and changing equipment. But technology has evolved, and batteries can be topped up during the day with fast or opportunity charging.