Is an Electric Forklift Right for Me?

December 25, 2020

The exposed battery of an electric forklift truck

An electric forklift is powered by a rechargeable battery rather than fuel. This forklift type has gained popularity in the past decade, competing with propane forklifts for the top spot.

Electric forklifts have a lot to offer. The technology is improving, and with emissions regulations increasing over the last few years, they’re a great option. If you’re looking for an affordable and efficient machine, an electric forklift truck may be ideal for your business.

Learn more about electric vs. internal combustion options to find out which one is the best fit for your business.

Electric vs. Internal Combustion

The main distinction between electric vs. internal combustion is fuel. An electric forklift does not need fuel. Instead, it runs on power from a rechargeable battery, like an electric car.

Of course, this battery costs money. In fact, it will tack an additional $2,500 to $5,000 onto the initial electric forklift price. However, it eliminates fuel costs. Plus, a battery lasts about 5 years, depending on proper battery maintenance.

On the other hand, according to Toyota Forklifts, internal combustion forklifts use about six pounds (0.719 gallons) of LPG fuel per hour. Assuming petroleum costs around $2 per gallon, an IC forklift costs less than $1.50 per hour. Since the average forklift runs 2,000 hours each year, we can infer that the cost of a $5,000 forklift battery averages out to only 50 cents per hour.

Therefore, just because the battery increases the electric forklift price upfront doesn’t actually mean you’ll pay more overall. In fact, an electric lift truck has fewer moving parts than an IC forklift. This typically translates to lower maintenance costs and an overall lower cost of ownership.

Another thing to consider is recharge time. An electric lift truck takes about eight hours to recharge, and another eight to cool down before it can be used again. On the other hand, a propane forklift takes less than five minutes to refuel. All you have to do is replace the propane tank.

Lastly, an electric lift truck is quieter than an internal combustion model and operates with zero emissions. This is ideal for indoor use.

Types of Electric Forklifts

Of the seven classifications of forklifts outlined by OSHA, the first three are dedicated to types of electric forklift trucks. These classes include two common types: narrow aisle reach trucks and order pickers. Both of these models are small and maneuverable, making them ideal for narrow warehouse spaces.

A narrow aisle reach truck, also known as a stand-up electric forklift, is controlled by a standing operator who is positioned sideways. This increases visibility and makes it easier to drive in reverse. A stand-up electric forklift is also great for applications where operators need to get on and off of the equipment frequently. On the other hand, an order picker is controlled by an operator standing on a lifted platform. This equipment is best suited for case picking and piece part orders.

Unlike a stand-up electric forklift, the operator of an order picker is strapped in and cannot get on and off the equipment quickly. However, both types have a tight turning radius and navigate easily in narrow warehouse aisles.

Yellow warehouse forklift with pneumatic tires

Purchasing an Electric Lift Truck

If an electric forklift truck sounds like a good fit for you, we can help you find a great deal on equipment. Forklift Inventory carries a huge inventory of forklifts for sale nationwide. We also offer free, transparent pricing on all of our listings.

Compare electric forklift prices online before you buy. Answer a few questions to let us know what you’re looking for and our team will sort through our inventory to find equipment that fits your needs. Then, we’ll send you pricing on each of your matches.

Review your options before you buy. Find great equipment at an electric forklift price that fits your budget.

Find an Electric Forklift Truck for Your Business Today.

Compare Forklift Prices

Forklift Inventory has the largest online selection of forklifts, aerial lifts and construction forklifts. Compare new and used forklifts to get the lowest prices available.


Countries Served

Contact Us

  • (877) 276-4227


*Savings claims are based on used forklift prices when compared to new inventory prices. Savings is not guaranteed and is subject to change.