Pneumatic vs. Cushion Tire Forklifts: Which One is Right For Your Business?

November 15, 2022 - Last modified: November 14, 2022 @ 3:10 pm

When you have a job to do, using the right equipment is vital. When it comes to forklifts, not only should you use the right kind of lift truck, but you also need to choose the right type of tires. If your job is a better fit for a cushion tire forklift, you probably shouldn’t use one with pneumatic tires and vice versa.

What’s the difference, and why does it matter? Buying a forklift is a significant investment, so you need to select the one that best meets your needs. This guide explains how to choose.

Why Is Selecting the Right Tire Important?

Where and how you’ll use a forklift is the most critical factor when deciding what kind of tires you need. If you use the wrong type of tire, it can cause several avoidable issues:

  • Tip-overs
  • Unstable loads
  • Transmission strain
  • Floor damage
  • Operator discomfort
  • Tire damage

Most of these issues are costly, so choosing the right equipment from the start is best.

Should You Get a Pneumatic or Cushion Tire Forklift?

If you’re unsure which type of forklift is best for your company’s needs, Forklift Inventory provides several resources to guide you.

Cushion Tire Forklift Benefits

Cushion forklift tires are solid, smooth rubber attached directly to metal bands. Their diameter is typically smaller, making the vehicle sit lower. As opposed to pneumatic tire lift trucks, cushion tire forklifts generally:

  • Cost less initially
  • Are smaller
  • Work better when you don’t have much room to turn
  • Don’t cause as much damage to warehouse floors
  • Have a smoother ride

However, they don’t have as much resale value and won’t provide as much traction.

A cushion tire forklift can reach 10 to 15 feet in lift height and carry 22,000 pounds. Each model has different capacities, so check the specifications before buying one.

Where To Use a Cushion Tire Forklift

If you need to use a forklift primarily indoors, especially in tighter spaces, a cushion tire forklift is probably your best choice. Cushion tires work best on concrete floors, although you can also use them on asphalt.

Manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, and warehouses often utilize cushion tire forklifts. Narrow aisles don’t leave much room to maneuver, and a cushion tire forklift provides an advantage in those spaces.

Many facilities use a cushion tire forklift to move pallets to and from loading docks. This equipment uses battery power, and you’ll need to recharge it after about eight hours.

Pneumatic Tire Forklift Description

Pneumatic forklift tires are either solid rubber or filled with air. They absorb shock, making them safer to handle in situations where you might face potholes or other uneven ground situations.

Air-filled pneumatic tires:

  • Are rubber on the outside and filled with air
  • Usually have deep treads
  • Provide good traction

Solid pneumatic tires:

  • Are typically more expensive
  • Are durable
  • Don’t allow punctures if you run over sharp objects
  • Don’t provide a smooth ride

Pneumatic tire forklifts can lift 30,000 to 50,000 pounds to heights of approximately 15 feet, but those specs vary by model. You can find pneumatic tire equipment to lift 125,000 pounds.

Where To Use a Pneumatic Tire Forklift

Lift trucks with either type of pneumatic tires perform well outdoors, even on uneven ground and in dirty conditions. You’ll often see this equipment on gravel lots, construction sites, outdoor manufacturing sites, lumber yards, and oil refineries. You can also use this type of tire indoors, but be sure you have enough room to maneuver.

Pneumatic tire lift trucks are stable and strong, giving you versatility. However, these forklifts usually cost more than cushion tire forklifts. In addition, pneumatic tires usually need more maintenance and won’t last as long as cushion tires.

Can You Change the Tire Type?

When manufacturers build forklifts, they plan to put a particular type of tire on them. The lift truck design specifies the tires and axles, and the tires' capabilities contribute to the finished equipment's lifting capacity.

A cushion tire forklift uses a different type of frame than pneumatic tire lift trucks. You can’t just switch the two kinds of tires. You need to purchase the right lift truck for the job you’ll do with it.

Should You Buy a New or Used Forklift?

Once you decide which type of forklift you need, you want to find one at a reasonable price, preferably close to your location. Comparing several quotes can help you find a great deal.

You also need to decide if you want to purchase a new or used lift truck. Each option has advantages, and understanding those can help make your choice.

New Lift Trucks

Companies that use a forklift for four or more hours each day will likely benefit from buying a new pneumatic or cushion tire forklift. New equipment is typically more dependable than used and won’t require as much maintenance initially.

If you have special requirements, you’ll probably prefer a new forklift because you can specify the attachments or accessories you need. Finding a used one equipped with everything you’re looking for will likely take longer.

Used Lift Trucks

You can usually find a wide variety of used forklifts available. These typically cost a lot less than a comparable new machine, so a used lift truck is a good choice if you need to watch your expenses.

If you won’t use your forklift for more than four hours daily, a used lift truck makes sense. Be sure to buy used equipment through a reliable dealer to avoid scams and faulty equipment.

How Can Forklift Inventory Help You?

Although you could search ads for new or used lift trucks, that’s often frustrating and time-consuming. Further, you need to trust that you’re dealing with reputable people. Wouldn’t it be great if you could find a reliable, trustworthy source to give you multiple quotes for suitable equipment? Forklift Inventory does that and more.

Whether you’re interested in new or used lift trucks, Forklift Inventory offers only quality equipment from dependable dealers. Tell us a little about what type of equipment you need. For instance, how will you use it? Are you looking for a pneumatic or cushion tire forklift? We’ll give you several options in only a few minutes. If you have questions, give us a call or email us today. Let Forklift Inventory help you find the best deal on the right equipment.

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