Top 5 Rough Terrain Forklift Manufacturers

February 28, 2023 - Last modified: February 13, 2023 @ 6:08 pm

Rough terrain forklifts are designed for more difficult terrain than regular outdoor forklifts. Outdoor pneumatic tire forklifts can handle small bumps on mostly flat surfaces, such as moving from a packed-dirt yard into a paved parking lot. Only rough terrain forklifts can handle loose dirt, divots, puddles and hills. OSHA defines rough terrain forklifts as rugged forklifts for unimproved natural terrain and disturbed terrain, but not any and all terrain. Each of the major rough terrain forklift manufacturers has strengths and weaknesses suited to different job sites. 

What Are the Top 5 Rough Terrain Forklift Manufacturers?

Rough terrain forklifts come in three different styles, so research which style you need before looking into brands. Here are the top manufacturers of rough terrain forklifts and the pros and cons of each.


Manitou forklifts blend the utility of a truck and a forklift. Their compact rough terrain forklifts can climb and descend hills, fit down narrow paths and turn in a tight radius. Manitou also offers much higher ground clearance than other manufacturers, so natural terrain won't damage the undercarriage. The con of these forklifts is that they have low lift heights of 10 feet or less. 


CAT rough terrain forklifts are built for power and load capacity. Their AH40 model can lift over 10 tons of weight. A CAT rough terrain forklift may not have the clearance or agility of a Manitou forklift, but they're ideal for demanding load weights and slightly uneven outdoor terrain. Newer models also have improved fuel efficiency. 


JCB machines are popular on farms, lumber yards, construction sites and with the U.S. Army. These forklifts are easy to operate, and you can locate replacement parts without any trouble. 

JCB rough terrain forklifts feature high lift heights of 15-22 feet. Their JCB Ecomax engines don't require a diesel filter or any modifications to meet Tier 4 emissions standards. JCB is a solid all-around choice for a rough terrain forklift with few cons, although they can be expensive.


Toyota is a trusted and popular name in forklifts. Their all-terrain forklifts are built to the same high standards of safety, comfort and reliability as their indoor models. These rough terrain forklifts are popular on construction sites for their stability on asphalt, gravel and other uneven surfaces. Toyota's models have lift capacities of over 8 tons; however, they don't offer a wide range of rough terrain forklifts like other manufacturers. 


Komatsu forklifts are smooth and stable. Their unique engineering reduces vibrations in the cab, and their ergonomic design is comfortable for operators. Komatsu rough terrain forklifts are reliable and also smaller than other brands, making them good for compact job sites. The con is that these smaller machines have lower load capacities of 1 to 3 tons. 

Where Can You Compare Forklifts From the Top Rough Terrain Forklift Manufacturers?

Most rough terrain forklift manufacturers offer many models with different prices and specifications. It can take hours to locate all the information you need to choose the best forklift for the job. At Forklift Inventory, we take the work out of shopping for forklifts. Answer a few questions about your needs, and our experts will get back to you with hassle-free quotes.

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