Increase Warehouse Efficiency With a Order Picker Forklift

June 07, 2022 - Last modified: September 7, 2022 @ 3:37 pm

Operator using an Order Picker Forklift in a Warehouse

As a business owner or warehouse manager, you probably brainstorm ways to increase efficiency without compromising employee safety. While you are most likely familiar with how traditional forklifts work and how they can improve warehouse efficiency, how much do you know about order pickers and their unique benefits? An order picker forklift may be exactly what you need to meet your efficiency goals.

Like a typical forklift, an order picker helps users retrieve and store boxes and other items throughout the warehouse or on trucks. However, unlike other lift trucks, an order picker can lift the machine operator and boxes. Making it possible for the order picker forklift operator to find and retrieve specific orders without needing to recruit another employee to help.

Understanding Order Picker Forklifts

It’s easy to use an order picker (also commonly called a cherry picker). The machine operator hooks up to the machine and drives it to the location in the warehouse where they want to retrieve a pallet. Once there, the operator raises and lowers the platform to retrieve the desired pallet or boxes. The platform is connected to the mast, which has controls on it to allow the operator to control how high the mast lifts them.

There is no need to be a mechanic or have any special training beyond what’s required by OSHA to operate a forklift. However, it is important to perform a pre-op inspection to keep yourself and those around you safe. Follow the owner’s manual to make sure you understand the different parts of your machine and how they function.

It can be tricky to learn how to operate an order picker forklift, since the wheels are located in the front of the machine and are fixed. When you drive an order picker, you’re likely driving it backward most of the time. It can take time to get used to steering with the pivot point located behind you, but with practice, this will become easier.

Some order pickers have four wheels, while others have three. Three-wheel models typically have a higher turn radius, while those with four wheels may not turn as tightly but tend to feel more secure and balanced.

Parts of an Order Picker Forklift

Most order pickers have two safety arms on the sides and will not function unless both of them are down. The forks are fixed and do not pitch as they would on a typical forklift. The order picker also features two grabbing arms that grab onto the pallet to hold it in place.

How To Operate an Order Picker Safely

It is important to wear a harness whenever you or your employees operate an order picker. The harness should attach to a carabiner that’s attached to the order picker. There is also a dead-man switch included with any order picker forklift to cause the machine to stop immediately when you release your foot from the switch. This is an emergency method only and should not be used to casually stop the order picker.

Order pickers also have various foot-activated pedals to close and release the grabbing arms. A hand-controlled lever allows the operator to move the machine forward and backward. A separate hand-controlled wheel with a knob allows the user to control steering.

Each machine also has a panel that specifies the maximum weight the machine can lift. As with other forklifts, it’s best to keep operating your order picker forklift with the platform as low as possible. The higher your platform, the higher your risk of injuries.

You must ensure your employees are trained and aware of all safety features. Failure to operate the order picker safely could potentially result in OSHA violations, fines, and injuries.

Where To Use an Order Picker Forklift

An order picker may not be ideal for all warehouses, but there are situations where this equipment can significantly improve warehouse efficiency. In general, order pickers fulfill a need for distribution centers, warehouses, and fulfillment centers with narrow aisles or a lot of smaller orders. Standard forklifts may not fit well into tighter spaces.  

Order pickers are also ideal for picking up smaller loads while reserving traditional forklifts for larger loads. When you need to pick specific items off of a pallet to fulfill orders, order pickers help make this task easier and quicker.

Benefits of an Order Picker Forklift

There are a few benefits order pickers can offer you. In addition to being able to navigate tight spaces more easily than larger forklifts, they also:

  • Make it easier to fulfill customer orders faster (which improves efficiency)
  • Allow staff to pick up individual items without needing to lift an entire pallet down from where it’s stored
  • Have minimal maintenance requirements due to their simple design and electronic components
  • Make it possible to pack shelves higher than you might otherwise be able to do

An order picker forklift is also fairly easy to navigate, though it takes time to get used to how they drive and turn. Order pickers are also priced more affordably than traditional sit-down forklifts, so you can equip your warehouse without breaking the bank. If you don’t currently have at least one order picker in your warehouse, it’s time to consider purchasing one (or more). Improve your warehouse efficiency by making it easier to retrieve piece-part orders without retrieving full pallets unnecessarily.

Purchase an Order Picker Forklift Today

Whether you want to invest in a new order picker forklift or a used one, we have an excellent selection of products here at Forklift Inventory. In addition to forklifts, we also offer piggyback lifts, reach trucks, boom lifts, and many other equipment types. We encourage you to reference our blog or use our convenient buying guide to determine what type of lift truck is the best choice for your warehouse.

Compare Pricing on New & Used Forklifts for Sale Near You.


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.