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What is a Container Handler?

Red container handler for sale loading a shipping container onto a truck

Container handlers are used for transporting large cargo containers. There are three main types of container handler forklifts, including reach stacker forklifts, loaded container handlers, and empty container handlers.

Each type of container handling equipment offers different capabilities, like load capacity and lift depth. If you need container handling equipment, consider each of the types of container handlers before browsing container handlers for sale.

1. Reach Stacker Forklifts

One type of container handler you’ll see when browsing container handlers for sale is the reach stacker forklift. These container forklifts transport containers via an extendable boom that lifts up and away from the base.

Containers handled by a reach stacker forklift are carried at full width, perpendicular to the base, and can be turned 45 or 90 degrees. Because of the multidirectional boom, most reach stacker forklifts can stack four containers high in the third row and five containers high in the first. On average, this equipment can lift up to 100,000 pounds of cargo. 

When choosing the type of container handler you need, consider selectivity, or the number of containers blocking the one you need to access. If it will take a large number of “dead picks” for the container handler forklift to get to the container you want, you’ll have lower productivity. 

Reach stacker forklifts offer lower selectivity than other container handling equipment. Though quick and mobile, these container handlers increase the number of dead picks needed to grab a container from the stack. Before browsing container handlers for sale, consider your workflow. 

2. Loaded Container Handler 

Loaded container handlers, also known as loaded top picks, move containers up and down on a straight mast rather than moving them up and out with an extendable boom.

As implied by their “top pick” nickname, these container forklifts grab containers from the top. The container handler attaches to the load at the four corners via twist-locks. Loaded container handlers have a lift capacity around 90,000 pounds.

These container forklifts offer greater stack height, typically five or six containers high, but because of the straight mast, they are limited to stacking in only one row. Despite their lack of depth, these container handlers require fewer “dead picks”. Consider these container handlers for sale if you need equipment for faster restacking and higher selectivity.

3. Empty Container Handler

Empty container handlers are very similar to loaded container handlers, with the difference being that they grab containers at the sides rather than from the top.

These container forklifts also have straight masts that raise containers up and down rather than in and out. Because the containers are lighter, these container handler forklifts can carry two containers at a time and have a lift capacity around 20,000 pounds.

Use Forklift Inventory to compare your options for container handlers for sale in your area. Browse the largest inventory of container handling equipment to find the best deal.

No matter what type of container forklift your workplace needs, Forklift Inventory has you covered. Get free quotes on a variety of container handlers for sale instantly to compare prices.

Is a Container Handler Right for You?

A container handler being used for loading and unloading cargo at a shipyard

Before you compare options for container handlers for sale, let’s make sure a container handler is the right type of equipment for you. Container handlers are typically found at shipyards, construction sites, and demolition sites. They are also sometimes used indoors at warehouses.

A large majority of container handler forklifts are used to unload cargo from ships and stack it or load it onto semi-trucks. The organization of your particular shipyard and the frequency of restacking are both critical factors in choosing the right container handling equipment.

For instance, reach stacker forklifts are very quick to use and can transport containers short distances rapidly, piling them in various rows to increase efficiency. However, they have less selectivity than loaded or empty container handlers.

Also, consider the storage space available to you before making a decision on container handlers for sale. The less storage space you have, the more storage density you’ll need. You’ll also want a container handler forklift that encourages a smooth handling flow at your work site. 

These are things to consider when comparing container handlers for sale. Keep in mind that container handler forklifts are not always used in shipyards or even for containers. Some junk yards use these machines to transport vehicles, waste, and debris.

Find container handlers for sale that match your specific needs. Get started with Forklift Inventory and get the best deal on a container handler forklift in your area.

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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.