Forklifts are essential equipment in construction to move loads, particularly across long distances on rough terrains. The weight of a forklift would vary according to several factors, but it is important to know how much it weighs to avoid accidents.
A standard forklift weighs about 9,000 lbs, about three times the weight of the vehicle. The weight difference causes a counterweight, and you’ll need to balance its overall weight with a 3,000 to 5,000 lbs counterweight.
To better understand how to deal with counterweight and a forklift’s capacity, this article provides essential information on the difference between forklift weight and load capacity.
It also helps understand how to manage both to carry loads effectively.
Forklift Weight Vs. Forklift Capacity
Forklift weight and capacity are not the same. Workers need to differentiate the two to understand how much a forklift can carry.
A forklift’s weight is the actual weight of the forklift and any other attachments. This weight includes the vehicle, forklift, etc. you can locate the forklift’s weight on the manufacturer data or the vehicle manual.
If you can’t find these two documents, professionals recommend multiplying the lifting capacity by 2 or ½ just to get a rough estimate.
To operate any forklift, you need to know how much weight it can carry safely. A typical forklift can carry from 3,000 lbs to 70,000+ lbs of weight, depending on the model.
The OSHA requires truck owners and workers to carry only the recommended loads rated for the specific truck.
You can improve a forklift’s load capacity by maintaining the machine and placing several adjustments such as
- Lift materials at low heights– lowering the height means you lower the center of gravity which reduces the risk of toppling.
- Use optimized batteries– batteries are counterweights used to help the forklift stay stable, so using a heavier battery minimizes the risks. Always refer to the manual to see if your battery requirements are proper.
- Change tires– the standard forklift comes with a single-tire system on all fours. You can switch to a dual-tire alternative which can increase your load capacity. Cushion tires are significantly better than pneumatic ones.
- Do repairs when needed– making sure your machine is in good shape after every session is essential. Do regular services and make sure all parts are in a good working capacity.
To determine your forklift capacity, check the manufacturer’s nameplate or tag, which has all the formation about the vehicle. This plate has details about the load capacity of specific weights and heights.
It also contains information about the vehicle’s maximum fork height, down-rated power, side shifter, and other attachments included.
How to Estimate Forklift Capacity
For safe operations, it is important to know your forklift’s capacity. The OHSA has a general formula for calculating the load capacity of your forklift if the load center is different from the rated load center found on the manufacturer’s nameplate.
It is a simple formula where you divide the actual load center by the rated load center and multip[lying the result by the forklift’s capacity.
So, if your forklift had an actual load center of 48 inches and a rated center of 36 inches, you would divide 36 by 48 to get .75. Multiply this by the lifting capacity, like 5,000 pounds, to get a safe capacity of about 3,750 pounds.
Estimating the forklift capacity is crucial and is at the core of operating any forklift safely and effectively.
To understand the specific weights of different forklifts, we have made three main categories; standard capacity, mid-capacity, and high capacity. The tables below give examples of forklift weights in various models popular in the market.
Standard Capacity Forklifts
|Toyota Core Electric (8FBC15U)||4,930||3,000|
Mid Capacity Forklifts
|Forklift Model||Weight (lbs)||Capacity (lbs)|
|CAT Compact LPG(GP35N)||10,200||7,700|
|Toyota Mid IC Pneumatc (8FD35U)||12,820||8,000|
|Mitsubishi IC Cushion Tire (FGC35K)||11,550||7,000|
|Toyota Core IC(8FGCU32)||9,700||6,500|
High Capacity Forklifts
|Forklift Model||Weight (lbs)||Capacity (lbs)|
|Toyota High Capacity IC (THD-5000-48)||84,620||55,000|
|CAT Diesel Forklift(DP60-100N3)||28,462||22,000|
|Hyster Heavy Duty (H550XD48)||81,551||55,100|
Why is Forklift Weight So Important?
Knowing the weight of a forklift can help workers determine how much load they can carry in a project. It helps to know how high you can lift a load and what kinds are recommended. Such information is particularly crucial when you’re renting a forklift.
You don’t want to rent out the wrong forklift and incur damages on a machine you don’t own.
Here are a few reasons why it is vital to know the forklift’s weight.
- Load Capacity on Ramps– If your operation requires a forklift to move up and down a ramp, the weight is important to allow an appropriate ramp to be used.
- Floor Safety– A forklift machine can be heavy, especially when fully loaded. The floor where a forklift operates is crucial and must be made to hold its weight without the risk of damage.
- Attachment Use– knowing the overall weight of a forklift can help you decide what types of attachments you need and if they’ll affect the counterweight.
- Forklift Transportation– You need to know a forklift’s weight when shipping and transporting the unit. Forklifts are transported using huge trucks that must operate within their load capacities to safely transport a forklift.
How to Determine the Load Moment of a Forklift
If you check the load rating of any forklift, you’ll notice another two terms; the load center and load moment. The rating needs to consider the two because you can’t rate how much a forklift can hold without assessing the distance to the fulcrum.
The load moment works similarly to when we hold a box with both arms close to our chest and when the arms are stretched forward. The box is heavier when placed in the latter position because of the load momentum.
So, in forklifts, if the weight is too far forward with too much weight, it simply topples over. The same weight can be adjusted to a distance of X and the vehicle will be stable enough to carry and transport it.
Mathematically, Load Moment = Weight x Distance. So, a 5,000 lb of load can have a load moment of 80,000 inch-pounds on a 16” load center, but jumps to 120,000 inch-pounds when you adjust the load center to 24”.
Factors That Affect a Forklift’s Lifting Capacity
Now that we know what forklift weight and load capacity are, let’s briefly discuss factors that can change how much load a forklift can lift.
- Lifting height- As the forklift goes higher, the amount of weight it can hold decreases. The center of gravity reduces with an increase in height and moves in a position where the truck can’t safely lift certain weights.
- Load length– Lifting a pallet of shipped goods is different from lifting a boat. The two items might have the same weight but, the distribution of gravity is the exact opposite. A boat is longer and may need slight adjustments for safe transportation.
- Wheel tire and type– Different tire weights, types, and sizes affect a forklift’s lifting capacity. Tires with wide treads increase the overall lifting capacity as it improves the truck’s stability.
- Attachments– when you add an attachment to a forklift, it increases its overall weight. This means you have to rework your load and lifting capacity to ensure the load moment is at its optimum range.
Conclusion: How Much Does A Forklift Weigh
The above guide will help you know how heavy a forklift is and how its weight has a crucial impact on the function of forklifts.
Carrying your research before any forklift purchase is essential to get value and a machine that will suit your needs.
We hope you’ll easily estimate the weight and load capacities of forklifts on your next purchase or rental.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the heaviest forklift?
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the heaviest forklift is the Swedish-made forklift made by Kalmar LMV.
It has a lifting weight of 198,000 lbs at a load center of 2.4 m. It was designed to handle a huge man-made river project involving two long-running pipelines.
Is forklift weight the same as forklift capacity?
The forklift capacity determines how much weight a forklift can load, while a forklift weight is the total weight of a forklift along with attachments. An average forklift has a forklift load capacity of three times its weight.
How much does a forklift weigh?
Forklifts are heavy equipment and can carry large loads between 3,000 and 25,000 pounds. The amount of load it carries depends on the brand, model, etc.
A typical forklift can weigh up to 9,000 pounds, of course, depending on a few factors.