Manual vs Electric Pallet Jacks: Which Is Best?

There’s no easier way to transport pallets in the workplace than by using a pallet jack. Even with stacked with heavy objects, you can use a pallet jack to lift pallets, after which you can roll them to the desired area of your workplace. While some pallet jacks use a manual method of operation, though, others are electric.

Overview of Manual Pallet Jacks

The most common type, manual pallet jacks are defined by their manual method of operation. They feature a lever known as a tiller with an integrated handle. After positioning a manual pallet jack under a pallet, you can pump the tiller up and down.

Manual pallet jacks are hydraulic. When you pump the tiller up and down, the fluid inside of it will become pressurized so that the forks rise. The handle on the tiller also features a button. Pressing this button will depressurize the manual pallet jack so that the forks drop back to the floor.

Overview of Electric Pallet Jacks

Electric pallet jacks are defined by their use of an electric motor. They still have forks, and they are still designed to lift and move pallets. The main difference is that manual pallet jacks feature a hydraulic system. Electric pallet jacks, on the other hand, feature an electric motor.

Some electric pallet jacks have a platform. To use them, you’ll have to stand on this platform. You’ll be able to access a set of controls while standing on this platform. Electric pallet jacks typically don’t have a tiller. Instead, they have a set of controls, which is accessible while standing on the platform.

Why You Should Choose Manual Pallet Jacks

While electric pallet jacks are typically more powerful than manual pallet jacks, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best choice. Unless you’re planning to use it for particularly heavy pallets, you may want to choose a manual pallet jack.

Manual pallet jacks are easier to maneuver than electric pallet jacks. They don’t have an electric motor, nor do they have a platform. With their compact design, you can easily maneuver a manual pallet jack in otherwise tight spaces.

Manual pallet jacks are easier to maintain than electric pallet jacks. Aside from lubricating them and performing the occasional visual inspection, they typically don’t require any other maintenance. Electric pallet jacks often require more maintenance. You’ll have to clean the battery terminals, recharge the battery and more.

You can expect to pay less for a manual pallet jack as well. Manual pallet jacks are available for just $300 to $400, whereas electric pallet jacks can cost over $1,000.