You don’t have to use a forklift to move loaded pallets. While a forklift is always an option, a pallet jack is an alternative material handling device. It features a pair of lifting arms that are designed specifically for pallets. To lift and move a loaded pallet, you can push the pallet jack’s arms under the pallet and then pump the handle. Pumping the handle will raise the arms and, thus, the pallet. Forklifts have pallet-compatible arms as well, but you may want to choose a pallet jack for the following reasons.
Pallet jacks are easier to maneuver than forklifts. You turn them in tight spaces, which may or may not be possible with forklifts. Forklifts are longer than pallet jacks. You can still turn a forklift, but you may need a little extra clearance to do so. If you regularly move loaded pallets in tight spaces, a forklift may prove more useful because of its maneuverability.
Pallet jacks weigh less than forklifts. Forklifts can weigh as much as 10,000 pounds. To put that number into perspective, most midsized cars weigh about 3,000 pounds. But thanks to their simple design, pallet jacks are lighter than forklifts. Some of them weigh just 200 pounds, whereas other pallet jacks weigh 150 pounds.
#3) No Recharging or Refueling
You won’t have to recharge or refuel a pallet jack. Most pallet jacks are hydraulic. Forklifts, on the other hand, are either battery powered or gas powered. If you choose a battery-powered forklift, you’ll have to recharge it. If you choose a gas-powered forklift, you’ll have to refuel it. Recharging and refueling takes time, and it will cost you money in the form of electricity or gas.
#4) No Certification Required By OSHA
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) doesn’t require certification to operate a pallet jack. OSHA does, however, require certification to operate a forklift. Certification means that employers must train and certify their workers to use a forklift. Only workers who’ve been certified by their respective employers are allowed to operate a forklift. Pallet jacks, though, don’t require certification.
You can save money by choosing a pallet jack instead of a forklift. There are different types of pallet jacks, but they almost always cost less than forklifts. They don’t feature a motor. Instead, forklifts feature hydraulic-powered arms. With their simple design, they cost less to purchase, as well as maintain, than forklifts.