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How to Choose the Best Pallet Trucks
How to Choose the Best Pallet Trucks
Heavy lifting and poor posture are the leading causes of chronic back problems, and it’s best to avoid straining it at whatever cost. When in a busy industrial set-up, loading and offloading of materials is the order of the day. For better material handling and utilization of available space, loads are often stacked using pallets. Depending on the weight of the load and the height clearance, pallet stacking is one of the most popular methods of storage in a warehouse. To conveniently and safely raise or lower pallets, you will need a pallet jack also known as a pallet truck, pallet pump, and pump truck or in some areas a jigger.
Types of Pallet Jacks
Pallet jacks come in a wide range of designs and modes of operation. Let’s explore the most common types that you are likely to come across:
Manual Pallet Jack – This is the most common and cheapest pallet jack that you will come across. It has a simple design of a steel frame with a hydraulic pump and a handle that you use to pump up and down as you raise or lower loads. Most of the manual pallet trucks have a load capacity of 5,000 to 5,500 pounds. An operator manually positions the two forks under the pallet, raises it off the floor and pushed it using the handle. This type of pallet jack is best for small spaces where height isn’t a major consideration, such as in grocery stores or backroom warehouses.
Electric Pallet Jacks – It’s usually twice the size of a manual pallet jack and is powered using an on-board battery pack. The operator walks behind or alongside it and presses buttons to lift or lower loads. Most of them have a load capacity of 4,500 to 6,000 pounds and can easily maneuver most spaces. However, the need to be recharged often and are not ideal for big warehouses since the operator will get tired walking along with it.
Rider Pallet Jack – This type takes care of the operators since it comes with sitting space for them to operate the pallet jack from. It works like an electric pallet jack with fewer controls for increased efficiency. While it makes work easier for the operator, it may expose them to more warehouse hazards and is also quite heavy, which causes serious damages in case of accidents.
Weighing Scale Pallet Jack – The unique thing about this pallet jack is that it displays the weight of your load on a digital display screen. This is a great feature, especially in big factories and warehouses for better material handling and efficient monitoring of loads. Some of the products even allow you to print the loaded weight for better reference.
Important Considerations When Buying a Pallet Truck
Fork Length – This is the most crucial determinant of what the tool can or can’t carry, and you need to ensure that the length is correct. Too long or too short forks will impact heavily on the maneuverability of the load and may result in reduced efficiency. When it’s long, the pallet jack will need a wider turning circle, and if it’s too short, it may not support the weight of the load fully.
Weight capacity – Each pallet jack has the maximum amount of load that it can comfortably handle without caving in or toppling over. Most manufacturers will provide details of the maximum amount of weight that should be loaded on the pallet jack. Exceeding this load capacity may not only cause the product to break but also poses serious safety issues to the operator.
Unit Weight – The weight of the pallet jack is also important since the tool will weigh quite a significant amount which may take a toll on some surfaces. It’s important to stay away from pallet jacks that are too heavy since they may damage the warehouse and other items in it.
Lift Height – There’s also the maximum height that a given pallet jack can raise items without toppling over. It’s important to factor this into your choice, depending on the stacking process in your warehouse or storage area.
Wheels – For easy movement as the pallet is pushed around or moves on its own, most come with wheels. Different materials are used to make these wheels with the most common being polyurethane and steel. Ensure that the pallet jack you choose has sturdily built wheels that will not cause damage or leave marks on the floor.
Pallet Jacks Variation
Before we wrap up, it’s important that we highlight the variations of pallet jacks that you may come across. They are;
Stainless steel – These have been constructed using high-grade steel that has been galvanized to prevent corrosion, chipping, scratching, or rusting. Ideal for harsh material handling environments.
Narrow – These are similar to the manual jack pallets only that their width is 520mm instead of 685mm. They are ideal for maneuvering storage spaces with narrow alleys.
Mini Pallet Jack – This is usually the lightest model available and usually weighs about 30 kgs with a load capacity of about 500kg. Ideal for loading items into a truck or light lifting activities.
Taking care of your back and that of your employees is important to ensure maximum productivity at the workplace. Hopefully, this review has provided you with valuable information on the best pallet jack trucks that will help you load and offload pallets safely and efficiently.