forklift weight capacities

Understanding Forklift Weight Capacity

Forklift Weight Capacity 101: Here Is Everything You Need To Know

Are you wondering how much your forklift can really lift? Forklift weight capacity is the measurement of how much weight a forklift can lift. You might think that a forklift with a maximum rated lifting capacity of 3,000 pounds can safely lift any 3,000-pound load. That’s not always the case though, due to varying factors. 

If you’re planning to do any kind of job with your forklift, it’s important for the safety of your employees, and your equipment, that you understand exactly how much your forklift can handle, and what might be too much. To help you out, we’re using this article to tell you all the ins and outs of forklift weight capacity and how you can make the most out of your equipment, safely. 

Understand the Load Center of your Forklift

Load center is the horizontal distance from the vertical face of the forks to the center of the gravity of the load it will be lifting. This constitutes the standard base rating for the load capacity of the forklift. The load center of most forklifts is 24 inches from the face of the forks. 

What does this mean for your jobs?

To safely carry a load on a forklift, it’s important to understand exactly where that load center is, so your forklift is properly balanced before it begins to move. 

The center of gravity of a load can also depend on how the load is constructed, as well as where it’s placed on the forklift. If the load is perfectly square, the center of gravity is in the direct center. If the load isn’t perfectly square, the center of gravity can lie elsewhere.

Before you start using your forklift, it’s important to know the dimensions and weight of your typical loads. If your load sizes fluctuate, you should take note of the weight of your heaviest load. 

Understand Load Capacity 

Forklift load capacity is the measurement of how much weight a particular forklift can lift. Low capacities begin at around 3,000 pounds and high capacities can reach over 50,000 pounds. For reference, the average weight of a car is 4,156 pounds. 

The Difference Between Rated Load Capacity and Actual Load Capacity

Yes, we just went over what load capacity means. But in reality, it can mean two things: rated load capacity and actual load capacity. You must understand the difference between these two terms to clearly understand how much a forklift can lift. 

What is Rated Load Capacity?

The rated load capacity is the maximum theoretical amount of weight a lift truck can lift safely.

Let’s look at a lift with a 3,000-pound rated load capacity. In theory, 3,000 pounds is the maximum load this forklift can handle. This is based on engineering calculations and assumptions that the load has a center of gravity that is directly center.

What is the Actual Load Capacity?

In reality, the forklift’s actual load capacity is the maximum weight it can truly lift, if circumstances vary. Often, the actual capacity is different from the rated capacity. 

For example, if the forklift with a 3,000-pound rated load capacity is handling an irregular object with a different center of gravity, the actual gravity will go down (de-rate). The further a load’s weight is from the forklift’s load center, the lower your actual load capacity will be.

Deciding Your Ideal Forklift Weight Capacity

It’s time to decide what type of forklift is right for the work you need it to do. To do this, you need to determine what forklift weight capacity you need. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the shape of the items the forklift will be handling? 
  • What is the average weight of the loads?
  • What is the weight of the heaviest load you’ll have to lift?
  • What are the dimensions of your loads?

If needed, you can invest in forklift accessories and attachments that are designed to improve the capacity of standard forklifts and allow the forklift operator to maneuver objects more easily. 

A Forklift Attachment Compatible With Many Forklift Types

Different types of forklifts can perform varying loading jobs. Does your loading job require you to lift and move vehicles? If so, the Forklift Wrecker attachment is perfect for you! The Forklift Wrecker attaches directly to the forks of your existing forklift, allowing you to conveniently move vehicles with ease.

The Forklift Wrecker attachment is ideal for those that move vehicles regularly, including body shops, service garages, impound lots, and other businesses. Ultimately, this attachment will save your business time, money, and manpower. 

If you’re consistently towing small- or medium-sized loads, our cost-effective forklift attachment could do the trick safely and efficiently. Contact our team today to learn more about our Forklift Wrecker, and see how it could benefit you.

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. You should not rely upon the material or information on the website as a basis for making business, legal or other decisions.

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