The Difference Between Electric and Petrol Powered Forklifts

29 Jan 2014, by Anthony in Forklift Training News

The Difference Between Electric and Petrol Powered Forklifts

The world was a much different place when forklifts were first developed in the early 20th century; Gas was pennies a gallon and no one seemed to care if they had to work in a noisy warehouse, where the air was hard to breathe. The early 21st century, however, health and body safety now plays a major role in every work place, and forklifts have also evolved to meet those challenges. One only has to ask “Electric or Petrol?” when the need for a forklift arises.

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What are the differences?


Silent equipment can be a good or a bad thing, depending up on the environment a job is being worked in. It’s a good thing for workers not to have to listen to loud engines all day, that’s an advantage for the electric forklift. It may not be a good thing for silent vehicles to be dashing around where people can’t hear them coming and going. Beepers help, and that keeps the electric powered vehicle a major player inside of buildings.


Petrol powered forklifts might be better for a heavier job, once again depending on the environment they have to work in. Power, however, cost money and this is where electric generation may be better than petrol. Good electric batteries will last about 8 hours, while a petrol powered piece of equipment may have to stop several times a day to refuel. However, petrol can be considered more a dependable power producer, as it is easier to gauge the supply.


Petrol powered forklifts tend to be heavier, because of the complexity of their motors, and because they have to carry a supply of fuel. Electric lifters, because of their smaller sizes, however, can fit into smaller isles, and spaces. The advantage here belongs to the equipment that best fits the work space, and job load.


There may not be much difference in comparing safety. A well-trained, and well-aware operator should be able to operate either vehicle safely, when the forklift is doing the right job in the right setting. A good training program, and making sure that every operator is properly licensed will help keep the operator, the job site, and the equipment safe.

The Decision?

The decision to do the job with electric or petrol is being blurred more and more as manufacturers figure out how to blend the best of both power generators. However, the decision will always eventually come down to issues of safety, noise, power, and size. What works for the job you have to do? To learn more about forklift safety and training please click here.

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