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COVID-19 Message for Consumers & Propane Providers   Learn More »

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Determining the best forklift, and forklift fuel, for a business varies depending on the type of materials being moved on a day-to-day basis. Each forklift fuel comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities, depending on the load capacity and weight class. Fortunately, propane works for every weight class and application.

Material handling professionals don’t want to be bothered with multiple fuel types to complete different types of jobs. They need versatility when it comes to the load capacity of their equipment. Propane forklifts come in a variety of sizes, which means they’re more than capable at every weight class. Meanwhile, electric forklifts can’t bring the power needed for larger jobs, and diesel isn’t suited for small jobs. Propane is the one fuel that does it all.

Here are benefits of propane forklifts in each weight class:

< 5,000 lb. capacity

Propane-powered forklifts not only give material handling professionals the versatility to work indoors and out, but they help lead to reduced on-site emissions and a cleaner operation, too.

Diesel forklifts, on the other hand, aren’t clean enough to operate indoors. Diesel exhaust is also a carcinogen, according to the World Health Organization. And compared with electric forklifts, propane reduces SOx emissions by 76 percent, taking site-to-source emissions into account.

5,000 — 10,000 lb. capacity

Propane maintains leadership in this category, due to its zero-power loss during operation compared with electric. In addition to maintaining 100 percent power throughout operation, propane-powered equipment also offers on- and off-site refueling managed by a propane supplier. Employees can simply switch out a cylinder and get back to work. With electric, however, employees must prioritize time for recharging and adhere to strict battery management.

Plus, propane forklifts are distinguished in this class for their lower capital costs — which are almost 30 percent lower than electric forklifts.

10,000+ lb. capacity

Propane forklifts’ quick, easy refueling and consistent power make it a leader in this weight class, too.

While diesel’s convenience and lower comparative cost can be appealing to customers wanting upfront savings, they should take the Tier 4 ripple effect into consideration. Regulations are driving up the cost of diesel technology, leaving room for competitively-priced, cleaner propane forklifts to capture additional market share.

Lastly, for material handling professionals with doubts about propane’s safety, it’s important to note that propane users have the ultimate safety resource at their fingertips — their local propane supplier. A facility’s propane supplier can help inspect cylinders, make sure the entire team understands how to safely install propane cylinders onto their forklifts, and some suppliers even offer additional safety training opportunities for their forklift customers.

Propane’s versatility, consistent power, and easy refueling are a few reasons that forklift users continue to favor propane, especially in the midweight and top weight classes. In fact, propane is the leading energy choice in both weight classes with 70 percent of fleet managers in the midweight class, and 51 percent of fleet managers in the top weight class choosing propane over electric and diesel.

Learn more about the benefits of propane-powered forklifts at