How Much Space Is Required to Efficiently Use a Forklift?

Regardless of what items you have in your warehouse, space is at a premium. The last thing you want is to waste space by having aisles that are far too wide. But at the same time, aisles that are too small are a logistical nightmare, especially for your forklift operators.

There are many types of forklifts on the market, and they all have different spatial requirements. Continue reading to learn the spatial requirements for a forklift to be efficient for each of the main types of machines:

  • Sit-down counterbalanced forklift: This is the most commonly used forklift in warehouses across the globe. While it’s great for moving all sorts of cargo, it has a wide turning radius and needs at least 12 feet of space to handle standard-sized pallets.
  • Stand-up deep-reach forklift: A stand-up deep-reach forklift works with the same counterbalancing principle as the forklift mentioned above, but it requires much less space to operate. Because the driver stands while operating it, the machines need a minimum aisle width of 9 to 11 feet.
  • Stand-up single-reach forklift: These machines are similar to deep-reach models, but the short fork extensions are only designed for picking single-pallet racks. A stand-up single-reach forklift is about 1 foot smaller than a deep-reach unit and only needs 8 feet to operate.
  • Turret narrowaisle forklift: Also known as a swing-mast narrow-aisle forklift, these units are also designed to operate in tight areas. The mast can turn at a 90-degree angle from the forklift body, allowing the driver to maneuver the arm through tight corridors without having to drive down them. The mast needs at least 4 feet and 6 inches of aisle width to operate.
  • Narrowaisle order picker: Nothing tops the narrow-aisle order picker when it comes to spatial requirements for a forklift to be efficient. Most of these units have walk-behind controls instead of a driver who sits or stands in a cabin—meaning, they’re less bulky. Because of their slim size, narrow-aisle order pickers just need about 4 feet of space to maneuver.

What forklift is right for you?

Are you asking yourself, “How much space does my warehouse need for a forklift?” While it’s an important question, remember that it shouldn’t be your only concern when shopping for a new machine. Besides aisle width, the first thing to consider is your budget. Forklifts can be quite expensive, and you don’t want to spend too much on a new machine. Do your research, and consider buying a used forklift that costs a fraction of a new model.

You’ll also want to take into account your shelf height. If the shelves in your warehouse are on the taller side, consider going with a forklift with long arms. The long arms allow your drivers to access pallets regardless of how high up they are.

Shop for your machinery at Lamberson Packaging Solutions

The next time you’re in the market for warehouse supplies, be sure to shop at Lamberson Packaging Solutions. Give us a call today to discuss which forklift is right for you or to get a quote for our items.

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