Looking for a sit down riders? Whether you’re looking to rent or buy, it’s important to establish your goals for the machine and choose the best type of forklift based on your needs. For example, do you need a 3 wheel forklift or 4 wheel? These trucks have a lot of similarities but also some important differences. This post will go over some of the differences between the two and hopefully assist in your decision making process.

3 Wheel Forklifts

If you need a workhorse for an indoor warehouse with limited space, a 3 wheel forklift may be exactly what you need. Its small turning radius makes it much easier to operate in tight spaces than 4-wheeled alternatives. A 3-wheel electric drive configuration has a dual steer wheel mounted centrally beneath the counterweight. It’s also good if you’re looking to accomplish a lot of inside and outside rack loading. A big bonus is that 3 wheel trucks typically cost a lot less than larger machines.

The most important disadvantage to note is that forklifts with three wheels cannot handle a capacity over 2500kg. So if your job entails any loads larger than that, it will not be stable when turning, and is therefore not safe. They’re also difficult to maneuver on rough terrain, so if your job site is on uneven ground, gravel, or soil, it will be difficult with a 3 wheel.

4 Wheel Forklifts

In direct opposition, a 4 wheel forklift will operate quite well in rough terrain and has higher gradebility. Some models can accommodate capacities from 1600kg-8000kg and is thus, more stable and better for jobs that need to be transported up steep inclines. These configurations typically consist of a single steer wheel on each rear corner controlled by a dual acting hydraulic ram. They’re very stable when turning and are good for use loading and unloading, stacking, and medium to high racking.

The disadvantage is their larger turning circle, making it more difficult to operate it in a small warehouse space. They’re also more expensive than 3 wheel lifts because of their bigger capacity range.


In conclusion, both type of lift trucks are great depending on what you need them for and your industry. Contact a professional through our forklift dealer network to get competitive price quotes for all types of material handling equipment. You can shop a variety of new and used forklifts, forklift attachments, and more. It’s important to get the right forklift for the job to ensure the most efficient and productive job.

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(Operations Manager)

Chris Charles is a 27 year veteran of operations and logistics. Experience included commercial property management and project management for an international shipping company in Maryland.

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