Forklift Buying Guide

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What is Material-handling Equipment?

Your little helper when it comes to the movement of goods efficiently from one location to another.

Commonly found in warehouses, workshops and plants, sometimes even spotted outdoors and in open areas.

How can I boost business productivity with MHE?

It's simple. It all boils down to what your business really needs.
There are different types of equipment catered to a variety of applications and specific situations, maximizing efficiency all around.

To help narrow down your search, here are the various categories of forklifts:

Order Pickers
Commonly known as stock pickers or man-up forklifts. Drivers will stand on the elevating platform along with the forks, so they will be able to rise with the forklift to select a load. Suitable for use in tight, narrow spaces.

Pallet Trucks
Pallet Trucks, or more commonly known as Pallet Jack Pump Trucks, are designed and built to lift and move pallets.

Reach Trucks
Also known as narrow-sales forklifts, they are designed to shift goods in narrow aisles & compact warehouses, racking pallets on smooth surfaces.

Tow Tractors
Mainly for towing or pulling purposes, with a driver in its seat. It is commonly used in warehouses and airports, transporting multiple trailers with goods from one location to another.

‘Very Narrow Aisle’ (VNA)
VNAs, short for 'Very Narrow Aisle' trucks, are usually used in high-density warehouses with aisles of high ceiling clearance. Providing you with an option to incorporate more racking into your warehouse, maximizing your space to store more inventory.

What do I look out for when buying a forklift?

The most important thing to take note when purchasing any forklift is the durability and reliability of the equipment. Here are some pointers to look out for:

Test drive
Similar to buying a car, the best way to experience it is to go for a test drive. Only through it will you be able to get a sense of what it feels like to operate a forklift.

Always purchase from a reputable dealer for a peace of mind. Unlike cars, it can be troublesome when it comes to the maintenance of your equipment as workshops are not as readily available as compared to servicing cars.

It is mandatory to have a warranty on the product to ensure that it is running efficiently, saving on a large amount of money on repairs over time.

Frequency of forklift usage
It is important to know how often you require a forklift. If you only require it for a certain period, then you might want to consider renting a forklift instead for that short duration. That way, you'll only be spending what's necessary.

Safety of the forklift
Safety should be your number one priority. Be sure to inspect the seatbelt, horn, lights and tyres before buying or leasing.

Depending on how urgent you need the forklift, you may consider buying a used forklift or renting one for immediate stock availability.

Should I buy new or old forklifts?

The latest model of a forklift will definitely be better equipped in terms of its specifications and fuel efficiency than its previous models, which will be useful in the long run. The difference between a new and an old forklift is that the new forklift is better equipped in terms of its specification and fuel efficiency. However, purchasing a newer model of forklift will cost more than the older models.

When it comes to a used forklift, it is best to purchase from an authorised dealer. This way, you'll be sure of its capabilities and that it is fully functional.

Although it is relatively cheaper, depending on the age of the equipment, maintenance & service costs will be higher when compared to brand-new forklifts.

It boils down to what is most suitable for your situation. The choice is yours.

Do I need a license to drive a forklift?

All forklifts, except Reach Trucks, require a license to operate.

Anyone who wishes to operate a forklift is required to complete the Forklift Driver's Training Course which at present is accredited by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

How do I obtain a forklift license?

The Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Operate Forklift course outline is divided into 2 sections:

Every candidate has to undergo a compulsory 1-day theory course consisting of the following program:
a) Introduction to the Forklift
b) Importance of Daily Checks
c) Capabilities and Limitations of Forklifts
d) Forklift Stability Factors
e) Operational Dos and Don'ts
f) Cargo-handling Symbols and Instructions
g) Written Test

The practical course is segmented into 2 different types. They are being differentiated into a 2-day or 4-day course. The type of practical course will depend on whether the candidate possesses a Class 3 Driving License. The course consists of the following program:
a) Familiarisation with Controls and Gauges
b) Pre-operational Checks
c) Travel forward, reverse in straight line and around corners
d) Travel forward and reverse in figure of eight
e) Pick and Place Empty Pallets
f) Stack and Unstack Dummy Cargo
g) Practical Test

Upon successful completion, participants will receive the WDA-accredited Forklift Driver's Training Certificate. For more information and to apply online, please visit the link below:

What if I require a forklift for short-term usage?

For businesses who require a forklift for short-term usage, you can consider leasing instead of buying.

We offer cost-effective leasing options that allow you to rent forklifts for a day or even up to five years.

What type of fuel is best for forklifts?

Every forklift has a specific type of power source it uses to run. Each power source has its own advantages and disadvantages. The type of power source will depend on your specific application. Please refer to the table below for more information.

Type Advantage Disadvantage Applications
Diesel - Low fuel cost - High initial cost
- Exhaust emission and noisy
- For open areas
Gasoline/LPG engine - Low initial cost
- Easy maintenance
- High fuel cost - For enclosed and open areas
Electric - Low maintenance cost
- Less vibration
- Low noise
- High initial cost
- Long charging time
- For enclosed areas and food industries