Everything You Need to Know About Forklift Tires

Changing the pneumatic forklift tires on a yellow counterbalance forklift

Forklift tires can get complicated. There are different types and sizes, each of which is intended for different equipment and applications. Knowing what types of forklift tires your equipment needs is essential to productivity and warehouse efficiency.

Plus, forklift tires aren’t cheap. They can easily run you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. It’s important to know which ones are the best fit before making a purchase.

In this guide to forklift tires, you’ll learn more about basic tire types and forklift tire sizes. You’ll also find resources to help you find the best deal on tires for sale.

Types of Forklift Tires

There are four main types of forklift tires. Each one is designed for a different environment. Using the wrong tire type is not only ineffective, but can be incredibly dangerous.

Here are the different types of forklift tires:

1. Cushion Tires

Cushion tires, a type of press-on tire, are made of smooth, solid rubber. This rubber is molded to a steel ring. Cushion tires are best suited for indoor use, but may be used for occasional, light outdoor use on smooth surfaces.

Of course, since cushion tires are solid, they are incredibly durable. They cannot be punctured or popped. They’re designed for smaller forklifts, so they have lower ground clearance. That’s why the cushion tire forklift has great maneuverability and moves efficiently around tight warehouse aisles.

Keep in mind that these tires are also generally cheaper than pneumatic forklift tires.

2. Pneumatic Forklift Tires

Pneumatic forklift tires are made of traction rubber and have deep treads. These tires are similar to car tires. Pneumatic forklift tires are best suited for outdoor applications. Their tough treads allow them to travel easily over rough terrain and uneven surfaces.

These tires may be either solid or air-filled. Air-filled pneumatic forklift tires are filled with compressed air. Some companies fill their tires with foam to avoid paying for solid pneumatic tires. However, this is not recommended because it adds pressure to the casing. This pressure makes foam-filled tires unsustainable in the long term.

Actual solid pneumatic tires are very durable. They are perfect for industries like recycling centers or lumberyards. Forklifts used at these facilities have an increased risk for tire puncture due to sharp debris.

3. Polyurethane Tires

Polyurethane tires are another type of press-on tire. These forklift tires are incredibly lightweight. They’re also more resistant to splitting and chunking under a load than rubber tires.

If you’re looking for a more durable option, polyurethane tires are for you. With almost twice the lifespan of rubber tires, they are made to last. Only use this tire type indoors for light applications like warehousing. Cushion tires are probably a better fit for indoor facilities with heavy equipment usage or rougher tasks.

Forklift Tire Sizes

First, you’ll need to know how to read forklift tire sizes. For example, you might see a tire labeled as 16 x 6 x 10.5. Let’s go over exactly what those numbers mean.

Sizes for press-on tires are written like this:

Outer Diameter x Width x Rim Diameter

Outer diameter is the height of the tire’s outside diameter. In other words, when the tire is on the forklift, it is the distance from the floor to the very top of the tire. The width is essentially the tire’s thickness. The rim diameter is the distance between the top and bottom of the inner circle of the tire.

Sizes for pneumatic or solid pneumatic tires are written like this:

Width x Rim Diameter

Your equipment will likely have a recommended tire size, but there are reasons that you may purchase a different size. Of course, you should consult your forklift manual or local dealer to ensure that the forklift tire sizes you choose are safe to use with your equipment.

Close-up of treads on forklift tires

Get the Best Price on Lift Truck Tires

No matter what forklift tires you need, Industrial Forklift Truck can help you find the best price. We partner with industry-leading dealers nationwide to provide the largest inventory of forklift parts in one place. Plus, we offer free quotes on all of the parts we carry.

That includes lift truck tires. Simply enter some information about what you’re looking for and we’ll send you pricing on all your options. Compare quotes to find the best deal available in your area.

It’s that easy. Find the lift truck tires you need at a price you love when you shop with Industrial Forklift Truck.

Receive Free Price Quotes on Forklift Tires Today.