What Forklift Capacity Do I Need For My Operation?

Understanding your forklift capacity needs is essential to choosing the right material handling equipment for your business. Forklift lifting capacity varies based on the equipment type. Sometimes, it can be tough to evaluate a machine's maximum forklift capacity.

Small warehouse forklift carrying a load within its forklift lifting capacity

Industrial Forklift Truck is here to help you determine what forklift capacity you need when buying new equipment, and how to work safely and efficiently by understanding the forklift capacity of the equipment you’re using.

For example, a 5,000-lb capacity forklift won’t necessarily always lift that much weight. Forklift lifting capacity depends on the load’s proximity to the load center. 

In addition, the forklift lifting capacity varies with different attachments due to what is known as the maximum load moment. Let’s go over both of these terms to help you determine the forklift weight capacity you need for your operation.

How Is Forklift Load Capacity Measured?

Forklift load capacity does not necessarily reflect the forklift lifting capacity. Instead, forklift load capacity is used to describe the maximum weight a forklift can lift at the specified load center. The load center is the distance between the vertical face of the forks to the center of the load.

Most forklifts are rated from a 24-inch load center. This means that the forklift load capacity is applicable if the load’s center of gravity is 24-inches or less from the face of the forks. The forklift load capacity decreases as the load center increases.

The rated maximum capacity (found on the forklift data plate) is the maximum forklift load capacity at the designated load center. The rated forklift capacity decreases as the load center increases.

This concept is connected to the idea of a “maximum load moment”. The load moment is found by multiplying the object’s weight by its distance from the fulcrum. When the load center increases, simply divide the maximum load moment by the load center distance to determine forklift capacity.

Reading A Forklift Capacity Chart

A forklift capacity chart, found on the forklift data plate, is designed to give the operator an idea of what the equipment can and cannot lift. Understanding how to read a forklift capacity chart is critical to making safe lifting decisions.

The forklift data plate on the equipment contains valuable information about the forklift load capacity. The forklift data plate information includes a forklift capacity chart, which maps out the different weight limitations at various mast stages and load centers.

Here are some of the important numbers found on a forklift data plate:

Labeled forklift capacity chart

Notice that the forklift capacity chart is located at the bottom of the forklift data plate. This chart shows the forklift capacity in relation to the load center. Use the forklift capacity chart to determine the forklift load capacity when altering the load center.

Forklift Lifting Capacity Calculator

Sometimes, you’ll want to use attachments on your equipment. These attachments can affect the forklift weight capacity of your machine. Understanding the forklift lifting capacity calculator can help you understand forklift capacity when load center changes.

The forklift lifting capacity calculator is a simple equation that adjusts the forklift weight capacity based on the load center of your equipment and the load center of an attachment. Using the forklift capacity calculator can help prevent accidents and dangerous situations.

Like mentioned, forklift capacity changes when you use an attachment. You can use this simple forklift lifting capacity calculator to find your forklift capacity while using attachments:

Truck Capacity × Load Center ÷ New Load Center Of Attachment

Simply plug the numbers from the forklift data plate into this equation to determine the new forklift weight capacity. Use this forklift capacity calculator to operate safely with various attachments. 

Finding equipment with the forklift capacity you need is critical for safe and efficient operation. Understanding how forklift capacity changes per the forklift capacity calculator is equally important. If you need lifting equipment that fits your specific operation, Industrial Forklift Truck can help. Simply enter the forklift weight capacity and lift height you need and we’ll do the rest.

Remember, the biggest mistake you can make when selecting a forklift is choosing one without your required lifting capacity. Take a moment to consider what your forklift will be lifting, what your average load weight is, and what the heaviest load might be. 

Once you have a good idea of the right forklift capacity, answer a few simple questions to help us get a better idea of what you’re looking for. Then, we’ll match you with quality forklifts that meet your needs. It’s that simple. Industrial Forklift Truck is here to help you find a great deal.

Compare all of your options for forklifts for sale in an instant. Get started with Industrial Forklift Truck today.

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