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Forklifts vs. Pallet Jacks

Forklifts can reach greater heights and typically offer a higher rated lift capacity than pallet jacks. Forklifts are also faster than pallet jacks and reduce operator fatigue since there is less manual labor required.
Alternatively, pallet jacks are simpler machines with a number of benefits too. Pallet jacks have lower upfront, maintenance and operational costs. Plus, they are more compact than traditional forklifts which could be an important factor for facilities with very narrow aisles.

How to Choose the Best Equipment for Your Business

To determine the right choice for your business, you will need to factor in your existing storage set up, the existing equipment in your fleet, and the number and weight of the pallets you need to move daily. When you take all those elements into consideration, you’ll be able to calculate the equipment with the highest return on investment.
It’s also important to remember to add in labor costs when you are making this decision as the added labor required to operate pallet jacks could end up outweighing the lower upfront costs.

Here’s the formula we use to help our customers make the best choice for their business needs. We run the numbers for both pallet jacks and forklifts, so you can see the numbers side by side.

1: Truck Cost Per Pallet

To calculate the truck cost per pallet, we divide the number of pallets to be moved annually by the annual equipment cost.

2: Labor Cost Per Pallet

Next, we divide the number of pallets moved annually by your annual labor cost.

3: Total Cost Per Pallet

Finally, we add those two numbers together to determine the total cost per pallet moved for each of the equipment options you are considering.

Once you have the numbers in front of you, the decision is simple. Choose the equipment with the lower total cost per pallet moved.

Let Us Help

At LiftOne, we specialize in helping customers find the very best equipment and warehouse solutions for their unique business needs. Reach out to your nearest LiftOne dealership location in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama or Tennessee to learn more about your material handling equipment options and to see the total cost per pallet moved for each pallet jack and forklift you are considering.


440 E. Westinghouse Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28273
Toll Free: 704.588.1300