What are the Best Forklifts for Dirt & Gravel Surfaces?

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Rough terrain forklifts, also known as all-terrain or rough-terrain forklifts, are specially designed to handle uneven and challenging surfaces like dirt, gravel, mud, grass, and slopes. Unlike standard warehouse forklifts, they have sturdy frames, rugged tyres, and high ground clearance to traverse obstacles while ensuring load stability and operator safety.

When selecting the right rough terrain forklift, it’s crucial to consider factors like:

Load Capacity

Calculate total load weights, including pallets and attachments. Compare capacities of different models to choose one that meets your lifting needs with a safe buffer. Most rough-terrain forklifts handle 1 to 12 tonnes.

Mast Height

Measure vertical lift heights to ensure the forklift can stack goods at the necessary levels. Check for telescopic masts that adjust reach.

Ground Clearance

Higher clearance ensures the forklift can overcome rocks, holes, uneven terrain and slopes without bottoming out. Look for a minimum 15 to 18 cm clearance.

Tire Type

Air or foam-filled tires offer cushioning that makes for a smoother ride over bumps. Foam tires never go flat but can’t be repaired if damaged. Air-filled pneumatic tires provide better traction but require maintenance.

Power Source

Rough terrain forklifts come in diesel, LPG or electric models. Diesel forklifts offer unlimited runtimes for outdoor usage. LPG models produce lower emissions than diesel while electric units are emissions-free.

Operator Comfort

Cushioned seats, adjustable steering columns, ergonomic controls and suspension offer a more comfortable ride that reduces fatigue over bumpy ground.

Safety Features

Forklifts for outdoor use should have seatbelts, backup alarms, stabilisers, tilt indicators and integrated falling object protection structures.

Aftermarket Accessories

Add-ons like all-weather cabins, work lights, and custom tyres enhance functionality.

Below we explore the most common forklift types suited for outdoor dirt and gravel environments.

1. Cushion Tyre Forklifts

With pneumatic tyres and cushioned suspension, these rugged trucks provide a smooth ride quality over uneven construction sites. The tyres give better traction and absorb vibrations that solid tires transmit. Cushion forklifts lift 1 to 12+ tonnes.

2. Massive Tyre Forklifts

Extra wide, deep-treaded tyres exert low ground pressure while increasing stability on soft terrain. These speciality tyres combined with 4-wheel drive, differential locks, limited-slip front axles and torque-heavy engines allows these trucks to push through mud, sand and snow.

3. Rough Terrain Forklifts

Compact rough terrain forklifts offer high manoeuvrability and excel on sites where space is confined. With tighter turning circles than full-size forklifts, they can twist and turn around obstacles. These agile trucks are also more portable to transfer between locations.

4. Telehandlers

Telehandlers operate like forklifts but have a telescopic boom that reaches forward rather than lifting straight up. This makes them suitable for lifting and positioning loads at height while operating on loose or uneven terrain. Telehandlers accommodate attachments like buckets and winches.

5. All-Terrain Pallet Trucks

Rugged hand pallet trucks designed for outdoor use have oversized, deep-lugged tyres that prevent sinking into soft ground like gravel or grass. These heavy-duty manual pallet jacks allow easy repositioning of stacked goods outside. Versatile all-terrain power pallet trucks are also available.

For expert guidance finding the ideal rough terrain forklift for your needs, contact the team at TAG Forklifts. Call 0161 848 0555 or request a quote online for terrain handling equipment from top brands.