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Which rough terrain forklift is best for multi-purpose use?

Forklifts are one of the most significant and heavy vehicles for builders. Whether you need to move loads in a construction field or a warehouse, it’s safe to say that forklifts can carry objects safely from almost any job site. With so many models and styles of forklifts, it can quickly become difficult to select which type of rough terrain forklift you need. Whether you’re looking to hire a forklift or purchase one for your next project, we’ve put together a guide that looks at the different types of forklifts, their uses, benefits, and how to choose the right one for your multi-purpose needs.


What is a rough terrain forklift?

The general function of a forklift is to transport heavy material from one place to the next. Rough terrain forklifts are specifically designed to move over land that is unstable or rocky. Instead of being used inside a warehouse or factory, they’re supposed to be used outdoors.

When you first look at a rough terrain forklift, you’ll notice that the tires differ from indoor forklifts. They’re more rugged and durable than forklifts that are designed to only go over cement. Their incredible traction makes them a great choice for optimal stability.

Put simply, a rough terrain that doesn’t move easily on slippery or rocky surfaces won’t do you any good. The big knotted tires will help them maintain their grip on the terrain.

3 types of rough terrain forklifts for multi-purpose use

Now that we’ve explored the difference between a regular forklift and a rough terrain forklift, we’re going to cover the 3 different types of rough terrain forklifts and what they’re best used for.

The 3 different types of rough terrain forklifts are called: telehandlers, rotating telehandlers, and straight mast forklifts.

Telehandler forklift

Designed with a telescoping boom that allows the telehandler forklift to lift heights in front of the machine and place heavy loads at various distances, the telehandler forklift has incredible operator flexibility as it has the ability to reach out in front of the machine.

Also known as high-reach telehandlers and compact telehandlers, they are able to lift between 18ft to 56 ft into the air. They also include all-wheel steering and power shift transmission that helps the operator to position the lift as accurately as possible.

The later models incorporate ergonomic features such as larger cabs and tilting steering wheels. This helps reduce fatigue and increase productivity levels during the work shift. The majority of the rough terrain forklifts are run by one joystick, which is used to control the hydraulics and boom functions.

Telehandler forklifts are ideal for outdoor environments including building maintenance, billboard maintenance, signage installation, and construction sites.

Rotating telehandler forklift

A rotating telehandler forklift is known for its ability to lift heavy loads at incredible heights and also rotate on a turntable. This gives them the ability to swivel at 360 degrees so that they can serve a wider area from one location.

A couple of rotating telehandler models have two joysticks to operate and control the rotation separately. They also have features like minimised slip differential and power-assisted steering for increased safety and security.

Most of the rotating telehandlers come with stabilisers so that loads can be moved safely from one side of the machine to the next.

Usually, the rotating telehandler’s load capacity ranges from 4,000lbs to 10,000lbs, lifting to a height between 15ft to 80ft.

With this extended height, you can add a winch attachment to use the rotating telehandler as a crane. This means that you don’t need additional equipment for high-rise buildings or on a construction site.

Straight mast forklift

A straight mast forklift is made to pick up and unload building materials within a smaller range on demolition or construction sites. The biggest difference between a straight mast forklift and the other types of rough terrain forklifts is how much it can manoeuvre and access on the project site. Its heavy-duty cushion tires help it carry heavy loads easily through rough terrains. For this reason, a straight mast forklift often has a two or four-wheel drive.

And, depending on the model you choose and your work environment, straight mask forklifts are powered by propane or diesel, making them great for both indoor or outdoor use.

Their load capacity ranges between 5,000lbs and 36,000lbs, lifting to heights between 6,000lbs to 8,000lbs.

Ultimately, the type of rough terrain forklift you choose to hire or purchase depends on the parameters of the job. In other words, you need to consider how heavy the loads will be, the shape of the loads, the balance, and what they’re being loaded on in order to determine which of the three rough terrain forklifts is best for you.

As the No. 1 forklift hire and sales company for Reading, Berkshire, and Hampshire, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly and expert team at Budget Forktrucks Ltd for more on rough terrain forklifts by giving us a call on 0118 970 7260.

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