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Pallet Jack Buying Guide
Buying a Pallet Jack
A pallet jack is a warehouse tool used to lift and move palletized products. They are essential to warehouse operations and order picking jobs. While they don’t have the reach and load bearing capacity of a forklift, they can be more efficient for lifting and moving pallets already on your warehouse floor. Pallet jacks are most commonly used to load and unload delivery trucks, packing in and packing out ready to ship pallets from your warehouse floor.
Pallet jacks still within the forklift family. In fact, they are the most simple example of a forklift although they differ from typical used forklifts for sale. They are typically hand powered, but some are motorized to make traveling within large warehouses and lifting heavier pallets easier. Pallet jacks are also referred to as pallet trucks, pallet pumps, and pump trucks.
The Different Types of Pallet Jacks
Generally speaking, there are two main types of pallet jacks – manual and powered. Manual pallet jacks are powered by the strong hands of your warehouse workers. They are best for lifting light to average weight pallets. To lift and move heavier pallets, or to get around your warehouse faster, you will need a powered pallet jack.
Manual Pallet Jacks
Manual pallet jacks are powered by nothing but the muscle of your warehouse workers. They are far more common, as well as a lot cheaper than their powered counterparts. They are best for organizing pallets to get orders ready to ship, loading those orders into a delivery truck, as well as unloading delivery trucks and breaking down incoming orders.
Powered Pallet Jacks
Powered pallet jacks ease the workload of your warehouse crew through an electric motor that makes getting around your warehouse as well as lifting, and moving heavier pallets easier. Powered pallet jacks are most commonly used for stacked pallets. Where a manual pallet jack is usually limited in use to single or double stacked pallets, a powered pallet jack can lift multiple tiers of pallets.
Powered pallet jacks are referred to by a few different names. These include electric pallet jackets, electric pallet trucks, power jacks, and eclectic walkies (because you can ride them through your warehouse).
What Pallet Jack Do I Need?
To make an informed purchase decision, you need to first consider the features you need from your pallet jack. You need to know the load bearing capacity you will need your pallet jack to have, the length and width of the forks on your pallet jack, lift height capabilities, and the overall stand alone weight of your pallet jack.
Load Bearing Capacity
To figure out the right load bearing capacity for your warehouse operations, you need to calculate the average weight of the pallets you will need your pallet jack to lift.
This number will give you a good estimate of the load bearing capacity you need from your pallet jack. As you begin your shopping process, you can automatically eliminate any pallet jacks that don’t meet your load bearing capacity needs.
Once you know the load bearing capacity you need from your pallet jack, the next step is to figure out the fork dimensions you will need. Not all pallet jacks are designed to the same standards, and pallet jacks are not a one size fits all solution. To calculate the dimensions you need your pallet jack fork to have, you will need to determine the average dimensions of the pallets in your warehouse.
The standard pallet size in North America is 40” x 48,” and most pallet jacks in North America are built to these dimensions. If your warehouse operations require moving pallets that are outside of these dimensions, then you will need a more specialized pallet jack. A pallet jack that is too long for your pallets makes it difficult to get around your warehouse. A pallet jack that is too short for your pallets is a safety hazard as the loading bearing capacity is reduced.
The lift height capabilities of your pallet jack describes the maximum height that it can safely lift a pallet. This is largely determined by the weight of your pallets. The lift height capabilities of pallet jacks range from 3 inches to almost 8 feet.
If you have heavy products that you need lifted off the warehouse floor and stored in your racks, then you need a pallet jack that has both a high load bearing capacity and a tall lift height.
Stand Alone Weight
It’s important to remember that pallet jacks have a stand alone weight of their own. This is before you put any product on its fork. This stand alone weight needs to be factored into the maximum weight restriction of your wearhouse floor. This is especially important to consider if you will be using your pallet jack to load and unload delivery trucks. You don’t want your pallet jack to slip through the floorboard of a wood trailer.
Beyond surface weight capacity, the stand alone weight of your pallet jack can also be an indicator of its quality. Durability often reflects the strength of the material and design of your pallet jack. A lighter weight pallet jack can be an indicator of a less durable and lower-grade quality tool.
Buy a Used or New Order Pallet Jack?
To answer this question you need to first ask yourself about how you will use your pallet jack. Lightweight and infrequent use? You’re probably safe to buy a used pallet jack, and from a more generic brand. Average to heavy use, throughout the day, 5 or more days a week? You need to make the investment in a new pallet jack from a trusted top brand.
Pallet Jack Brands
Top pallet jack brands include:
Crown pallet jacks are known for their durability and low maintenance. These two factors alone make Crown a crowd favorite.
Vergo pallet jacks are some of the most affordable and accessible pallet jacks on the market. Check out their amazon store that has hundreds of 4 + star reviews from happy customers.
When it comes to heavy duty pallet jacks, Pake is a hard brand to beat. They are known for manufacturing durable heavy pallet jacks that hold up to the test of time.
Pallet Jack Attachments
The final consideration you need to make for your pallet jack purchase is for any forklift attachments you want or need it to have. Some common pallet jack attachments include:
It is used to break apart used and damaged pallets for recycling.
It is used to extend the reach of your pallet jack fork to pick up longer pallets.
It is used to provide surrounding support for the product lifted by your pallet jack.
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