In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The differences between electric and LPG models
  • The pros and cons of each 

gUIDE TO Electric vs. LPG, Which forklift is best for you?

Electric vs. LPG

When shopping for a new or used forklift you’ll be faced with several options, 4-wheel or 3-wheel, pneumatic or cushion tires, propane, or electric. The last question posed we’ll be the one we dive into further. It’s important to consider the power source for your forklift – several factors can contribute to your final decision. One of the key factors is where you will operate your forklift indoors, outdoors, or both.

Electric Forklifts

If your company is operating solely inside, an electric (battery) powered Toyota forklift is going to be the best option for you. Unlike its counterpart, they’re no harmful emissions that come from an electric forklift. Zero harmful emissions make an electric forklift the perfect application for food storage facilities or any other warehouses with contents that shouldn’t be exposed to harmful gases and emissions. Electric forklifts also work better in areas with tall racking and narrow aisles.

Aside from the concerns regarding emissions, electric lift trucks  come in many sizes for narrow aisles applications. Reach trucks, order pickers, stackers, stand-ups, all provide the easiest maneuverability in tight areas.

Learn more about reach trucks and their applications in this blog.

There are a few cons with electric forklifts – cost, battery changing, and charging. The upfront cost is higher since you’re paying for the fuel upfront in the form of a battery.  It can take up to eight hours for a battery to fully charge, and switching these batteries isn’t like an LPG tank. You can’t just pick up a forklift battery by hand and switch it out in a few minutes. Batteries also require the additional expense of a charger/charging station. However, in the long run, these forklifts will be less costly as they typically require less maintenance than an internal combustion forklift.

Are Electric Forklifts Cheaper than Gas?

Electric forklifts are often more expensive to purchase upfront. Although, they offer better long-term benefits, such as a lower maintenance expenses. Also, with better productivity and cheaper battery charging, the price is reduced. 

Toyota Electric Forklift

LPG Forklifts

If you’re working primarily outdoors, an LPG forklift is the right fit for your company. They are common in industries, such as agriculture, construction and trucking and logistics. True an LPG forklift has emissions, but it is still more environmentally friendly than a gas or diesel forklift. When installed with the proper tires an LPG forklift can get you over various types of terrain (dirt and gravel). The right tires and a full tank of fuel allow for these forklifts to work independently, without the worry of needing to be close to a charger or spare battery.

Just like battery-powered forklifts have their niche with working in narrow aisles, an LPG forklift has its variety of styles to help get the job done. When it comes to operating an LPG forklift indoors, there are several pieces of equipment for larger jobs. Liquid petroleum is the fuel source for several forklifts that lift over 15,000 lbs!

Similar to the electric forklifts, nothing is perfect, and there are some negatives against LPG forklifts. While switching out tanks avoids any unnecessary downtime, an LPG truck typically requires more maintenance than an electric one. You have to plan for regular services, such as oil changes and engine tune-ups. The upfront cost will save you money, but in the long run, it could be more costly to keep your LPG forklift running properly through forklift repairs. 

Toyota IC LPG Forklift

Interested in purchasing an electric or LPG forklift?