The Average Weight of a Forklift and Other Interesting Facts

A forklift is a piece of equipment used to pick up heavy items and move them safely. The machines can support hefty amounts, so they are perfected for loading materials onto trucks or unloading materials. 

Most businesses require their forklift operators to be licensed or certified in the operation of the equipment. The certification proves the operator knows how to use the equipment safely. Making every operator have a certificate reduces the possibility of accidents on the job and lowers the insurance premiums the company has to pay.

How Much Does A Forklift Weigh?


This forklift will weigh between 3,000 pounds and 20,000 pounds, depending on the size of the machine. The average forklift weighs about 9,000 pounds.

If you think that the average automobile weighs about 3,000 pounds, you will grasp how heavy this machinery is. The specific piece of equipment known as a forklift weighs three times more than the average car!

How Much Can They Lift?

These pieces of equipment are solid. They can typically lift weights between 3,000 and 70,000 pounds.

Counterweights are often put on the machine to stabilize them when the weight they lift is extreme.

Uses for Forklifts

Forklift in Warehouse

Most of us think of warehouses when we think of equipment like this. The truth is there are a lot of different businesses that use them.

There a specialized machines that are classified as rough terrain forklifts. These lifting helpers are utilized on construction sites to lift lumber and other heavy items. The transmissions on the rugged terrain variety allow them to operate over dirt and other ground covers that may be uneven, bumpy, or even muddy.

Large hospitals have this kind of equipment ready to help load and unload medical equipment that is very heavy. It is also used to load and unload materials used in the hospital to do repairs and renovations.

Forklift History

Although no one truly knows who invented this piece of equipment, most people associate it with the Clark Company of 1917. The first one is recorded as being used as a gasoline-powered device.

Today, there are more than 7 million of these machines used regularly.

The vertical lifting cantilever was not seen on this equipment until 1922. This design was created at Yale University. Some people even say this design is the first actual forklift.

The version of the forklift that we all recognize did not make an appearance before 1960.

Did You Know

  • The hand truck we use to manually move large appliances and crates is an example of a forklift?
  • Pallets used to vary significantly in size and made using the forklift harder. In the 1930s, the scope of supply pallets was standardized, and forklifts became easier to use.
  • Between 75 and 100 workers are killed yearly in accidents involving this equipment.
  • About 87 people die each year due to forklift accidents.
  • Serious injuries resulting from accidents involving this equipment number about 34,900 a year.
  • Minor accidents involving this equipment number about 61,800 a year.
  • In the United States, one person is killed in an accident involving this machinery every four days.
  • Forklifts are turned using the rear wheels, and that causes the back section of the machine to swing outward, increasing the likelihood that the device may tip over.
  • These machines move at a rate of up to 18 mph.
  • They do not have brakes on the back and are more challenging to stop than a car.
  • The machine is heavier in the rear because of the weight it will lift with the front, and the uneven weight distribution makes them unsteady.
  • The moving loads are often so large that the operator cannot see where they are driving.
  • Most deadly forklift accidents involve someone other than the machine’s driver being injured.
  • Proper equipment inspections can great significantly the possibility of an accident or malfunction.
  • Extensive employee training and certification renewal every few years reduces the chances of accidents, damages, or deaths.
  • Forklifts have been stolen from construction sites and used to commit crimes like the theft of an ATM.
  • Electric forklifts are smaller and cannot lift the heavy loads that the larger gasoline-powered machines can. You are more likely to see electric machine devices used in big box stores or building material stores like Lowes or Home Depot.


Are All Forklifts Gasoline Powered?

No. There are electric-powered machines that are forklifts.

How Much Does The Counterweight For A Forklift Weigh?

The counterweight is going to weigh between 3000 and 5000 pounds, depending on the size of the equipment it is being used on.

Is The Weight Of A Forklift The Same As The Machine’S Capacity?

The weight of the forklift is how much the machine weighs, and the capacity is how much weight the device can pick up and move.

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