pallet jack vs forklift vs reach truck

Pallet Jack vs Forklift vs Reach Truck: Which One Should I Use?

Pallet jack, forklift, and reach truck are the most familiar faces in any warehouse; you always see any of these three in a storeroom like a warehouse. Their functions are almost similar, but their usability is quite different. When you are planning to lift something, you just need to know the main differences between pallet jack vs forklift vs reach truck, which will help you to use the right trailer for the right job.

In this case, our complete comparison guide will help you a lot to easily understand the basic differences of these three similar looks lifting trucks. So let’s first get acquainted with the three carries.

What is a Forklift?

The forklift is a powered industrial indoor and outdoor vehicle, it is much larger than the other two lifting trucks, and it is usually used for an uplifting heavier load. It is also used for loading and unloading, packing, stacking, raising and lowering, and transporting various cargo items from truck to short distance.


What is a Pallet Jack?

A pallet jack is also referred to by many as a pallet truck. It is mainly used as a trailer in various stores and warehouses. It is a basic version of a forklift, which is used to easily lift and move various indoor small loads.

pallet jack
Pallet Jack

What is a Reach Truck Forklift?

Reach truck is another version of the forklift. It is specially designed to move comfortably on narrow aisles. It has two outer legs, which help in weight distribution. It is basically an outstanding option for tight spaces and higher lifting jobs’ warehouses.

reach truck
Reach Truck

Pallet Jack vs Forklift vs Reach Truck: Key Differences

Features Pallet Jack Forklift Reach Truck
Visibility The pallet jack provides great visibility. When you carry huge loads, its front visibility will be decreased, hard to see the front side from the cab. Its tilting cabs provide much great visibility o side by side, front and above.
Lift Capacity 5000 pounds to 5000 pounds. 5000 pounds to 1,00,000 pounds. 3000 pounds to 6000 pounds.
Reach Height Its lift heights are up to 800mm. Its lift heights are up to 19 feet. Its lift heights are up to 41 feet.
Turn Radius It can be operated in any narrow space with 65.5 degrees turning radius. You must have wide aisles up to 12 feet wide, It can operate on 8 feet wide aisles with a 1.4m to 1.8m turning radius.
Power Source Manual and battery operated. It is usually powered by LPG, gasoline, diesel, fuel, and an electric battery. 36 volts Battery operated.
Usability It can move lite loads. Also, it is very easy to use, anyone can operate it. An excellent option for both indoor and outdoor heavy loads lifting. You need a forklift operator to operate it. It can lift loads in very high in limited space; it also has enough load capacity. You need a reach truck operator to operate it.

The uses, advantages & disadvantages of Pallet Jack vs. Forklift was well described on

Pallet Jack vs Reach Truck vs Forklift: Detailed Comparison Guide

In this section, we will explain the differences of these three lifters part by part and highlight their usability and differences more clearly through comparison.


If we first compare the visibility features among the pallet jack, forklift, and reach truck, then we can see that the pallet jack provides the most visibility.

Though the pallet jack is a smaller handheld version of the forklift, its function is much like that of a hand truck dolly, so when you lift something, you can easily get enough visibility to observe the overall aspect. Due to which the pallet jack provides superior clarity.

In a forklift, you can basically observe the front side in a better way. However, when you carry larger amounts of loads, then the visibility will be decreased on the cab. As a result, you need to maintain more safety at that time.

However, in this case, the reach truck provides facilities for you to see sideways from the cab. Having tilting cabs, it becomes much easier to visibility above more transparently.

Winner: Pallet Jack

Lift Capacity

Undoubtedly forklifts are the foremost in terms of weight carrying capacity. In particular, its outstanding ability has made it much easier to perform various heavy loads moving and lifting tasks. You can see various types of forklifts has different weight limitations range. But most commonly, you can see forklifts allow you to carry 5000 pounds to 1,00,000 pounds easily.

On the other hand, the lifting capacity of the reach truck is a bit less; they also have different types of reach trucks, those capacities are about 3000 pounds to 6000 pounds. The pallet jack is built with the lowest capacity features, which can lift regular load weight up to 500 pounds to 5000 pounds.

Winner: Forklift

Reach Height

Forklifts and reach trucks have been designed to lift various cargo products to the highest heights. On the other hand, the pallet jack is designed to move the regular loads; that’s why the pallet truck is much behind these two lifting trucks.

Forklifts can reach maximum lift heights of 19 feet. On the other hand, the reach trucks are extended, its lift heights up to 41 feet. Pallet trucks have a maximum height of up to 800 mm. A reach truck is the best option for easily lifting any loads at the highest altitude.

Winner: Reach Truck

Turn Radius

A compact lift truck is necessary for a proper turn radius to work in any tight space. In this case, reach trucks are much better because they can easily carry any heavyweights with a great turn radius on any narrow aisles.

Reach trucks can efficiently operate on 8 feet wide aisles with a 1.4m to 1.8m turning radius, which is why it is so popular in most narrow space warehouses for its excellent turn radius.

Pallet trucks are key operated to prevent many accidents. As well as having 65.5 degrees turning radius, you can easily rotate it in tight spaces like reach trucks and work efficiently with fewer loads.

Different type of forklift has different turning radius. Due to which many forklift trucks can be operated in narrow spaces, but most forklift models are not suitable for limited space. To handle most forklifts, you must have wide aisles up to 12 feet wide, which will allow for easy rotation and maximum weight lifting.

Winner: Pallet Truck

Power Source

Pallet jack, forklift, and reach truck are the three different types of power source truck models. However, the forklift has the most variety of power sources.

In forklifts, you get options to choose the flexible power source of your choice. Forklifts are usually powered by LPG, gasoline, diesel, fuel, and an electric battery. Here you can select the one that you think is most affordable for your factory.

You can see two types of power sources in pallet trucks, manually and battery-powered. You have to use muscle power to manually pallet trucks and take them to different places. On the other hand, the lithium-ion battery-operated electric pallet jack has advanced and great features that make it relatively easy to use. It also has fast charging and long-time backup, which makes battery-powered sourced pallet trucks more efficient.

On the other hand, the reach truck does not have as many power sources as a forklift, and it usually operates with 36 volts electric battery.

Winner: Forklift


The main differences between pallet jack vs forklift vs reach truck are in their usability. It is the most crucial part.

A forklift is an excellent option for both indoor and outdoor applications. It is mostly used for any heavy-duty loading and unloading work. It is much larger than a pallet truck and reaches a truck. As well as its loading capacity is huge, that’s why it is used in the field of large construction and warehouse products’ moving, lifting, and similar kinds of works. You also need a forklift operator to operate it.

Reach trucks are mainly used as an alternative to a forklift. Though it cannot carry heavyweight like a forklift, its height limit is much higher than forklifts. It is mainly used for indoor application lifting work. Many of us think that there are no differences between reach truck vs forklift work, but it is wrong. The biggest difference between the two is that the height limit and required spaces. The forklift height limit is a bit lower than the reach truck, and it requires a lot of space to operate.

On the other hand, the height limit of the reach truck is very high, so it is mainly used for high lifting work, as well as you will not need a huge amount of space to handle it. You can easily move and lift the product on narrow aisle warehousing spaces. You need a reach truck operator to operate it.

The pallet truck is basically used to move the lighter loads in the limited indoor space. It has been designed keeping in mind the cost-saving of small businesses. In this way, you do not have to invest a considerable amount for a forklift and reach truck. There is no separate labor costing because it is also very easy to operate. Anyone can operate it manually or with the help of battery power.

Winner: Reach Truck

Pallet Jack or Forklift or Reach truck?

After reading our complete comparison, I think you have already realized which of these three lifting and moving options will be perfect for your business. Even then, we are giving some hints so that your decision-making process becomes easier.

Basically, if your business is too large, and if your warehouse is busy with heavy products every day. So forklift is definitely a better option for you to save some time and reduce labor costing. Though it requires a bit more space to move, it is extremely faster, provides excellent lifting height and higher load capacity.

On the other hand, if your warehouse or store is a little small in size, there is not enough space. Then a reach truck is an outstanding option for you. At the same time, it can move quickly in narrower aisles space, and it helps to keep loads high of limited space; it also has enough load capacity.

If your business is small and doesn’t have enough budget to invest in labor and lifting trucks, then a manual pallet jack is a great option. You will not need any kind of battery, oil, gas, or extra worker to operate this manual truck because anyone can operate and move it using muscle power. However, to make the moving process more manageable, you can purchase a battery-operated pallet truck.

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