Forklifts: Should I Buy Electric or Propane?

When you are purchasing a new forklift for your business, you have a lot of choices. There are many brands that make quality forklifts that will last for years with proper care and maintenance. There are a lot of options you can choose from. One of the most important choices you will be faced with is the choice of fuel source. Electric and propane powered forklifts are the most popular. It is important to fully understand the benefits of each before you make a decision.


Cost is usually the most important factor in most decisions. You want a forklift that meets your daily production needs as well as fitting in with your budget constraints. The up-front purchase cost of a propane powered forklift is much lower than an electric forklift. Propane forklifts also have lower lifecycle costs than other types of forklifts. Maintenance costs for propane forklifts are also generally cheaper than their electric counterparts. It’s also estimated that propane engines in forklifts last twice as long as electric engines, so you save money on replacement costs over the life of your equipment.


Along with being cheaper to maintain than electric forklifts, propane forklifts are also easier to maintain and keep in proper working order. Propane produces fewer engine deposits than other types of fuel, so this helps decrease maintenance costs and requirements. This also means that the engine in your propane forklift will last longer than other engines, which stretches your budget further.


If you are concerned about the power output from your forklift, propane is definitely the way to go. Forklifts that are powered by propane maintain consistent power ratios at 100% output throughout their operation. Propane forklifts offer more torque which translates to getting a load from one place to another faster and getting the job done quicker than you could with electric. This will increase productivity and help you get more work done in a shorter amount of time. There is also no worrying about the power supply running low or depleting completely when you are dealing with a propane forklift. Propane forklifts are also better able to push heavy loads faster and over rough terrain or inclines. They also maintain their power longer than electric forklifts.

Fuel Issues

When your power supply is depleted on your electric forklift, you have to plug it back in and wait hours for it to recharge. When your propane forklift runs out of fuel, you simply remove the empty propane tank, replace it with a full tank and continue on about your business. This takes only minutes. A propane forklift also runs longer on one tank of fuel than an electric forklift can run on one charge. A typical propane forklift can run non-stop for about eight hours on one tank of fuel.

Environmental Issues

Propane is a green fuel and has very little impact on the environment. Propane is non-toxic and burns clean, so it is appropriate for both indoor and outdoor uses. Propane also does not evaporate into the atmosphere, so there is no damage to our quickly-eroding ozone layer. Depending upon the source of your electricity, an electric forklift can have a huge impact on the environment and our natural resources. If you are into going green and protecting our environment and its natural resources, propane is the obvious best choice.

Forklifts that are powered by propane have many advantages over their electric competitors. One thing to be cognizant of is the restrictions on propane forklifts. There are a very few situations where propane forklifts are not approved for use, such as with food handling applications. However, propane forklifts are the best choice in most situations. They will save you money, increase productivity and allow you to do more with less. If you are shopping around for a new forklift, check into the wide variety of brands that offer propane power and see how they can benefit you.

Posted on 
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Wednesday, April 18, 2018