Pull and Push: Pallet Lifters 101


Backbreaking – an adjective that describes manual labour and physically demanding actions. Those who have worked at a warehouse or somewhere similar where as part of the job you need to move and lift heavy objects certainly know the true meaning of the word. But there are ways warehouse operators can make things easier for their employees, saving them from the exhaustion and potential workplace injuries.

One such way is the use of specialised lifting machinery such as pallet lifters, or also known as jacks or trolleys. In simple terms, these are machines that you use to move and lift pallets. Why pallets and not just lift the items directly? Because pallets offer you a flat, stable transport structure that the lifters can easily and securely grab. However, not all pallet lifters are the same. Some are better for some purposes, and some are not. As such, before you explore the various pallet lifters for sale, you must know what exactly you need and how to distinguish it.
manual pallet lifter warehouse

The Features of Pallet Lifters

The first thing you should always ask is the lifter’s characteristics and where and with what you’ll work. The first thing you should consider is the type of items you’ll move. For example, before you decide on any lifter, you should know the dimensions, weight, and any peculiarities of the loads.

Then, you should know the build of your warehouse. Can the warehouse withstand the pressure of the lifter’s weight, and can the tires move without any problems? You don’t want there to be any damage to the floor or other pieces of equipment during transport. As such, you should also calculate the weight of the load added to the lifter’s weight.

Another possible damage is skidmarks. If you don’t want them, you should get one with polyurethane wheels, as they don’t leave skid marks.

Once you’ve done all of this, you can decide on the length and the width of the lifter. These two factors are crucial as they determine how much you can carry with it and the lifter’s maneuverability. You don’t want to get stuck while moving and have to go back and forth. Afterwards, you should check the maximum lifting capacity and lift height. If you plan to carry and lift something extremely heavy in a warehouse with huge ceilings, the more the lifter should be able to lift, and the lift height should be more.

Simply put, you must keep these two factors in mind always. If the items are too high and unstable, they might tip. Or, if the weight is too much for the lifter, it will break. Moreover, depending on the nature of the item and the environment, you will need to get a specialised lifter. But, we will go more into that later.

Types of Lifters

Of course, there’s a wide selection of pallet jacks on the market, so it’s hard to know which one is for you. Should you go for manual, electric, hi-lift? Also, you should know how to properly maintain your pallet trolleys. You shouldn’t just get lost in the benefits they offer, as they can get damaged over time. Fortunately, there are some great pallet lifters for sale, and all of them have characteristics that set them apart from one another.


Manual lifters are the most standard type. They function using a hydraulic pump which you operate by pumping the handle up and down. You then steer it and push it by using the pump. If you need to fit it in the back of a truck and move, this is the best as it is small and lightweight. Also, they allow easy movement throughout warehouses and a lot of maneuverability. However, the operator can get tired as they have to push it or pull it to move.

Furthermore, they come in extra long varieties with a length of over two meters or with a lifting capacity of over two tons. Or if you work in the food, chemical, and pharmaceutical industry, you know the risks corrosion has on metals. As such, you choose stainless steel or galvanised lifter. Some of them come with a helpful little feature called load scales. With this, you can just put anything on it, and it will calculate the weight. The only downside is that you need to recharge it or change batteries.


Hi-lift models, on the other hand, are specialised for hard to reach places. Additionally, they offer extra stability due to the front support legs and adjustable stabilisers. You can use these to better maneuver and move, especially if you have to keep the items high. However, they are mostly specialised for skids and pallets with no bottom rail, so you should keep that in mind.

hi-lift pallet jack adjustable
source: tractorbynet.com


Last, but not least, electric. Electric types are great for three reasons, easy to use, less burden for the workers, and easy to maneuver with. Instead of using the hydraulic pump, you can press a button to move the items up and down. Moreover, you don’t have to push the lifter to move. You can also press a button and control it with the pump regarding its direction.

In addition, all of the electric types come with a great lifting capacity and height, with most of them able to lift up to 1500 kilograms. Nonetheless, they have one major drawback. They require more extensive maintenance as many electrical parts are used, and you need to recharge the lifters often.

Specialised Types

Although there are many standard types and they might be enough for some, you might require a specialised one. For example, you might be working in an area where the ground is gravel or rough, like timber yards or brickyards. Then, the best option for you is a rough terrain or all-terrain pallet lifter. Or, let’s say you work with barrels, like drums. Then you can get one that can grip the shape of the barrel and carry it.


Overall, pallet lifters are an extremely helpful tool that can bring a positive change to your business, allow you to maximise your efficiency, and reduce costs. Also, they help prevent injuries as they offer a safer way of moving heavy objects. In addition, they boost morale as the workers know they can get the job done quickly and easily. Finally, don’t forget to be careful when loading pallets and make sure to follow all the loading and unloading safety precautions.