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How Much Does a Forklift Weigh?

The weight of forklifts would vary depending on the make and model of the machine. But the average weight of a forklift is approximately 9,000 lbs, three times more than the average automobile, which weighs about 3,000 lbs. Knowing how much a forklift weighs is essential. It helps you avoid any accidents in the workplace and will eventually save you some bucks.

What is a forklift?

A forklift is essentially used to move heavy loads across long distances of varying terrain. It's beneficial for projects that demand lots of materials in various sites and cuts down the time and effort required to lift, transport, and carry.

Why is it Necessary to Know a Forklifts Service Weight

There are a few reasons why it is crucial to identify the forklift weight, some of which are as follows:

Transporting. Knowing the forklift weight will help you book the right truck capable of accomodating your machine. If you will ship it, it allows the cargo manager to calculate the total weight of other cargoes to maintain the ship's balance. 

Floor Damage. A forklift machine can be very heavy. Thus, the floor of a forklift work area must be built or made with the unit’s service and thoroughly thought about. Repairing the floor on a regular basis can add up to a lot of wasted money in the long run. 

Driving on Ramps. If ever, a forklift is to be driven up and down ramps as part of operations to unload vessels or in a loading dock. In that case, the unit's service weight must be known so that an appropriately reinforced ramp is utilized.

Forklift Weight vs. Forklift Capacity

Forklift weight and forklift capacity are not the same nor interchangeable, so please don't confuse yourselves. In order to carefully administer a forklift, it is essential that workers need to understand the difference between these two terms.

The forklifts' service weight refers to the actual weight of the forklift. It is the combined weight of the unit itself and any attachments that are installed onto the unit. On the other hand, forklift capacity refers to the amount of weight a particular forklift can hold.

As a general rule, a forklift service weight increases the higher its lift capacity as the unit's weight needs to appropriately offset the weight of any load it carries to maintain stability and avoid the forklift tipping over. The Forklift Capacity can never be higher than Forklift Weight. 

The weight of the forklift would usually go to the rear side because this additional weight in the forklift’s back helps counter the weight of items carried on the lift’s forks.

In most cases, a standard forklift service weight is 1.5 to 2 times its rated lift capacity. This will help you assess the lift’s weight and secure you can use the lift safely at various worksites.

For example, if your forklift can lift 5,000 pounds, generally, the weight of the forklift will be somewhere between 7,500 and 10,000 pounds. But remember, this is only a rough standard. There should be manufacturers' information or the forklift’s data tag available.

How to Identify Forklift Weight and Capacity

A forklift usually comes with a manufacturer’s tag or a "nameplate" that will provide information about the forklift for quick reference.

This plate will consist of details about the rated capacity of particular weight in a specific height. It also offers information about down-rated power, which accounts for the lift’s maximum fork height, side shifter, and other vehicle attachments.

Overall, the weight of a forklift depends on the machine. To confirm this, you can check the manufacturer’s tag on your forklift. Remember that the forklift weight is different from the forklift capacity. The forklift weight has to be higher than the forklift capacity.

If you are looking to buy the right attachment for your forklift or need assistance in choosing the proper attachment, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Written by Cohen Meyer
Cohen Meyer is a product researcher and content contributor for Skid Steers Direct. Cohen has spent over 12,000 hours operating skid steers, telehandlers, excavators and tractors. He is a former business owner, certified welder and a self proclaimed tech geek.

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