Pallet Jackets and Trucks: Electric vs. Manual | KION North America

Pallet Jackets and Trucks: Electric vs. Manual

Contrary to popular belief, the biggest machine is not always the most reliable, in terms of getting the job done. Although forklifts are made in varying sizes, they are not always the most efficient in material handling due to their inability to fit in all spaces in a warehouse. That is why pallet jacks are also very common in warehouses because they can handle most goods and deliver to any area regardless of space or size. They are a very versatile piece of handling equipment and are a valuable additive to a warehouse. Similar to a forklift, the purpose of this machine is to efficiently transfer pallets and other heavy material goods to various locations within the warehouse and loading dock areas. Similar to our post forklifts, pallet jacks have advanced since their beginning, and offer a variety of features, weight and pull capacities, and size. Below are a few of the differences between electric and manual pallet jacks for those who may be interested in purchasing a new one.

Things to Consider with Manual Pallet Jacks

Manual pallet jacks are amongst the most commonly used in warehouse for simple reasons; anyone can use it as it does not require any specialized training to operate, and it is much less expensive to use and maintain than an electric pallet jack. They are usually a fan favorite because; they do not require a motor; they are powered by human force and are smaller, making them more conveniently stored. They are usually able to carry up to 5,500 lbs; which is favorable for warehouses with large loads.

The downsides to using only a manual pallet jack are worth considering depending on the type of environment of the warehouse. If the facility is large or is usually handling large loads, one person operating the pallet jack may become difficult or tiring. The risk of danger and injury is greatened with a manual pallet jack. For example, if a worker has to carry a large load up an incline or rough surface, without the help of someone else, the worker could lose control of the load and face serious injuries. If you work in a large facility, the possibility of different departments needing to use these manual pallet jacks is high, since they are so accessible, and you may find that they become unavailable when you need them the most. 

Things to Consider with Electric Pallet Jacks

Although not as common, electric pallet jacks are still a favorite for equipment operators. These machines are not as strenuous on workers because electric pallet jacks operate on a motor rather than human power. They can handle more weight with their weight capacity being 6,000 lbs. Unique to the electric pallet, the motor in the jack assists in lifting and lowering the forklift, whereas the manual pallet jack is restricted to staying on the ground. Due to this, the electric jack increases productivity for warehouses because they can carry larger loads, go farther distances at a faster rate, and move loads to high or low areas.

The cons of electric pallet jacks cannot be ignored when comparing the costs to manual pallet jacks. One factor that deters buyers from purchasing an electric pallet jack is the cost. One electric pallet jack will cost you anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 depending on the brand and the features. You also have to consider maintenance fees as well for the motor and the wheels. Another way that electric pallet jacks can pull at your pockets is with their constant need to have their fuel resupplied. Even if the motor is battery operated, it will still need to recharge, meaning you will need a charging station. Lastly, another con to having this equipment is that it requires a strict operating training and certification process. Unlike manual pallet jacks, OSHA states that those who are not trained on how to operate this equipment will not be able to use it. This requires employers to fund training, which requires extra time and money.

Although both types of pallet jacks offer their own benefits and disadvantages, it is still a wise investment to make for your company.  It is a huge asset that can help to drive your productivity results and help your facility operate at a higher level. The smallest tool can make a significant impact on your company, and this proves true with the pallet jack.

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