Pros and Cons of LPG Forklifts [Updated for 2023]
by Trey Barber, on February 1, 2023 at 11:52 AM
First, what is a LPG forklift? It's a forklifts powered by liquid propane gas (LPG). This power source offers unique advantages. LPG forklifts comprise a huge portion of the material handling market and are found across most industries. However, the performance and convenience of these models come with some disadvantages too.
Advantages of LPG Forklifts
1. Lower Initial Investment
In general, LPG forklifts are the most affordable models for companies to purchase new. This low price can allow companies to purchase more equipment for their fleet or add optional equipment to improve forklift performance.
2. Convenient Refueling
LPG-powered forklifts are very easy to refuel. Operators simply detach the propane tank, replace it with a full one, and secure the new tank properly. Most forklift LPG tanks can be changed safely in a matter of minutes. This convenience helps keep forklifts running and workers productive for a large percentage of their shift.
3. Broad Industry Applications
Forklifts running on LPG work in many different industries. These versatile machines can be used outdoors or in properly ventilated indoor applications. With common lifting capacities available up to and above 15,000 pounds, LPG forklifts can provide ample power for most businesses.
4. Wide Availability
The easy availability of LPG forklift models make them convenient to maintain and replace. Both OEM and will-fit parts can be easy to source for the most popular models. When your equipment passes its economically viable lifespan, it can be simple to determine what model to replace it with.
Disadvantages of LPG Forklifts
While they offer dependable performance and great value, LPG forklifts come with some trade-offs. These include:
1. Unpredictable Fuel Costs
Fossil fuel costs are expected to only increase over time. Due to this, the total operating cost for an LPG forklift fleet can be difficult to predict each year.
2. Operator Training
LPG forklifts may require additional operator training to ensure proper use. Features like the inching pedal can help fine-tune performance when used correctly. However, their misuse can cause forklifts to overheat and potentially damage the engine. Similarly, repeated motions for replacing LPG tanks can injure operators if not performed safely and correctly. Proper operator training is key to success.
3. Less Maneuverable
While powerful, LPG forklifts are not as maneuverable as electric forklifts. Their larger turning radiuses and greater stopping distance can sometimes be a hurdle for indoor operations with narrow aisles.
4. [Updated for 2023] You miss out on incentives from Washington's Clean Fuel Program
If you choose a gas-powered internal Combustion forklift or an LPG forklift, you're not choosing an electric forklift. Starting in Jan 2023, Washington State's Clean Fuel Program offers incentives to electric vehicle owners. Essentially, you get paid to charge your electric forklifts. When you're shopping for a new electric forklift, be sure to request an incentive estimate to see how much you could earn.
If you’re in the market for a new or used LPG forklift, MidColumbia Material Handling is here to help. Our expert staff will help you determine what type of equipment is the best fit for your business. Contact us to see what we currently have in stock today.
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