If you’re thinking of buying a pallet jack (often called a pallet trolley or truck) for your facility, you may be wondering which type to choose, especially if you’re buying several of them.
- Should you look for a pallet jack machine that’s manual, or a more expensive electric model?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of both types?
- How do you decide the size of machine you need?
- Do operators require special training?
- What about maintenance: how often do pallet machines need maintenance? Can you perform maintenance in-house?
Before we get into the details: let’s look at what a pallet jack is.
Put simply, a pallet jack is a way to move pallets around your facility without the fuss and expense of a fork lift.
Pallet jacks help you to move palletized loads
A pallet jack is a basic form of fork lift. Unlike fork lifts, however, pallet jacks aren’t motorized and operators don’t require special training. Pallet jacks are hand-operated and much smaller than fork lifts. This makes them ideal for small warehouses and factories.
Pallet trucks have forks, just like a fork lift. They also have a handle, called a tiller, which has a pump to lift and lower the forks. Once the forks have been inserted into the bottom of a pallet, pumping lifts the forks and the pallet. The pallet can then be moved anywhere in your operation.
When choosing a pallet jack, your first consideration is the weight of your pallets. These machines vary in the weight they can handle, from a low load capacity of around 1,000 kg, to a high load capacity of over 3,000 kg.
Hand pallet trucks with a bigger load capacity are more expensive, so there’s no point in buying a truck with a higher load capacity than you need.
After you know the weight of the pallets you need to move, consider:
- The hand pallet jack’s size. The most common or “standard” size is a pallet jack with a load capacity of 2,500 kg, with fork dimensions to suit standard-sized pallets.
- The jobs you want your machine to handle. A standard pallet jack machine will shift standard pallets. For non-standard tasks, such as weighing pallet loads before they’re moved, you need a model with scales. Perhaps you’re looking for a model with a higher lift, so you can load pallets onto trucks.
- How often you estimate you’ll use your pallet truck. If it will be in constant use, it’s worth paying a small premium for a heavy duty model.
- The machine’s warranty. Most manufacturers offer a one-year warranty, but check the warranty to ensure it covers the machine’s pump.
You’ll also want to consider whether to choose an inexpensive manual pallet jack or a semi or fully electric model.
If your pallet jack machine which will be in daily use in a large facility, an electric heavy-duty electric pallet trolley is a better choice than a basic manual model. Moving heavy pallets manually is tiring, especially around a large warehouse. Inevitably, this leads to more operator injuries. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of the basic types of pallet jack: manual and electric.
Advantages and disadvantages of a standard, manual pallet jack machine
Manual pallet jack machines have advantages. They’re not only less expensive than powered models, they also require less maintenance and are available for many different environments.
However, for large operations, the disadvantages can outweigh the advantages. They’re slow and hard to operate. For many workers, they may be impossible to maneuver if they contain heavy loads. This results in lowered productivity, which may be unacceptable in large operations.
Advantages and disadvantages of electric pallet jacks
Powered pallet jacks are powered by a battery. They may be semi-electric, or fully electric. Semi-electric models include a motor to smoothly move pallets around your warehouse. Fully electric models include hydraulic features to raise the pallets as well as a motor.
Recharge time for electric pallet trolleys depends on the type of battery. Lithium-ion batteries are becoming popular, because they remain charged for longer, and don’t need to be swapped out of a machine.
The big advantage of powered machines is enhanced productivity. Operators can swiftly move pallets to where they need to go.
The major disadvantage is the expense. Electric pallet jack machines cost more than manual pallet jack machines. However, although powered pallet jacks are more expensive than manual models, they can also move pallets more quickly. Therefore they can do the work of several manual models.
What if you’re looking for a heavy duty pallet trolley?
Do you need a heavy duty pallet trolley?
Heavy duty pallet trolleys are used in many environments, including on building sites and in manufacturing facilities.
These heavy duty machines have a load capacity of up to 5000kg, so they’re designed and reinforced to be able to handle such heavy loads. Commonly they’re fitted with nylon wheels as standard, but can be ordered with steel wheels.
Choosing the right hand pallet jacks for your needs
Before you buy hand pallet jack machines, consider getting advice from an expert. Then you can be sure that you’re choosing the best machines for your applications. Author/Business bio – Gateway Packaging sources the most innovative packaging supplies from across the world to give excellent packaging supplies and solutions that are both cost-effective and efficient to Australian manufacturers.
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