What is Pallet Jack? Definition, Types and Uses Explained

The material handling equipment sphere encompasses a wide range of mechanical equipment, loosely grouped into 4 broad types designed to handle, store, transport, and manage products and materials within industrial and commercial settings.

Depending on their means of locomotion, a specific type of equipment is assigned to pick up and deposit the product. Take warehouses, for example, where the manual handling of loads is always accommodated with material handling equipment. Frequently, we see forklifts lounging around the warehouse, but alongside this are other equipment like order pickers, platform trucks, and pallet jacks (or pallet trucks as often used interchangeably). All these play an integral part in the reduction of manually transporting loads over short distances in a warehouse or trailer.

In this blog, however, we want to focus on pallet jacks and their value in reducing worker strain. As you read on,  we explain what pallet jacks are, how they work, their lifting capabilities, and how they compare to a forklift.

What is Pallet Jack?

A pallet jack, also known as a pallet truck/hand truck/ pump truck, is the most basic form of forklift in the material handling sphere. While they are on the smaller side of the mechanical equipment spectrum, pallet trucks are considered one of the more essential tools for warehouses and other applications where aisles are incredibly narrow, and space is limited.

 Its parts consist of the following:

Tandem Forks

Where the product to be transported is loaded on.

Tiller Head

where the operating switches responsible for the pallet jack’s essential functions are located

Auxillary Wheels

that ease the pallet jack’s maneuverability in tight spaces

How Does a Pallet jack Work?

How you operate a pallet jack depends on whether your equipment is manual or electric. But fret not, as both versions use a control lever that elevates and lowers the palletized load. The difference is that manual-type pallet jacks use a “tiller,” while electric ones use buttons and levers that control the equipment electronically. 

Maximum Lifting Height of Pallet Jacks

Compared to other material handling equipment, pallet jacks aren’t designed to lift things too high off the ground. At most, pallet trucks can lift palletized loads to only 3 to 8 inches. There are a few exceptions, though. An example would be Hangcha’s 2.0t A-Series Pallet Truck, which can lift 550 mm from the ground. You can grab a model of this type through its authorized distributor, Noble Philippines, by clicking this link.

What Is the Difference Between a Forklift and a Pallet Jack?

Both pallet jacks and forklifts are essential to transporting goods from one place to another. However, in terms of use, they serve entirely different purposes. See the table below for the main difference between the two mechanical equipment.

a. Purpose

While both aim to expedite the transportation of goods within a warehouse, the two mechanical equipment are designed for different purposes. A forklift is made for lifting loads that are on the heavier side. Furthermore, forklifts are utilized for pallet racking applications. Hence, they come with high-lift vertical masts that allow loads to be lifted to as high as 330 inches from the ground.

Contrary to forklifts, pallet jacks are not designed for stacking. At all. Instead, pallet jacks are made to lift loads just high enough from the ground so that they’re moveable across the floor.

b. Key Feature

In terms of critical features, since both mechanisms are made differently, it’s only natural that their key features differ from one another. For the forklift, its key feature is the counterweight. The counterweight balances and stabilizes the mechanical system (forklift) by applying force opposite to where the heavy load is.   On the other hand, a pallet jack does not have a physical counterweight like a forklift does. In this case, its key feature would be its lifting capacity.

c. Lift Height and Capacity

Forklifts have better lifting capacity than pallet jacks. With a bigger chassis, the forklift is more suitable for handling heavier loads at more significant heights. In comparison, a pallet jack is made for more minor to moderate loads and tighter spaces.

d. Maneuverability

Given its more petite frame, pallet jacks win this one. Its lightweight body makes pallet jacks much easier to move and navigate along narrow aisles than forklifts.

e. Power

Engines or batteries power all forklifts, whereas pallet trucks can be operated manually or through motors.

Which Material Handling Equipment Should I Buy?

Based on the information above, one cannot say that pallet jacks pale compared to forklifts. More importantly, deciding which material handling equipment to buy depends on your lifting requirements. 

You can buy pallet jacks if you need to lift relatively small loads weighing at most 5,000 pounds. However, if you need to handle products and goods weighing more than what a standard pallet jack can carry, you need to use a forklift.

Once you have decided which material handling equipment to buy, you can contact us at Noble Philippines. We offer both pallet jacks and forklift units. Not only that, but we also offer scissor lifts and boom lifts.

Contact Us!

We hope this blog gave you the insights you needed on pallet jacks. Now, turning it over to you, are you looking to buy a pallet jack? If yes, then simply fill out this contact form to inquire. You can also reach out to us for a quick call at 8527-7171 or send us an email via  sales@noblephils.com

About Noble Philippines

Noble Philippines is Hangcha’s authorized equipment distributor, providing a wide range of material handling equipment options from electric scissor lifts, diesel and electric counterbalance, electric reach trucks, and pallet jacks and movers. Our goal is to provide customers with the safest and most efficient material handling apparatuses available in the market while at the same time offering access to solid technical support, forklift parts, guaranteed maintenance, and much more.

Noble Philippines is where equipment and service is priced right. Let’s revolutionize your business with quality machinery!

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