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The Best Heavy-Duty Forklifts for Lumber Yards

The Best Heavy-Duty Forklifts for Lumber Yards

The Best Heavy-Duty Forklifts for Lumber YardsOver 1.5 million new homes are built in the United States every year. Of those, 92% are wood-framed. On average, a wood-framed home in the US uses 12,600 board feet of lumber, the equivalent of 7 tons worth of 2x4 studs. That's a lot of wood. Little wonder your lumber yard needs a serious forklift to handle that load.

Not every forklift is up to the challenge of moving lumber. Only rugged, high-capacity models can keep up with the demands of a bustling yard, and the particular challenges of transporting wood require special features. So if you’re in the lumber business, read on to learn more about the types of heavy-duty forklifts you’ll need to perform at your best.

Important Lumber Yard Forklift Features

Lumber yards present a unique set of challenges for material handling equipment. As such, forklifts meant for the yard require some specific adaptations.

  • Specialized forks. The space between stacks of wood is often too thin to accommodate standard tapered forks. Specialized lumber forks are broader and thinner. This allows them to slip effortlessly between stacks and better support lumber during transport.
  • Wide carriages. Lumber yards are notorious for long loads. Without proper support, wood is flexible enough to warp during handling. A wider forklift carriage provides better support and helps avoid damaging your product. Additionally, wider carriages offer better stability when traveling over uneven terrain.
  • Side-shifters. Lumber comes in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Forks must be adjusted between each load to ensure adequate support of the wood lifted. However, manual adjustments are time-consuming and kill productivity. Side-shifters allow operators to make these minor changes in fork spacing in seconds.
  • Pneumatic tires. Splinters, screws, nails, and cuttings are common hazards in lumber yards that wreak havoc on cushion tires. Instead, choose solid pneumatic tires for your lumber forklifts. These tires are puncture-proof to ensure your team never wastes valuable time changing out a flat.
  • Powerful lifts. Wood stacks are heavy, and they require heavy-duty power. The average 8-foot 2x4 stud weighs about 9 lbs. That means a standard bundle of 294 studs weighs over a ton. More lifting power allows your trucks to move more bundles per load. This cuts down on transit time and boosts productivity.

The Best Forklifts for Lumber Yards

Not every heavy-duty forklift is a good fit for an active lumber yard. However, the forklifts below excel in the lumber industry.

Toyota High-Capacity Core IC Pneumatic

For lumber yard use, Toyota’s High-Capacity Core IC Pneumatic is an impressive all-arounder. It features up to 30,000 lbs of lift and a rugged construction capable of handling your product as well as the weather. A Cummins 4-cylinder diesel engine, electronically controlled transmission, and wet disc brakes ensure reliability comes standard on this model.

Operator comfort is a priority. The top-quality, fully-enclosed cabin includes creature comforts such as working lights, an air ride suspension seat, and air conditioning. That way, business doesn’t stop even on the most humid summer days.

Toyota 80V Electric Pneumatic

For facilities looking to benefit from an electric fleet, the Toyota 80V Pneumatic Forklift is an excellent choice. This electric workhorse is tough enough for outdoor applications. Its multifunction display puts a wealth of information at the operator's fingertips, including power management selections. Regenerative braking extends the truck's run time, and an ergonomic, vibration-reduction design keeps the operator comfortable enough to work all day. With 8,000 to 17,500 lbs of lift capacity, the 80V Pneumatic has the power your lumber yard needs without putting any strain on the environment.

Toyota THD High-Capacity IC Pneumatic

The heaviest hauls call for the biggest trucks. So when your lumber yard needs to move 30,000 to 125,000 lbs loads, the THD High-Capacity IC Pneumatic from Toyota is your best bet. This diesel beast can move at speeds of up to 18 mph fully loaded and lift to a height of 441 inches. With its Cummins 6-cylinder engine, it has the power to handle anything in your yard.

With that much power, safety is the top priority. The THD comes standard with an operator presence sensing system (OPSS) to endure the forklift shuts down drive and lifting functions when the operator is out of their seat. The integrated overhead guard protects the operator from falling objects. Finally, the force-cooled wet disc brakes ensure the truck stops fast even when fully loaded.

Komatsu FH100/160

Komatsu's high-capacity FH100/160 is another powerful choice for lumber yard forklifts. This pneumatic diesel forklift achieves a lifting capacity of 22,000 to 35,000 lbs while reducing exhaust particulate by 90%. The secret lies in Komatsu's proprietary technologies that improve engine efficiency, reduce emissions and cut down on maintenance. They back up their claims of trouble-free service with a 24-month unlimited-hour warranty and Komtrax wireless tracking so you can see the productivity boost in real-time.

The Right Truck for the Right Lift

The difference between the right forklift and almost the right forklift is a lot of headaches and lost productivity. That's why our team is devoted to finding you the perfect forklift for any job inside and outside your lumber yard. 

Our experts are trained to evaluate your site and material handling needs to pair you with the equipment that fits your facility today and in the future. We even maintain a high-capacity forklift rental fleet so you can test several models before committing. To learn more about the best high-capacity forklifts for your lumber yard, contact us online or visit one of our Mid-South locations:

Arkansas - Jonesboro
Alabama - Birmingham, Dothan, Irondale, Madison, Mobile, and Montgomery
Mississippi - Tupelo and Richland
Tennessee - Jackson, Memphis, Knoxville, and Kingsport

Further Reading
We Rent It All, Even Heavy-Duty, High-Capacity Forklifts
The 80V Electric Pneumatic Forklift: Toyota’s Large Electric Forklift Product Review
How To Buy The Best Forklift For Your Work Environment

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