Skip to the main content.
Warehouse Automation
Dock & Door Solutions

3 min read

How To Choose the Best Truck Mounted Forklift

How To Choose the Best Truck Mounted Forklift

How To Choose the Best Truck Mounted ForkliftIf you've ever worked a job that had you on your feet all day, you know what a difference a good pair of shoes can make. When you rely on something daily, it must be a perfect fit. Even little hot spots rub at you, adding stress and pain to your day.

The same applies to truck mounted forklifts. These little workhorses are on the go all day, running from one delivery to the next. They need to be a perfect fit for your operation to maintain the optimal productivity their job demands. Read on to learn how to find the best truck mounted forklift for your business.

What Will You Be Lifting?

Truck mounted forklifts, or piggyback lifts, are a specialized area of material handling equipment. Due to the nature of their duties, many are designed to be highly versatile in the materials they transport. However, what the truck will typically lift influences your choice of truck mounted forklift in several areas.

Lifting Capacity

Truck mounted forklifts tend to boast light to mid-range lifting capacities. This is due to the need for the truck to remain small enough to attach to the rear of a trailer and because of the delivery-type services most of these forklifts provide.

For example, Manitou truck mounted forklifts include models with maximum lift capacities of 4,400 to 5,500 lbs. Consider a model with lift stabilizers if you expect to lift loads near full capacity. These increase the lift capacity when reaching.

Lifting Height and Reach

Truck mounted forklifts come in both mast and telescopic boom varieties. Standard masts meet most needs, but a telescopic boom increases lifting height and allows for a deeper reach. These features are advantageous when making deliveries to construction sites where materials may need to be placed above ground level.

Load Dimensions

Lateral movement can be a game changer when unloading long material, such as lumber or piping. Lateral movement allows the truck to unload the trailer without swinging around and potentially damaging an oversized load. Consider a 4-way model, like the Manitou TMT 55 4W, if your truck mounted forklift will be moving awkward loads. These forklifts can move forward, backward, or laterally, as needed.

Manitou TMT 55 4W

Where Will Your Truck Mounted Forklift Work?

The environment in which your forklift operates plays a significant role in selecting the best truck mounted forklift for your application.

Rugged Terrain

Truck mounted forklifts often make deliveries to sites without loading docks or paved roads. If your forklift will operate in these conditions, consider a model built for rugged terrain use. Models like the Manitou TMT 55 XT 4W are specifically built for extra-tough applications typical to construction sites. This model, in particular, can handle deliveries on unpaved roads and steep grades.

Narrow Alleys

Even if you won’t be loading and unloading long or bulky goods, lateral movement can make a world of difference in narrow spaces. For trucks that must navigate narrow aisles, look for a forklift with 4-way movement. Multi-directional movement allows operators to position the forklift more easily and increases efficiency.

Height Restrictions

If your truck mounted forklift will operate in overhead spaces, such as garages, you’ll want to pay attention to truck height. You may benefit from a low-profile cab option. Additionally, models with telescopic booms offer a lower profile than traditional mast models.

Single-Side Loading

Trailers are often forced to park on the side of the street to avoid impeding local traffic. This can make single-side loading difficult when the trailer is packed two pallets deep. Investing in a truck mounted forklift with a telescopic boom allows the operator to access the second row of pallets without the wasted time of repositioning the trailer. This dramatically increases operator productivity.


By the nature of its work, your truck mounted forklift will be exposed to less-than-ideal weather. To ensure the longevity of the forklift, look for a model with a double-powder coating. This will prevent rust and corrosion regardless of the climate.

Special Considerations

Finally, be sure to consider any special requirements placed on your forklift. Truck mounted forklifts like the Manitou series are designed to be highly versatile. Still, no forklift is perfect for every application. 

If you’re interested in learning more about truck mounted forklifts or want to find out if a Manitou is right for you, our team of experts can help. We’ll provide a consultation to determine the best equipment to meet your specialized needs. To learn more, 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
5 Reasons To Love Manitou Truck Mounted Forklifts
5 Things A COMBiLift Can Do That Others Forklifts Can’t
5 Simple Ways To Improve Loading Dock Safety & Efficiency

Special Use Equipment