Rough Terrain Forklifts Introduction
Rough terrain forklifts have two defining characteristics: they're powered by internal combustion (IC) engines, and they have pneumatic tires that let them handle uneven surfaces. This combination makes rough terrain forklifts the ideal choice for lumberyards, construction projects, landscaping, and other outdoor applications.
Rough terrain forklifts use IC engines for several reasons. They're often built to handle larger loads, which IC forklifts are better at than electric. IC forklifts usually have better acceleration and top speeds than electric, which can be a big plus on large job sites.
Furthermore, internal combustion engines are more familiar to most mechanics than electric, so routine maintenance and basic repairs can be handled by your own mechanics, instead of requiring a service call or trip to the shop. For machines that take a lot of abuse, this can be a big time saver.
Pneumatic tires are the other key component of a rough terrain forklift. Pneumatic tires — rubber tires filled with air, similar to automobile tires — provide the traction and cushioning necessary for use on rutted ground and uneven terrain.
For the worst ground conditions, such as a recycling center where broken glass is commonplace, consider "solid pneumatic" tires. The name is bit misleading, because there is no air at all in these tires: they're solid rubber to prevent popping.
Buying rough terrain forklifts is quite similar to buying other types of forklifts. For a more comprehensive overview, read our Forklifts Buyer's Guide.