Pallet jacks are vital pieces of equipment for warehouses, convenience stores, storage facilities, and many other types of businesses. They are meant to help haul and maneuver heavy loads, such as inventory, and can be raised and lowered to help with stocking and shelving.
What is a Pallet Jack?
Pallet jacks, also known as pallet trucks or hand trucks, are a basic form of a forklift. They consist of a wheeled trolley, a hydraulic pump, a handle, linkages, load wheels, and forks. Pallet jacks are meant to lift a heavy load just slightly off the ground so it can be hauled easily.
Types of Pallet Jacks
There are several different kinds of pallet jacks. Here are some of the most common:
- Manual Pallet Jacks – These are the most commonly seen pallet trucks, often found in grocery store aisles and department stores. They have a hydraulic pump that is manually operated from the handle and are extremely versatile.
- Electric Pallet Jacks – Electric pallet jacks are battery-operated versions of manual pallet jacks. Buttons and controls are used to lift and lower loads, while a drive wheel helps convey the load.
- Rider Pallet Jacks – Rider pallet trucks are almost like forklifts. They can be ridden by the operator while in use, and they function similarly to electric pallet jacks.
Benefits of Having a Pallet Jack
If you’re wondering whether or not you actually need a pallet jack, you should consider the benefits of having one. Here are some things to consider:
- Increase Workflow – Pallet jacks are meant to bear the weight of moving pallets and other loads around. Using a pallet jack allows more work to get done in less time.
- Reduce Fatigue – By using a pallet truck, the amount of energy needed to complete a task is cut to a minimum, since the pallet truck is bearing most of the weight.
- Reduce Injuries – Lifting and carrying heavy items also causes injury. A pallet truck carrying the weight can greatly reduce employee injury.
- Easy to Use – Unlike forklifts, which require training and certification to operate, anyone can use a pallet truck.
- Low Maintenance – Manual pallet jacks require little to no maintenance, and electric pallet jacks are relatively easy to maintain. This means less downtime for repairs, etc.
Our Top Picks
Liberty Scales Industrial Heavy Duty Pallet Jack
If you’re moving heavy loads, this heavy-duty jack by Liberty Scales is a good option. With its 5000lb load capacity and stainless steel frame, this manual jack can handle heavier loads while still maintaining a low profile design.
Other hightlights include a built-in scale, giving it the ability to maneuver and weigh at the same time.
Small Business Deals
Mighty Lift Heavy Duty Pallet Jack
The Mighty Lift is a reliable option with 5,500 lbs of load capacity in a 27” X 48” frame. It has a maximum height of 7.48” with a 210° turning radius. Other features include a galvanized German seal system for improved lifting and lowering and polyurethane wheels on steel.
Octane Pallet Jack
eBay is a great place to find equipment at low prices. This hand pallet jack by Octane comes in a bright orange finish for visibility. It has a heavy-duty steel frame, a large 5500lb load capacity, and an extreme-duty hydraulic pump.
Smooth riding wheels, tapered forks with an 8″ lift height, and a 1-year warranty round out the features.
Dayton Hand Pallet Truck
This manual pallet jack has a fork length of 48″, a fork width of 6 1/4″, and a load capacity of 55oolbs. It’s got a steel frame and a maximum lifting height of 7 1/2″.
Its bright red color makes it highly visible, and its load wheels are non-skid and non-marking.
Jet 6000 lb Pallet Truck
Jet’s truck has 5 configurations addressing different heights (2 to 7/8 inches), widths (20 to 27 inches), and lengths (36 to 48 inches). It has a 200° turn radius and 6,000 lbs. capacity.
Additionally, it uses an articulated steer wheel axle to stay level and keep contact on the floor surface. And the cast iron pump design provides a special lowering valve to control the rate of descent to prevent shock on loads.
Everlift Electric Pallet Jack
This electric jack by Everlift features simple operation, a lightweight design, and a small turning radius. It can be fully charged in 2 hours and has a 4400lb load capacity.
An emergency reversing device and magnetic brake ensure safe operation.
Crown PTH 50 Hand Pallet Truck
Crown’s manual jack features an ergonomic handle, an exit ramp and a tapered fork tip design. It has a 5,000 lb load capacity and its no-maintenance bushings and bearings stay sealed and lubricated for life. A 3-year warranty is also included.
Global Industrial Narrow Aisle Pallet Jack
This jack is meant for smaller spaces, which is quite convenient if you have narrow aisles. It has a 5500 lb. load capacity and a sealed leak-proof pump with hardened chrome piston and ram offers smooth, trouble-free operation.
Fingertip lever control, 18 x 48 forks, and 3-level stages round out the features.
Vestil Fully Powered Electric Pallet Jack
This is a fully electric jack with fingertip raise and lower buttons and 3,300 lbs. of loading capacity.
Other features include infinite forward and reverse throttle speeds, a horn, and a belly reverse button. It uses two 12V batteries with a 70Ah rating to deliver at least 8 hours of service on a full charge.
HPDMC Hand Pallet Truck
This high-capacity manual jack can support up to 6600 lbs with its heavy-duty reinforced forks and strong frame. Additionally, it features non-marking polyurethane wheels, wear resistance, shock absorption, and a 180-degree turning angle.
This jack has 3 positions (lift, lower, and neutral position) and a streamlined design to easily navigate through smaller aisles.
Tory Carrier Full Electric Pallet Jack
Tory Carrier’s electric jack has a load capacity of 3300 lbs. It offers a small turning radius and easy-to-use controls. Its portable lithium battery takes just 3-5 hours to fully charge.
This pallet truck features a multi-function operating handle, including an accelerator, emergency reverse switch and horn button.
Big Joe Fully Electric Powered Jack
Big Joe’s electric jack has fork widths of 27″ and fork lengths of 45″. Its compact design allows it to maneuver in smaller areas, and it has a 3000lb load capacity.
It has dual right- and left-hand controls for travel, lift, and lower functions, and a compact power head with high torque 24-volt DC electrical drive system.
Pake Handling Tools Pallet Truck with Scale
Jacks that are equipped with a scale are a great 2-for-1 item. You can make sure you’re not exceeding the weight limit and load capacity, and eliminate unnecessary worker strain.
This pallet truck features an impressive 4400lb load capacity, reinforced load wheels, and an easy-to-read scale display.
Jutemill Full Electric Pallet Jack
This electric pallet truck has a 4400lb load capacity and runs on a 48V/20Ah lithium battery. The overall fork length is 48″ and the fork width is 27″.
APOLLOLIFT Full Electric Lithium Jack
Finally, APPOLLOLIFT’s electric jack features push-button lift control and forward/reverse thumb wheels on its handle. Its battery has a 3-hour charge time and provides 4-6 hours of service per charge.
The load capacity is 3300 lbs and maximum lifting height is 7.5″.
How We Chose Our Picks: Methodology
When evaluating pallet jacks for small businesses or entrepreneurs, we consider several key criteria to ensure efficiency, durability, and suitability for different operational needs. Here are the general criteria we use, along with their respective importance:
- Weight Capacity: (Importance: High)
- Prioritize jacks with a weight capacity suitable for your typical loads. Consider both the maximum load capacity and the typical weight of items to be moved.
- Fork Length and Width: (Importance: High)
- Assess the fork length and width to ensure compatibility with various pallet sizes commonly used in your business. Ensure the forks can adequately support and lift your standard pallets.
- Maneuverability and Turning Radius: (Importance: High)
- Evaluate the jack’s maneuverability, particularly its turning radius, to navigate tight spaces and aisles efficiently. Consider models that offer smooth and precise maneuvering.
- Durability and Construction: (Importance: High)
- Check for sturdy construction and durable materials such as steel for the frame and high-quality wheels. This ensures the model can withstand heavy loads and frequent use.
- Hydraulic System and Pump: (Importance: Medium)
- Assess the quality and reliability of the hydraulic system and pump mechanism. Look for smooth operation and ease of use in lifting and lowering loads.
- Adjustability and Ergonomics: (Importance: Medium)
- Consider ergonomic features like adjustable handle heights or controls that enhance operator comfort and reduce fatigue during extended use.
- Maintenance and Serviceability: (Importance: Low to Medium)
- Evaluate ease of maintenance and availability of servicing or replacement parts. A model that’s easy to maintain can reduce downtime and overall operational costs.
- Price and Warranty: (Importance: Low)
- While price and warranty are factors to consider, they are relatively less critical compared to factors like weight capacity and durability. However, it’s essential to balance cost with quality and choose a product with reasonable warranty coverage.
Are all pallet jacks the same?
No! Different types of pallet trucks exist for a reason – there are different kinds for different uses. Manual pallet jacks are by far the most popular and easiest to use, but a manual pallet jack isn’t always the best pallet jack option. In order to get the best pallet jacks, be sure to evaluate your needs.
How long does a pallet jack last?
The best pallet jacks can last a lifetime if well-maintained. If you’re looking for the easiest pallet jacks to maintain, typically a manual lift pallet jack is your best bet.
How high will a pallet jack raise?
Depending upon the type, a manual pallet jack can lift pallets between 3 inches to 8 feet. Electric pallet trucks have about the same lift height ability as manual pallet jacks.
What weight can a pallet jack lift?
Typically, a manual pallet jack can lift between 3000 – 5500 lbs. Electric pallet jacks generally do not exceed a 4500lb load capacity.
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