What is the difference between a forklift and a powered pallet truck?

What is the difference between a forklift and a powered pallet truck?

March 14, 2022 | by digital@lkda.co.za

Forklifts and powered pallet trucks each have their advantages and disadvantages over the other, but which one is right for you?

Forklifts vs Powered Pallet Trucks

Forklifts and powered pallet trucks are both suited for handling at ground level and transporting load on a pallet.

Forklifts, however, typically have a higher weighted load capacity, making them good at moving heavy pallet loads through narrow aisles and around tight corners.

Powered Pallet Trucks, also known as PPT, are electric and allow for easy operation.

Powered Pallet Trucks

Crown WT 3000

Pallet Trucks are perfect to fit into narrow spaces, withstand impact and are more manoeuvrable than forklifts. The Pallet Truck will fit any needs with the capacity of up to 3 tonnes.

They are not designed for stacking, but rather for moving loads on a pallet from point A to point B at ground level. They are often used in the sectors of transportation, wholesale or retail trade as well as in the food processing industry.

View our range of Powered Pallet Trucks


  • Pallet Jacks can transport loads up to a large 3000kg.
  • They can easily be operated by one person.
  • The handle makes them easy to manoeuvre.
  • They have hard-wearing tires with generically fitted with polyurethane.
  • Electric pallet jacks are also available, which makes transporting items easier, faster and effortlessly.
  • Purchase price of a Pallet Jack is less than the cost of a Forklift.


  • Pallet jacks do not typically have as much lifting power as a forklift.
  • They cannot lift loads to the same height as a forklift.
  • No resale value
  • Most abused MHE item in an operation


The forklift is mainly used to transfer heavy materials to a specified height (up to 7m). It is normally used in factories, storage warehouses, for loading and unloading trucks, containers, wagons, and more. It is appropriate for vigourous production activity as well as for longer-distance transportation.

Forklifts are larger in scale and have more lifting, loading, and moving capabilities than pallet jacks. Because of their ability to extend vertically, they’re used to stack and retrieve loads of heavy goods. As the workhorse of material handling, forklifts perform a variety of indoor and outdoor functions, but that doesn’t mean that they are better than pallet jacks.

Petrol and diesel forklifts are ideal for outdoor use, whilst electric forklifts are geared towards indoor use, but some of our electric forklifts are available with an IP rating to allow them to besed outdoors as well.


  • Lifts more weight than a Pallet Jack.
  • Forklifts can lift items like bulk bags and drums with different forklift attachments.
  • Can be fitted with a picking platform to lift workers.
  • They are mostly electric, petrol, or diesel-powered, which takes less manpower than manual pallet jacks.


  • Cost more than Pallet Jacks due to being bigger and powered.
  • Require much more space for storage
  • It requires more maintenance.

It is important to consider the location that you need to service, the loads that are being moved, and where those loads are being moved to. If you need to lift large loads in outdoor settings, you may want to consider a forklift in place of a pallet jack. Or, if you are handling small loads indoors, a powered pallet jack may be the right choice.