Pallet Jacks and Trucks: Manual vs. Electric
For some operations, the productivity gains of an electric pallet jack far outweigh the additional cost. But for others, it’s a toss up, so we’ll review the pros and cons of each.
Manual Pallet Jacks: Pros and Cons
Manual pallet jacks are the most basic pallet truck option. Capacities typically range from 5,000 - 5,500 lbs .
- Manual pallet trucks have a lower initial cost and lower maintenance cost
- A manual pallet jack has a very basic design that can be used with nearly any pallet type or size
- Very little training is required to use a manual pallet truck
- Moving loads across a large facility with a manual pallet jack can be strenuous
- Injuries are more common with manual pallet jacks compared to electric
- Manual pallet truck capacity may be limited by how much the worker can handle
Electric Pallet Jacks: Pros and Cons
Electric pallet jacks perform the same function as a manual pallet jack - with the assistance of an electric motor. The motor both propels the pallet truck and assists with raising and lowering the forks. For this reasons, forks can be raised higher with an electric pallet truck vs. manual. Electric pallet jacks can be used for several hours before they need to be recharged. Capacities range from 2,000 - 6,000 lbs for a basic electric pallet jack.
For operations that only need to move product horizontally, not vertically, a ride-on electric pallet jack can be a cheaper alternative to a forklift. Ride-on pallet trucks also offer better visibility because the operator stands on the equipment and can more easily avoid collisions.
- Reduced strain on operator
- Increased productivity - especially in large facilities
- Better for moving tall pallet stacks
- Electric pallet jacks cost more
- Electric components require more maintenance vs. manual equipment
- Takes longer to bring machine to a complete stop compared to manual
- Employee training required