Pallet jacks are considerable investments - sometimes priced in the thousands of dollars for an electric model. The price combined with the fact that a pallet jack can cause injury if used in an application that it isn't suited for are both factors that make it a sometimes difficult purchase to decide on. Here are a few suggestions of things to ask when you are considering a pallet jack purchase:
Fork size: What are the dimensions of the pallets you will be moving with the jack? An average pallet size is 48 x 40" but this can vary by a lot according to the industry. It is important to know the size of your pallets and the length and width of the forks on a pallet jack before you buy it. The weight of the truck should distributed as evenly across the forks as possible to prevent toppling and injury.
Weight capacity: Every pallet jack has a weight capacity. Consider the maximum weight of any loads you will be moving with the jack, and make sure that it is under the capacity the pallet jack can handle. Loading a jack with more weight than it was made to handle can result in injuries and damage to both the pallet and the jack.
Raised & lowered heights: Because they are designed mainly for moving tremendous weight capacities, it wouldn't be safe to lift a pallet jack more than a few inches. Jacks will usually only raise a pallet enough to get it off the ground for movement and to be loaded onto another surface. An average max height is around 10 inches or so. Measure the height of your pallets and where you need to place them before investing in a pallet jack that may not meet your requirements.
Steering arc: The steering arc is how far the wheels on a jack will rotate, measured in degrees. Greater degrees in the steering arc translate to tighter turns with a given jack. The width of the aisles in your warehouse or plant, or a greater need for maneuvering, would require a higher steering arc for operation.
Knowing the specifications you need in a pallet jack are necessary for making a purchase that will be efficient and safe for you to use. Always remember to follow safety instructions included with your jack and to use caution when working in an area where others may use pallet jacks.