For the layman, it may seem like there’s little to differentiate one type of forklift from another. But within the world of warehousing, different forklifts may serve unique purposes, even those that share many of the same features. For instance, reach trucks and order pickers are both designated as Class II forklifts by OSHA.
While there may be commonalities between the two, there are also key distinctions that you should know about. Depending on your specific needs, you may want one, the other, or both in your fleet.
To help you make the best decision for your business, let’s discuss reach trucks vs. order pickers.
What are Class II Forklifts?
Both reach trucks and order pickers are classified as Class II forklifts. Class II “Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Forklifts” are a type of machine made to maneuver through tight spaces and narrow aisles while reaching high shelves. Their primary purpose is to pick up and put away inventory.
By weight, Class II forklifts will range from 1,500 to 5,500 lbs. And, due to their size, increased mobility, and uniquely slim design, they empower a business to maximize existing racking space.
What Is an Order Picker?
A relatively new addition to the forklift world, order pickers are specialized forklifts meant to lift people rather than pallets or heavy loads.
How it works is simple: The order picker lifts the forklift operator up to the rack. Depending on the order picker, the operator may be able to go anywhere from 9 to 35 feet in the air. Because of the heights involved, the operator typically wears a harness and safety equipment.
Once at eye-level with the inventory, the operator can hand-pick specific goods. There, they may grab a case of products or just a single item from various bins of different SKUs.
In the past, you would have needed to unload and then later load an entire heavy pallet to snag a single item. But, today, this technology makes it fast and easy to find and pull inventory, which dramatically accelerates online shopping order fulfillment and warehouse efficiency.
What Is a Reach Truck?
Reach trucks operate more similarly to a traditional forklift—they just reach higher up.
These machines are designed for narrow aisle warehouses with high shelving. Rather than sitting, the operator stands in the cab of the reach truck. They’re typically designed to have:
- A set of wheels in the back, directly beneath the cab
- Two outer wheels attached to outrigger legs (stabilizers)
- A tall mast attached to a pantograph
These trucks typically weigh approximately 3,000 to 4,500 pounds. They have a high lift (15ft to 30ft) and a large load capacity.
You’ll typically use reach trucks in distribution and warehouse centers, with high, narrow aisles since they’re designed to pull down and stow away heavy pallets.
The pantograph makes it possible to grab a product without moving the unit itself while in the rack. Similarly, they enable you to use a double deep pallet racking system.
Value Forklifts—See Our Inventory
Instead of an either-or decision, most companies would benefit from having a reach truck and an order picker.
Both order pickers and reach trucks serve a valuable purpose within your warehouse processes. Although both are made to operate within high, narrow shelving spaces, their unique designs enable them to perform different value-add activities.
Are you shopping for a forklift?
At Value Forklifts, we offer an extensive catalog of high-quality, low-cost order pickers, reach trucks, and much more. Every one of our warehouse vehicles has been professionally reconditioned, serviced, and is ready to operate.
Browse our inventory today. Or, sell or trade your existing forklifts.