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Choosing The Right Forklift Fuel Type Part 1: Diesel (Internal combustion)

Filed under: Materials Handling

“Choosing The Right Forklift Fuel Type” is a 3 part series written to briefly describe each forklift fuel type and to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each. This will help you determine which fuel type is suitable for your workplace and if your current fuel type is appropriate. This series will be a great primer for beginners wanting to learn about each fuel type. This week we will talk about the diesel fuel type. Next week we will discuss electric and the week after we’ll finish off with gas.

Today we will begin the series by talking about diesel forklifts. Diesel forklifts typically come with pneumatic tyres allowing them to lift heavier loads ranging from around 900 kg (lifting/moving pallets) all the way up to 45 tons (ISO container). They also have much greater ground clearance dimensions, which is extremely useful if working on asphalt pavement or unpaved roads where objects may be protruding out of the ground. Therefore it’s recommended that you get a diesel forklift when being used for heavy lifting or outdoors.



  • Running costs are lower when compared to gas fuelled forklifts
  • More torque as opposed to other fuel types
  • More reliable – less complicated internally
  • Diesel lasts longer as opposed to other fuel types
  • Quick refuelling – less than five minutes (as opposed to electric)


  • More expensive compared to other fuel types
  • Loud engines
  • Requires fuel reserve storage room, which meets EPA standards (takes up valuable space)
  • Requires more consumable parts (tyres, emissions maintenance, oil and filter changes) 
  • Forklift is heavier due to extra parts
  • Can only be used in open spaces or well ventilated areas

If you have any other additional information about diesel forklift to share with us or our readers please feel free to leave any comments or questions below. Does anyone drive a diesel powered forklift? If so, how does it compare to other fuel types?


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Next entry: Choosing The Right Forklift Fuel Type Part 2: Electric

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