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Electric Versus Propane Forklifts – Which One To Choose For Your Business?

electric forklifts or propane forklifts?

Electric forklifts and propane forklifts look almost the same if you see them from a certain distance, however, if you take a closer look, you will notice right away a few things that make them operate slightly different than one another.

A company should buy only electric forklifts or forklifts with internal combustion engines?

Well, to answer the question, we have to see what are the differences between these two types of forklifts.

Advantages of Propane Forklifts Over Electric Forklifts

Propane forklifts are great if you are running multiple shifts in a day or a 24/7, because once the propane tank is empty, you only have to change the tank and you are back up and running right away.

If you have to work outside, it comes in very handy because the propane forklift is a little faster than the electric forklift and can even lift a bit more weight.

When operating the propane forklift inside, you have to properly ventilate the facility to allow the fumes produced by the internal combustion engine go outside the building.

Advantages of Electric Forklifts Over Propane Forklifts

If you have to work with food inside a warehouse, the electric forklift will be more useful, and is actually a must because the carbon emissions that come out of the exhaust on the propane forklift could contaminate the food.

Also, if you only operate the forklift on a regular business hours this can only be beneficial to the company because you can charge the battery at night and there is no need for propane tanks.

Once charged during the night, the electric forklift is ready to go next morning, and it’s also a lot quieter than a forklift with internal combustion engine (IC forklift).

By using an electric forklift, you don’t need ventilation to expel the fumes produced by the exhausting pipe of the propane forklift.

Having less components, the electric forklift will break down less often compared to propane forklifts, which have beside the internal combustion engine and the propane tank, lots of other devices.

Among other components, the propane vaporizer may cause problems when you want to start the engine in propane forklifts.

How to Safely Replace the Propane Tank on a Forklift?

If the propane tank of your forklift is empty, you have to replace it right away to be able to continue the work.

Before changing the propane tank the first thing to do is completely shut off the tank.
Once you closed the tank, you have to start the engine and let it running to allow the propane leave the system.

The propane is entirely consumed only when the engine dies by itself. Until you wait for the engine to consume the rest of the propane, you can check the latches that hold the propane tank on the forklift.

If both of them work well you can continue using them, however, if you see that at least one is damaged, you have to replace it to be sure that the propane tank is securely fixed on the truck.

When the engine is dead, you will know that the system is no longer pressurized, so the first thing to do is to put on some safety gloves and your safety glasses.

Detach the hose by rotating the weight counterclockwise. Once you detached the propane hose, you can open the latches to remove the empty propane tank.

When you put on the new propane tank, be sure that the pin is in proper position, and only after that fix the latches to secure the tank.

Before reattaching the hose to the tank, check it for any signs of damage or leakage, and use it again only if everything is fine.

Grab the weight to reattach the hose to the tank and after you finished rotating clockwise the weight, to be sure that there are no leaks, open the tank and use soap water to see if there are any bubbles.

You can use the new propane tank only when you are sure that there are no gas leaks.

When opening the propane tank to let the fuel enter the system you will hear a noise created by the pressured gas while entering the system.

Once you are sure that there are no gas leaks, you can start the engine to continue your work.


If you still don’t know what to choose for your company think like this.

If you work with food, you can only use an electric forklift to avoid a contamination of the food with exhaust gases.

Use electric forklifts only if you want to use only a couple of hours per day.
If your activity involves using the forklifts day and night consider buying propane forklifts because they are faster machines and they can lift more weight.

However, if you plan to use the propane forklifts inside the building, you have to be sure that the facility is properly ventilated because otherwise the people working in the facility could be seriously affected by the gases released by the exhaust pipes of the trucks.

Knowing all these things, I’m sure that now you can decide if you want electric forklifts or forklifts with internal combustion engines.

Article written by:

I am a writer and reporter for the clean energy sector, I cover climate change issues, new clean technologies, sustainability and green cars. Danny Ovy

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