All it takes is lifting one stack of 2-ton pallets and – BAM! – Your spine is thrown out of whack. You probably should have lifted with your legs, or, you know, not attempted to lift something so heavy with your bare hands. If your business is involved in moving pallets or other such objects hither and tither, you’re going to need a reliable pallet truck to do the heavy lifting for you. The magic sauce behind a pallet truck’s awesome heavy-duty lifting abilities is the hydraulic system. With one of these babies at work, you can literally move tons of products in just a few hours.
Top 5 Best Pallet Trucks
Strongway Pallet Jack – 4400-Lb.
The first pallet jack is the 4,400-pound Pallet Jack from Strongway. Its simplicity is what makes it so appealing, especially if you’re looking for a straightforward tool for lifting and moving heavy objects. It comes with 48-inch forks that rise between 3 and 7-1/2 inches, and the three-function handle works flawlessly in lifting, lowering, and holding the forks in place.
The forks are made of heavy-duty steel and are coated in an anti-corrosive finish. Below the unit, you’ll find two 6-3/8-inch poly wheels that turn up to 180°, and several 1-7/8-inch rollers that glide the forks where you need them to go.
SAGA Pallet Jack Scale
One of the more feature-rich pallet trucks on our list is the SAGA Pallet Jack with a digital scale. This unit has a heavy-duty 6,600-pound maximum weight load, and the 46-inch forks can rise to 7-1/2 inches off the ground. The steering wheel can turn up to 220° for easy maneuverability.
The thing that separates this pallet truck from the rest is the onboard digital scale which gives a clear readout of how much is loaded onto the forks. The scale can switch from imperial to metric measurement with a press of a button. This jack can use rechargeable batteries that run the scale and the lifting mechanism.
Pake Handling Tools Heavy Duty Pallet Truck/Pallet Jack
The Pake is a 6,600-pound pallet truck that comes with long 47-inch forks. The forks are made of durable 11-gauge steel that can lift anywhere from 3 to 7-1/2 inches off the floor. The weakest point of a pallet jack is the hydraulic system – the lifting mechanism that uses a single-piston – but the Pake is kept sealed shut with its flawless welding and high-quality sealing kit.
The worst thing we’ve heard about this product is that it arrived at a customer’s doorstep with skin-deep damage. Thankfully, the chipped paint did not affect the performance of the pallet jack, but it would be nicer if it came with better cushioning and shipped in a more durable pallet.
Strongway Pallet Jack – 5500-Lb.
Strongway makes a second appearance on our list with the improved 5,500-pound pallet jack model. A full 1,100 pounds greater than the first item on our list, this is for those looking for a heavier-duty pallet for onsite lifting and repositioning.
In every other regard, it’s almost identical with the first Strongway. Its three-function handle works perfectly, it comes with durable steel that measure 48 inches in length, and it can rise up to 7-1/2 inches off the floor.
Crown PTH Heavy-Duty Pallet Jack/Hand Pallet Truck
Finally, we have the CROWN PTH pallet jack that can lift a massive 5,000 pounds of product. It features two large 7-inch poly wheels that can rotate up to 200° for maximum maneuverability. Similar to the two Strongways, the Crown features long 48-inch forks.
There’s a sliver less than 3 inches of clearance beneath each fork, and they can rise to 7-1/2 inches. Backed by a 3-year warranty, it’s true what they say: you can’t go wrong with Crown!
Pallet Truck Buying Guide
Manual vs. Powered
The two types of pallet trucks available are manual and powered. The obvious benefit of manual pallet trucks is they’re cheaper, but they’re also designed for heavy-duty lifting. Even large-scale businesses can benefit from manually operated pallet trucks due to their high weight capacities. However, if you’d like the shed minutes off of moving large objects, then a powered pallet truck is the better option.
Like any tool worth investing in, the construction of the pallet truck plays a huge role in how well it will serve you. Most modern pallet trucks are designed to last for several years with regular maintenance. For the most part, a heavy-duty steel pallet truck should work for many years, and a multi-year warranty will just sweeten the deal.
You do not want to overload the pallet trucks forks since it can lead to pretty devastating, and costly, damage. Nowadays, manual pallet trucks can lift at least up to 5,000 pounds of stuff at any given time, and powered trucks can carry almost double that. Make sure you don’t surpass its weight capacity, and your pallet truck will thank you with several years of loyalty.
If you get a powered pallet truck, then you’ll want some way to adjust how quickly the truck moves. A full load can easily topple over if you move too quickly and brake suddenly. But if the load is properly secured, then a “high-speed” jack won’t make too much of a difference.
How quickly or slowly the forks lift with each pump is an important consideration if you don’t feel like dropping everything on the floor. Many newer pallet truck models come with several lift features to ensure that lifting is done safely.
The most widely used material for pallet truck wheels is polyurethane, a type of plastic that does not leave a mark on smooth floors. They also travel exceptionally well on several other types of surfaces. Furthermore, larger wheels are preferable since they provide stability on inclines and uneven terrain.
Steering is determined by how far you can turn the handles. Most pallet trucks can make a full 180° turn, but some of the handier models can turn past 200°. Generally speaking, the more the steering mechanism can turn, the easier it’ll be to move the pallet truck from place to place.
Fork Height Clearance
The height of the forks varies from model to model. More clearance is ideal for use on uneven and cushiony surfaces since they stay high above the wheels, but their maximum lift is lower than those with less vertical clearance.
One of the handiest convenience-adding features is a digital scale. This gives the operator a clear idea of how much is loaded onto the forks to prevent overloading and damaging the pallet truck. These aren’t entirely accurate, so it’s always best to go below the unit’s maximum capacity than meeting the exact maximum weight limit.
Pallet Truck FAQs
1. Can pallet trucks run on carpeted surfaces?
Because pallet trucks are “mounted” onto polyurethane wheels, they can travel on many types of surfaces, including carpets and carpeted tiles. However, the pallet truck should only be used on smooth surfaces and ideally on perfectly flat areas since the tiniest incline can make pushing the truck a lot more challenging.
2. How difficult is it to assemble a pallet truck?
Pallet trucks are pretty large tools and come in humungous boxes. Unfortunately, they never come pre-assembled, so you’ll have to put the pallet truck together on your own. The good news is that putting them together isn’t difficult at all as long as you read the paperwork included in the box.
However, the sad thing is that some pallet jacks like the SAGA don’t come with a manual, so you’ll either have to assemble the truck by finding an online guide or by winging it. We’d recommend doing the former.
3. Do the wheels leave marks?
Polyurethane wheels generally do not leave streaks on floors. You might want to consider what color the wheels are since, if they do end up scraping against a concrete floor, they might leave a colored mark on concrete or stone. Luckily, removing polyurethane residue isn’t too difficult, but you may want to refrain from loading the truck with too much product since they’ll push down on the wheels and potentially cause unsightly streaks.
If you have a business that requires moving several tons of goods from place to place, then a pallet truck is the tool for you. Even manually operated pallet trucks – those without stands where the operator can ride safely while driving the truck back and forth – can be more than enough for the job. With a maximum load of beyond 4,000 pounds, there’s no reason why warehouses and lumber yards shouldn’t have a handy pallet truck ready on standby.
All of the models we mentioned on our top 5 best pallet truck lists are almost guaranteed to leave you a happy customer. The second truck – the SAGA – is especially worth noting due to its built-in scale. There’s no guesswork involved on how much weight you’ve loaded onto its forks. As for the rest, they’re all made of high-quality materials that won’t fail for several years.