What Is a Reach Forklift?


Within a warehouse or distribution center, space is at a premium. The less space required for aisles in which to operate forklifts, the more room you will have for storage of goods and products. For this reason, specialized equipment has been designed to operate in extremely narrow aisles.

Reach Trucks

  • A reach forklift is equipped with a mast that extends away from the forklift body, usually using a scissor mechanism. When it's drawn in, the forklift is much narrower than the standard forklift.

Operator Position

  • In contrast to the standard forklift, most reach trucks are designed so that the operator stands while operating the unit. This reduces the amount of room required for the operator compartment, resulting in an even smaller profile.

Space Saving

  • With a reach truck, aisleways can be made as narrow as 7 feet. For the standard forklift, the minimum aisle space is approximately 11 feet. This results in a savings of 5 feet of floor space per aisle. This is significant when the warehouse is leased by the square foot.

Unique Controls

  • A reach truck is normally steered using a rotating lever located on a platform beside the operator. Another lever is used to control the mast, forward and reverse, as well as for extending and retracting the mast. These controls are a lot different than standard forklift controls.

Load Capacity

  • The load capacity for a reach truck is usually less than that of a standard forklift. This is due to its narrow design, which can result in a very high center of gravity. This is especially true when the load is lifted and the mast fully extended.

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