One of the many tough decisions forklift buyers grapple with is whether to buy an electric or liquid propane gas (LP) forklift. For some operations, the choice is easy:
For all other applications, answering a few simple questions and a helpful cost calculator can help you decide:
About two out of three buyers choose an electric forklift. If this statistic surprises you, keep in mind electric forklifts:
What about charging and changing batteries? In the past, many buyers avoided electric forklifts because they didn't want to deal with swapping batteries, but things have changed a lot in recent years. The majority of single-shift (and most two-shift operations) never need to change out their battery. New battery charging technology allows you to quickly recharge batteries during breaks.
If you’ve only used LP gas forklifts in the past, try the LP Gas vs. Electric Cost Comparison Calculator to see how much you could save by switching to electric. While electric forklifts cost more initially, most businesses recoup that money through fuel savings and lower maintenance costs within a year or two.
The image above compares the total cost of ownership (including fuel) for a 5,000 lb electric and a LP gas forklift used 2,000 hours/year. The left side compares costs for a leased electric vs. LP gas forklift, the right side compares the cost to own an electric vs. LP gas forklift. Electricity and propane prices are for Memphis, TN as of June 2020.
If your operation uses its forklifts throughout the day or if you run more than two shifts, an LP gas forklift may be a better choice. Constant use will require battery changes, which take a lot longer than swapping propane tanks.
LP gas forklifts are also better for certain work environments. If your application requires long drives, travel up and down ramps, or higher speeds, you’ll want to go with an LP gas forklift.
Heavy-duty applications, such as brick and lumberyards, typically use LP gas lift trucks. While there are large-capacity and high-capacity electric forklifts, internal combustion forklifts still do most of the heavy lifting.
Lastly, some operations choose a LP gas forklifts because they simply costs less upfront. If you have limited capital, an LP forklift gives you more power for your dollar. That said, our flexible financing options can help you get you as much forklift for your money as possible.
LP Forklift Advantages:
LP Forklift Disadvantages:
Electric Forklift Advantages:
Electric Forklift Disadvantages:
Want to consult an expert before making your decision? Our friendly and knowledgeable staff can help you choose the right forklift for your operational needs and budget. The Lilly Company is an authorized Toyota, Clark, and Linde forklift dealership, serving customers throughout Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and eastern Arkansas.
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