Within the realm of material handling and warehousing, reach trucks stand as essential tools. They offer exceptional versatility, designed to excel in vertical lifting and tight aisle navigation. With telescopic forks and an extended reach, these specialised forklifts are adept at accessing and managing goods stored at considerable heights, thereby optimising the utilisation of warehouse space.

Powered by eco-friendly electric engines that reduce emissions and noise, reach forklift trucks are well-suited for indoor operations. They provide operators with intuitive controls and ergonomic cabins to enhance efficiency and safety. Whether it’s retrieving pallets from lofty racks or efficiently organising inventory, reach trucks play a pivotal role in streamlining operations within modern warehouses and distribution centres.


What is a reach truck defined as?

A reach forklift truck is an electric forklift tailored for warehouse use. Its distinct feature is an extendable mast, enabling it to access deep racking spaces. Designed for manoeuvrability, it navigates tight aisles effortlessly, optimising warehouse space. Instead of a traditional counterbalance, it uses stabilising legs to secure loads.

The driver’s side seating ensures optimal visibility for precise pallet handling. This equipment revolutionises space utilisation in modern storage facilities, making vertical storage efficient and streamlined.


The mechanics behind reach trucks

Reach forklifts, designed for narrow aisle warehouses, employ an electric system for movement and lifting. Their standout feature is an extendable mast for deep-rack access. Instead of typical counterbalances, they have stabilising legs. The side-seated driver position ensures better control and accuracy in pallet handling.


Reach truck types

Reach trucks have several variations to cater to different warehouse needs and requirements. Here are some of the main types:

  • Stand-up
  • Sit-down
  • Double deep
  • Straddle
  • Swing-reach
  • Four-directional
  • Pantograph


What are reach trucks used for?


Warehousing applications

In modern warehousing, reach trucks are invaluable. They manoeuvre narrow aisles, elevate pallets to towering heights, and access deep racks with their extendable masts. Variants like double-deep and swing-reach further maximise storage efficiency. These trucks streamline material movement and boost inventory management.


Stocking retail shelves

In retail settings, a reach forklift truck is essential for shelf restocking. Their ability to access high shelves and deep storage with extendable masts streamlines inventory management, ensuring customers always find what they need enhancing the overall shopping experience.


Special circumstances

Reach trucks shine in environments with limited space, easily navigating narrow aisles. They’re adept at accessing towering racks in tall warehouses. Specialised variants endure freezing temperatures for cold storage, while in busy venues, they expedite material handling for swift inventory rotation.


Key features of a reach truck


Extendable forks

A defining feature of reach trucks is their extendable forks. This design enables deep access into racking systems, eliminating the need for the whole vehicle to enter. It’s a game-changer for space-savvy storage, ensuring seamless item handling in compact or deep spaces.


Compact size

Reach trucks are notably compact, a crucial feature for their function. Their streamlined design effortlessly manoeuvres through tight aisles while their lifting strength remains uncompromised. This balance of size and power enhances storage and operations in space-limited warehouses.


Operator cabin features

A reach truck’s operator cabin prioritises ergonomic design, blending safety with efficiency. Side-seating enhances visibility, while user-friendly controls ensure accurate handling. Safety elements like overhead guards and unobstructed sightlines safeguard operators, and the cabin’s comfort-centric layout minimises fatigue during extended use.


Benefits of using a reach truck


Efficient use of space

Reach trucks excel in optimising warehouse space. Their slender build effortlessly manoeuvres through narrow aisles, and their extendable forks access deep racks, reducing space wastage. With closer rack placement and enhanced vertical storage, these trucks significantly boost inventory capacity, efficiently using every storage facility’s square foot.


Ideal for indoor operations

Reach trucks are an indoor operation’s ideal choice. Electrically powered, they emit no harmful fumes, ensuring safety within enclosed spaces. Their compact, agile design excels indoors, facilitating efficient material handling while upholding safety and air quality standards. This makes them invaluable for warehouses and storage facilities.


Enhanced safety measures

Utilising reach trucks ensures heightened safety standards. These vehicles integrate cutting-edge safety elements such as overhead guards, unobstructed sightlines, and ergonomic operator cabins. They are engineered to prevent tip-overs and reduce the likelihood of accidents during high stacking operations, safeguarding both personnel and cargo in warehouse and storage environments.


How reach trucks compare to other types of forklifts


Counterbalance forklift trucks

Counterbalance forklifts are versatile industrial vehicles designed with a rear-weight configuration that counteracts the load weight. Unlike reach trucks, they don’t require extended arms or outriggers, making them effective in confined spaces. These forklifts, available in electric, gas, or diesel variants, serve diverse industries with their broad utility for material handling tasks.


Side loaders

Side loaders are tailored for horizontal transport of lengthy or heavy loads. Their unique design positions lifting forks on the side, allowing effortless handling of items like timber, steel, or pipes. These specialised forklifts find frequent use in warehouses and industrial environments.


Pallet Trucks

Pallet trucks serve as versatile tools for moving palletised loads. These devices feature forks that slide beneath pallets, and by pumping the handle, the pallets can be lifted and effortlessly transported. Given their straightforward and efficient design, pallet trucks are widely employed in warehouses, retail outlets, and logistics operations.


Frequently asked questions


Are reach trucks suitable for outdoor use?

A reach truck forklift is primarily designed for indoor use due to its electric power source. They are not well-suited for rough outdoor terrain or inclement weather conditions.


What safety features are typically found on reach trucks?

Forklift safety features may include overhead guards, clear sightlines, operator cabins, and stability-enhancing mechanisms to prevent tip-overs during high stacking.


What are the maintenance requirements for reach trucks?

Regular maintenance is essential to ensure the smooth operation of reach trucks. This includes battery maintenance (for electric models), checking hydraulic systems, and inspecting safety features.


Can reach trucks be used in cold storage environments?

Yes, some reach trucks are designed to operate in cold storage facilities. These models have features to withstand freezing temperatures and maintain productivity in cold conditions.


Are there specific training requirements for reach truck operators?

Reach truck operators should undergo training to ensure safe and efficient operation. Training typically covers equipment operation, load handling, and safety protocols.