Forklift Classes and Carriage Classes

Share Button

The word “Class” is a term frequently used in the fork lift industry. We are often asked questions about a forklift class, a carriage class, or fork classes. This article will focus on the 7 different types of forklift classifications in which an operator must be certified on, in order to operate the machine, and the 4 carriage classes that fit on to the different capacity forklifts. This will be a good tool for those who are new to the business, or maybe just need a little refresher.

CLASS 1 (Electric Motor Rider Trucks)

  • Examples of Class 1 units are three and four wheel electric forklifts, and stand up counterbalanced forklifts. These forklifts can have both cushion and pneumatic tires, and can either be operated by both sitting down and standing up.

Class1 final

CLASS 2 (Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks)

  • Examples of Class 2 units are high lift straddle, order picker, reach type outrigger, side loaders: platforms, side loaders: high lift pallet, turret trucks, low lift platform, and low lift pallet. These forklifts were developed for the specific purpose of maximizing storage space and minimizing the size of the truck. This allows for increased speed and efficiency.

Class 2 Final

CLASS 3 (Electric Motor Hand or Hand-Rider Trucks)

  • Examples of Class 3 units are low lift platform, low lift walkie pallet, tractors, low lift walkie/ center control, reach type outrigger, high lift straddle, single face pallet, high lift platform, lift counter balance, low lift walkie/rider pallet and end control. These are all hand controlled machines by use of a steering tiller. The controls will be on top of the tiller, and it will move side to side for steering.

Class 3 final


CLASS 4 (Internal Combustion Engine Trucks: Solid Cushion Tires)

  • An example of a Class 4 unit is a lift truck with cushion tires. These forklifts are primarily used indoors on smooth surfaces. They sit closer to the ground for applications with low clearance.



CLASS 5 (Internal Combustion Engine Trucks: Pneumatic Tires)

  • An example of a Class 5 unit is a lift truck with pneumatic tires. These units can be used for both inside and outside applications. Pneumatic tires forklifts have such a wide capacity range that they can be seen handling anything from a single pallet to a 30 ton steel coil.



CLASS 6 (Electric & Internal Combustion Engine Tractors)

  • An example of this unit is a sit down rider with a draw bar pull over 999 lbs. These machines can be used for both inside or outside applications and can both an IC or electric motor.



CLASS 7 (Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks)

  • Examples of Class 7 units are vertical mast type, variable reach type, and truck/trailer mounted. These forklifts are designed to be used on natural terrain or disturbed terrain commonly seen on construction sites. They are commonly used by construction, lumber, and auto recycling companies.

Class 7 Final


Carriage Classes

CLASS I- Rated for loads up to 2000 lbs. with carriage bar spacing at 13 inches.
CLASS II- Rated for loads up to 5,500 lbs, with carriage bar spacing at 16 inches.
CLASS III- Rated for loads up to 10,000 lbs, with carriage bar spacing at 20 inches.
CLASS IV- Rated for loads up to 15,500 lbs, with carriage bar spacing at 25 inches.


Tags: , , , ,

2 Responses to “Forklift Classes and Carriage Classes”

  1. dandantheforkliftman June 13, 2014 at 9:54 am #

    best guide i have ever seen on forklifts

  2. Steven Barbour June 13, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    Quite an amazing article.