Masslift Africa

3-Wheel vs 4-Wheel Forklifts: Everything You Need To Know

3-Wheel and 4-Wheel Electric Forklifts have similar features but there are some key features that differentiate them.

Below are some questions you should ask yourself when making a decision between the two forklift options:

  1. What aisle width will the forklift need to be able to work in?
  2. What is the weight of the load that the forklift will need to lift?


  • Smaller turning circles: Can work in aisle widths between 3m and 3.4m, with a turning radius of 1.4m to 1.8m, allowing it to work in tight spaces. This means that in a warehouse more racking can be put in, space can be more efficiently utilised allowing for increased storage space and therefore increased efficiencies.


  • Lower load capacity {Not over 2000 kg}.
  • Less stable than its 4-wheel counterpart on uneven surfaces. However, it should be noted that a 3-wheel electric is just as stable as a 4-Wheel on an even surface. If your application requires the forklift to work on very uneven surfaces, it would be advised to opt for an IC forklift instead.


Warehousing – commonly used in both trade and retail. They also perform well in warehouses that have small aisle widths. They can work both indoors and outside provided the surfaces are even.



-Have a far greater load capacity – Can lift loads of up to 25 tons.

-Is more stable than a 3-wheel forklift on uneven surfaces.


-Larger turning cycle – Difficult to manoeuvre in tight spaces. Can work in aisle widths of between 3.4m and 3.8m with a turning radius of 1.9m to 2.1m.


Warehouses or companies where aisle widths are not restricted and where loads that require lifting are over 2.0 tons.

Ultimately, your application will help you to decide which forklift will suit you better. If the forklift will be working indoors and outdoors, on even surfaces and you don’t need to lift more than 2.0 tons, it absolutely makes sense to go for a 3-wheel forklift, knowing that it may help you to utilise your space better. The net residual capacity of the two forklifts is very similar, the gradeability is similar, pricing is the same and both can work both indoors and outdoors. The reason for choosing a 4-wheel electric forklift over a 3-wheel would be if you require an electric forklift and the forklift would be required to lift loads weighing more than 2.0 tons.

Now that you have a better understanding of the differences, you can make an informed decision and choose the best type of forklift for you and your specific operational needs.

If you are still unsure of what type of forklift will best suit your operational needs or for assistance in renting or buying your next forklift click here.


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