Rough Terrain Forklifts

Whether you call it an all-terrain forklift, heavy-duty lift or rough terrain forklift, this heavy piece of machinery is a must on many job sites. Barclay Brand Ferdon has drawn on our decades of experience to create this rough terrain forklift guide to help you choose the right rough terrain forklift and understand how to use it for maximum benefits and productivity. 

What Is a Rough Terrain Forklift?

While forklifts in general are used to move heavy materials, a rough terrain forklift does this same job, but usually in outdoor settings and in tough environments. Rough terrain forklifts are used to transport heavy materials from one spot to another over uneven ground. They have rugged tires and excellent traction.

Large, reinforced tires allow rough terrain forklifts to work on unstable, loose, rocky and slippery ground. You can work in inclement weather and even lift heavier loads than with forklifts intended for use in warehouses. All-terrain forklifts also usually have all-wheel or front-wheel drive to improve handling, even on rugged and uneven terrain.

types of rough terrain forklifts

Types of Rough Terrain Forklifts

There are three types of rough terrain forklifts, and each comes with different features:

Telehandler Forklifts 

Sometimes called a telescopic handler, this type of rough terrain forklift offers a lot of flexibility in moving loads to heights and different distances, thanks to the telescoping boom. These rough terrain forklifts can sometimes have load capacities of up to 12,000 pounds, and high-reach models can lift full loads up to 56 feet in the air.

This type of rough terrain fork often has steering features, power shift transmission and all-wheel steering to allow for more control. Usually, one joystick controls hydraulics and boom functions. 

Rotating Telehandler Forklifts

Also known as a roto telescopic handler, these forklifts can lift heavy loads high, but they can also swivel 360 degrees, so you don’t have to move them much to access a large work area. Some of these forklifts have features such as power-assisted steering and a second joystick.

Rotating telehandlers can handle loads of 4,000-10,000 pounds and can lift to heights of 15-80 feet. To ensure safety, many modern roto telescopic handlers have stabilizers or a special design that allows them to lift and transport heavy weights quickly. 

Straight Mast Forklifts

This type of forklift has large, heavy-duty tires that allow for work in demo areas, construction sites and other environments where maneuverability and access to challenging terrain is important. These forklifts can be diesel or propane-fueled, two-wheel or four-wheel drive and may be designed for indoor or outdoor use. They can lift loads anywhere from 5,000-36,000 pounds.

Benefits of Rough Terrain Forklifts

Across many job sites, rough terrain forklifts provide many advantages:

  • They can carry much larger loads than forklifts designed for warehouses, allowing for effective work on larger sites.
  • These forklifts have many types of tires, which can allow them to access uncleared terrain and even to make no marks when needed.
  • Rough terrain forklifts can transport many types of materials, including rocks, debris, building materials and more.
  • Today’s rough terrain forklifts include many safety features as well as ergonomic designs in the cab, allowing for safer and more comfortable work, even over long hours.
  • These forklifts are made from rugged materials, so they can withstand the elements, allowing them to be left overnight on job sites.
  • Some rough terrain forklifts have special, reinforced tires that can resist punctures and other damage, making them a rugged choice for rocky areas where other machinery might falter. 
  • Modern controls allow for precise work, even in tight spaces, at heights or in situations where forklifts need to move smaller loads.

What Situation Is Best for Rough Terrain Forklifts?

As their name implies, rough terrain forklifts are often the best choice for challenging heavy-duty jobs. They are commonly used for:

  • Road work
  • Construction sites
  • Environments with mud, gravel, hills, sand and other surfaces where other forklifts may struggle
  • Maintenance jobs
  • All-weather projects

Heavy-duty lifts are often the first pieces of equipment on a job because they can clear a space for other equipment to arrive. They handle terrain other equipment can’t, remove debris and prepare the site for everything else that comes after clearing.

The Bottom Line on Rough Terrain Forklifts 

If you need rough terrain forklifts or other solutions for your sites, Barclay has been the trusted partner for Central and Northern New Jersey businesses since 1996. We supply local businesses with various material handling solutions, including lift trucks, pallet jacks, warehouse equipment and forklifts. 

We have the most gold-certified techs, so you can trust that you’re in good hands with Barclay. We’re also a one-stop shop, with rentals, new and pre-owned equipment, maintenance and service, training, warehouse solutions and more. 

If you need an all-terrain forklift or other solutions, contact Barclay today to speak to our experienced team.