If you own a business that constantly moves heavy pallets, you’ll likely benefit from a pallet jack. While new pallet jacks can be costly, a used pallet jack often does the same amount of work as a new one would – and typically at a lower price. Here, Barclay Brand Ferdon explains the differences between used and new pallet jacks, as well as some factors to consider when purchasing a used one.
Manual vs. Electric Pallet Jack
Pallet jacks typically come in one of two variations: manual pallet jacks and electric pallet jacks. When searching for a used pallet jack, you’ll likely have to decide between these types:
Manual Pallet Jacks
Manual pallet jacks are usually operated from behind, and these types are also known as walk-behind pallet jacks. The handle allows the operator to move the jack and also plays a role in lift and lowering the pallets. Manual pallet jacks use hydraulics to lift the forks off the ground, which is often done by pumping the handle up and down which lifts the forks. To lower the fork, there’s usually a mechanism in or on the handle that releases the pressure.
Electric Pallet Jacks
Electric pallet jacks perform the same work as manual pallet jacks, with the added benefit of an electric motor. These pallet jacks are designed for walk-behind use, but there are also end-rider models, which allow the operator to sit on a designated spot at the back of the jack and drive it around. Some electric pallet jacks also come with a braking system, which can prevent collisions and other accidents on the work floor.
Other Factors to Consider
Whether it’s a manual or electric pallet jack, be sure to keep the needs of your business in mind. Here are a few factors to consider when looking for a used pallet jack:
Fork Length and Width
Be sure to measure the pallets your business uses and bring that measurement with you when looking for pallet jacks, as some forks may be too short and will not be effective in your business setting. If you buy a pallet jack that is too wide and long, it can make maneuvering the aisles difficult, while one that is too short and narrow can stunt productivity.
Another thing to consider is the height at which you’re stacking the pallets. Many pallet jacks have a limited range because of their size and weight, so it’s important to be mindful of how high your pallets are stacked.
Load capacity is one of the most important factors to consider. Before purchasing a used pallet jack, try to discern the average weight of the pallets your operators are moving. If the weight of the load exceeds the maximum capacity of the pallet jack, your equipment may experience strain from the excess weight, and over time, the machine will lose its integrity.