How To Select The Right Pallet Jack For Your Material Handling Needs

how to choose a pallet jack

Choosing the right pallet jack, also known as a pallet truck, is essential for maximizing productivity, streamlining operations, and ensuring the safety of your workforce. With a wide variety of pallet jacks available on the market, each designed to cater to different needs and environments, selecting the right pallet jack for your application or facility can be a daunting task. To make an informed decision, consider the following factors when selecting the right pallet jack for your specific requirements.

Consider Your Pallet Jack's Weight Capacity:

Perhaps the most critical factor to consider when selecting a pallet jack is its weight capacity. Assess the heaviest loads you typically handle in your warehouse or facility. Choose a pallet jack with a weight capacity that comfortably exceeds the maximum weight you expect to move. Overloading a pallet jack can lead to accidents, damage to the equipment, and potential injuries to your staff.

Choose Between A Manual Or An Electric Pallet Jack:

The choice between a manual or electric pallet jack depends on the volume and weight of loads you handle regularly and the size of your operation.

  • Manual Pallet Jack: Manual pallet jacks are cost-effective, simple to use, and suitable for lighter loads or smaller warehouses. They are a great material handling choice when you have limited space for maneuvering and don't handle heavy loads frequently.

  • Electric Pallet Jack: Electric pallet jacks are powered by batteries, offering motorized lifting and movement capabilities. They are more efficient and well-suited for larger warehouses or operations dealing with heavier loads on a regular basis. Electric pallet jacks increase productivity and reduce operator fatigue, making them ideal for high-volume material handling tasks.

Consider Fork Length and Width:

The fork length and width should match the standard pallet size you use in your facility. Ensure that the pallet jack's forks are long and wide enough to fully support the pallet. Forks that are too short may not provide enough stability, while forks that are too wide may not fit properly under the pallets, causing handling difficulties.

Consider Lift Height:

If you need to stack pallets or place loads on shelves or racks, consider the lift height of the pallet jack. Some models offer higher lift capabilities than others, which can be advantageous for efficient vertical storage. However, keep in mind that higher lift heights may reduce the overall weight capacity of the pallet jack.

Consider Your Facility's Flooring and Environment:

Take into account the type of flooring in your facility. Smooth, even surfaces work well with most pallet jacks, but if you have uneven or rough terrain, consider a pallet jack with larger, more durable wheels. In outdoor or cold storage environments, opt for pallet jacks designed to withstand harsh conditions and temperature fluctuations.

Consider Maneuverability:

Warehouse spaces can be tight and crowded, making maneuverability a crucial factor. Look for pallet jacks with a tight turning radius, allowing easy navigation through narrow aisles and tight corners. This is particularly important if your facility has limited space for material handling operations.

Prioritize Pallet Jack Safety Features:

Prioritize safety when selecting a pallet jack. Look for features such as:

  • Overload Protection: Some electric pallet jacks have overload protection mechanisms that prevent them from operating if the load capacity is exceeded.

  • Braking System: A reliable braking system ensures that the pallet jack can be stopped quickly and safely when needed.

  • Handle Design: An ergonomic handle design reduces strain and fatigue on the operator during prolonged use.

Consider Brand Reputation and Warranty:

Choose pallet jacks from reputable manufacturers known for their quality and reliability. Check customer reviews and testimonials to gauge the satisfaction of other users. Additionally, look for a product warranty that covers manufacturing defects and potential issues during the early stages of use. Most Vestil Pallet Trucks, for instance, are backed by a one year limited warranty.


Selecting the right pallet jack is a decision that directly impacts the efficiency and safety of your material handling operations. Consider your specific needs, weight capacity requirements, type of pallets used, and the working environment when making your choice. By investing time in research and understanding your options, you'll find a pallet jack that empowers your team to handle heavy loads with ease, streamline warehouse operations, and increase overall productivity.

Need Help Selecting The right Pallet Jack?

A&M Industrial's expert Material Handling Team can help you determine the right pallet jack or pallet truck for your application on your facility's needs. Please contact us for further assistance.