Can you use a forklift as a crane?

You might think that forklifts and cranes could somehow be the same thing, however, they are designed and operated for completely different purposes. They of course share similarities where a forklift can be used as a crane if you purchase additional attachments such as forklift jibs, which will help you to operate pretty much as a crane does. Forklif Jib - All Lifting

Both of these equipment are used for handling of materials and sometimes in the same workspace’s or environments, but they definitely have distinctive differences.

Forklifts use a mast and fork full configuration which often helps to lift a load from the floor up to an elevated distance. Nowadays, you can find on the market some forklifts built with conveyed or extended arms, but the basic two-prong fork mechanism is the common factor in many different designs. Some types of forklifts resemble cranes but aren’t cranes. For example a cherry picker is also classified as forklift, despite of having articulated arms and long extension arms which look very much like cranes.

Forklifts are more commonly used in indoor environments to manage the movement of commercial loads and materials. Heavy duty forklifts can lift very heavy loads, but the handling environment and operational needs are quite different. 

On the other side, typically, cranes have the capacity to lift larger, heavier loads of all kinds. Forklifts are basically ‘goods carriers’, usually using pallets or other platforms for easy handling. The high-capacity load of cranes means that they are far more efficient than forklifts in moving large amounts of heavy materials quickly in some situations. They usually come with powerful hydraulic arms which make the loading process easier and smother for the operator.


You might ask how to decide between a forklift or crane. Well, that all depends on your workplace environment, and the state of goods and materials to be lifted. At All Lifting, we can assist with your lifting needs and provide you with guidance on the most suitable equipment for your next lift.


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