Also known as a pallet truck, pallet pump, and jigger, a pallet jack is a piece of equipment that is widely found in warehouses and other places where you may need to move heavy or light pallets. The platform is controlled using the handle, which also is used to raise the forks off the floor. This piece of equipment was introduced in 1918 and have remained staples in warehousing operations since then.
What types of pallet jacks are there?
There are two main types of pallet trucks:
- Manual pallet jacks: These trucks are most likely found in personal warehousing operations and retailers. The user moves the jack underneath the pallet and then pumps the handle to lift the pallet off the floor. It is designed only to move short distances.
- Powered or electric pallet jack: A powered pallet truck has a motor installed that saves time and energy for workers. These have a higher load capacity that manual models, allowing them to be used for unloading trucks quickly. They are also often used in staging areas.
What should you look for when buying a pallet jack?
When looking for a pallet truck that can help you move heavy products safely, consider the:
- Length and width: You want to make sure that the two forks that provide a base for the pallet are long and wide enough. If the forklift is too long or too narrow, it can be difficult to maneuver the truck safely.
- Capacity: Pallet truck capacities range from 4,500 lbs. to 5,500 lbs. Manual jacks have a slightly lower capacity than powered trucks. It is important to choose a jack that can has the capacity to lift the product; otherwise, the products can be damaged and the forklift can break.
- Weight: This refers to the weight of the pallet truck itself. The surface on which you are moving products should be able to withstand the weight of the products and the pallet truck.
- Lift height: This refers to how high the truck can raise the product. If you store products on high shelves, you will need to ensure that the truck can reach that high.
- Wheels: Heavy duty wheels give you more control and can make it easier to move heavy products by yourself. You also want heavy duty wheels that will not cause damage to the floor.
What maintenance does a pallet jack need?
It is recommended that your truck or forklift be maintained and serviced on a yearly basis to keep it safe for use. Regular maintenance should include:
- Inspection: Check the main frame torsion tube bar, push roads and load wheel brackets for damage or signs of excessive wear.
- Check: Look at the hydraulic fluid levels for leaks.
- Grease: Ensure that the pivot assembly, trigger, and lowering mechanisms are all greased.