Comparing 3-Wheeled and 4-Wheeled Electric Forklifts: Which Is Better for You?

Whether you are new to the world of electric forklifts or are planning to upgrade your existing one, choosing between a 3-wheel and 4-wheel forklift comes down to your productivity and available space.

A reputable forklift dealer in Toronto can help steer you in the direction of efficiency, power, and adaptability of a forklift. You need to understand the functional uses and advantages of choosing the best model to suit the growing needs of your business.

To assist in this investment, we have compared the key strengths and limitations of the 3-wheeled and the 4-wheeled electric forklift.

What Is a 3-Wheeled Electric Forklift?

As a small industrial machine, a 3-wheeled electric forklift has a power-operated front lift used to move cargo in retail and industrial buildings. With two wheels on the front of the unit and one wheel on the back, a 3-wheeled forklift is designed to provide the most power where the lift is located, at the front.

Benefits of a 3-Wheeled Electric Forklift


The mobile convenience of the 3-wheeled electric forklift is one of the more popular advantages of using a forklift. The low turning radius is granted in part to the setup of having the balance of the forklift supported by the dual steer wheel positioning. This advantage allows for the forklift to be used in limited spaces.

Best Fit for Limited Space Environments

These limited spaces can be narrow aisles within a retail store and in storage areas of small warehouses. The 3-wheeled electric forklift can be used to move pallets from location to location with ease.

Best for Indoor Use and Smaller Loads

For small businesses, the 3-wheeled electric forklift provides suitable power for movement of small loads within a structure. Due to the mechanical and technical design, these machines operate best on smooth surfaces such as concrete.

What Are the Best Uses of 3-Wheeled Electric Forklifts?

Retail and E-Commerce Businesses

The 3-wheeled electric forklift is a staple among retail and e-commerce business that uses small storage spaces for their goods. It is imperative that these types of businesses have the means to stack, store, and move product conveniently and efficiently.

Indoor Retail and Storage Warehouses

Within the smaller storage warehouse, a 3-wheeled electric forklift provides the opportunity to manoeuvre as need be. Often times in these smaller establishments, the heavy and bulky supplies need to be stored overhead to save floor space.

Small Warehouse Spaces

As the 3-wheeled electric forklift can handle up to 4,000 lbs (1,814 kg), it is suitable for modest loads as frequently seen in small warehouse spaces. Whether the warehouse has concrete, stone, or porcelain flooring, the smooth surfaces allow for easy use of the 3-wheeled forklift.

What Is a 4-Wheeled Electric Forklift?

The 4-wheeled electric forklift is similar in efficiency to the 3-wheeled counterpart with the exception of having the capability of handling more weight. The positioning of the four wheels, two at the back and two smaller ones at the front, provides more stability.

Benefits of a 4-Wheeled Electric Forklift

Power and Capacity

The power of the 4-wheeled electric forklift is provided by the design of having four points of ground contact. This evenly distributes the capability of moving heavy loads. Movement of cargo loads up to 7,000 lbs. (3,175kg) demonstrates this machine’s worth in larger distribution centres.


As noted, the 4-wheeled electric forklift provides more stability than the 3-wheeled machine. Stability is key in situations where the ground may be uneven or have inclines such as with loading dock ramps and slopes on the property.

Best for Outdoor Work

Use of forklifts can be seen in various industrial and commercial environments, particularly in large areas. The 4-wheeled electric forklift is a prime candidate for use in outdoor settings where the ground is uneven and requires stability of the machine. Having the appropriate power and steadiness, the forklift can be used on gravel, grass, pavement slopes, and steep inclines.

Easily Works on Versatile Surfaces

The adaptability of the 4-wheeled electric forklift makes it a more favourable machine for use in all weather conditions. In addition to being weather-resistant, this type of forklift can tackle any job it is designed for.

What Are the Best Uses of 4-Wheeled Electric Forklifts?

Best Use for Long-Distance

A 4-wheeled electric forklift is the supreme ride for long-distance use. Farmyards, loading docks, and greenhouse premises can be demanding on any machine, particularly for moving heavy loads across the facility’s yard.

Manufacturing and Wholesale Industry

The manufacturing and wholesale industries are designed to store and move massive loads of goods. This forum calls for a higher horsepower machine built with the most stability to prevent dropping of said goods. A 4-wheeled electric forklift offers the required unloading and loading capabilities.

Builder’s Yards and Construction

A 4-wheel electric forklift has the gradeability reserved for use in builders’ yards and on construction sites. From uneven terrain and inclines to long-distance transportation of supplies and goods, the designed resources of this type of forklift are unparallel.

Larger Retail Spaces

Large retail spaces have sizeable floor and ground coverage, calling for the stability and power only a 4-wheeled electric forklift can provide. These types of retailers often move large, bundled inventory, small vehicles, and appliances from storage shelf to floor and in the outdoor environment.

Which Is Better: 3-Wheeled or 4-Wheeled Electric Forklifts?

When considering an investment in 3-wheeled or 4-wheeled electric forklifts for sale in Toronto, the decision rests in the specific use of the machine. Comparable companies in their own industries have different needs for the machine.

Share your concerns with the forklift experts at NovaLift Equipment Inc. As one of the leading forklift dealers in the GTA, we provide solid customer service for all of our top-quality machines. We offer sales and forklift rentals in Toronto backed with our certified technicians. See our wide selection today to decide whether the 3-wheeled or 4-wheeled electric forklift best suites your business needs or contact us today.

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