Counterbalance Forklift Hire & Sales

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What is a Counterbalance Forklift?

A Counterbalance forklift is used in warehouses/cargo shipments and factories to help them lift heavier weights and transport them from one place to another. These counterbalance forklifts have forks at the front and “counterweight” concentrated at the rear of the machine to provide stability and smooth operation by balancing the weight of item to be lifted. Their lifting mechanism is similar to see-saw principle. They are heavy duty vehicles regularly used at warehouses and ports to transfer incoming shipments to localised vicinity. They can also be used to place the equipment in racks but at limited heights only are used in both indoors and outdoors.

Top Counterbalance Truck Types

LPG Forklifts
  • Indoors and Outdoors
  • Not Eco-friendly
  • Lift up to 15t
  • Low Noise
  • Not very high tech
  • Lower cost
  • No downtime (but requires anti-freeze in low temperatures)


Diesel Forklifts
  • Indoors and Outdoors
  • Not Eco-friendly
  • Lift weight up to 48t
  • High Noise Levels
  • Low tech
  • Lower cost
  • No downtime
Electric Forklifts
  • Indoors only
  • Eco-friendly
  • Lift weight up to 5t (extended or customised option range is up to 18t)
  • Quiet
  • Modern and extremely high tech, can be customised
  • Expensive
  • Downtime when batteries are charging

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How Much Does a Counterbalance Truck Cost?

Average Cost

*based on 7 day hire in the UK

Average Cost
Average Cost

Top Uses For Counterbalance Trucks

Warehouse Stock Management

Consider a warehouse which has to store heavy weight equipment for gyms. For the lifting, shifting, re-arrangement and delivery to loaders, counterbalance forklift can provide outstanding services. Pallets can be lifted and transported with great stability and ease using counterbalance forklifts.

Cargo Terminals

Counterbalance forklift can prove to be really fruitful and a handy equipment while shifting incoming cargo shipments to the warehouse. Their incredible ability to hold, lift and transfer heavyweight equipment smoothly; is a key factor which factor which reinforces the use of counterbalance forklifts at the cargo terminals.

Distribution Areas

Many industries and online businesses prefer distribution centers for a smooth and a non-stop operation of supply of goods. Counterbalance forklifts, aid in optimizing the process of stacking as well as supports in shifting the material from one place to another.

Counterbalance Forklift Specification

Lift Height 3-8m
Load Capacity 5-48t
Lift Duration 8,000-10,000hrs
Weight Up to 4,000kg
Dimensions (LxW) 2m x 1.5m
Ground Clearance 50-85mm

What Our Expert Says

“Ah yes, the ‘classic’ forklift. While there’s been significant innovation in electric models, the essential design has remained the same for decades. Counterbalance trucks are a staple of any warehouse operation, and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon! “

Will Bradley, Co-Founder at Forkify

Should I Buy or Hire a Counterbalance Forklift?

If you are looking for low initial investment, with minimum maintenance budget yet using the latest forklifts available and swapping between the different types, you should definitely go with the renting of counterbalance forklifts. You can always swipe between short-term to long-term rental services as per your needs.

On the other hand, if you plan to have the ownership and want to customise various options according to your needs with a long term usage, buying a counterbalance forklift is best suited to you. Buying ensures return on investment and no ongoing fees with ease of using it any time.

How Does It Work?

Ready to find your perfect counterbalance forklift? Forkify does the heavy lifting so you don’t have to! Enter your requirements and we’ll connect you with trusted local dealers so you can compare prices and save!

Popular Counterbalance Forklift Brands

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a license to drive a counterbalance forklift truck?

Legally, it is essential to have a driving license to drive a counterbalance forklift. Proper training is an imperative element as well along with a basic health fitness examination due to the requirement of driving in both indoors and outdoors. In UK, there are six different approved training centers for FLT drivers.

Should I choose gas, diesel or electric?

The choice is always yours. You can swipe between the pros and cons of each type and can choose what suits your requirements the most.


  • LPG refueling is very easy
  • Can lift up to 15T
  • Spare parts are easily available
  • Additional operator training is required
  • Difficult to use in narrow aisles due to large bending radius


  • For heaviest loads up to 48T
  • A bit cheaper than electric ones
  • Wide Range in used CBs are available
  • Not environment friendly



  • For normal to heavy loads up to 4-5T
  • Expensive than diesel CBs
  • No harmful emissions
  • Least noise

How much can a counterbalance forklift lift?

Counterbalance forklifts are specifically designed to lift very heavy loads. They can safely lift weights up to 48Tonnes or 48,000Kgs in a single go. Different brands offer different ranges for weight lifting which gives options to the user to choose between various CB forklifts.

What is the difference between a counterbalance and a reach truck?

The differences are listed below.

Counterbalance Forklifts Reach Trucks
Counterweight is used No counterweight is used
Used in indoors and outdoors Used in indoors normally
Cannot reach elevated heights Specifically designed to reach extended heights
Can lift from 1.5T to 48T Can Lift up to 2.5T or at max 3T

Why is it called a counterbalance forklift?

The main reason to call it “counterbalance” is because of the heavy weight attached to it, “counters” the weight of object to be lifted. This offset helps in lifting hefty equipment using the simple mechanism of a see-saw. It can lift; re-arrange equipment as per the requirements of the warehouses.

Is counterbalance the same as a forklift?

A Counterbalance is a specific type of forklift. It has additional weight attached opposite to the forks, to lift and balance the weight. Other forklifts use the hydraulic cylinders and air pumping mechanism with no additional weight to lift heavier equipment.