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What is a Reach Truck?

A reach truck is a highly important piece of equipment for handling materials in warehouses. It is specifically designed for material handling in narrow aisles with a focus on safety and accuracy.

Reach trucks are designed with two forks or outer legs that carry and distribute the weight of pallets. The driver’s cabin sits on top of the back wheels, and the driver must sit sideways to operate the machine.

Compared to counterbalance forklifts, reach trucks are more compact with a smaller bending radius, making them easier to operate in constricted aisles. Reach trucks do not require counterweights but instead use a heavy battery and stabilizing legs to act as the counterbalance. This allows them to lift heavy loads to great heights, even in restricted areas.

Top Reach Truck Types

Pantograph Reach Truck

This type of reach truck uses a scissor-type design to extend the forks forward for lifting weights. While this mechanism places the center of gravity away from the mast and main body, making it slightly riskier, it allows the reach truck to lift heavier pallets.

The scissor-type reach trucks are often used in stacking, re-arranging, and moving warehouse inventory due to their ability to handle heavier loads.

Moving Mast Reach Truck

Moving Mast reach trucks utilize a hydraulic system to move the entire mast forward for lifting purposes. Unlike other types of reach trucks, since the entire mast moves, the center of gravity remains close to the body. This provides better stability and minimizes the risk of accidents during lifting operations.

The Moving Mast reach truck is equipped with large diameter wheels that offer better ground clearance, making it easier to navigate over uneven warehouse floors. This makes them an excellent choice for warehouses where floors may not be perfectly leveled or where debris may be present.


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How Much Does a Reach Truck Cost?

Average Cost

*based on 7 day hire in the UK

Average Cost
Average Cost

Most Common Uses For Reach Trucks

Cold Storage Warehouse

In cold storage warehouses such as those used for storing dairy products or ice cream, reach trucks play a crucial role in ensuring efficient pallet placements. These reach trucks are specially designed to be water, moisture, and rust-resistant, making them suitable for use in these environments.

With their ability to move quickly and efficiently through narrow aisles, reach trucks can place pallets in racks in a secure and efficient manner. This helps to streamline operations in the cold storage warehouse and ensures that products are stored safely and correctly.

Small Business Warehouse

Small ecommerce brands with limited warehouse space often need to maximize vertical stacking to ensure the safe storage and efficient use of all their products. Reach trucks are particularly beneficial in this scenario as they support perpendicular stacking while maintaining the safety and security of all individual items.

In addition, reach trucks are designed to enable safe and efficient movement of vehicles in restricted aisles, which is essential when working with limited space. This ensures that products can be accessed and moved around with ease, allowing the ecommerce brand to maintain efficient operations within their limited warehouse space.

Books Publication House

Reach trucks are an invaluable tool when it comes to lifting heavy loads, especially in situations such as those faced by a book publication warehouse. With hundreds of titles and thousands of copies of each book piled up in the warehouse, an efficient and robust vehicle is needed to move them to elevated heights while ensuring the safety of the books.

Reach trucks are specifically designed for these scenarios and can provide an efficient solution to all of the problems faced by the warehouse. With their ability to safely lift heavier loads to great heights, reach trucks can significantly streamline the entire lifting process and ensure that books are stored safely and efficiently.

Reach Truck Specification

Lift Height Up to 14m
Load Capacity 1,000 – 4,000 KG
Service Life Up to 8,000 – 10,000 hours


Weight Up to 5,000kg
Dimensions Length: 2.5m, Width up to 1.5m
Ground Clearance Up to 100mm


What Our Expert Says

“Essentially counterbalance trucks but when space is a bit limited. Don’t be fooled though by their reduced size, these guys can still lift! “

Will Bradley, Co-Founder at Forkify

Should I Buy or Hire a Reach Truck?

​Deciding between buying or hiring a reach truck depends on several factors. If you have a smaller scale warehouse, limited budget, and incoming or outgoing inventory is not very frequent, hiring a reach truck might be the most suitable option. In addition, if you cannot accommodate maintenance costs in your tight budget, hiring might make more financial sense.

However, if you want to have 24/7 access to a reach truck and want to add it to your property, buying might be a better option. Owning a reach truck requires a suitable initial investment along with a financial plan for maintenance. While it may require more upfront spending, owning a reach truck offers the benefit of consistent availability and long-term use.

How Does It Work?

Submit your Reach Truck requirements and let Forkify do the heavy lifting! We’ll connect you with our network of local dealers, meaning you can sit back and compare deals to find the best fit for your business!

Popular Reach Truck Brands

Frequently Asked Questions

What are reach trucks used for typically?

Reach trucks are typically used for high-density storage and handling of palletized loads in narrow aisles. They are designed to operate in areas with limited space and high racking systems, allowing for maximum use of space while providing efficient storage and retrieval operations. Reach trucks have a telescopic mast that enables them to extend further into the racking system so they can pick up and deposit pallets from the depths of the storage system. This makes them ideal for use in warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centre’s.

Which manufacturer makes the best Reach Truck?

There are several reputable brands in the UK that produce high-quality reach trucks such as Toyota, Linde, Hyster, Mitsubishi, and Crown. It is important to select a reach truck that meets your specific needs and requirements, taking into consideration factors such as load capacity, lift height, aisle width, and overall performance. It is recommended to do some research and consult with a professional before purchasing a reach truck to ensure that it is suitable for your specific application.

The good news is Forkify can connect you with reach truck dealers that have over 20 years experience and can answer any questions or concerns you may have!

Do you need a license to operate a reach truck in the UK?

There is no specific license required for driving a reach truck. However, one cannot drive reach truck without proper training. To operate a reach truck in the UK. Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, employers are responsible for ensuring that their employees are competent to operate the equipment they use in the workplace. An operator of a reach truck must receive adequate training and be certified as competent before being allowed to operate the equipment. The training should cover both theoretical and practical aspects of safe operation, including risk assessment, manoeuvring techniques, load handling, and maintenance procedures. The certification is usually valid for three to five years and should be renewed to ensure that the operator’s competence is up-to-date with any new developments in technology or regulations.

How much do reach trucks cost?

The cost of a reach truck in the UK can vary widely depending on factors such as brand, model, specifications, and additional features. However, the average cost of a new reach truck in the UK is typically between £12,000 and £25,000. The cost can be higher for specialized models or custom-built units that are designed to meet specific requirements. On the other hand, used or refurbished reach trucks are generally less expensive, with prices ranging from £5,000 to £10,000 depending on age, condition, and other factors. It is important to consider not only the initial cost but also ongoing costs such as maintenance, repairs, and replacement parts when budgeting for a reach truck.

What is a high reach truck?

A high reach truck is a type of forklift truck designed for high-level pallet handling tasks. Unlike standard forklift trucks that have a limited lift height, high reach trucks are equipped with a telescopic mast that can extend to much greater heights, up to around 12 metres or more in some cases. This makes them ideal for use in warehouses and distribution centers where space is at a premium, and storage racks are positioned at greater heights.

High reach trucks usually have three stages, comprising an inner mast (with the forks and carriage), an intermediate mast, and an outermost mast with the hydraulic cylinder. The forks are attached to the carriage, which can raise and lower along the inner mast. The intermediate mast can extend and retract, while the outermost mast can reach out or be retracted, allowing the driver to reach loads located at high levels or deep within storage racks.

Due to their high reach capability, these trucks are generally used for stacking pallets or placing them in high level racking, which requires a high degree of precision and accuracy.

Order pickers vs Reach Trucks: What’s the difference?

Order pickers and reach trucks are both types of forklifts used in warehouses and distribution centers. However, there are some key differences between these two types of equipment.

Order pickers are designed for use in high-level order picking tasks. They typically have a platform for the operator to stand on, which can be raised to a height of between 3 and 5 meters. This allows the operator to access individual items on high-level shelves or racking systems. Order pickers also have a built-in picking station with shelving for keeping products or cartons that have been picked.

On the other hand, reach trucks are designed for high-density storage and handling of palletized loads in narrow aisles. They have a telescopic mast that can reach up to 10 meters or more, which allows them to retrieve pallets from high-level storage locations. Reach trucks are commonly used in warehouse environments where narrow aisles and high racking systems are present.

In summary, while both order pickers and reach trucks are forklifts used in warehouses and distribution centre’s, they are designed for different types of tasks. Order pickers are primarily used for individual order picking, while reach trucks are used for palletized handling in narrow aisles.