Best Forklift Fuel Type for your Workplace

Best Forklift Fuel Type for your Workplace

Determining the best-suited forklift fuel type for your application is an important factor in running an efficient and cost-effective operation. We’ll describe 3 fuel types- Diesel, LPG, and Electric- along with the appropriate application for each fuel type and their advantages and disadvantages. With this information, you will be able to determine which fuel type would be most suitable for your workplace and whether your current fuel type is appropriate.


Diesel forklifts are most commonly used for heavy lifting, industrial or outdoor applications. The lifting capacity for a diesel forklift ranges from 4,000 lb. to 55,000 lb. Wet or damp environments do not adversely affect the performance of a diesel truck making it a great option for outdoor applications.


  • Lower running costs, when compared to gas, fueled forklifts

  • More torque when compared to electric counterparts

  • Longer lifespan when compared to propane counterparts

  • Quick refueling – when gas level is low you can simply refuel without wasting time charging a battery


  • Higher purchase price compared to other fuel types

  • Create a lot of loud noise

  • Requires an EPA standard fuel reserve storage room

  • More maintenance required than electric counterpart

  • Can only be operated in open spaces or well-ventilated area


Electric forklifts are battery operated and most commonly used for indoor or cold storage applications. These forklifts are safe to use in closed food processing environments because there are no fumes emitted. Electric forklifts should never be used outdoors. Exposure to rain or snow can cause a short circuit.


  • Most environmentally friendly fuel type

  • Best suited for indoor and small areas

  • Longer life span compared to other forklift types

  • Cheaper consumption when it comes to hourly work compared to gas/diesel

  • Lower noise level

  • Low center of gravity; more stable at greater lift heights

  • Less maintenance because it is more mechanically simplistic (no transmission, torque converter etc.)


  • Not appropriate for outdoor use especially in wet weather

  • Extra batteries are needed if the lift is used for extended periods

  • Charging the battery takes 8 hours plus additional cool down time

  • Swapping batteries takes 10-45 minutes

  • Required to have an onsite charging station that is well ventilated, dry and temperature controlled

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)

LPG forklifts offer the versatility to be used in various environments. This is the perfect option for a workplace that requires both indoor and outdoor applications. Emissions from LPG forklifts are much lower than their diesel counterparts making it safe to use indoors. No concern for short circuits allow this lift to be used outdoor in wet climates.


  • Low carbon emissions – burns cleaner than diesel with no soot and very few Sulphur emissions

  • Better travel speeds, rates of acceleration and lift speeds than electric and diesel counterparts due to their power to weight ratios and responsive engines

  • Parts are readily available

  • Non-corrosive, nontoxic and free of any additives, high octane rating

  • Quick refueling


  • Required on-site storage of propane which can be dangerous if not stored properly

  • More maintenance required than electric counterpart due more complicated engine

  • Less power than diesel/petrol (90%)


Now knowing the pros and cons to each fuel type, you have a good foundation for choosing the best-suited fuel type for your application. One of our experts at Doosan Material Handling Solutions can fully assess your workplace, application and other operational needs to provide a tailored forklift solution built to your specifications.  Contact us at or 678-745-2230.

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