Forklifts and Tele-handlers are both helpful pieces of equipment that can make raising, lowering, and transporting items easier and safer. However, their lifting capacities and what type of surface they can be used on is different, and it is very important to know the difference. Consider the type of lifting you'll need, like will I be on concrete or Asphalt the whole time or not. Here's a comparison of the two machines to help you find the safest fit to get your job done right.


A forklift is essentially a small vehicle capable of traveling short distances. It has a pronged platform that inserts underneath items and moves up and down, allowing it to lift, transport, and lower materials. These vehicles are powered by either an internal combustion engine or an electric battery. 

Forklifts have a large variety of lift heights and load capacities depending on the weight and height of the pick. They can reach as high as 35 feet with weight-bearing capabilities ranging from 3,000 to 70,000 pounds, depending on the size of the model. Also, the vehicle operator might sit or stand in the attached cab, which reduces worker fatigue and minimizes injury risk.



A Telehandler is a forklift on steroids. It can do most things a forklift can do Plus lift and place items much higher than an industrial forklift, and shoot loads out from a telescoping boom when the machine is stationary. 

A Tele-handler can do many jobs that used to be done by a crane and operator. Most jobs do not require the operator of a Tele-handler to be a crane operator just a laborer. Tele-handlers are truly the most versatile piece of equipment on the job. When items get delivered the Tele-handler can pull behind the truck and shoot the boom into the truck until it bets to the pallet it wants to unload and lift it, compress the boom and take it anywhere on the jobsite, even through the mud pits made by trucks delivering stone and removing broken concrete. 

Most Tele-handlers also have a frame leveling option to make sure when you do your lifts the machine is sitting straight and level. Tele-handlers also have multiple types of steering like four wheel steer, crab steering and two or four wheel steering. Tele-handlers usually start with 5000# lift capacity with 19' maximum lift height to 10,000# lift capacity and 55' maximum lift height. Never overload either a forklift or a Tele-handler, tipping and injury can happen!


When you need to rent or purchase a forklift or pallet jack, visit ABC Equipment Rental & Sales. Serving the Brunswick, OH, area, they provide a wide range of construction equipment solutions. A registered Kubota® dealer, they are your trusted local source of excavators, skidsteers, generators, and many other essentials. Call (330) 220-4545 or visit them online to learn more about their current inventory.