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Which is Better? Compare Propane Versus Electric Forklifts

If you’re in the market for a new forklift, the type of fuel you choose can have a significant impact on the price, the performance, and the emissions profile of your next vehicle. To make your decision easier, research shows that when comparing the two leading fuels in the forklift market — propane and electric — propane wins in all three areas.


If you’re switching to a new fuel, you’ve got vehicle cost to consider, plus the price of adding refueling infrastructure. Fortunately, propane wins on both counts. The cost of a propane-fueled forklift is nearly 30 percent lower than the purchase price of an electric-powered forklift.

Choosing electric also means installing expensive battery charging stations, compared to only needing storage space for propane cylinders for refueling.


Propane-fueled forklifts maximize productivity, especially for multi-shift operations, because they require less time to refuel than the time needed to recharge electric forklift batteries. All it takes is switching out the empty cylinder to a full one.

Plus, propane-fueled forklifts can typically operate for a full eight-hour shift on one tank fill, whereas electric forklift operators may need to switch out the battery during a shift.


If you choose propane-powered forklifts, you won’t have to worry about changing your operations later down the road to to meet stricter emissions standards. That’s because we’re already exceeding the current limits.

It’s reasons like these that 70 percent of fleet managers opt for propane for the middle weight class of forklifts, and 51 percent choose it for the top weight class.

Watch a video to see how more businesses are switching to propane forklifts.