Lifting pallets is difficult at the best of times, but thankfully, having access to all the right tools and equipment makes a HUGE difference.
The real question is, what options do you have and how do you make the right choice?
Fear not! With our help and a gentle nudge in the right direction, you'll soon become an expert in handling pallets safely.
What is a Tail Lift?
Moving heavy goods is more manageable with a little help, and much to your delight, pallets of up to 750kg can be moved easily with a tail lift.
But what exactly do tail lifts do? Well, tail lifts are mechanical devices installed to the rear-end of some delivery vehicles, simply for ease of loading and unloading heavy goods.
Essentially, when you arrange to ship pallets of up to 750kg, you'll need to make sure your courier has a delivery vehicle fitted with a tail lift. Otherwise, they may struggle to get your pallets onto their trailer.
Your pallets will be positioned on the tail lift using a pallet truck and lifted onto the trailer safely; the risk of damage is significantly reduced this way, too.
What is a Forklift?
While if your pallets are heavier than 1,000kg, you'll need a forklift to move and load them safely.
Anything under 1,000kg but over 750kg would require a lift assist, which is installed to the back of the delivery vehicle, as a forklift is designed to handle much more weight!
Should you need a forklift, some hauliers may be able to supply you with one for a small cost, but it's usually down to the collection or delivery point to source one of their own.
What is a Pallet Truck?
Designed to help ease the movement of pallets from place A to place B, pallet trucks are available in all sorts of designs and colours; the most popular are manual and motorised.
But, not all of them share the same weight-bearing capacities, i.e. manual pallet trucks can typically hold around 700kg.
While motorised pallet trucks can hold more than double that capacity, with a weight limit of around 2,300kg.
So, if you don't have your own pallet truck, it may be wise to ask the haulier what your options are before booking anything; this should help avoid any struggles on collection and delivery day.
Making the Right Choice
If you're not too familiar with tail lifts, forklifts and pallet trucks, then you probably don't know where to start with working out which one you need for your pallets, right?
Fortunately, it's not as complicated as you think.
Start by weighing each pallet and review the details above; look at the number on the scales and compare it to the weight-bearing capacity of each option.
For pallets at 750kg or less, the answer is a tail lift with a manual pallet truck.
But for pallets between 750kg and 1,000kg, you would need to make sure there's a lift assist option and a motorised pallet truck at both ends.
However, you would need a forklift on both ends of the delivery if your pallets are over 1,000kg; remember, you can use a motorised pallet truck for anything up to 2,300kg.
Are Tail Lifts, Forklifts and Pallet Trucks Expensive?
Depending on the haulier, tail lifts and pallet trucks can be cost-effective, or even a free of charge service in some cases.
Whereas forklifts do typically involve some cost as you may need to hire or even purchase one before the arranged collection and delivery.
Lastly, remember that if you need a forklift at the collection point, you'll also need one at the delivery point; without this, the courier won't be able to offload your pallets.