When Do You Know You Need a 4 Wheel Drive Forklift

Forklifts can come in many different shapes and sizes, one type of forklift that has rapidly grown in popularity in the Australian market is the 4 wheel drive forklift.

4 wheel drive forklifts are known by many different names such as all terrain forklifts or rough terrain forklifts.  But the simplest way to think about it, is your car.

If your driving around the city streets a standard car is OK, if you want to go off road you need a 4 wheel drive car, its the same with forklifts.  If you are using it in a conventional application then a standard forklift is OK.  If you want to go off road then you need a 4 wheel drive forklift.

Do you need a 4 wheel drive forklift

There are many different reasons people decide they need a 4 wheel drive forklift instead of a conventional forklift. Here’s 5 of the top reasons:

The Operating Terrain

The most obvious reason that you might need a 4 wheel drive forklift over a conventional forklift is the type of terrain your are waning to operate or drive the forklift on.

4 wheel drive forklifts are just that, forklifts that are built and designed for all different terrains, by being designed with a drivetrain capable of providing torque to all of its wheels simultaneously. It may be full-time or on-demand, and is typically linked via a transfer case providing an additional output drive-shaft and, in many instances, additional gear ranges.

That makes then an excellent forklift for building sites, operating in dirt or any off road conditions like beaches.

Ground Clearance

One of the major differences when looking at your conventional forklift compared to a 4 Wheel drive forklift is the ground clearance.  The average ground height of a Unicarriers 1F conventional forklift is 115 mm under the mast, where the average ground height of an Apollo 2506 Dieci is 270 mm

That sort of ground clearance can provide a very clear benefit when you need to take your forklift off road.

Specifications of 4 wheel drive forklifts

There are two different types of all terrain forklifts :


This style of forklift has all the very same characteristics of a conventional forklift, generally it comes in a larger frame and chassis and with larger tyres,


Telescopic 4 wheel drive forklift will have a telescopic boom on them just like a crane. They are designed to be able to reach forward and at height to place a load.

Merlo Telehandler

Versatility of Operation

The is without a doubt the biggest area where an 4 wheel drive forklift can be different and excel for your business, especially with the large range of attachments available for the average telescopic 4wd forklift.

Telescopic forklifts or Telehandlers are now used in a wide range of industries, they have such a wide range of telehandler attachments available, from crane jibs to 4in1 buckets.

Weather friendly

The great thing about 4 wheel drive forklifts are that they are built for hard terrain,  they also made to endure some of the extreme weather that the Australia has to offer-.

There are some disadvantages to having a 4 wheel drive forklift of course, they are generally more expensive to purchase and maintain, as well as being a bigger build, which can limit the turning radius of the forklift.

If you are still unsure about what type of forklift you really need in your application, talk to you local forklift dealer.

On Profiler Page