The term "big forklift" can refer to a forklift of various sizes and functions; some forklifts that are considered quite large look like and function like smaller forklifts with a vertical lifting mechanism. Other big forklift models feature telescoping boom arms that extend forward and upward away from the machine. These are known as telehandlers and they are useful for a variety of jobs a regular forklift may not be able to handle. The first step you will need to take when choosing a larger lift is determining what you will use the machine for on a regular basis.
A telehandler is a type of big forklift that is useful for lifting heavy loads to difficult to reach locations. This design is often used in agricultural or industrial settings, and it can commonly be seen at construction sites, since it is useful for lifting pallets of materials to higher floors on a building. Unlike other big forklift models, the telehandler can lift a load upward and outward, meaning it can stretch forward to allow loading and unloading onto distant platforms. The drawback to this design is load shifting: the farther out the arm telescopes, the more likely the machine is to become unstable. The driver must be trained in calculating what loads can be lifted and extended. Choose this type of big forklift for heavier loads, extending loads forward, and working in non-uniform situations.
Other big forklift models may feature a vertical lift much like smaller versions used in warehouses. The difference is often in the amount of horsepower the engine can create, as well as the height of the lift. Larger forklifts are also more likely to feature pneumatic rather than solid rubber tires; this is done to improve maneuverability on uneven surfaces such as dirt or rock. It may be helpful to choose a big forklift with outriggers that will extend outward from the body of the lift to add stability during lifting of heavy loads.
One of the most important considerations when choosing any type of forklift is the load limit. Each machine will be rated to lift a certain amount of weight, and beyond that weight, the machine may become unstable. This can lead to accidents and injuries, so it is vital that you choose a forklift that can carry the capacity that you are likely to lift on a regular basis.