Forklift attachments vary greatly depending on the application for which they are used. Typically, such attachments are needed because traditional forklift forks are inadequate for moving certain types of materials. As with most forklift accessories, attachments may be simple, such as extensions for lifting various products, or they may require their own controls. Those controls are added to the console area of the forklift and may require an electrical source of some type.
Among the cheapest and most common forklift attachments are blade extensions. Forklift operators typically use these extensions to move pallets that are beyond the standard length, usually greater than 4 feet (1.2 meters). These blade extensions sit on top of the standard forklift blades and generally slide on and off very easily. Related to forklift extensions is a carpet pole, used for transporting carpets. These poles may also fit directly onto the forklift blades, or may attach directly to the forklift mast, requiring removal of the regular blades.
Some forklift attachments are made specifically for handling drums. These attachments include a component that wraps around the drum and provides support so that it can be lifted and moved from one place to another. Some may even allow the drums to be tilted for pouring out liquids. These will require separate controls and some sort of power source.
In some situations, it may not be possible to load freight directly onto a piece of equipment or to a certain area. The forklift may be required to lift over a wall or other small barrier, for example. Forklift attachments designed to do just that are known as booms. Much like a construction boom, a forklift boom can hook onto a piece of freight and move it over something that would otherwise be a barrier.
If a cleanup takes too long and detracts from the bottom line, some types of forklift attachments can be of great help. These attachments include hoppers and brooms. These things can be attached directly to the standard forks for collection of trash that often soils an industrial-type work area. While cleanup crews can take care of such things at the beginning or end of a shift, forklift attachments can make the job go much quicker, thus saving man hours. Brooms and hoppers come in various sizes.
Another popular forklift attachment is a scale. This allows the operator to weigh a product simply by picking it up, as would normally happen during typical operation anyway. A scale helps especially in the transportation industry by making sure trucks and aircraft are not sent out overweight, and can also verify that shippers are honest about weights of certain products. These will also require a power source, but it could tie into the forklift's electrical system.