Choose from gas/propane, diesel and electric forklift rentals with maximum lift heights up to 23 feet and maximum load capacities up to 50,000 lbs. Models come with or without pneumatic tires for driving indoors or on smooth, outdoor surfaces. Smaller electric walk-behinds are also available and can lift up to 4,000 lbs. Our inventory features forklifts for rent from trusted manufacturers like Toyota, Doosan and more. For more information on our warehouse forklift rental options, please visit our FAQ section below.
Forklifts are an indispensable piece of equipment for warehouse work, and there are many types to choose from, depending on your specific needs. Warehouse forklifts are the most recognizable with a golf cart-size body and two fork tongs sticking out of the front. These forks can lift between one and five tons. Sideloaders are similar to the warehouse forklift, but the lift unloads objects on its side, making it a great choice for heavy, bulky or long items like lumber or pipes. Counterbalance forklifts have the weight in the back to "counterbalance" the weight of the load. Three-wheeled versions make it easy to operate these lifts and make sharp turns. Pallet jacks, walkie stackers, order pickers and reach trucks are all great options for navigating narrow warehouse aisles, allowing the operator to lift and lower pallets to various heights.
United Rentals has a wide selection of warehouse forklifts for rent with maximum lift heights around 20 feet to 23 feet and load capacities up to 50,000 lbs. For short lifts, we also provide pallet jacks with a maximum lift height of around 7.5 inches.
The maximum forklift capacity needed depends on the application and size of the load. Every forklift includes a plate required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that states the maximum load capacity. Before you make a decision, determine the dimensions and weight of your heaviest load, how high you need to lift the load, how many hours you need to use the lift, and what the environment is like where you will use the lift. United Rentals provides forklifts for rent with load capacities up to 50,000 lbs.
Indoor forklifts come with cushion tires to make it easier to maneuver on smooth warehouse floors. Outdoor forklifts use pneumatic tires with deep treads and more ground clearance to make them easier to drive on rough terrains. Generally, the forklift's wheels and frame are designed for a specific tire type, so check the forklift's manual before going with a different tire type than what is recommended. It is rare for the forklift to have the ability to switch from a cushion tire to a pneumatic tire.
Time to rent a forklift? You need to decide the best power source for your requirements. Electric, diesel/gasoline and propane forklifts all have their advantages and disadvantages. When looking for the right rental forklift, start by thinking about the tasks the forklift will be used for. Will the work happen mainly inside or outside? Is moving heavy pallets the number one need, or will the operator be using attachments to do other work? What is your budget?
Expand the sections below for help in choosing the right forklift for your job.
For indoor work, consider renting an electric forklift. Electric-powered forklifts are often used to lift and transport materials in industrial or warehouse settings, especially in cold-storage facilities for food and medical equipment.
If “battery-powered” makes you pause, consider this: Sealed lead-acid batteries have better starting power, recharge more quickly and have lower maintenance costs than older lead-acid batteries. Many heavy-duty forklifts still rely on lead-acid batteries because these heavy batteries — weighing between 800 and 4,000 pounds — serve as a counterbalance to the material being lifted. Newer electric models rely on lithium-ion batteries, which are the lightest option.
- Quiet, exhaust-free operation
- Relatively low operating costs
- More compact than propane or diesel thanks to the lack of an internal combustion engine
- Maneuverable, can turn on a dime
- Controls are basic, a boon for new or less experienced operators
- Less downtime due to fewer moving parts and the absence of engine oil, coolants, filters and fuel
- Less vibration, which reduces operator fatigue
- Great performance from the AC motor
- Performance not affected by cold temperatures needed for cold storage
- Most electric forklifts not rated for outdoor use
- Higher costs than propane and diesel forklifts, and charging bays, chargers and tools for removing large batteries add to the costs
- Heavy-duty work may require more expensive batteries
- Batteries require recharging, which can slow down work and diminish runtime
For quick refueling and low emissions, propane forklifts deliver. Liquid propane (LP) powers the internal combustion engine. Propane forklifts come in many sizes and capacities and are used in trucking and logistics, manufacturing and large warehouses.
If you're considering renting a propane forklift, weigh these pros and cons.
- Can be used for work indoors or outdoors, even on inclines
- Fast refueling (replacing a sealed propane tank takes five minutes or less)
- Lower emissions than diesel
- More power, greater torque and superior runtime than electric
- Wide range of capacities
- Longer engine life than diesel
- Fuel costs are unpredictable
- Propane is volatile and can leak from tanks if tanks are punctured
- More moving parts increase maintenance costs compared to electric
- A clutch is used to slow traction speed so you may need to train drivers on loading and off-loading
- May be difficult to start in cold weather
- Less power and torque than diesel or gas models
- Louder than electric forklifts
Need a bigger, more powerful forklift that can work on a slope? Renting a diesel or gas forklift is the way to go. These machines are the go-to outdoor forklifts for heavy-duty applications, such as heavy manufacturing, lumberyards and construction. Gas-powered forklifts are less common than diesel-powered forklifts but share many of the pros and cons.
- More power and torque than electric or propane forklifts
- Can lift more weight and easily power hydraulic attachments
- Faster acceleration and lifting
- Require less maintenance than propane-fueled engines
- Run time is limited only by fuel accessibility
- Limited to outdoor use due to exhaust fumes
- Noisy operation and vibrations cause operator fatigue
- Can’t make short turns or work in tight place due to their size
- Require more highly trained operators