People refer to forklifts as either pneumatic tire, cushion tire or rough terrain forklifts because forklifts are categorized by tire type. While it is commonly understood that rough terrain forklifts are generally used outdoors in rougher terrain as it’s name implies, there is still some confusion about the differences between pneumatic and cushion tires and which tires would be most useful on your forklift.
Choosing the right tires significantly impacts forklift handling and safety characteristics. But before you start searching for tires, see if your forklift gives you the option to choose different tires. The majority of forklifts have frames that will only accept a specific tire type. This is why choosing the right tire really means choosing the right machine for the work you plan to do.
If most of your lifting will take place indoors or with light outdoor usage on asphalt, then cushion tires will do the job. Cushion tire forklifts have a smaller chassis and sit much lower to the ground than pneumatic forklifts. Cushion generally provide great traction on smooth surfaces and have along life. However, with little ground clearance, it’s easy to see why cushion tire forklifts can get hung up easily outdoors. To combat this dilemma, many cushion tire forklift users put traction tires on the front of their forklifts. Traction style tires will give better traction on rough terrains like asphalt or packed gravel. That said, it is still not recommended to drive on dirt or grass. A big advantage to using cushion tire forklifts is their smaller turning radius, making them ideal for manufacturing facilities that have less space than a warehouse. Forklifts with cushion style tires are less expensive and are much easier to come by than pneumatic lifts.
Similar to the tires on a car, pneumatic tires have air in them, and are most useful outdoors on gravel or in yard work, though they can be used inside as well. Pneumatic tires are longer and wider than cushion tire lifts which is why they are primarily used outdoors. There are two types of pneumatic tires – solid and air. Solid pneumatic tires are made of solid rubber. These are more expensive than air pneumatic tires because you can’t pop, puncture or gouge them as they are 100% rubber. They’re ideal for lumber yards and scrap yards where there is a lot of sharp metal scrap debris and nails. Like solid pneumatics, air pneumatics work well outdoors on asphalt, in gravel and in yards, but they can be punctured so you’ll want to make sure your work area is free of any sharp objects before you begin making your lifts. Air tires also tend to give a bouncy ride and thus, air pneumatic users foam fill their tires, giving themselves a smoother ride than the one experienced on solid pneumatic tires yet a less bouncy ride than pure air filled.
Both cushion and pneumatic tire forklifts can be obtained with almost any load capacity (from less than 2,000 pounds to more than 200,000 pounds). But pneumatic Tire Forklifts are in high demand. Brand new Pneumatic Tire Forklifts pricing ranges between $20,000 and $25,000. For this reason, pneumatic tire forklifts sell quickly in the used market. Forklift America’s pre-owned forklifts are dependable, good running, quality machines, so you really do get what you pay for.
Before you decide on cushion or pneumatic tires for your forklift, determine the type of work you plan to do. While cushion tire forklifts are ideal for indoor lifting, pneumatic forklifts are better suited for outdoor lifting. But both offer almost any load capacity. For answers to more questions about forklifts and the one that’s best for you, please contact us.