Best Pallet Jacks and Pallet Trucks

So is it pallet jack or pallet truck? Well, they’re actually the same thing. 

But that doesn’t mean that all pallet trucks are the same. There are some good ones and there are some you should steer clear of – literally (especially if they’re parked under a giant load of poorly-stacked cartons).

The best advice, as always, is to buy the best pallet jack you can afford. We’ve put together a list of some of the best pallet jacks on the market. At the end of our “best-of” list are some tips, some things to look for and some things to confirm that the pallet truck you have your eye on is really the best pallet truck to get.

9 Best Pallet Jacks

1. Crown PTH Heavy Duty Pallet Jack

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Best Feature: Most Durable Pallet Jack

Crown Equipment Corporation is the fifth-largest manufacturer of forklifts in the world, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’re no slouch when it comes to pallet trucks. The PTH manual pallet truck can lift two tons without batting a bearing, but what’s equally important is that it can suspend that weight for as long as you need it to. Some pallet trucks can lift a lot of weight, but then you’ll notice it slowing drifting downward. Not so with the Crown PTH.

This pallet truck is one of the best pallet jacks for heavy duty use, frequent use and ongoing use for many years. It comes with a three-year warranty. And here’s a tip about that: if the manufacturer had any doubts that this unit could hold up for three years of hard labor, it wouldn’t have made the warranty what it is. They’re not in the business of giving away pallet trucks. They’re in the business of manufacturing pallet trucks that make the customer happy.

The PTH pallet truck has a 27-inch overall width on the forks and 14.4 inches of space in between the forks. The seven-inch wheels roll across the floor with a 2.95-inch clearance underneath the forks. The ergonomic handle is kind to the hands that grip it, and there’s a three-position lever on the handle stem for lift, lower and neutral. The steering range on this is 200 degrees, allowing plenty of maneuverability.

Crown uses heavy gauge steel throughout this pallet truck for strength and durability. The pallet truck weighs 160 pounds, which is important for stability on ramps and sloped surfaces.

Key Features:

  • Maximum Load – 5000 pounds
  • Fork Length: 48 inches
  • Fork Width: 27 inches
  • Space Between Forks: 14.4 inches
  • Weight: 160 pounds

2. Pake Handling Tools Heavy Duty Pallet Jack

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Best Features: 6,600 lb. Carrying Capacity

The Pake heavy duty pallet jack is one of the best heavy duty pallet jacks, and frankly, it’s a boss. This sucker can easily carry 6,600 lbs. and still maneuver wheel and ride smooth.

The first thing you’ll notice about this pallet jack is how solid and sturdy it is. It features high quality eleven gauge forks, designed to be able to hold the heaviest of loads. It has a lift range of three inches to seven-and-a-half inches as well.

It has a three-function hand control that’s intuitive and easy to use. This includes raising, lowering, and neutral, of course. The handle is also spring-loaded to ensure it stays upright. The only downside is that there is no extra padding on the handle for extra comfort.

It rides smooth on the ground (no skidding) and its polyurethane wheels help protect the floor, just in case that’s a concern.

The hydraulic system is practically maintenance free because of the high quality seal kit used. It also ensures a long use-life for this pallet jack, even under heavy duty use. Further extending its life is its durable powder coated finish, hardened chrome piston, and protective dust cover.

Key Features:

  • Maximum Load – 6600 pounds
  • Fork Length: 48 inches
  • Fork Width: 27 inches
  • Space Between Forks: N/A
  • Weight: 177 pounds

3. Flybold Heavy Duty Hand Pallet Truck 

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Best Features: Rapid Lift and Abrasion-Resistant Wheels

Pump the handle. Lift the load. Go! Flybold’s got the jump on its competitors with this quick-rise pallet truck. It takes fewer pumps to get the load off the ground than with their competitors. Technically, it’s called lift ratio, and it can save an employee’s arms from a lot of labor over the course of a work shift.

It can also save shoulder and back muscles, as it’s one of the easiest-rolling pallet trucks on our list, thanks to its polyurethane wheels. The handle has ergonomic cushioned handles that prevent blisters while ensuring a secure grip.

The wheels are hard and abrasion-resistant, yet don’t mark floors. The steering range is 192 degrees, allowing easy pushing or pulling into tight places.

When you move the pallet to its destination, lowering the load is just as smooth as lifting it. The user has two choices of levers to lower the pallet truck – one on the handle stem and a foot switch near the rear wheels. The hydraulics in the pallet truck level the load while it’s lowering, so there are no disastrous surprises that would end up on YouTube. 

The steel used in this model is heavy gauge to prevent warping, bending and twisting, either under a heavy load or over the course of the pallet truck’s lifetime. It’s powder coated (a process of applying electrically charged powdered paint to metal that carries the opposite charge for superior adhesion) and resistant to scuffing and scratching.

The pump that delivers all these hydraulic heroics is a solid, unibody pump that is guaranteed to perform for many years without failing or even leaking. The hydraulic oil that it uses is ISO standard anti-wear oil that works equally well in all temperatures.

It carries a maximum of 5500 pounds, and if the user gets under a load that’s too heavy, an overload protection valve kicks in, and won’t allow the pallet to be lifted.

Key Features:

  • Maximum Load – 5500 pounds
  • Fork Length: 48 inches
  • Fork Width: 27 inches
  • Space Between Forks: N/A
  • Weight: 120 pounds

4. Mighty Lift Pallet Truck (ML55-2)

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Best Feature: 210-Degree Turning Radius

Forged in one piece, the Mighty Lift ML55-2 is strong as an ox and stubborn as a mule when forces act upon it that would twist a lesser device into scrap metal. The hydraulic pump is well sealed, ensuring not only a no-leak operation, but a smooth and dependable lift and lower.

The Mighty Lift’s forks are a bit longer than most of the others on our list, measuring 50 inches, while the others are around 48 inches. Those extra two inches provide a larger base for added stability with big loads. Speaking of big loads, this pallet truck will lift 5500 pounds. Fifteen inches of reinforcement on each fork help greatly with the work.

Inside the forks, out of sight, but not out of mind, are the push rods that engage the front wheels during the lifting and lowering processes. These are heavy duty and adjustable to the type of load the user encounters frequently.

In a warehouse environment, you could expect a pallet truck to be used for pretty much the entire shift, but in construction, maybe a little less. Either way, the user will have the best ergonomic handle and cushioned grip available, helping prevent blisters, fatigue and carpal tunnel syndrome. Switching from lift, lower and neutral can be done with the hand lever, and there is also the ability to choose from lift or lower with a foot-activated lever.

Maintenance is key for the performance and durability of this pallet truck, and they’ve made it a snap with 10 grease fittings at easily-accessed points along the frame.

Key Features:

  • Maximum Load – 5500 pounds
  • Fork Length: 50 inches
  • Fork Width: 27 inches
  • Space Between Forks: 14.37 inches
  • Weight: 160 pounds

5. Strongway Pallet Jack 

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Best Feature: Heavy Duty Spring in Handle

It doesn’t take a rocket science degree to operate a pallet jack. You slide the forks into the pallet, flip a lever to lift and pump the handle like you’re working the lat machine at the gym. It’s easy, but it can be tedious and eventually exhausting. This isn’t the case with Strongway’s pallet jack, it’s easy on the body.

Like most pallet trucks, the Strongway has a spring-loaded handle that bounces back after it’s been depressed. But the spring on the Strongway is a bit heavier than on the others, providing a more vigorous bounce-back. If it’s only used a few times during a work shift, maybe that’s no big deal, but for frequent use, it can be a back-saver.

Elsewhere, the Strongway pallet truck follows industry norms with 48-inch-long forks, seven-inch, non-marking wheels and a three-position lever on the handle to switch from lift, lower and hold functions. The turning radius on this is 180 degrees, and with a petite five-foot overall length, it’s quite maneuverable.

Pallet trucks that are capable of lifting heavy loads – this one can lift 5500 pounds – depend heavily on an efficient hydraulic system. The Strongway has one of the more solid pumps of the pallet trucks on our list. It’s welded shut to stay shut, which means no leaks.

Key Features:

  • Maximum Load – 5500 pounds
  • Fork Length: 48 inches
  • Fork Width: 27 inches
  • Space Between Forks: 14.25 inches
  • Weight: 164 pounds

6. Global Industries Pallet Truck

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Best Feature: Best Industrial Strength Pallet Truck

Don’t let the banana yellow powder-coated paint job throw you. This is a serious, no-nonsense pallet truck, able to be used daily for years and years. The yellow paint is to make sure you can find it when you need it.

The forks are 48 inches long and measure 27 inches from the outer edge of one to the outer edge of the other. On the handle is a three-position lever that allows the user to choose between lift, lower and neutral.

Heavy gauge steel ensures that this will resist twisting and buckling, and when it’s under a heavy load on a slope, its 163 pounds provide plenty of support for its max load of 5500 pounds. The real burden, though, is on its push rods that run underneath the forks. There you will find plenty of mass and plenty of strength.

The hydraulic pump is thoroughly sealed against leaks and is well protected, tucked in a cavity between the handle juncture and the steel frame. Rolling is easy on this pallet truck’s hard polyurethane wheels, which, despite their toughness, do not mark up floors – either slab warehouse floors or finished floors.

Key Features:

  • Maximum Load – 5500 pounds
  • Fork Length: 48 inches
  • Fork Width: 27 inches
  • Space Between Forks: 14.25 inches
  • Weight: 163 pounds

7. Mighty Lift Narrow Specialty Pallet Truck

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Best Feature: Overload Safety Valve

First off, this is not a general purpose pallet truck. It is for those “mini” pallets that you occasionally encounter on shipping docks. If your line of work brings you in contact with a significant number of these, a purchase of a narrow fork pallet truck would be a good idea.

The forks on this pallet truck are just 20 inches from outside edge to outside edge. On standard pallet trucks, 27 inches is the norm. The distance between the inner edges of the forks is a little less than eight inches, compared to a little over 14 inches for a standard pallet truck. The length of the forks is a standard 48 inches.

Despite this narrow profile, the weight maximum is a whopping 5500 pounds. This could pose balance problems, but the pallet truck is as strong as it is nimble, and maintaining a proper center of gravity is easily accomplished. 

Overloads are a different story, however. Fortunately, this narrow gauge pallet truck has a safety valve that won’t allow loads over the max to even come up off the ground.

The handle is ergonomically designed and cushioned to make it easier on the user and the turning radius is a generous 210 degrees, helping the user negotiate tight spaces. The push rods are adjustable, a key feature for a specialty pallet truck. This helps even out wear and ensure level operation.

German engineering went into the hydraulic pump, which delivers plenty of rise power with each stroke and slow and steady descents when the pallet is being lowered. The oil chamber is solid and expertly welded to prevent leaks.

Key Features:

  • Maximum Load – 5500 pounds
  • Fork Length: 48 inches
  • Fork Width: 20 inches
  • Space Between Forks: 7.87 inches
  • Weight: 145 pounds

8. SAGA Pallet Truck with Digital Scale

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Best Feature: Digital Scale

OK, yes it’s ugly. But hold on. This blue brute has some features that you won’t find on the other pallets on our list.

The SAGA pallet truck has a built-in digital scale, with the readout screen mounted on a frame close to the user. This may not have a lot of application to a construction environment, except to alert the user to the weight of the load he’s about to transport. In warehouse and shipping environments, the digital scale would be a great help for load-outs.

The scale and readout can be adjusted to kilograms, and with an optional matrix printer, it can print out a hard copy for filing.

At 46 inches, the forks are a little shorter than some of the others. The outside width is a standard 27 inches, and the overall length of the pallet truck is 63 inches.

This comes with one of the bigger hydraulic pumps on our list, capable of lifting 5500 pounds effortlessly. Like so many of the other units, it has a sturdy, ergonomically designed handle with a flip lever on the stem, allowing the user to lift, lower and hold loads.

The main wheels are seven-inch hard polyurethane wheels that won’t mark floors. The wheels under the tips of the forks are a little different from what the other pallet trucks have. Instead of single wheels, the SAGA uses two three-inch wheels, mounted on a bracket, for each fork. This provides a longer wheelbase and more stability under a load.

Key Features:

  • Maximum Load – 5500 pounds
  • Fork Length: 46 inches
  • Fork Width: 27 inches
  • Space Between Forks: 14.25 inches
  • Weight: 145 pounds

9. Self-Propelled Electric Pallet Jack Truck (Global Industrial)

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Best Features: Best Electric Pallet Jack

No “best-of” list would be complete without including this guy on the list. Global Industrial’s electric self-propelled pallet jack is a dream to own and operate. While not everyone can splurge on an electric pallet jack, if you can, this is the one to own.

There is a bit of a trade-off when buying electric, however, in that the load capacity is usually a lot lower. In this case, the trade-off isn’t too bad, as it can still carry up to 3,300 lbs. If you need to carry larger loads than this, you usually have to look outside of electric pallet jacks, or go with a more expensive electric model.

That said, this electric pallet jack is a good trade-off in terms of price and performance. Its high torque 24V DC drive motor allows it to travel up to 3.5 mph unloaded (2.5 mph loaded) and it can run for up to eight hours on one charge. It’s also rated to be able to handle a 4% incline.

It can lower down to 3-5/16″ and raise up to 8″ high. It even has a thumb throttle (with infinite forward and reverse speeds), lifting and lowering controls, a safety belly reverse button, and a horn. There’s also an included battery (2 batteries included in total), integral battery charger, and a Curtis level gauge to check the battery level.

It stops on a dime as soon as the handle is released for increased safety. There’s also an emergency switch for emergency shut-off.

The manufacturer provides a one-year limited warranty on this electric pallet truck and it comes fully assembled.

Key Features:

  • Maximum Load – 3300 pounds
  • Fork Length: 47 inches
  • Fork Width: 28-1/2 inches
  • Space Between Forks: N/A
  • Weight: 662 pounds

What to Look For in a Pallet Truck

1. Pallet Size

You’ve probably noticed a lot of similarities in these pallet trucks. Much of that is because of industry standards for pallets and the devices that lift them. For example, you won’t find a pallet truck that’s a smidgen too big to slide under a pallet. (If it doesn’t it’s probably a flaw in the pallet.)

The primary and by far the most popular size pallet is 48×40, which all but one of the pallet trucks on our list are made for. There are, however, narrow pallets for special purposes, for going through smaller doors, which seem to be trending in retail applications.

Most construction materials, if they’re loaded on a pallet, are going to be loaded on a 48×40 pallet most of the time. 

2. Lifting Capacity

Again, we’re running into a lot of similarities. Most of these pallet trucks max out at 5500 pounds, and it’s doubtful you’ll ever have to lift that much on a single pallet. More important is the dependability of the hydraulic pump. The pump is the heart and soul of a pallet truck, and if it’s susceptible to leaks or sluggish operation, then you don’t want it.

Starting out, most of these pumps are going to work pretty well. But months down the road, would you have the same experience? In this case, the bigger and more massive pumps are likely to serve you better than compact ones.

3. Turning Ratio

The concept of rolling under a pallet, lifting it, rolling it somewhere else and letting it back down again is pretty simple, except when it’s not. Pallets sometimes get shoved into tight corners, partially blocked in or the runners get pointed at weird angles. 

The greater the turning ratio is on a pallet truck, the more versatile it will be in wrangling wayward pallets, and in making sharp turns coming off the truck loading ramp.

4. Warranty

People don’t pay as much attention to warranties as they should. Think of a warranty not so much as a safety net against premature failure but a statement of what the manufacturer expects out of its products. 

Manufacturers evaluate their product and make their warranty run out just shy of their anticipated life expectancy for the product. It’s a numbers game, and it’s just economics. So if you see a good warranty, it’s more than just a good warranty. You can be assured it’s a good product.

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