A Beginners Guide to Forklifts – Weight Limits.

A Beginners Guide to Forklifts – Weight Limits

A Beginners Guide to Forklifts – Weight Limits.

All-you-can-eat shrimp buffets, Spotify, the number of times I can watch The Matrix and still not quite understand it, so many things in the world are limitless. However, for health and safety reasons, some things must have limits, such as the carrying capacity of a forklift.

Welcome back to our blog page here at Flexistaff Solutions Ltd. In this edition of our ‘A Beginners Guide to’, we’re returning to the world of forklifts. We’ll be focusing on the subject of weight limits, covering all the basics you need to know as an FLT operator to carry loads safely and effectively.


Before we get started, please remember that these guides will provide you with the basics you need to know. For concrete facts, such as the weight limit and carry capacity of your forklift, check the data plate of your machine. Or, for more information on the specific model of machine you’re using, contact the manufacturer.

What is a Weight Limit/Carrying Capacity?

Often described as net capacity, load capacity, or rated capacity, these all refer to the same thing. They refer to the maximum weight a forklift can carry whilst still operating at full capacity. Not to mention continue operating safely.

The weight limit includes the gross weight of the goods, so any pallets or packaging are included in this. However, the weight limit of a forklift only applies when the centre of the load is located at a specific point on the FLT, known as the load centre. If this is not aligned, the weight limit or carry capacity will decrease. This is due to the forklift being designed to carry goods in a specific way. If the goods they’re transporting are not loaded as intended, there’s no guarantee that the original weight limit can be met whilst still operating safely.

Each model of forklift will have its weight limit or carry capacity. Not only this, but different versions of the same model may have varying weight limits.

Why Do Weight Limits/Capacity Matter?

Weight limits are put into place for two main reasons, with the first leading into the second. The first is something we highlighted earlier – to ensure the forklift can operate effectively.

Transporting and carrying goods that exceed the weight limit of a forklift can result in serious damage to the forklift. This includes breaking or bending the forks, destroying the lifting mechanics, and cause serious deterioration to the wheels and axels. Of course, if any of these occur, your forklift will be unsuitable for work, meaning that it’ll slow down operations and productivity.

Not only this but if you attempt to exceed weight limits or carry capacity, you’re also likely to run into issues with the second reason – health and safety.

Weight limits are decided on after countless tests and safety runs with a specific model before they’re released to the world. They’re tested to ensure that they can continuously operate, carrying on or under the weight limit, without creating any unnecessary danger. Needless to say, they’re not to be ignored.

However, choosing to do so creates various dangers almost immediately. For example, let’s focus on one of the previous points – breaking the forks or lifting mechanics. If this happens whilst operating the forklift, you are endangering yourself and those around you when the goods you’re transporting fall off of the forklift. Not only this, but the broken or damaged goods can now create a hazardous environment to work in.


Exceeding weight limits will always create dangers, and none of them are worth risking. So, do yourself a favour and stick to them. 

What is the Weight Limit/Carry Capacity of My Forklift?

Each model of forklift has its own carry capacity, as well as a different way of operating. For example, counterbalance is designed more for carrying heavy goods from one place to another, with some lifting impressive reach abilities. However, a reach truck boasts a far superior reach but is designed for travelling less distance. Due to this, you can expect the weight limits to change from model to model.

Although we’ll do our best to give you a rough outline of each style’s limit, you should always check your forklift’s data plate for an accurate reading.

  • Standard Four-Wheel – 3,600kg/7,935lbs.
  • Standard Three-Wheel – 2,200kg/4,850lbs.
  • Reach– 2,500kg/5,510lbs
  • VNA – 3,600kg/7,935lbs.
  • Manual Pallet Jack – 1,000kg/2,200lbs.
  • Counterbalance – 2,500kg/5,510lbs.
  • All-Terrain – 16,000kg/35270lbs.

Once again, please remember that these are rough measurements, and are not to be taken as standard. Please check the data plate of your forklift for accurate measurements of your machine.

Where Can I Learn More About Weight Limits & Carry Capacity?

Here at Flexistaff Solutions Ltd, we’re happy to accommodate all types of learning and training for those working with forklifts.

We provide training courses for all abilities from beginners to experts and are can be fully customised to meet your demands. With our fully qualified expert trainers, we can assess your needs, and create a custom plan for an individual or business.

What’s more, our training can be provided in a range of establishments. With sites in both Milton Keynes and Luton, we’re able to provide you with the equipment needed to complete your training courses. However, provided you already have suitable equipment, our staff are more than happy to provide our expertise on your premises.

If you’re interested in booking a training course for yourself or your business, get in contact. Or, to read more of our forklift blogs, click here.


Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you on the next one.