Understanding Your Forklift’s Load Capacity

Understanding Your Forklift’s Load Capacity

A forklift’s most useful trait in a facility is its lifting power. Determining how much a forklift can lift is summarized by its load capacity. However, this simple data piece is not nearly as straightforward as it seems. Understanding your forklift’s load capacity can be the difference between an efficient addition to your operation and a headache for everyone involved.

What Determines A Forklift’s Load Capacity

Most likely, you knew what your machine’s load capacity was when you bought it, or you regularly reference it on its data plate. However, that number is the forklift’s rated capacity. The rated capacity is the maximum weight a forklift can safely lift its load at its load center. So, what is a forklift’s load capacity?

One of the principal determinants of net capacity is the load center. The standard load center is 24 inches from the backrest. Loads that are wider or longer will have a load center that is greater than 24, which will upset the balance of the forklift. Consider lift height as well as the height of a forklift’s mast. Depending on the height of the mast, a forklift will be more able to lift loads at lower or higher levels. The use of forklift attachments will also impact a forklift’s weight and load center and, therefore, its carrying capacity, so the attachment data plates should be referenced when in use.


Trying to lift loads that are outside the carrying capacity of a forklift is a significant safety hazard in a factory or warehouse. As we mentioned earlier regarding forklift accidents, one of the major causes of forklift deaths every year is forklift tip-overs. Forklift tip-overs are caused by carrying loads that exceed a machine’s carrying capacity. It puts a forklift at risk of exceeding the load limit and throwing the forklift off of its stability triangle. When a forklift becomes unstable, it will tip-over and potentially cause serious injury to an operator. You also run the risk of dropping a load, which can potentially damage merchandise, or wearing down a machine too quickly, which leads to more significant forklift downtime.

Best Practices

Understanding a forklift’s load capacity should be a requirement for everyone working with and around your machine. Review the forklift data plate regularly and determine the load for the forklift. Also, learn how to place the load securely on the forks. When deciding to purchase or rent a forklift, understanding your forklift’s load capacity is essential.

For reliable forklift rentals in Ohio, please visit Toyota Material Handling. We are proud to offer a wide variety of high-quality forklifts, making finding the best fit for your facility simple.



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What Is Toyota 360 Support?

The Toyota 360 Promise

Want to make sure your Toyota keeps running like…well, a Toyota. That’s where the Toyota 360 support plan makes a difference for your company. It’s designed to save you money on forklift service, save you downtime, and save you headaches. Toyota 360 support provides full-circle maintenance for your forklift fleet.