What Is a Reach Truck?

You may have heard of a reach truck if you’re in the market for a new forklift and are still deciding what type to buy. But what exactly is a reach truck, what are its benefits, and is it the right choice for your business? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key features of a reach truck and help you determine whether it’s the best fit for your warehouse or distribution center.


What Is a Reach Truck and Its Benefits?

A reach truck is a type of forklift designed for narrow aisle applications. It has extending forks that allow the operator to “reach” out and pick up loads from either side of the aisle, making it ideal for warehouses with limited space. Reach trucks are versatile and can be used in various settings, including manufacturing plants, retail stores, and distribution centers. Their maneuverability suits tight areas like parking garages and loading docks.

Choosing the Right Reach Truck

Reach trucks are available in both electric and internal combustion models. Electric reach trucks are becoming more popular because they are more environmentally friendly and have lower operating costs. However, internal combustion reach trucks may be better if you need one operating in extreme temperatures or environments. It’s crucial to consult a forklift expert to determine the right truck for your specific needs.

Differences Between a Reach Truck and a Forklift

Although reach trucks and forklifts are designed for moving and lifting heavy loads, they have some key differences. A reach truck is a smaller vehicle than a forklift, allowing it to remain much more nimble. It has a slimmer chassis and holds loads closer to its wheelbase, making it well-suited for warehouses with narrow aisles and tighter spaces.

On the other hand, a forklift has a longer chassis. It carries its load in front of the vehicle, giving it more excellent stability when lifting heavy loads but limiting its maneuverability in tight spaces. Forklifts also have a fixed mast, which means they can only lift loads to about 15 feet off the ground. Thus, a reach truck is the best choice if you need a vehicle for navigating tight spaces and lifting tall loads. In contrast, a forklift is a better option for efficiently handling heavy loads.

Differences Between a Reach Truck and an Order Picker

Reach trucks and order pickers are commonly used equipment in warehouses and distribution centers, but they have some key differences. Reach trucks are designed for narrow aisles with a mast extending upwards, allowing them to reach items stored on high shelves. In contrast, order pickers have a lower maximum lifting height. Still, they are more maneuverable, making them well-suited for picking orders. Ultimately, the choice of which type of vehicle to use depends on the specific needs of the warehouse or distribution center.

Best Practices for Reach Truck Operators

Regardless of the type of reach truck chosen, proper training is crucial for operators. Reach trucks are powerful machines and require special training to operate safely and effectively. Failure to do so can result in accidents and injuries, which can be costly and dangerous.

Salary Expectations for Reach Truck Drivers

Reach truck drivers are in high demand due to the recent establishment of numerous warehouses and distribution centers. The average reach truck driver earns $31,542 annually or $15.16 per hour. A valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) and experience driving a reach truck are essential qualifications for this position. Although employers usually provide CDL training, completing a certified training program is. With the right skills and qualifications, you can expect to earn a competitive salary as a reach truck driver.

How High Can a Reach Truck Go?

Regarding lifting heights, reach trucks are designed to be tall and slim to navigate narrow aisles and lift items stored on high shelves. Raymond’s 7000 Series High Capacity Reach & Deep-Reach Trucks is one of the best options for handling tall loads, allowing users to lift full pallets to 542 inches.

With a lifting capacity of up to 4,500 pounds, these trucks can easily handle even the heaviest loads. And thanks to their compact design, they can maneuver easily in tight spaces.

However, it’s essential to remember that a reach truck’s maximum lifting height and capacity can vary depending on the model and brand. Therefore, it’s crucial to consult with a forklift expert to find the right truck that meets your specific needs.


Reach trucks are essential equipment in many warehouses and distribution centers. They are versatile and ideal for navigating narrow aisles and lifting loads stored on high shelves. Reach trucks are smaller and more maneuverable than forklifts, making them an excellent option for tight spaces.

Before deciding on which type of forklift to purchase, it’s crucial to consider your specific needs and consult with a forklift expert. Investing in proper training for your operators is also essential to ensure the safe and effective operation of the equipment.

About the author, Laurence Perkins

Laurence Perkins is the passionate car enthusiast behind the blog My Auto Machine. With over a decade of experience in the automotive industry, Perkins has knowledge and experience with a wide range of car makes and models. His particular interests lie in performance and modification, and his blog covers these topics in-depth. In addition to his own blog, Perkins is a respected voice in the automotive community and writes for various automotive publications. His insights and opinions on cars are highly sought-after.