The Difference Between a Forklift and a Telehandler

Both Telehandlers and forklifts are indispensable tools when it comes to the lifting and transporting of heavy materials. Visit any construction site and you’re likely to see at least one of the two. These machines are incredibly important for warehouses and construction sites, with companies like Texas Motive Solutions being used for battery repair and maintenance to keep them functioning for industrial use.

Hold on, did you still not understand the importance of these machines? They are as crucial to a construction site as is a security booth, be it a traditionally built one or a modular security booth (

Anyway, coming back to the topic, the terms ‘telehandler’ and ‘forklift’ are often used interchangeably and while there are many similarities between the two, there are also distinct differences. These differences are what lend both the telehandler and the forklift to different jobs.


The forklift is a type of industrial truck used for the handling and transportation of heavy materials. The forklift is a manually operated and driven truck. The main components of a forklift include the mast, the forks and the counterweight. The mast is an attachment on the front of the truck which enables loads to be moved vertically. The forks are two prongs attached to the mast used to slide underneath objects and lift them. Finally, the counterweight sits on the back of the forklift truck and enables the forklift to handle very heavy loads. It is considered good practice to ensure that anyone who works with a forklift has obtained a forklift certification Tacoma Washington or in any other place of work, as long as it is compliant with the regulations and ensures that adequate training is given to the operators. This reduces risk of workplace accidents and allows for safe operation.

Agricultural Uses

Forklifts are used widely in the farming industry as ways of lifting, transporting and unloading heavy loads of produce, animal feed and vegetation. Forklifts are a versatile option for farm work in that various attachments can be utilised for different types of work. As well as stock management and rotation, forklifts can also be used to clean animal living quarters using broom attachments and the like. forklifts can also be used for certain farming processes such as seed sowing or crop harvesting.

Industrial and Construction uses

Forklifts are routinely used on construction sites for unloading raw materials from shipment vehicles and transporting and unloading them around the worksite. Forklifts are also used widely within the recycling sector for the transportation and sorting of materials. Many forklifts are purpose-built to drive over uneven terrain such as that of an unfinished construction site, which makes them excellent tools for building work and also helps to improve worksite safety.

Logistic Uses

Step foot into any warehouse across the globe and you’re likely to be met with at least one forklift. Forklifts are indispensable pieces of equipment for warehouse work and are also widely relied upon within the construction industry. Forklifts are used for many warehouse tasks from shipment unloading, stock movement, inventory and organisation right through to recycling and even snow ploughing in the winter.


Firstly, let’s take a look at telehandlers; the name telehandler is a shortened term for ‘telescopic handler’. Like the forklift, the telehandler is used for the lifting, moving and placing of heavy materials. However unlike the forklift, the telehandler uses a telescopic arm (boom) to manoeuvre loads in various directions whereas a forklift can only move its forks up and down.

Agricultural Uses

As versatile and capable pieces of machinery, telehandlers are used widely in the agricultural field. Typical agricultural uses include transportation and handling of produce, fertilizer, plants, hay bales and livestock feed. Telehanlders with certain attachments are also used for harvesting vegetables, excavation work and various other miscellaneous tasks.

Industrial and construction Uses

Telehandlers are also used widely throughout the industrial and construction sector. The uses of telescopic handlers within these industries are widely widespread and varied, from lifting and placing loads at height, to construction site cleanup and even as telescopic platforms for building repair work and tree surgery.

Logistic uses

Telehandlers are widely used in warehouses and distribution centres. Telehandlers are able to reach greater heights as well as lift over obstacles and tight spaces which makes them indispensable within large warehouses and distribution centres.


If you work within logistics or are familiar with a warehouse environment you may have heard of Versalift. Versalift is a brand name and manufacturer of vehicle-mounted platforms and unique extendable-frame forklifts. Many companies will utilise a versalift hire company like AEM Lifting to rent equipment for certain projects. There are various types of versalift available each designed to carry different sized loads.