Electric forklifts and internal combustion forklifts are two options that are often compared when businesses are considering buying a forklift. Both types of trucks have their own advantages and disadvantages, suitable for each different goods handling needs. The most important thing is how suitable between the pros and cons will bring operational results to the business. 

1. Advantages of the electric forklifts

1.1. Less noise

Yale Forklifts electric forklift operates smoothly

Yale Forklifts electric forklift operates smoothly


It can be said that this is one of the most outstanding advantages of an electric forklift compared to an internal combustion engine forklift. While forklifts which use oil, gas, gasoline… have to burn fuel to generate energy, creating a lot of noise, the electric forklift uses the energy from the battery to operate, creating much smoother operation.

1.2. No need to reserve fuel

When comparing electricity and other fuels such as gas, gasoline, diesel, etc., it is clear that electricity is common, easy to find and has a higher availability.

On the other hand, fuels such as liquefied petroleum gas, diesel, gasoline… are difficult to store in factories and warehouses because it is risky and easily impacts safety .

1.3. More fuel efficient

In addition to the actual amount of gas, gasoline, diesel, etc that have been used. It is converted into exhaust fumes released into the environment. It can be understood that businesses cannot use 100% of the fuel for forklifts with internal combustion engines.

Meanwhile, electric forklifts are very fuel efficient and produce almost no emissions. The cost of electricity is also cheaper than fuels.

1.4. Low maintenance costs

Maintenance costs are often related to the complexity of the engine construction. In order to meet the large load capacity, internal combustion engine forklifts often require a more bulky and detailed engine. While electric forklifts are optimal in the capacity and lifting height range. Therefore, the mechanical structure is also simpler which leads to the maintenance costs and methods are also less expensive.

1.5. No exhaust fumes

The energy in the electric forklift is generated based on the alternating current mechanism in the battery. Almost no exhaust fumes appear during truck operation. Thanks to this advantage, electric forklifts are chosen in many fields such as food, pharmaceuticals, etc. As well as in closed, tight warehouses for operator and goods safety.

Electric forklifts produce absolutely no emissions

Electric forklifts produce absolutely no emissions


While diesel, gas, gasoline…  Forklifts perform heating reactions to create energy, fumes that are released to the environment is inevitable.

2. Disadvantages of the electric forklifts

Along with outstanding advantages, electric forklifts also have disadvantages that businesses need to pay attention to before deciding to buy.

2.1. High investment cost

Yale electric forklifts operate in warehouse

Yale electric forklifts operate in warehouse


In general, electric forklifts often have a higher initial investment cost than forklifts with internal combustion engines. To use the truck continuously for 3 shifts, businesses may need to invest in additional spare batteries, which also plays a role to make the investment cost of electric forklifts higher.
To know whether to invest in this cost or not, businesses need to consider their actual forklift usage needs. From there, make a decision to buy new, buy used, or use electric forklift rental services to optimize costs.

2.2. Battery maintenance requirements

It can be said that the soul of an electric forklift is the battery. In order for the truck to operate in an effective way, the battery needs to be in a good state. This is possible through proper operation and periodic maintenance of both truck and battery.

As recommended, 1 time per 1-3 months is the ideal cycle for periodic maintenance. At the same time, the operator also needs to do a daily check before operating to know the truck’s condition, detect and deal with problems early to ensure safety as well as increase the electric forklift’s lifespan.

2.3. Battery charging requirements

If the forklift truck with internal combustion engine only needs to be refueled, the electric forklift needs to be charged after a period of use, if there is no spare battery.

For electric forklifts using Lead Acid batteries, it takes about 8-10 hours to fully charge (depending on battery capacity). As for the Yale electric forklifts with a Lithium battery design, allow continuous charging.

Most importantly, operators need to have knowledge in operation and maintenance to be able to operate correctly, to avoid damage to the battery as well as danger risks that may happen.

2.4. Requirements for spare batteries

To work continuously, business may need to invest in spare battery

To work continuously, business may need to invest in spare battery


The battery energy should not be lower than 80%. This may affect the quality of the battery in the long term. Therefore, businesses need to determine the working frequency of electric forklifts to have a reasonable and scientific plan to prepare spare batteries.

2.5. Limit on capacity 

Electric forklifts are more optimal for low and medium goods handling needs, less than 5 tons. Not suitable for lifting bulky goods such as construction materials, large machinery,… It is not really a disadvantage but this limit is one of the criteria for businesses to consider between electric forklifts or internal combustion engine forklifts that suit their operations.

In this article, Yale Forklifts Vietnam has shared with you some of the advantages and disadvantages of electric forklifts. To be able to decide which truck to choose, businesses need to focus on actual needs and conditions to get the most scientific comparison. In case you need advice for a specific handling operation, please leave your information below or contact Hotline: 0896.461.728 for the most dedicated support!

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