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Pick Your Power Source: Electric, LP or Diesel

Electric, LP or diesel, oh my! Which type of forklift should you buy?

One of the first considerations when purchasing, leasing or renting a lift truck is the choice between electric / battery-powered trucks and internal combustion engine / gas powered trucks.

Ultimately, your application will dictate your forklift options, so let’s look at the recommended applications per fuel type and the pros and cons of each.


Electric forklifts are battery powered and are the most environmentally friendly fuel type option. Because they produce no harmful exhaust fumes, they are well suited to indoor applications.

Electric forklifts are not often used outdoors, however, newer designs with sealed components, including motors, controllers and connectors, can also be operated outdoors.


  • Environmentally friendly with zero emissions
  • Suited for indoor and small areas
  • Perfect for cold storage applications
  • Longer service life
  • Quiet operation
  • Cleaner
  • Stable even for higher lifts due to low center of gravity
  • Little maintenance required
  • Lower fuel cost
  • Lower cost of ownership


  • Initial cost is higher
  • Lower load-carrying capacity (although newer technologies are challenging that)
  • Battery requirements:
  • Extra batteries may be needed if lift truck is used for extended periods
  • Charging a forklift battery can take 6-8 hours plus additional cool down time, unless you invest in rapid charging technology, such as the LIFESPEED® MOD3 CHARGER
  • Must have charging stations or a well ventilated, temperature-controlled charging and battery storage area

Internal Combustion (IC) Trucks | Liquefied Petroleum Gas

Internal Combustion (IC) LPG forklift trucks are ideal for outdoor use and, they can be used both indoors and outdoors as long as safety precautions such as ventilation are carefully followed. They are great for outdoor applications, even in wet conditions.



  • Clean burning, non-toxic with lower carbon emissions than diesel
  • Better travel speeds, rates of acceleration and lift speeds than electric
  • Can handle heavier loads
  • Quick and easy refueling
  • Lower purchase price


  • On-site storage of propane can be dangerous
  • Internal combustion engine requires regular maintenance
  • Must have good ventilation if used indoors
  • Cost of ownership is higher than electric
  • Noisy


Diesel forklifts are the heavy-duty workhorses of industrial material handling. The lifting capacity for a diesel forklift ranges from 4,000 lb. to 55,000 lb.

Diesel-powered forklifts are for outdoor use only. They are the best option to use to transfer items from one site to another. They are also suited to moving goods into or out of external storage areas.


  • Stand up to outdoor environment
  • Perform better on gradients
  • Suited to towing duties
  • Better acceleration and increased lift speeds
  • Quick, easy refueling
  • Cheaper to buy than electric


  • Noisy
  • Exhaust fumes and harmful emissions cause a high carbon footprint
  • Cost of ownership is high
  • Engine maintenance is needed
  • Cannot be used inside
  • Requires EPA standard fuel reserve storage

Knowing the pros and cons to each fuel type, you have a good foundation for choosing the best-suited fuel type for your application. One of our experts at Morrison Industrial Equipment can fully assess your workplace, application and other operational needs to provide a tailored forklift solution built to your specifications.

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Pick a Partner You Can Trust

When you’re considering a forklift purchase, lease or rental, reach out to us here at Morrison for help in choosing the best truck options for your application and the best investment option for your business. We want to partner with you to ensure that you not only get the best truck for your specific needs, in the price range you can afford, but also provide the best service to make sure your equipment performs as expected over the life of that truck.