Electric Vs Gas Vs Diesel: Choosing the right forklift

With Australian Access Hire's range of forklifts, you'll find the right lift for the job
With Australian Access Hire’s range of forklifts, you’ll find the right lift for the job

Planning to buy or hire a forklift? Deciding which forklift to use depends on the kind of job that you want to do. 

Here we catalogue the pros and cons of each fuel type to make sure you get the right tool for the job.



Electric forklifts are powered by battery or fuel cells that power an electric motor.  This provides a few major advantages.  Firstly, the electric forklift is the most environmentally friendly choice for those looking to cut their greenhouse emissions.  With electricity costing approximately 26c per kilowatt hour, powering an electric motor is also a more cost-effective option when compared with traditionally fueled forklifts.  Electric forklifts are also the warehouse equipment of choice when it comes to working in freezers or cold storage, due to their lack of emissions.


On the downside, electric forklifts run the risk of short circuiting if running outdoors where it is likely to rain or snow and should be avoided for outdoors work.  The tyres on most electric forklifts also dictate that they be used on smooth concrete surfaces.  The batteries take up to 8 hours to re-charge, so multiple batteries are needed for heavy usage.



Diesel forklifts are run with a traditional internal combustion engine powered by diesel fuel.  They are the forklift of choice for jobs on unmade roads or outdoors, as diesel forklifts tend to come with tyres that allow safer driving on uneven or rough terrain.  Compared with electric forklifts, diesel are a lot quicker to refuel, and last longer between refuelling.  Diesel forklifts are also the most powerful, offering an option to lift heavier loads.


However, diesel is not as eco-friendly as other options, and are generally the most expensive to run.  Due to the complicated internals, they are also require the most maintenance of the three fuel types.  Diesel is not as effective in enclosed spaces, due to noise and emissions concerns.



Gas forklifts are the most effective with jobs that require heavy usage, as they are are a lot quicker to refuel than electric models and are cheaper to run than diesel.  They also offer lower maintenance costs than other options, and are more eco-friendly than diesel.


The drawback with Gas forklifts are that they require greater storage space than diesel.  Gas is also not as powerful as a diesel powered engine, and should be used for lighter loads.


Unsure what forklift to get for the job?  Australian Access Hire are the forklift experts – give us a call to discuss your needs today.


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Australian Access Hire Australian Access Hire are located in Sydney. We sell and rent machinery hire equipment throughout Australia. Our products include Forklifts, Vertical lifts, Scissor lifts, Boom Lifts, Knuckle Lifts and Telehandlers. Located at
48 York Road, Ingleburn, NSW, 2565.
1300 850 488