Your Forklift Attachments Buying Guide (Video, Audio, & Article)

Supercharge the efficiency and productivity of your forklift by selecting the right forklift attachments for the job.

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woman driving a forklift

The right forklift attachments can make all the difference.

So, you’ve checked out our guide to selecting the right forklift for your team and you’re excited to get started moving loads all over your work site. Whoa, not so fast—which forklift attachments are right for your needs? Let’s get to the bottom of this to help you select the right forklift attachments to increase productivity—saving you time and money. 

Quick Contents

What do I need to know about the safety of forklift attachments?

Before we start snapping new attachments on our forklifts and lifting all sorts of loads, there are some safety precautions to consider. 

How Forklift Attachments Impact Forklift Balance

Rated Capacity vs. Net Capacity

As we covered in our forklift buyers guide, it is important for any forklift operator to know the difference between a forklift’s net capacity and its rated capacity. The net capacity—also known as the payload capacity—is a lifting capacity that also takes the weight of any modifications or attachments into consideration. On the other hand, the rated capacity is typically the capacity listed on your forklift’s data plate. It is crucial to keep these figures in mind because some attachments can be quite heavy and greatly impact how much weight you can safely lift and move with your forklift. Failure to account for the weight and balance of a forklift attachment can be dangerous. 

Forklift Balance

Even when not carrying anything, forklift attachments impact the balance of any forklift when attached. While crucial to most forklift needs, attachments will always make forklifts less stable simply because you’re putting additional weight on the fulcrum point of the forklift—the other side of the “teeter-totter,” if you will. For this reason, anytime your forklift is outfitted with an attachment, it is important to drive and operate it as though you’re carrying a load (slower speeds, careful corners, etc.)—because, technically, you are!

Forklift Specifications

Whenever you’re in doubt about the balance, weight capacity, or fit of any forklift attachment, always consult the specifications for forklift attachments provided by the manufacturer of your model of forklift. Thanks to the internet, downloading the necessary manuals and specifications has never been easier!

Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used forklift attachments. 

Fork Extension Attachments for Forklifts

forklift fork extensions 

Only second behind the forks themselves, fork extensions are perhaps the most common attachments found on forklift trucks. Fork extensions are sleeve-like attachments that allow for a longer distribution of support for longer or more awkward-shaped loads. When shopping for fork extensions, measure the thickness and width of your forklift’s existing forks (also known as the parent fork arm) to ensure a good fit. Make sure that the forks do not extend more than 66% of the length to avoid imbalanced loads (putting too much weight on the other side of the metaphorical teeter-totter). Again, always consult your forklift manufacturer’s specifications for forklift extensions. 

Sideshifter Forklift Attachments

forklift side shift attachment 

Do you need to retrieve or load a pallet from a space that won’t allow for a head-on approach to a shelf or truck? A sideshifter forklift attachment can help! Whereas many forklift attachments attach to the existing fork, a side-shift attachment allows the forks themselves to move to the right or left—controlled from the operator’s seat. 

While useful, operators need to account for the slight weight imbalance when loading or unloading—bringing the load to the forklift’s closest center of gravity when transporting it to avoid tipping. 

Rotator Forklift Attachments

rotator attachment for forklift 

As the name suggests, rotator (or “rotary”) forklift attachments allow the operator to tilt their loads 180 or even 360 degrees. These attachments are incredibly useful for rotating loads for precise placement or efficient dumping.

Push/Pull Forklift Attachments

forklift push-pull attachment Push-Pull forklift attachments are most commonly used to move loads that are not on pallets. Push-Pull attachments load non-palleted cargo by being able to slip beneath the loads by accessing a lip on the plastic or cardboard slip sheets that the load sits upon. To unload, the operator activates a pushing carriage to slide the load into position. Push-pull forklift attachments are most frequently used in food processing and other such warehouse sites. 

Multiple Load Handler Forklift Attachments

Multiple load handler forklift attachments (also known as double-load handler attachments) enable forklift operators to double or even triple the load-carrying capacity of their forklift in a single trip. They do this by providing an extra row of forks, typically situated side-by-side. This double row of forks allows a forklift operator to load two or more pallets simultaneously and transport them in a single trip. Multiple load handler forklift attachments are commonly utilized in food and beverage handling applications—where load weights may not be as heavy. While incredibly useful, increased safety precautions should be taken when transporting these larger loads. 

Paper Roll Clamp Forklift Attachments 

Paper roll clamp attachments are used to load and transport immense rolls of paper without as much risk of damaging said loads. These clamps allow forklift operators to grasp and transport paper rolls that do not easily fit on pallets. 

Flat Surface Clamp Forklift Attachments

flat clamp attachment for forklift 

Very similar to paper roll clamp attachments, flat surface clamp forklift attachments are useful in moving items with flat surfaces—such as washing machines, clothing dryers, stoves, refrigerators, and other appliances. 

Basket and Cage Forklift Attachments

Basket or cage extension attachments for forklifts are used to lift secured personnel to various heights—typically to access certain areas for maintenance and repairs. Basket or cage attachments vary in size and configuration depending on how many secured personnel members need to be lifted. They typically contain a steel welded frame as well as a non-slip decking material on their standing surfaces. 

Fork Positioner Forklift Attachments

fork positioner attachment 

Fork positioner forklift attachments are especially useful in their ability to allow a forklift operator to adjust the width of their fork spread from their control cluster using hydraulics. This allows operators to more efficiently move a variety of pallet sizes without having to manually adjust fork attachments. 

Buying New or Used Forklift Attachments

It has never been easier to buy new or used forklift attachments. Feel free to look for a nearby forklift dealership to find new forklift attachments for sale. These dealerships may also provide used forklift attachments for sale, but you may find great deals on used forklift attachments for sale by searching through online heavy equipment marketplace listing services

Forklift Attachments for Sale—Made Simple

If you’re in the market for new or used forklift attachments for sale, you’re invited to look through the listings offered through My Little Salesman—the heavy equipment marketplace that has brought buyers and sellers of heavy equipment together since 1958. Use the search filtering features to find the heavy equipment items you need in seconds—within your budget and from dealers nearby. 

Find New and Used Forklift Attachments for Sale Now

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About Ken Lane
Ken’s affinity for the heavy equipment industry was fostered as a curious youngster—becoming happily lost on his grandfather’s tractor sales and service lot (his favorite color is still Allis-Chalmers Orange). Since then, he’s perfected the art of turning black coffee into helpful buyer resources and marketing materials for My Little Salesman.
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