Forklifts are a crucial element in any warehouse operation. These tools allow your team to quickly (and carefully) move heavy loads to and from the loading dock with relative ease. However, one question that a lot of warehouse and supply chain managers have is this:
“Which forklift is the best one for my warehouse?”
Another common question related to this one is:
“What forklift manufacturers can I trust?”
Warehouse equipment can be expensive. Therefore, it’s important to get a good, reliable forklift because faulty or unreliable products can lead to holdups at your distribution center—or worse, injuries. But, how can you identify a reliable forklift manufacturer?
One way is to look at how well a manufacturer is performing—trustworthy manufacturers tend to see a lot of repeat business and growth. Another is to check out how they’re rated by the users of their products—manufacturers who make shoddy products tend to get a lot of complaints online while reliable ones tend to be highly-rated.
Forklift Manufacturers by Revenue
Special thanks to Material Handling & Logistics for their Top 10 Forklift Manufacturers of 2018 list. The following manufacturers are all featured in the list, in order from most revenue in 2017 to least:
- Toyota Industries Corp. $8.78 billion. Longtime leader in the industry with numerous options for different drivetrains and load capacities.
- The KION Group. $5.924 billion. Has a variety of forklift and materials handling solutions under their umbrella (including Linde Material Handling, STILL, and Fenwick).
- The Jungheinrich Group. $4.25 billion. Offers numerous electric forklift trucks for a variety of needs.
- Mitsubishi Logisnext Co., Ltd. $3.7 billion. Carries a variety of lift trucks from their Mitsubishi, Unicarriers, and Nichiyu product lines.
- Crown Equipment Corp. $2.9 billion (tied for 5th place). Offers different options for new, used, and rental forklifts.
- Hyster-Yale Materials Handling Inc. $2.9 billion (tied for 5th place). Boasts an “estimated 830,000 Hyster® and Yale® lift trucks in operation worldwide,” according to their website.
- Anhui Heli Co., Ltd. $1.28 billion. Offers a range of forklift and other heavy lifting solutions.
- Komatsu. $1.21 billion. Has a range of 36V and 48V electric forklifts.
- Hangcha Group. $1.07 billion. Has numerous electric forklift trucks in three- and four-wheel varieties.
- Clark Material Handling. $781 million (tied for 10th place). Notable forklifts include their S-Series and GEX-series forklifts.
- Doosan Industrial Vehicle Co. $781 million (tied for 10th place). Notable products include their Pro-5 Series forklifts.
Of the companies in the list, Clark Material Handling was a late addition, having been discovered to have the same reported income as Doosan to tie for 10th place after factoring in the exchange rate between the two companies.
If these are the largest forklift manufacturers on the market, which ones are the most popular with their customers?
Top Forklift Manufacturers by Rating
Ranker conducted a survey of more than 1,000 voters to rank the top forklift brands on the market. According to their survey results (tallied on July 16, 2018), the top 10 most beloved forklift brands are:
- Linde Material Handling (part of the KION Group)
- Caterpillar (Had a partnership with Mitsubishi to form Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America)
- Hyster-Yale Materials Handling Inc. (Yale also listed at #10 separately)
- Bobcat Company (Rated highly, but their products are meant for outdoors work)
- CASE (Rough terrain forklifts)
- Clark Material Handling
- Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK
- AB Volvo (originally No. 11. However, their forklifts are listed on their website as archival products).
It is important to note that many of the companies in this list are either: A) the same companies as in the top 10 largest companies list; or B) subsidiaries of those companies.
These ratings help demonstrate the reliability of the end products and the services offered by each of these manufacturers. This lets you get a rough idea of the overall quality you can expect when working with a given manufacturer.
so, Who are the most highly-rated Forklift manufacturers?
By combining the two lists, it’s possible to create a list of the biggest and most highly-rated forklift manufacturers that you should use for your distribution center/warehouse operations:
- Toyota Industries Corp.
- The KION Group
- The Jungheinrich Group
- Mitsubishi Logisnext Co., Ltd.
- Hyster-Yale Materials Handling Inc.
- Clark Material Handling
Of course, if you’re looking for a high-quality forklift to use in your distribution center or warehouse, it never hurts to ask around for opinions or recommendations from others. For example, warehouse/distribution center managers in your area will probably have extensive personal experience with a few different manufacturers and can make solid recommendations. Or, you could reach out to an experienced warehouse solutions provider to get an expert opinion.