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What is a counterbalanced forklift?

Counter Balanced Forklift

For obvious reasons, forklifts are powerful machines, made tough to endure the different types of environments they operate in. However, as dynamic as they are, they still succumb to the laws of gravity. That’s why you need a counterbalanced forklift in your arsenal. Without the counterbalance, your forklift may become extremely unbalanced as it picks up heavy loads. And, it runs the risk of your machine tipping forwards or over with the extra weight.

Not sure what a counterbalance forklift is? Check out this blog from Triwest. We’ll unpack how they work and what jobs they are best suited to.

So, what exactly is a counterbalanced forklift?

Operating similarly to a seesaw, a counterbalanced forklift is a machine of ratio and proportion. This type of forklift is built with a fulcrum and two resistances, with the counterweight being on the back of the forklift and the load on the forks at the front.

There are two types of counterbalanced forklifts: Combustion engine counterbalance forklifts and battery electric counterbalance forklifts. Both operate the same but are built differently.

For combustion engine counterbalanced forklifts, the counterbalance is in the rear of the unit, while the battery electric counterbalanced forklifts have their counterbalance positioned through the extra weight of the batteries that are installed in the unit.

You can find counterbalanced forklifts that are powered by a number of different fuel types, such as:

  • LPG
  • Petrol
  • Diesel
  • Battery electric


Why use a counterbalanced forklift?

Counterbalanced forklifts are best suited to indoor and outdoor operations, making them a popular choice due to their versatility. We prefer battery electric counterbalance forklifts for indoor applications, as they don’t release any dangerous emissions when they are in operation. For this reason, they are best suited when working with medicine, and/or food and beverage.

Counterbalanced forklifts are suited for lifting a range of applications across many industries, such as transport & logistics, textiles, general manufacturing, warehousing, steel and metal, and agriculture, to name a few.

Benefits of counterbalanced forklifts

Increased maneuverability

Due to their small size and tight turning, counterbalance forklifts are ideal for warehouses that are designed with narrow aisles.

Increased versatility

Counterbalance forklifts can be fitted with a wide range of attachments to better manage the project. For example:

  • Clamps: Safely pick up irregular-shaped loads, such as wool bales or rolls of paper
  • Rotators and bin tippers: Pick up, rotate and tip industrial bins efficiently
  • Carpet poles:Allow for long lengths of carpet and other textiles to be safely wrapped around the pole for easy transportation

Lift a wide range of weights

Expect to safely pick up units ranging from 1.8 tonnes up to 48 tonnes.

Buy counterbalanced forklifts online at Triwest

Now that you’re familiar with this type of machine, why not add one to your operations? At Triwest, we’re proud to offer a range of forklifts to rent or buy that will never let you down.

Browse through our extensive range and call us today on 1800 874 937 or complete a contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.


At Triwest Forklifts, we have provided comprehensive material handling solutions to Melbourne based business for over 40 years. We would love to have you join our growing team!