Sit-Down vs Stand-Up Forklifts: Which is Right for Your Jobsite?

The type of forklift you drive will impact your safety, comfort, and flexibility. With both standing and sitting models available, which one should you choose?

Many warehouse operators consider the traditional sit-down forklift ideal for their operation, but is that always the case? Have they considered all the options between sit-down and stand-up forklifts? Here are some noteworthy differences to consider before you sign the order for your next forklift hire.

Points to Ponder: Sit-down vs Stand-up Forklifts

Before committing to your next forklift, ask yourself these simple questions:

• What are the surfaces and traffic patterns of the forklift’s operational area?
• Do you have narrow aisles or tight areas to manoeuvre around/through?
• Does the forklift operator make many short runs or a few long runs?
• What percentage of the time is the operator moving on and off the lift?
• Can you increase productivity by using a stand-up truck or a sit-down model?

Main Differences Between Sit-down & Stand-up Forklifts

There are four main differences between the two types of forklifts. First is the ease of getting on and off. Stand-up forklifts make it easy for operators to hop on and off, thanks to their low profile ‘deadman pedal’ and lower height. Sit-down forklifts, meanwhile, usually have caged cabins with seatbelts, which makes settling in more of a process.

The second is visibility. Stand-up forklifts offer a wider range of vision when moving in any direction, due to the sideways standing position of the operator.

The third consideration is sturdiness and manoeuvrability. A sit-down forklift offers stability and safety in case of a sudden stop or slip. However, a stand-up forklift offers better movement capabilities in small spaces.

Fourth and final is comfort. Standing is less comfortable than sitting, especially for longer runs, but not needing to twist your neck and body when reversing is more comfortable when standing up.

Though the goal for all forklift types is to safely and efficiently move stock or inventory, each forklift type varies greatly. The right forklift for your application will not only save your time and money, but the decision will also benefit your operations from a safety standpoint.

How Do You Know Which Type of Forklift is Ideal for You?

Here at SG Equipment, we can help you choose the ideal type of vehicle for your needs, and the following are some questions our team will ask you, to help you make the best decision.

• How far will the forklift be travelling at a time? Will the operator be leaving the vehicle often?
• How much space will be available for the machine to operate?
• Will the machine be operated for long periods?
• What kind of products will be moved?

SG Equipment For Your Forklift Requirements

Our forklift company is supported by a nationwide dealer network, with locally-owned dealers all over New Zealand, who offer full product support services in all locations, including a 24-hour, 7-day emergency breakdown and field service, with a large range of parts available.

If you’re unsure of which product is right for you, reach out to your local, authorised SG Equipment dealer for advice and consultation. We’ll provide the insights you need, based on your material handling needs.

Schedule a call with our expert team, and let us unveil the magic that can elevate your warehouse operations!


Head Office: 09 268 4610

10 Marphona Crescent, Takanini,
Auckland 2105

PO Box 97156, Manukau City,
Auckland 2241

Te Puke Branch (07) 281 1870

6 Te Puke Quarry Road, Te Puke.

Open Mon-Fri 8am-6pm

Weekends & other times by appointment


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