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The Pros & Cons of Investing in Electric vs. Manual Pallet Jacks

by Business Bod

Are you purchasing or operating pallet jacks for the first time? Do you need help determining which one works better?

Electric or manual pallet jacks are a necessary piece in any warehouse operation. Each one comes with benefits and shortcomings too. Choosing one over the other depends on your unique needs.

Below, we list the pros and cons of manual versus electric pallet trucks. This helps you understand the strengths and weaknesses of each one.

You can then decide when to choose a pallet jack for your warehouse. Read on to learn more about these two types of pallet jacks.

Advantages of Electric Pallet Jacks

Using electric pallet jacks offers several advantages compared to manual pallet jacks. They can travel at a higher speed than manual jacks.

It can carry heavier loads which can lower overall transport costs. The lifting and lowering controls are easy to use.

It can be used with one hand, eliminating additional labor costs. The fact that electric pallet jacks are battery-operated makes them low maintenance. It is environmentally friendly because it can be recharged.

Furthermore, electric jacks are more maneuverable, and the steering can be powered by the handle, making them easier to maneuver than manual jacks. The primary disadvantage of electric pallet jacks is the cost. They are more expensive to purchase and maintain.

However, these costs can be recouped with the cost savings associated with electric jacks’ increased speed and workload capabilities.

Disadvantages of Electric Pallet Jacks

The main disadvantage of electric pallet jacks is their cost. They are typically more expensive than manual pallet jacks. This cost can include the actual purchase price and repair and maintenance costs.

They usually require separate chargers and can be pretty noisy. Furthermore, they often require ongoing battery replacement and maintenance.

Some other cons of electric pallet jacks are that they are less rugged. It is more challenging to maneuver than manual pallet jacks. They may also require extra training for operators to properly understand how to use the controls.

Finally, electric pallet jacks are unsuitable for wet conditions due to the risk of electric shock.

Benefits of Manual Pallet Jacks

Manual pallet jacks offer distinct benefits when compared to their electric counterparts. These jacks are cost-efficient and are often more affordable typically. Maintenance costs are generally inexpensive, providing a long-term value for your investment.

Manual jacks are also easy to maneuver in tight areas of warehouses, making them ideal for use in any size of operation. Another distinct benefit of manual pallet jacks is that the operator does not need to be trained due to their simplistic function. As a downside, most manual jacks can only carry up to 2500 pounds.

Downsides of Manual Pallet Jacks

The disadvantages of manual pallet jacks include their limited mobility, increased labor cost, and potential safety hazards. With manual pallet jacks, the user must lift, transport, and move the pallets, which increases the chance of overexertion. A worker must also push manual pallet jacks, requiring more labor costs.

Limited Mobility

These jacks can only handle loads within a specific weight capacity. It may require some effort to move due to the weight of the load. If a pallet jack becomes overloaded, it can take a lot of time to carry the heavy bag. Manual pallet jacks can only move loads on flat, non-sloped surfaces.

The manual pallet jack can become ineffective if a facility has multiple levels. Therefore, manual pallet jacks can be a good but limited option when it comes to mobility.

Increased Labor Cost

Manual pallet jacks require someone to push or pull the material, which can lead to fatigue in the worker. Even if a battery powers the pallet jack, the machine still needs someone to steer it.

In addition, manual pallet jacks are limited in the weight they can lift, leaving heavier loads that need to be handled by others. Due to heavier load, pallet jack wheels can be damaged, which leads to high labor costs.

Finally, manual pallet jacks can be dangerous when not operated correctly. All of these can lead to higher labor costs and potential liability risks.

Potential Safety Hazards

Manual pallet jacks should also be operated on slippery or uneven surfaces, as they can cause operators to slip. Operators must be aware of obstructions, sharp corners, and other obstacles that might interfere with their path. To operate manual pallet jacks, clothing must be free of debris, as these items can become entangled and cause other injuries.

Comparing Costs

Investing in electric pallet jacks can provide significant cost savings with added efficiency. They require less maintenance, which lowers the total maintenance costs. However, electric pallet jacks have a higher upfront cost than manual jacks and need a charger, which adds to the price.

Manual pallet jacks are often the more cost-effective option for someone on a tight budget. However, they require significant physical effort, burdening workers and increasing labor costs. Businesses must consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option, weigh the pros and cons, and make the decision that’s best for their needs.

Make the Best Investment That Suits Your Needs

Investing in electric pallet jacks is much more cost-effective and easier to use than manual ones. However, it depends on the size and intricacy of the job. Electric jacks need more maintenance and energy, and manual jacks can be hard to use over long periods.

Whatever type you decide on, always consult a professional or compare options. Take action and make the investment that best suits your needs today!

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