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Electric Pallet Jack vs Manual Pallet Jack

by Ion Rotaru 30 May 2023 0 Comments

Pallet jacks, both electric and manual, play crucial roles in warehouses, stores, and other locations where heavy loads need shifting. But which one should you pick? Let's dive into this comparison, breaking it all down, so you can make the right choice for your specific needs.

Electric Pallet Jack vs Manual Pallet Jack

Advantages and Disadvantages: Electric Jacks vs Manual Jacks

Like everything in life, both electric and manual pallet jacks have their advantages and disadvantages. It's like a seesaw – there's a balance, and what works for one business may not necessarily work for another. So, let's explore some of these pros and cons.

Manual Pallet Jack


  • Cost-effective: Manual pallet jacks generally come at a lower price point compared to their electric counterparts.
  • Easy to Use: Minimal training is needed to operate them, saving you both time and resources.
  • Compact and Agile: They can navigate tight spaces with ease, perfect for compact warehouse spaces.
  • Maintenance-Free: Without electric parts, manual pallet jacks require much less maintenance over time.


  • Physical Effort: They require manual force to lift and transport loads, which could be physically demanding over time.
  • Limited Capacity: They're great for smaller loads but can struggle with heavier ones.
  • Ground-Level Operations: Similar to electric pallet jacks, they're best suited for ground-level tasks and can't reach higher shelves.

Manual Pallet Jack - Comparison to Electric Jacks

Electric Pallet Jack


  • Effortless Lifting: Electric pallet jacks make heavy lifting a breeze, reducing the physical strain on operators.
  • Increased Productivity: With less physical exertion needed, these jacks can potentially increase operational efficiency.
  • Ease of Use: They're simple to operate once you get the hang of the controls. Just be sure to inspect electric jacks regularly to make sure they operate as intended.


  • Higher Initial Cost: These jacks come at a higher upfront cost compared to manual pallet jacks. BUT, they are of course cheaper when comparing to forklifts.
  • Maintenance and Charging: Regular maintenance and battery charging are necessary, adding to ongoing costs.
  • Limited Lifespan: While they can last for years, electric pallet jacks eventually need replacement, unlike their manual counterparts.

Electric pallet jack pros and cons - comparison with manual jacks

Don't forget to read our complete electric pallet jack guide to learn more about them.

What are the Advantages of a Manual Pallet Jack?

Manual pallet jacks are the old faithful of warehouse equipment. The simplicity is their main advantage. With fewer moving parts, there's less that can go wrong. They're perfect for quick jobs, like moving pallets short distances. Plus, they're lightweight and easy to maneuver, so navigating tight spaces is a breeze.

Another upside is their affordability. If budget is your main concern, manual pallet jacks are a sensible choice. They don't require electricity to operate, so you save on energy costs too. Not to mention, they're easy to use, so minimal training is needed. But remember, they do demand physical effort, which could be a downside for some.

How Should Loads Sit on an Electric Pallet Jack?

Last but not least, let's discuss load placement. This might seem trivial, but trust me, it's crucial for safe and efficient operation. Here are some pointers:

  1. Centered and Balanced: Make sure the load is evenly distributed. We're aiming for balance here, folks.

  2. Forward-Facing: Keep the heavier side of the pallet facing the front of the jack. It helps with stability.

  3. Tight and Secure: Ensure the pallet and its contents are secure. No one wants a toppling tower situation.

  4. Not Too High: Don't stack loads higher than the mast. This helps prevent tipping over.

What is the difference between an electric jack and hydraulic jack?

The primary difference between an electric jack and a hydraulic jack lies in their mechanism and power source. An electric jack uses an electric motor to generate force that lifts or moves the load. They are usually controlled by a set of buttons and sometimes come with programmable features.

On the other hand, a hydraulic jack (more commonly refered to as a manual jack) uses the principle of fluid mechanics – specifically, Pascal's Principle – to lift heavy loads. It's a manual device where force applied to one part of the system (often via a pump) gets multiplied to lift the weight. These types of jacks are commonly used in car repair, construction, and other areas where heavy objects need to be lifted a short distance.

Electric jack vs Hydraulic Jack


In the end, whether you choose a manual or electric pallet jack really depends on your needs, budget, and the nature of your work. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. I hope this comparison has given you a clearer picture.

If you're looking for an electric pallet jack or manual pallet jack for your operations - browse our selection or contact us today. We'd love to help you!

Shop Manual Pallet Jacks & Electric Pallet Jacks

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