Skip to content

Pallet Jack vs Liftgate vs Forklift Explained [With Images]

by Ion Rotaru 08 Oct 2023 0 Comments

If you're not a logistics industry insider, you might be confused by all the terms you keep seeing. Like what's the difference between a pallet jack, a liftgate, and a forklift? Don't worry, in this article, we'll break it all down for you and make it easy to understand. Keep reading to learn more.


Liftgates, commonly referred to as tailgates in some regions, are attached to the back of delivery trucks. Their primary purpose is to assist in the lifting and lowering of goods from the truck to the ground level.

Imagine you've ordered a new fridge, and the delivery truck arrives. Instead of straining to lift this hefty appliance down by hand, the driver simply lowers the liftgate, places the fridge on it, and then hydraulically lowers the fridge to the ground level. Simple, effective, and far safer than trying to do this manually. The liftgate can also be used to lower pallets and other heavy equipment.

Liftgate in use

Pallet Jacks

Now, meet the pallet jack, one of the most used pieces of equipment in both warehouses and trucks. A pallet jack is a hand-powered tool designed to lift and transport pallets within a warehouse. You slide its two forks into a pallet, pump the handle to lift the pallet off the ground, and then push or pull the pallet to its destination.

What I love about pallet jacks is their simplicity. They don't need fuel or extensive maintenance. They're highly maneuverable, making them perfect for navigating tight aisles and corners in a warehouse.

Pallet jacks are usually used together with liftgates. Because although a liftgate can help you lower a pallet, you still need the pallet jack to move that pallet on and off the liftgate. Pallet jacks are great for being used in trucks because they're light and small, and therefore have no problem fitting in the back along with the goods being transported.

Pallet jack on liftgate


These powered industrial trucks are used to lift and transport materials over short distances. Unlike pallet jacks, forklifts can lift much heavier loads, and they can lift them higher too.

While they require trained operators and regular maintenance, the versatility of a forklift is unmatched. They're the go-to choice when dealing with heavy, bulky items or when items need to be stacked high up on shelves.

But, you will not see forklifts used in trucks. They're simply too heavy and bulky to fit. Unless we're talking about a truck mounted forklift, which is a little different. These are special forklifts made specifically to be mounted on trucks and to be used to move pallets in urban settings. You'll often see them used for deliveries of building material and landscape material.

Mounted forklift vs regular forklift

Do you need a pallet jack for the lift gate?

Yes, but not always. A liftgate is designed to move goods from the truck's level to the ground. Once your goods are on the ground, you can use a pallet jack to move them around your warehouse or facility. However, if you're dealing with lighter goods or smaller quantities, you might not need a pallet jack at all.

When would you use a pallet jack instead of a forklift?

Pallet jacks shine in situations where maneuverability and simplicity are key. If you’re moving goods a short distance, especially in tight spaces, a pallet jack is often the better choice. Plus, with no need for fuel and minimal maintenance, they're cost-effective for many businesses.

Looking for warehouse equipment?

Choosing the right tool for the job can save you time, money, and prevent potential injuries. Know what you're dealing with, and pick the right tool for the job.

If you're in need of top-notch pallet jacks or other warehouse equipment, look no further than WarehouseWiz. We offer a great selection of pallet jacks, forklifts, and even dock plates to fit your needs. Our equipment is high-quality and affordable at the same time. So why wait? Shop our pallet jacks and forklifts today!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Shop the look

Choose Options

Edit Option
Back In Stock Notification
is added to your shopping cart.
Compare ()
Product SKU Description Collection Availability Product Type Other Details
this is just a warning