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Choosing the correct material handling equipment for your business will make a significant impact on your bottom line. To maximise productivity, you need to be 100% sure that your new forklift is fit for purpose and has the correct specification.

So how to identify the right kind of forklift for your business? Well, you need to consider many aspects including location (outdoor or indoor), floor surface, type of fuel, tires, and ergonomics.

What are All-Terrain Forklifts?

All-Terrain Forklifts (also known as rough terrain forklifts) are normally chosen for outdoor construction on surfaces that are undulated. These forklift trucks can climb slopes as great as 45 degrees, which a standard IC Forklift cannot do without getting stuck or tipping over. They are built with more powerful engines than conventional forklifts, for higher and faster travel speeds.

These forklifts are built more like a tractor with forks. They have pneumatic or air-filled tires, as opposed to counterbalance forklifts which use cushion tires. Pneumatic tires are inflatable tires with thicker threads, allowing them to become stable on uneven surfaces.  The air pressure inside the tire is greater than that of the atmosphere.

Rough Terrain Forklift Vs Conventional Forklift

Rough Terrain Forklift Applications

Rough terrain forklifts provide numerous advantages in industrial sites where uneven surfaces can exist. Construction and building sites use these types of forklifts to offload bricks on all kinds of rough terrain, whether it be dry or wet, ice or snow.

  • Lumber yard
  • Retail
  • Brick
  • Block
  • Pipe

Two- or Four-Wheel Drive Rough Terrain Forklift

Rough terrain forklifts come in either 2 wheel drive (2WD) or 4 wheel drive (4WD) variants. 4WD is where the forklift has power to all four wheels at the same time or when required. It can apply a varied amount of power through each wheel to cope with different conditions and ensure greater manoeuvrability. The surface area of the power is doubled compared to 2WD, providing better control.

In a normal two-wheel steering system, the rear wheels do not turn in the direction of the curve, whereas in four-wheel steering the rear wheels turn with the front wheels. Both types offer good ground clearance and tractor-type tyres that can easily navigate through all the dirt and debris found within most construction sites.

Rough Terrain Forklift Vs Conventional Forklift

Advantages Rough Terrain Forklifts

1. Bigger Tires

Unlike standard forklifts, HC-UK’s Rough Terrain Forklifts are fitted with heavy duty pneumatic tires. These larger sized tires provide more stability when operating over uneven terrain, as well extra grip when operating in wet conditions.

2. Navigating Slopes

One of biggest advantages of All Terrain Forklifts is that they can navigate slopes with gradients of up to 45 degrees, offering superior performance.

3. 4 x 4 Wheel Drive

Standard forklifts are 2 wheel-drive, whilst HC-Forklift-UK’s four wheel drive Rough Terrain forklifts are interchangeable between 2WD and 4WD. Four wheel drive reduces tire wear, fuel consumption and general wear and tear of the forklift when operating over rough terrain.

5. Higher Ground Clearance

Conventional forklifts have little ground clearance as they predominantly operate on solid smooth surfaces. However, rough Terrain lift trucks have a much higher ground clearance ensuring better manoeuvrability – all without damaging the undercarriage.

Rough Terrain Forklift Vs Conventional Forklift


If your operation is indoors or on a reasonably smooth surface, then a standard counterbalance forklift will do the job. However, if operating outdoor on undulated ground and in extreme conditions – then a rough terrain forklift is just what you need!

Here at HC-Forklifts-UK we offer 2WD and 4WD All Terrain trucks. These durable and robust machines come with various lift capacities, engine sizes, speeds and fork sizes which can be tailored to your exact requirements. That way you can drive efficiencies and productivity all at the same time.