What Size Telehandler Do I Need?

A telehandler is a versatile machine that is often used in agricultural settings and on construction sites. Also called a telescopic forklift, or telescopic handler, a telehandler has a boom that can extend out and up. You can use different attachments at the end of the boom, which is why it’s so versatile. Typically, telehandlers are on a four-wheel drive chassis, making them especially helpful when the work site is muddy or wet.

If you’re planning a construction job and need to rent a telehandler, it’s essential that you get the right size for the job. Because of their design, it’s easy for telehandlers to become off balance. Having a telehandler that is not quite right for the job could lead to dropped loads, the machine tipping over, and permanent structural damage — not to mention an injury to the operator or anyone else in the area. As you plan your job, here’s what you need to know to find the right size telehandler.

How to Decide What Telehandler to Use

Assess the Project Requirements and Conditions

The first thing you need to know is what materials you are working with, including the weight of any loads. The second thing you need to know is where the operator will retrieve the loads and where he or she will place them.

Once you know this information, you’ll need to compare it to telehandler’s load chart. When you look at the load chart, you’ll see that it’s not a straightforward list of weight limits and heights. It will show what the weight limits are depending on the degree and height the operator will lift the boom. This is why knowing the height of the load, as well as its location and weight, is so important.

The main concern when operating a telehandler is maintaining the center of gravity so that it doesn’t tip.

Determine What Attachments You’ll Use

Because telehandlers are compatible with different types of attachments, you’ll need to know ahead of time what attachments you’ll use. Construction sites typically use the 48-inch fork attachment, and load charts are usually based on that measurement. If you need other types of attachments, such as swing carriages or work platforms, you’ll need to check that attachment’s load capacity to see if it differs from standard measurements.

Know Where You’ll Use the Telehandler

The size of telehandlers ranges from compact to full size. Compact telehandlers are often used in an indoor setting because of their size, weight, and maneuverability. They’re preferred over forklifts because they can use different attachments and, like all telehandlers, they’re useful for loading high-sided trucks and hoppers. If size is a constraint on your project, consider getting a compact telehandler.

On the other hand, if you have large loads and your work site is outdoors with plenty of room to move around, you might want a full-size telehandler made for heavy industrial use. These telehandlers have weight capacities that range from 6,000 to 14,000 pounds, and they can extend up to 56 feet.

In addition to height and weight, consider the conditions the telehandler will be in, such as uneven terrain, areas prone to high winds, or soil that’s loose or unstable. Make sure you consider these environmental conditions when choosing a type of telehandler.

Make Sure The Operator Is Trained

In addition to having the right telehandler for your job, you’ll want to ensure that anyone who operates the telehandler has training through OSHA. While certain lifting equipment, like cranes, or positioned firmly, telehandlers have more options for maneuverability. For that reason, it’s easy to put the load in an unsafe position, and the center of gravity can change quickly. As the load lifts up, the stability decreases, creating a small margin of error. Having the proper training before operating the equipment will help keep the operator and those nearby, safe.

When it comes to renting a telehandler, one of the most important things is to get the right size for the job. If you’re not sure how much the load weighs, go with the higher estimate and rent a machine with the higher load capacity. After all, the equipment can’t tell you when you’ve exceeded its capabilities.

If you’re still not sure what type of telehandler you need and don’t want to risk a mismatch, call BigRentz. Our sales personnel can help match the telehandler to your specific job. Once we discuss with you what your needs are and know which telehandler is right for the job, we’ll resource that specific size and get it delivered to your work site.

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