What is the difference between a telehandler and a forklift? Common questions answered

12/10/2021

What is the difference between a telehandler and a forklift? Common questions answered

When it comes to the wide world of construction machinery, there are some common terms that get used interchangeably when they shouldn’t. To the site novice, a telehandler and a forklift might be considered as machines suitable for the same jobs, or even two words for the same machine. This is not the case!


Sure, they both lift, place, and move loads, but there are some key distinctions between these two powerful machines that you should be across before you decide on which one to hire for your project. We’ve done the research and asked the experts for the main differences between telehandlers and forklifts, so that you can make an informed choice and avoid any on-site disappointment.

1. Telehandlers have multiple arm attachments

If you need a machine with increased mobility on your site, telehandlers win the day over forklifts. While the humble forklift has its place in lifting loads up and down, telehandlers feature booms that can be fitted with different attachments. Telehandlers are essentially the Inspector Gadgets of heavy machinery.

Telehandlers can move loads backwards and forwards with ease without moving their base, unlike their forklift counterparts. In addition, telehandlers can be fitted with hooks, scoops, and buckets to handle any load that may be present on your site.

2. Telehandlers and forklifts work best on different terrains

Forklifts and telehandlers have different capabilities, making each one suitable for certain jobs. A telehandler is something of a construction site superstar, boasting versatility and manoeuvrability that makes it a great choice for tricky terrain. Thanks to their larger wheelbases and bodies, telehandlers can handle slippery and uneven surfaces. Forklifts are better fitting for less tumultuous terrain, as their reliable control and functionality work well indoors.

3. They each shine in different settings

For construction and outdoor sites, hiring a telehandler is a no-brainer. Telehandlers fill a range of niches, so you don’t need to hire a different machine for every single job on site. Thanks to the variety of telehandler attachments available, a telehandler can become something of an all-in-one solution for larger construction projects. Whether you need to carry large loads to hard-to-access spots, or require a mini-crane in a pinch, the telehandler has you covered.


If you have indoor work that needs to be done, such as in a warehouse or a factory, forklifts are generally the go-to choice. They can move loads across shelves, docks, vehicles, and warehouse floors, providing a range of functionality perfectly suited to a more controlled environment.

Which one do you choose?

While traditional forklifts have their place, you really can’t beat a telehandler when it comes to versatility. To summarise, a telehandler is capable of everything that a forklift is, with some extra features that come in handy on the job site.

Take advantage of our first-rate telehandlers on your next project

With all this information considered, you may now be realising that a telehandler would be the ideal piece of equipment for your next construction, renovation, or assembly job. Hi-Range Crane Forks operates and maintains a wide range of telehandlers for hire, all fully capable of servicing projects of any size across New South Wales. 


From telehandlers with a 5-7 metre reach, all the way up to 20+-metre reach, have the telehandler perfect for your job. If you would like to know more about our light, standard, or heavy telehandler hire services, call us today on {phone} or get in touch via our website. Our friendly team can help you with quotes and expert advice.

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Contact Hi-Range Crane Forks today to receive your free quote. We’ll work with you every step of the way to create a customised plan that suits the size, scope and duration of your site. We are specialists in hi-rail equipment for the building, construction and rail industries in Sydney and throughout New South Wales.

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