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5 Forklift Carriage Classes & Their Lifting Capacities

5 Forklift Carriage Classes & Their Lifting Capacities

A forklift carriage is the part of a forklift used to mount objects, including the forks, the load backrest, and any forklift attachments. If you have a forklift carriage bumper, it’s attached to the carriage as well. The carriage is located between the forklift mast and the forks. It moves along the mast, allowing the forks and load to travel up and down.

what is a forklift carriage

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards for forklift carriages are laid out by the Industrial Truck Association (ITA). The ITA represents industrial truck manufacturers and suppliers of component parts and accessories in North America, spanning the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

ISO standards allow manufacturers to produce carriages and forks to the same dimensions, so these forklift parts can be used interchangeably on forklift trucks produced by different companies. Standard ISO 2328 specifically governs carriage class measurements.

In this post, we’ll go over the different forklift carriage classes, including their dimensions and lifting capacities, and show you how to determine your forklift’s carriage class.

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Forklift Carriage Classes

Each carriage class is categorized by its carriage height, the measurement between the top edge of your carriage to the bottom. Measuring your forklift’s carriage height can help you determine which class it belongs to, which in turn helps you identify your forklift’s potential lifting capacity.

Here’s a breakdown of each carriage classification:

Carriage Height Carriage Capacity (lb)
Class 1 13” <2,200
Class 2 16” 2,200–5,500
Class 3 20” 5,500–10,998
Class 4 25” 11,000–17,600
Class 5 28.66” 17,602–24,198


ITA Fork Classes

Just like forklift carriages have classes, so do forklift forks. Fork classes correspond with carriage classes.

ITA forklift forks are the most common in the material handling industry, and they’re identified by a class number. In order to qualify as an ITA fork, a fork has to meet the criteria outlined in Standard ISO 2328. These forks are also called “clip” or “hook” forks because of how they attach to the forklift carriage.

Forklift arms come in two different types: type A and type B. The difference between the two is determined by their ground-to-carriage distance, measured when the forklift mast is fully lowered. A is the most common type of arm and can be used for indoor and outdoor applications. B arms are mostly used with outdoor lift trucks.

How to Measure Your Forklift Carriage

To find your forklift carriage height, measure the distance between the top and bottom of your carriage bars. Then refer to the carriage classification chart above to help determine your forklift’s carriage class.

While the carriage class gives you some idea of what your forklift can do, it’s always good to check your machine’s data plate for its exact capabilities and limitations. The data plate and exact specifications are the most reliable determiners to use when you’re looking for the right vehicle for a job.

how to measure a forklift carriage

What Parts Are Connected to the Forklift Carriage?

The fork carriage is a foundational forklift part, a necessary support structure for the machine’s function. Without its support, a forklift couldn’t lift. Here’s how it connects to some of the other main parts of a forklift:

  • Forks: The forks on a forklift may be controlled by the mast, but the carriage is what attaches them to the vehicle and makes them stable for use.
  • Load backrest: The load backrest attaches to the sides of a forklift carriage. It’s a stabilizing component, preventing the forklift’s load from falling back toward the operator.
  • Mast: A forklift carriage acts as a connecting part between the mast and forks. By supporting the mast, the carriage helps keep it stable as loads move up and down the mast channel.

How Much Can a Forklift Carriage Lift?

The exact lifting capacity of a forklift depends on the model, but most forklifts can haul up to almost 25,000 lb. Generally, the lifting capacity corresponds to the carriage size. If you need a forklift with a high lifting capacity, choose one with a larger carriage.
It’s also important to note the lifting capacity of the forks, which may be different than the carriage lifting capacity. Use the lowest lifting capacity of the two to inform your load.

how much can a forklift carriage lift

Rent a Forklift Today!

If you’re looking for a forklift to rent, you’ve come to the right place. With forklifts that range in lifting capacity from 5,000 lb to 140,000 lb, BigRentz has the equipment to meet all your material handling needs.

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