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Narrow Aisle Forklift Types and Specifications

Narrow Aisle Forklift Types and Specifications

Narrow aisles are great for optimizing storage space in warehouses. They commonly measure 8 ½ to 10 ½ feet wide, but can be as narrow as 5 to 7 feet. To navigate these tight spaces, narrow aisle forklifts, a type of Class II Electric motor narrow aisle truck, are the best choice.

They navigate and work in narrow aisles much better than the larger and heavier counterbalanced forklift, which carry a weight at the back to offset heavy loads. Though narrow aisle forklifts might not have quite the same lifting capacity as heavy-duty machines, their turning radius and reach height make them ideal for tight spaces.

In this post, we go over the different types of narrow aisle forklifts, important specifications, and some popular models on the market.

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Narrow Aisle Forklift Types

what are the types of narrow aisle forklifts

The chart below gives an overview of the main types of narrow aisle forklifts as well as their key specs. Some specialty models may fall outside of these specifications, but these are a good baseline when considering which narrow aisle machine will suit your needs.


Specification Order Picker Turret Truck Walkie Stacker Reach Truck 3-Wheel Forklift
Aisle Width 4–6 ft 4–7 ft 7–8 ft 7–10 ft 10–12 ft
Lift Capacity Up to 3,000 lb Up to 3,500 lb Up to 4,000 lb Up to 4,500 lb Up to 4,000 lb
Lift Height Up to 40 ft Up to 30 ft Up to 17 ft Up to 45 ft Up to 23 ft
Operator Position Standing Seated or standing Walking behind Seated or standing Seated or standing
Uses Individual item picking High-density, high-rack storage Stacking and transporting in tight areas Deep pallet storage Versatile, suitable for various warehouse tasks


Order Picker

Order pickers elevate the operator to the level of the racks to manually select items. They’re designed to help pick individual items rather than lift full pallets.

Since the machine’s design prioritizes the ease of picking individual items at various heights, using an order picker can enhance picking efficiency, by increasing throughput, and worker safety.

  • Best used for: Warehouses where workers need to pick individual items from various heights, commonly used in e-commerce or parts warehouses.
  • Choose this type if: Your primary task involves piece picking from different levels.

Here are some of the most popular order picker models and their specs.


Brand and Model Outside Turning Radius Load Capacity Width Weight Lift Height Length to Face of Forks
JLG 18MSP 48 in 400 lbs 30 in 1,950 lb 288 in 57.6 in
Toyota 8BPUE15 72.15 in 3,000 lbs 40 in 4,650 lb 208 in 74 in


Turret Truck

Turret trucks feature a rotating mast, allowing the forks to pivot sideways to pick or place loads, such as pallets and cases. This design eliminates the need to turn the truck in the aisle.

Their ability to operate in extremely tight spaces and handle loads at high elevations makes them indispensable material-handling equipment if you want to maximize space efficiency.

  • Best used for: Very narrow aisles where traditional forklifts cannot maneuver and high-rack, high-density storage environments.
  • Choose this type if: You have the narrowest aisles in your warehouse where you can’t turn a truck.

Here are some of the most popular turret truck models and their specs.


Brand and Model Outside Turning Radius Load Capacity Width Weight Lift Height Length to Face of Forks
Jungheinrich EFX 411 72.7 in 2,400 lb 61 in 10,604 lb 354 in 116.4 in
Crown TSP 6500 89 in 3,300 lb 48–83 in 13,500 – 16,000 lb 531 in 145 in


Walkie Stacker

A walkie stacker is a type of pedestrian forklift, primarily used for stacking, transporting, and lifting palletized goods. Known for its compact design and walk-behind operation, it’s suitable for small warehouses and retail environments where space is limited and maneuverability is key.

  • Best used for: Low to medium-height stacking tasks and short-distance transportation of palletized goods.
  • Choose this type if: You require a cost-effective, low-maintenance solution for occasional lifting and material handling tasks, without the need for high lift heights.

Here are some of the most popular walkie stacker models and their specs.


Brand and Model Outside Turning Radius Load Capacity Width Weight Lift Height Length to Face of Forks
Toyota 8BWS10 56.4 in 2,000 lb 31 in 1,710 lb 143 in 33 in
Crown M 3200 56.7 in 2,000 lb 28 in 1,663–1,775 lb 144 in 32.2 in


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Reach Truck

Reach trucks are designed with a unique mechanism that allows the forks to extend outwards, enabling them to reach into racking systems and pick pallets. Their forks can extend past the compartment, making them more versatile in tight spaces compared to standard forklifts. They typically also have a high lift capacity.

  • Best used for: Warehouses with high-density storage and high shelving and handling pallets that involve reaching into deep racking.
  • Choose this type if: You need to maximize vertical storage space and have deep racking systems.

Here are some of the most popular reach truck models and their specs.


Brand and Model Outside Turning Radius Load Capacity Width Weight Lift Height Length to Face of Forks
Crown RM 6000 60.4 in 4,500 lb 34–50 in 6,232–7,179 lb 400 in 56–60 in
Toyota RF1-BE1X35 70.8 in 3,500 lb 44–63 in 5,700 lb 270 in 54 in


3-Wheel Electric Forklift

Three-wheel electric forklifts have one wheel in the back. This design gives them a very small turning radius, which makes them a great option for tight turns in narrow spaces. This lift truck is typically used to lift cases and pallets, and their ability to travel give them more versatility for use than other narrow aisle forklifts. They are wider than the options listed above, so will not work in very narrow aisles.

  • Best used for: Warehouses with medium-height material handling tasks that require a tight turning radius.
  • Choose this type if: You have mid-to-low lift height requirements in aisles at least ten feet wide.

Here are some of the most popular three-wheel forklift models and their specs.


Brand and Model Outside Turning Radius Load Capacity Width Weight Lift Height Length to Face of Forks
Hyster A25XNT 55 in 2,500 lb 39.2 in 4,560 lb 112 in 67.9 in
Yale ERP040VTL 62.1 in 4,000 lb 43.9 in 7,550 lb 119 in 74.9 in


Narrow Aisle Forklift Specifications

Having a sense of how narrow aisle forklifts work and what types are best suited for specific applications, will help guide your equipment search. But not all models are built exactly alike. Make sure the specifications of the model you choose match the capacities you need from your machine.

narrow aisle forklift considerations

When comparing equipment models, here are some of the most important specs to consider:

  • Lift capacity: This determines how much weight the forklift can safely lift. Make sure this matches the weight of the materials you’ll be handling to avoid overloading the machine and potential accidents.
  • Lift height: This indicates the maximum height the forklift can reach. This should align with the height of your storage racks to ensure that materials can be placed and retrieved from all levels.
  • Turning radius: A smaller turning radius allows for better maneuverability in tight spaces, which is crucial in narrow aisle environments to prevent accidents and improve efficiency. You can estimate your forklift’s clearance and compatibility with your warehouse setup using this formula: outer forklift turning radius + load center + load length + 12 inches = minimum aisle width.
  • Fork length and width: The size of the forks should fit the pallets or materials you need them to handle. Incorrect fork size can lead to unstable loads and an increased risk of accidents.

Benefits of Narrow Aisle Forklifts

Narrow aisle forklifts aren’t just limited to working in narrow aisles. While they’re best in those applications, using a narrow aisle forklift on your job site can come with many benefits.

  • Greater efficiency: Narrow aisle forklifts are more productive than other, larger vehicles. Since they’re typically working in shorter distances and more compact areas, they can accomplish more in less time, especially as compared to work on a more spread-out job site.
  • Enhanced maneuverability: Because they’re designed for work in tight spaces, narrow aisle forklifts have great maneuverability. They provide unparalleled operator control for any indoor application.
  • Improved safety: Narrow aisle forklifts are built with safety in mind. Using a narrow aisle forklift in your warehouse may be safer than an alternative machine that isn’t as specialized for these applications.
  • Adaptability to warehouse layouts: Narrow aisle forklifts are a versatile choice for warehouses, able to navigate and work in both narrow and wide aisles.

Narrow Aisle Safety Standards in Warehouses

When you’re working with any piece of machinery, using it correctly is key to keeping your workers and job site safe. Check your operator manual for specific guidance on how to use your narrow aisle forklift.

In general, following these safety standards promotes a safe workplace:

  • Ensure you have proper training and certification before operating the forklift. OSHA requires all forklift operators to be trained and certified.
  • Conduct pre-check inspections for mechanical issues before operating. Make sure the machine is in good working order before you try to use it.
  • Keep clear visibility through aisles and within the warehouse, as well as with workers. You should always have a clear, unobstructed view of your surroundings when you’re using the machine.
  • Enforce speed limits and safe turns with loads. Don’t rush! Slow, steady movements are key to keeping your loads stable.
  • Loads should be properly secured and the appropriate weight. Check your machine’s load capacity so you know you aren’t overloading it.
  • Wear appropriate PPE, or personal protective equipment. Depending on the forklift you use, this could include a hard hat, eye protection, or even a harness.


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Rent a Narrow Aisle Forklift Today

The right narrow aisle forklift can be an asset to any warehousing operation. If you’re ready to rent a forklift for the day, week, or month, you’ve come to the right place. From heavy-duty trucks to hand-guided machines, BigRentz has the equipment for all your material handling needs.


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