December 12, 2018

How wide are pallet jacks?

When trying to find out how wide are pallet jacks? You will also need to know that the South African industry seem to have ‘standardized’ pallet jacks in several ways:

  • Width of each of two Forks: 17.7 cm
  • Fork Width with the dimension between the outer edges of the forks: Available as 51.4 cm and 8.6 cm.
  • Fork Length: Available as 91.4 cm, 106.7 cm and 122 cm
  • Lowered Height: 7.5 cm
  • Raised Height: At least 19.1 cm but some will raise higher.

As modern container palletization has forced standardization in the dimensional domain globally.

A pallet jack, also known as a pallet truck is a tool used to lift and move pallets. Pallet jacks are the most basic form of a forklift intended to move heavy or light pallets within a warehouse.

How wide are pallet jacks: Operational principle

The jack is steered by a lever that also acts as the pump handle for raising the jack. A small handle on the tiller releases the hydraulic fluid, causing the forks to lower. The front wheels inside the end of the forks are mounted on levers attached to linkages that go to levers attached to the jack cylinder.

As the hydraulic jack at the ’tiller’ end is raised, the links force the wheels down, raising the forks vertically above the front wheels, raising the load upward until it clears the floor. The pallet is only lifted enough to clear the floor for subsequent travel. Oftentimes, pallet jacks are used to move and organize pallets inside a trailer, especially when there is no forklift truck access or availability.

A jack typically has steering wheels in the front, while each fork usually has either a single wheel or two bogie wheels.

How wide are pallet jacks: Operating mechanism

  • Pallet jack in lowered position, allowing it to be inserted under a load on a pallet.
  • Jack showing how wheels drop, lifting forks and load. The steering tiller and raised hydraulic cylinder are clearly visible on the right.
  • Underside of a jack showing linkages under forks.


Manual pallet jacks have existed since 1918. Early types lifted the forks and load only by mechanical linkages. More modern type uses a hand pumped hydraulic jack to lift.

Types of pallet jacks

Manual pallet jack

A manual pallet jack is a hand-powered jack. Most commonly seen in retail and personal warehousing operations.

Powered pallet jack

An electric pallet jack. The recharging lead can be seen.

Powered pallet jacks, also known as electric pallet trucks, walkies, single or double pallet jacks, or power jack, are motorized to allow lifting and moving of heavier and stacked pallets.

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