The Ultimate Buying Guide for Pallet Jacks and Hand Trucks

Pallet Truck

If you’re in the market for a new pallet jack or hand truck, it’s essential to know what features to look for to find the perfect fit for your needs. Here’s a guide to help you make the best purchase for your material handling needs.

Difference Between a Pallet Jack and a Hand Truck

The pallet jack and hand pallet truck are designed to help you maneuver heavy loads in warehouses and other industrial environments. However, some important differences between the two can impact your decision:

  • Pallet jacks are designed to move heavy items up and down ramps, while hand trucks transport things at a lower level.
  • Pallet jacks can hold more weight than hand trucks, making them ideal for larger loads.
  • A pallet jack typically has two forks that fit under the pallet, while a hand truck has only one fork.
  • A pallet jack is operated with a handle attached to the fork tips, while a hand lift truck is operated with an ergonomic handle attached to the frame.

Handle Truck

Pallet Jack vs. Hand Truck: Which Do You Need?

The choice between a pallet jack and a hand truck depends on your needs and preferences. Considering the differences between these two tools can help you make a more informed decision. Some key differences include the following:


Pallet jacks and hand trucks come in various sizes, depending on the type and weight capacity of the item you need to move. The two most common dimensions for forks are 4 and 6 inches wide, while typical hand truck widths range from 10 to 18 inches.

If you are working with smaller loads or need something that is more portable and lightweight, a narrower hand truck may be a better choice. A wider pallet jack may be more suitable if you need to move heavier items or work on uneven surfaces.

Also consider the dimensions of the pallets and objects you will be moving. For example, a shorter fork length may be most suitable if you work with standard 4’ by 4’ pallets. A longer fork length may be better if you need to work on uneven surfaces.

Lift Height

When choosing a pallet jack or hand truck, consider the lift height required for the items you will be moving. You may need a pallet jack with a higher lift height if you work with hefty loads, especially on higher shelves. A shorter lift height might be more suitable if your loads are lighter and you don’t need to reach too high.

Some pallet jacks and hand trucks also have a scissor lift function that allows you to easily pick up and move items from higher shelves or racks. This is an excellent option for warehouse workers who need to maintain inventory on multiple levels within their facility, making it easier to access all items without relying on ladders or other tools.


The LYFTEX High Lift/Scissor Lift Pallet Jack (Semi-Electric) is designed for lifting open bottom skids and has a maximum lifting capacity of 2,200 pounds. This versatile pallet jack has two fork size options and non-marking polyurethane steering wheels, making it ideal for indoor or outdoor use.


Hand trucks typically have a weight capacity of around 250 pounds, while pallet jacks can carry up to 5,000 pounds. For this reason, pallet jacks are often used for heavier loads, such as appliances or pieces of machinery.

Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. specializes in storage solutions for businesses of all sizes. Our selection of commercial hand trucks and pallet jacks are designed to make it easy to move heavy equipment and materials around the workplace.

Our commercial hand truck, with a capacity of 600 pounds, are sufficient for carrying lightweight loads on smooth surfaces. Our pallet jacks, with a capacity of 5,000 pounds, can safely lift and transport heavy loads without tipping over.

Power Options

There are three main power options for pallet jacks and hand trucks. Each type has pros and cons that make it more or less suitable for different workplaces:

  • Manual pallet jacks and hand trucks typically have smaller footprints making them ideal for tight spaces. However, they require more physical exertion to operate, which can be a drawback in some workplaces.
  • Electric pallet jacks and hand trucks are easier to operate but can be more expensive to purchase and maintain. They also require a reliable power source, which may not be available in all workplaces.
  • Semi-electric pallet jacks and hand trucks offer a compromise between the two. They are powered by batteries but also allow for manual operation, which can be helpful in cases where no power source is available or when extra physical exertion is required.

Workplace Environment

It’s also important to consider the environment in which you will use it. For example, if your workplace includes stairs or uneven terrain, a model designed for use on flat surfaces may not be ideal.


The Advantage™ PRO-MAX All-Terrain Pallet Truck has large rolling pneumatic wheels for moving over indoor or outdoor rugged terrain, and the 3-position pulp handle is easy to operate.

If your work involves operating in extreme temperatures, such as inside a freezer room, you may need a pallet jack or hand truck to withstand these conditions.

Find High-Quality Pallet Jacks and Hand Trucks at Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc.

At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we carry a wide selection of pallet jacks and hand trucks to meet your handling needs. We have the perfect solution whether you’re looking for a standard pallet jack or a heavy-duty model.

Our hand trucks are available in a variety of sizes and styles, making it easy to find the right one for your application. For all your pallet jacks and hand truck needs, browse our catalog or call us at (800) 589-7225 for assistance.