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Your Introduction to Articulated Forklifts

Articulated Forklift in Action

Companies with large warehouses for storing goods and materials are always looking for solutions to improve operations, typically seeking to increase efficiency and throughput or store more inventory. They often use narrow aisle layouts in order to fit additional rows of racking and maximize their storage space. With these narrow aisle or very narrow aisle (VNA) warehouse designs, businesses also need equipment to easily navigate through these tight spaces without damaging goods or pallet racks. Articulated forklifts work really well in VNA operations, offering several ways to boost efficiency and optimize storage space. Their rotating design enables articulated forklifts to maneuver in confined spaces, and the shorter mast height allows them to also be used to unload trailers. These versatile forklifts help simplify a myriad of tasks within a warehouse and are a valuable addition to many forklift fleets.

What Is an Articulated Forklift?

Articulated Forklift Blog Gif - How It WorksAn articulated forklift is a compact forklift designed to fit in very narrow aisles that are just a few meters wide, with some models operating in aisle widths of less than six feet. The hallmark trait of an articulated forklift is that the front part of the body rotates left or right and moves independently of the rear, counterbalanced section. This flexibility enables these forklifts to access pallets in racks with very limited aisle space, and without the need for a second forklift that only operates within narrow aisles. This capability provides huge gains in efficiency and speed for warehouses and distribution centers. In addition to easily handling narrow aisles, articulated forklifts function indoors and outdoors, are able to operate on a steeper grade than stand-up forklifts, and can fit inside trailers, essentially operating from “dock to stock.” 

Benefits of Articulated Forklifts

Due to its unique body style, the articulated forklift offers several benefits for fast-paced warehouses and DCs. 

Better Use of Floor Space

Articulated forklifts can greatly improve the use of floor space in facilities with less square footage or floor-to-ceiling space. Most standard-aisle forklifts require at least double the space that articulated forklifts need to operate. Although reach trucks are considered narrow-aisle equipment, articulated forklifts require even less space to maneuver and can often access much higher storage space. This ability to operate in more confined spaces means that you can increase storage space without sacrificing speed or safety, especially when compared to facilities that currently use standard-aisle forklifts and wider aisles.

Eliminate Double Handling

With a standard-aisle forklift, it takes time to back up and turn multiple times to move loads. Since an articulated forklift’s mast moves independently, it is much more efficient. Cutting down on those extra movements reduces wasted time, and employees can spend more time focusing on other tasks. Also, due to their smaller turning radius and flexibility, articulated forklifts can operate from dock to stock, eliminating the need for two separate forklift types: one type to unload trailers and then another type to navigate in narrow aisles and store pallets of products within the warehouse. This “2-in-1” functionality makes an articulated forklift a valuable part of improving productivity.


There are several different styles of articulated forklifts available today with a wide range of lift heights and load capacities. With some articulated forklifts, the lift height they are able to reach is surprisingly high. Plus, some models can operate on rough terrain and are not limited to floors that are completely smooth or flat. Since many articulated forklifts have pneumatic tires, they can travel out of the warehouse to loading docks or trucks. The terrain versatility of articulated forklifts may help reduce the need for extra equipment.

Improved Safety

With its lower center of gravity, the design of an articulated forklift improves safety by reducing tip-over risks. And the smaller size of the lift can make it easier for workers to accurately gauge available space. Workers may also be less likely to cause accidents or damage when they make fewer movements. In comparison with many other types of lift trucks, articulated forklifts are easier to operate, making training simpler. Additionally, many workers feel more confident driving a forklift that they can maneuver with ease. With improved safety and reduced risk of damaged inventory and racking, articulated forklifts help warehouses minimize unplanned costs associated with these issues.


Types of Articulated Forklifts

There are three main types of unique articulated forklifts:

  • Stand-up articulated forklifts are taller, more rugged and can reach higher spaces.
  • Sit-down articulated forklifts have a lower center of gravity and offer maximum stability.
  • Electric articulated forklifts are quieter, use batteries and reduce emissions.

The ideal type of articulated forklift for an operation depends on individual needs. For example, a stand-up type may be better for outdoor use with its rugged design. An electric forklift may be a good choice for indoor operations looking to reduce their carbon footprint with more eco-friendly equipment.


Who Can Benefit From Articulated Forklifts?

Warehouses, fulfillment centers and other businesses with fast-paced operations and high-density storage often use articulated forklifts. They can also be useful for production facilities, cold storage units, retail spaces and more. Articulated forklifts are helpful for many owners or managers who want to improve their space utilization.


Converting your existing setup to narrow aisles and getting articulated forklifts, or simply adding articulated forklifts to your existing narrow aisle fleet can be a huge benefit to your business, but it’s important to consider all your options to ensure you select the best equipment. Our expert consultants are ready to support you today with innovative, customized solutions. Contact our team of narrow aisle specialists today at 888.EQDEPOT to learn more about the best options for your business.



Unlock more storage space in your warehouse by narrowing your aisles and incorporating ARTIX articulated forklifts into your equipment fleet for maximum efficiency.

ARTIX Articulated Forklift

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