Common Forklift Terms

There are many common forklift terms that appear over and over again when discussing Forklift Operator jobs. These terms may be used by some companies but not others so it can be difficult to understand exactly which qualifications you need when applying to a forklift operator position. 

Use our guide below to help you better understand the common forklift terms that may appear in a Forklift Operator job posting during your job search.

Common Forklift Terms

common forklift terms


Counterbalance is a type of forklift. It is the most common type and has its forks at the front of the machine.

The lift is designed with a weight in the back to offset or counter the balance of the load on the front.

Electric vs. Propane

Most Counterbalance forklifts are either electric or propane.

Electric forklifts are battery powered, more environmentally friendly, and require less maintenance.

Propane forklifts run on propane fuel (the tank is attached to the back of the forklift). These forklifts have a lower purchase price, are more convenient for round the clock use, and are more suitable for outdoor use.


The Reach is another type of forklift. This machine is mainly used for indoor work. The Reach can reach beyond the machine and into the racking with ease using its forks and stabilizing legs. This offers height that many other forklifts cannot achieve.

Double Reach

A Double Reach lift has extended forks that are able to reach twice as deep as standard Reach forks and can grab two pallets from the same racking.

Clamp Attachment

A Clamp attachment is a piece of equipment attached to the forklift that allows better control/grip of certain materials. Common clamp attachments include box and paper roll clamps.

Slip Sheet Attachment

A Slip Sheet attachment is a piece of equipment that attaches to the forklift and allows the operator to place a slip sheet in between products instead of using a pallet.

Cherry Picker

A Cherry Picker is a type of forklift most commonly used in warehouse environments to pick orders. This lift can also be referred to as an Order Picker. This machine allows the operator to raise and lower themselves while still operating the truck.


Also known as an Electric Pallet Truck, Walkies are designed to have the operator walk behind the machine. The machine is motorized and is therefore able to lift heavier pallets, maneuver in small spaces, and move all pallets more efficiently. These lifts are controlled using a hand throttle giving the operator the ability to move them forward and backward, as well as stop the machine quickly.


A Dockstocker is a type of counterbalanced forklift in which the operator can either sit down or stand up while operating the machine. This lift is weighed down in the same fashion as the Counterbalance with weight in the back of the lift to counter the load on the forks at the front.


A crossdock is a type of dock where there is little to no storage time for products. This takes place on a docking terminal where there are doors lining 2 sides of the facility.


The product arrives on inbound trucks that pull up to doors on 1 side of the building. The product is offloaded from the inbound trucks and is almost immediately reloaded onto outbound trucks staged at doors across the dock (hence crossdock).


LTL stands for ‘Less Than Truckload’. This is a shipping method in which the contents of a trailer do not all belong to one customer. Multiple customer shipments are included on one truck.


TL stands for ‘Truckload’. This is a shipping method in which the entire trailer contains products from one customer.

These common forklift terms listed above appear in many job postings for Forklift Operators. Knowing the proper names of the forklifts you drive and the environment you work in is crucial in determining whether you have the skills required for any particular job.

For a list of Breakaway’s current forklift job openings visit our job page here.