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Warehouse Operations: Finding your Aisle Dimensions

Before purchasing a forklift, it’s critical to know your aisle dimensions so that you select a forklift that will work in your environment. Taking the time to do this will save your company time and money and avoid the headache of purchasing a forklift that won’t work for your space. Use our guide to ensure you select the right forklift for your warehouse operation.

All the following measurements have been done with MCFA products specification sheets and using a standard pallet racking system (42” frames) with standard 48’’L X 40” W pallets.

Please note: When looking at your layout, you must take into account all building columns, utilities, and other obstructions that may affect your layout and prevent you from optimizing the number of pallets available.

Sit-Down Counterbalanced Forklifts

Sit-Down Counterbalanced Forklift Aisle Clearance

Sit-Down Counterbalanced Forklift Aisle Clearance

A sit-down counterbalanced forklift with a capacity rating of up to 6,000 lbs. will require aisle widths of approximately 13-feet for handling standard 48″ long pallets. This will also take into account the use of right angle stacking for placement of loads inside the storage racks.

Aisle Dimensions for Sit-Down Counterbalanced Forklifts

When using a sit-down counterbalanced forklift of any fuel type, with a capacity of 4,000 lbs. to 6,000 lbs., handling standard 48″ long pallets of materials, the standard requirement is 13-foot wide aisles for storing and retrieving pallets from the pallet racking.

When using a 3,000 lbs. capacity sit-down counterbalanced forklift, you will require 12.5-foot wide aisles, which won’t differ much from the 13-foot aisles mentioned above. You won’t get extra storage out of a lower capacity forklift.

For every additional double-row of racks added to the layout shown below, you are required to have an additional 21 feet of building width to accommodate the double rows of racking and the additional clearance width to access those racks.

When looking at your layout, you must take into account all building columns, utilities, and other obstructions that may affect your layout and prevent you from optimizing the number of pallets available.

Aisle Dimensions for Sit-Down Counterbalanced Forklifts

Aisle Dimensions for Sit-Down Counterbalanced Forklifts

Narrow Aisle Stand-up Counterbalance Forklifts

Narrow Aisle Stand-up Counterbalanced Forklift Aisle Clerance

Narrow Aisle Stand-up Counterbalanced Forklift Aisle Clearance

Narrow aisle stand-up counterbalanced forklifts will require aisle widths of approximately 11 feet for handling any standard 48″ long pallet loads, for right angle stacking of loads in storage racking. This is true for most narrow aisle forklifts that are rated capacities of 3,000 lbs. to 5,500 lbs.

Narrow Aisle reach trucks with a single reach application is also known as a pantograph forklift can operate at capacities up to 4,500 lbs. in aisles as narrow as 8.5-9 feet wide.

Aisle Dimensions for Narrow Aisle Stand-Up Counterbalanced Forklifts

When using a Narrow Aisle Stand-up counterbalanced forklift with a rated capacity of 3,000 lbs. to 4,500 lbs. while handling a standard 48″ pallet, you require an approximately 11-foot wide aisle for storing and retrieving pallets in a standard racking system.

For each additional double row of racks added to your layout shown below, you will require an additional 19 feet of building width to accommodate the double rows of racks and the additional width needed to access those racks.

When looking at your layout you must take into account all building columns, utilities, and other obstructions that may affect your layout thus prevent you from optimizing the number of pallets available for use.

Aisle Dimensions for Narrow Aisle Stand-up Counterbalanced Forklifts

Aisle Dimensions for Narrow Aisle Stand-up Counterbalanced Forklifts

Turret or Swing-Mast Very Narrow Aisle Forklifts

Very Narrow Aisle Forklift Clearance

 Very Narrow Aisle Forklift Clearance

Turret or swing-mast narrow aisle forklifts require aisle widths approximately 6 feet with standard 48’’ long pallets with loads to be placed and retrieved inside the racking system. This type of forklift has an articulating swivel mast that pivots to place pallets on either the left or right of the machine into the standard racking system.

This type of narrow picking is accomplished with the first-in-first-out inventory system; which has many types of the same SKU (Stock Keep Units) and very few or only one or two loads of each is held within the inventory.

Aisle Dimensions for Turret or Swing Mast Forklifts

When using a Swing Mast or Turret Truck from 3,000 lbs. to 3,500 lbs. capacity that is handling the average 48″ pallet with a load you require approximately 6-feet wide aisles for storing and retrieving pallets out of the racks.

For each additional double row of racks added to the layout shown below you would require an additional 14 feet of building width to accommodate the double rows of racks and additional aisle needed to access those loads.

When looking at your layout you must take into account all building columns, utilities, and other obstructions that may affect your layout and prevent you from optimizing the number of pallets available for use.

Aisle Dimensions for Very Narrow Aisle Forklifts

Aisle Dimensions for Very Narrow Aisle Forklifts

Narrow Aisle Double Reach Forklifts

Narrow Aisle Double Reach Forklifts

Narrow Aisle Double Reach Forklifts

Stand up rider narrow aisle double reach or deep reach forklifts will require an aisle width of approximately 10 feet for standard 48″ long pallets with loads for placing and storing on standard racking at a right angle.

These forklifts have double scissor pantograph allowing for storage and retrieval in two deep standard racking.

Aisle Dimensions for Narrow Aisle Double Reach Forklifts

When using a Narrow Aisle Double Reach forklift that carries approximately 3,500 lbs on a standard 48″ pallet with a load you are required to have approximately 10-feet wide aisles for clearance when placing and retrieving pallets from the racking system.

For each additional quad-row of racking you must add to the layout (see right), you will be required to have an additional 26 feet of building width to accommodate the four rows of racks and additional aisles needed to access those racks.

When looking at your layout you must take into account all building columns, utilities, and other obstructions that may affect the layout and prevent you from optimizing the number of pallets available.

Aisle Dimensions for Narrow Aisle Double/Deep Reach Forklifts

Aisle Dimensions for Narrow Aisle Double/Deep Reach Forklifts

TALK TO THE EXPERTS

Finding your warehouse aisle dimensions is important for choosing the correct forklift for your application. Ensure that you don’t make costly mistakes by contacting us or calling one of our experienced forklift experts to assist with the measurements at 1 (800) 458-7941.

Originally published 12/16/2016
Updated 4/5/2019

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