Logistics & Materials Handling Blog

How to Choose the Correct Forklift Attachment for your Application

by Paul Hinz
Filed under: Forklifts

Adding compatible attachments to your forklift can greatly increase its versatility and expand the range of tasks it is able to complete.

Using certain attachments such as a man up safety cage can provide significant monetary savings as it eliminates the need to hire or purchase additional equipment such as a scissor lift.

In this week’s post we look at key questions that need to be considered when selecting the most appropriate attachment for your application, whilst also exploring some of the wide range of attachments available.

Choosing the Correct Forklift Attachment

Installing and using the correct forklift attachment can reduce handling time, man power, fuel consumption and reduce the likelihood of product damage.

Knowing what questions to ask when looking for your next forklift attachment is vital to ensuring you purchase one that is fit for purpose.

When considering your next forklift attachment purchase Adaptalift Group recommends asking the following questions.

1. What is the weight of the load to be lifted?

Knowing the maximum load weight the attachment will be required to lift is imperative to ensure an attachment with the correct safe lifting capacity is purchased.

There is no point in purchasing an attachment that isn’t able to safely handle the weight of loads it is required to lift.

Trying to lift loads heavier than the forklift and attachment are rated to lift can lead to dangerous unit instability greatly increasing the risk of the load and forklift tipping over potentially causing serious injury, fatalities or damage to product and surrounding areas or equipment.

2. How high does the full load need to be lifted?

Similar to knowing the weight of loads that the attachment must lift it is imperative to know how high the load needs to be lifted to ensure an attachment that can raise to the desired height is purchased.

Overloading an attachment that is raised high can also lead to instability issues heightening the risk that the unit will tip over with potentially dire consequences.

3. How many hydraulic functions are required to operate the attachment?

Standard counterbalance forklifts commonly come with either two or three hydraulic functions that may already be used to raise, lower and tilt the tynes as well as allow any side-shift function to operate.

A fourth hydraulic function will be needed to connect the attachment to for it to function correctly such as bin rotator or tipping attachments that rely on hydraulics to spin bins around or tip them forward.

It is important to ensure your forklift has the hydraulic capabilities to operate the attachment.

Hyster two hydraulic function forklift

4. Will the attachment be installed permanently or temporarily?

Knowing whether the attachment will be used permanently or temporarily can assist in decision making whether to purchase an attachment if it is going to be used long-term or to hire one if it is only required temporarily.

5. Do I need to get my forklift re-rated when the attachment is installed?

It is imperative that all forklifts are re-rated with updated data plates upon the installation of any attachments.

A forklifts safe rated capacity will decrease to accommodate the additional weight of the attachment that has been installed, which will lower the unit’s safe lifting capacity.

Knowing the units re-rated safe lifting capacity is imperative so it isn’t overloaded.

Forklift rating plate

6. Do operators need to be trained how to operate the attachment?

The installation of some attachments may require operators to undertake additional training to ensure they’re able to safely operate the attachment.

Additional training may increase the costs of the acquiring the attachment to cover operator training and certification.

Common Forklift Attachments

After answering the above six questions a decision to purchase the most fit for purpose forklift attachment can be made.

Below is a brief list of common attachments to increase the versatility of a forklift:

Fork Positioners

Allows operators to hydraulically move forklift carriage and tynes left to right to precisely align loads.

Forklift fork positioiner attachment

Forklift Extension Slippers

Slippers that are installed over a forklifts existing tynes to provide extra length to handle long loads.

Forklift Slip on Jib

Metal jib that fits over a forklifts tynes that allow safe and easy hook-up of non-palletised loads to be transported.

Forklift slip on jib attachment

Bale Clamp

Hydraulically controlled clamp attachment that allows a forklift to safely and efficiently lift cylindrical bales of good including cotton, textiles, scrap metal and wool.

Forklift bale clamp attachment

Paper Roll Clamp

Designed specifically for the paper industry this hydraulically controlled clamp allows the safe and efficient lifting and transport of bales of paper with minimal damage to product.

Forklift paper roll clamp attachment

Rotating Clamp

Clamp attachment that allows forklifts to lift and rotate loads up to 360 degrees.

Forklift bin tipper attachment

Forward Bin Tipper

Hydraulically controlled bin tipping attachment that allows a forklift to lift and transport loads whilst being able to safely empty bulk loads via tipping the bin forward.

180 degree Bin Tipper

Hydraulically controlled bin tipping attachment that allows a forklift to lift and transport loads whilst being able to safely empty bulk loads via tipping the bin forward.

180 and 360 Degree Rotators

Attachment that allows forklifts to safely pick-up, transport and rotate loads anywhere from 180 to 360 degrees.

Forklift rotator attachment

Carpet Pole

Attachment specifically designed to allow lengths of carpet or other textiles to be wrapped around the central pole for safe transport via a forklift.

Forklift carpet pole attachment


Towbar attachment that when installed allows a forklift to move trailers or similar equipment safely.

Safety Cages

Safety cages that when fitted to a forklifts tynes can safely raise up one occupant, tools and supplies to complete work at height.

Adaptalift Group offer a wide range of high quality forklift attachments to greatly increase a unit’s versatility and productivity whilst also increasing safety.

For assistance in finding the most suitable attachment for your application contact our team on 13 22 54 or fill-out a contact form and we will be in touch.