Standard Forklift Fork Dimensions – Complete Guide

Have you ever stopped to consider the importance of forklift fork dimensions? Sure, they may seem like a small detail in the grand scheme of things, but when it comes to efficient and safe material handling, they can mean the difference between success and disaster. As a forklift operator, warehouse manager, or anyone involved in the logistics industry, knowing the standard dimensions of forklift forks is crucial for ensuring optimal performance and avoiding costly mistakes.

Typically, forklifts range in width from 4 feet to 7 feet and in length from 8 feet to 10 feet. The height of their forks is equally important, extending up to 10 to 15 feet off the ground. 

So, buckle up and get ready to dive deep into the world of forklift forks – you may be surprised by what you learn.

Standard Forklift Fork Dimensions

Forklifts are a crucial part of the material handling industry, and the forks are the most important component of a forklift. The forks are responsible for lifting and transporting heavy loads, and they come in various dimensions depending on their application.

Metric and Imperial Measurements

Forklift fork dimensions are usually described using two measurement systems: metric and imperial. The metric system is based on millimeters (mm) while the imperial system is based on inches (in). The size of a forklift fork is generally given as the width, length, and thickness of the fork blade. For example, a common forklift fork size is 1000mm x 120mm x 40mm or 42 inches x 5 inches x 1.5 inches.

Common Forklift Fork Dimensions

  1. Standard Forklift Fork: The most commonly used forklift fork size is 1000mm x 120mm x 40mm or 42 in x 5 in x 1.5 in. This size is suitable for lifting loads up to 2-3 tons.
  2. Narrow Forklift Fork: Narrow forklift forks are used when handling pallets with limited space. The common size of a narrow forklift fork is 800mm x 100mm x 30mm or 32 inches x 4 inches x 1.25 inches.
  3. Wide Forklift Fork: Wide forklift forks are used for handling wider loads. The common size of a wide forklift fork is 1500mm x 150mm x 50mm or 60 inches x 6 inches x 2 inches.
  4. Round Forklift Fork: Round forklift forks are used for handling cylindrical objects. The common size of a round forklift fork is 1000mm x 100mm or 40 inches x 4 inches.

Choosing the right forklift fork is important. There are many dimensions and weights to choose from. You need to think about how much weight the fork can hold. By looking at all the different classes, you can pick the right fork for the job and work safely.

ClassWidthLengthThicknessFork Capacity
II4″30″1.25″3,700 lb
II4”60”1.5”5,500 lb
II4”72”1.75”6,800 lb*
III5”48”1.75”8,200 lb
III5”96”1.75”8,200 lb
III6”120”2”12,600 lb*
IV6”42”2”12,600 lb
IV6”84”2”12,600 lb
IV6”96”2.5”21,400 lb*

If you want to identify the carriage class of your forklift, you can measure the distance between the top and bottom carriage bars and compare it to a chart that specifies each class. Generally, ITA hook-type forks are considered to be the standard in the industry, and the most frequently used carriage classes include ITA Classes 2, 3, and 4.

ClassHeightCarriage Capacity
II16″2,200 – 5,500 lbs
III20″5,500 – 10,998 lbs
IV25″11,000 – 17,600 lbs

How To Measure Forklift Forks?

How To Measure Forklift Forks

Measuring forklift forks can be a bit tricky, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be a breeze. One of the tools that can make forklift fork measurements precise is a fork caliper. By using a fork caliper, you can get accurate measurements for the width, length, and thickness of the fork

Fork width: Take a measurement from side to side of the fork.

Fork length: This is the distance from the tip to the front of the fork.

Fork thickness: When measuring the thickness of forklift forks, it’s crucial to use the backside of the fork, rather than the bottom, as the bottom can wear down over time. To get an accurate measurement, measure the fork from the shank back to the shank face. 

The lifting capacity of a forklift is often proportional to the width and length of its forks. Forks with greater width and length generally have a greater lifting capacity. However, it’s important to note that the thickness of the fork may not always increase with lifting capacity. 

The parts of a forklift, like its forks and mast, are important for determining how much weight it can lift. Each part has a limit to how much weight it can handle, and going over that limit can cause problems like hurting the forklift, hurting the operator, or hurting the load. Knowing the limits for each part can help you use the forklift safely and well, without pushing it too far.

The forklift truck’s capacity is more important than the capacity of its forks. So, if the truck can’t lift as much weight as the forks, you should follow the truck’s capacity. You also need to think about where the load is centered, because that affects how much weight the forklift can lift.

Parts of a Forklift Fork

A forklift fork typically consists of several parts, including:

  1. Blade: This is the flat, horizontal part of the fork that slides under the load. The blade is typically made of steel and is designed to be durable and withstand heavy loads.
  2. Heel: The heel is the back end of the fork, where it connects to the forklift carriage. The heel is designed to fit securely onto the carriage and is often held in place with a locking mechanism.
  3. Shank: The shank is the vertical part of the fork that connects the blade to the heel. The shank is typically made of a solid piece of steel and is designed to be strong enough to support the weight of the load.
  4. Tip: The tip is the very end of the fork, where it tapers to a point. The tip is designed to easily slide under loads and can help prevent damage to the load by minimizing the amount of surface area that comes into contact with it.
  5. Wear strip: Some forklift forks have a wear strip along the bottom edge of the blade. The wear strip is typically made of a softer material, such as nylon or rubber, and is designed to prevent damage to the blade and the load by providing a smooth surface for the blade to slide on.
  6. Rating plate: The rating plate is a metal plate attached to the fork that provides information about the fork’s capacity and specifications, such as its weight capacity and dimensions. This information is important for ensuring that the forklift is used safely and effectively.

Types of Forklift Forks

shutterstock download 2023 06 15T110943.563

There are several types of forklift forks available, each designed for specific purposes. Some common types of forklift forks include:

Standard forks: They can handle a range of loads, and they are the most common type of forklift fork. Depending on their application, standard forks are typically steel and range in length and width.

Telescoping forks: With these forks, you can extend or retract them to accommodate different-sized loads. There are many situations in which telescopic forks are commonly used, such as when the size of the load varies frequently.

Coil handling forks: Coils are handled with these forks, which are specifically designed to handle wire or steel coils. As a result of their curved shape, they cradle the coil securely and prevent it from falling off.

Drum handling forks: Drums of various sizes and shapes can be handled with these forks. The drum can be securely held in place with attachments such as clamps or grippers.

Pallet forks: Pallet forks are designed specifically for handling pallets. In order to prevent tipping, they have a shorter shank and a wider blade that makes it easy for the blade to slide under pallets.

Rotating forks: With these forks, loads can be handled more easily since they can rotate 360 degrees. When tight spaces are required for loading, they are frequently used.

Box forks: Due to their box-shaped frame, these forks are more stable when carrying loads. Heavy or large loads requiring extra support are frequently handled with them.

Block forks: These forks have a square or rectangular frame that allows for greater stability when handling loads, particularly those with square or rectangular shapes. They are often used in applications where loads need to be stacked or placed in tight spaces.

Different Types of Forklift Fork Tips

There are several types of forklift fork tips available, each designed for specific applications. Some common types of forklift fork tips include:

Straight tips: Straight tips are designed for general-purpose use. It is suitable for handling loads that have a flat bottom and are not too heavy.

Spoon tips: Designed for handling irregularly shaped or uneven loads, these tips have a curved shape similar to a spoon. Forks can lose their grip on the load if they are not secured.

Beveled tips: The tapered edges of these tips make them easier to slide under loads. Stackable loads are commonly handled with them.

Roller tips: The bottom edges of these tips have small rollers to help them slide under loads easily. Typically, they are used to move heavy or difficult loads.

Pallet jack tips: Pallet jack tips have a flat and wide blade that is specifically designed for handling pallets. Warehouses and distribution centers commonly use them.

Narrow tips: These tips are intended to handle loads in tight spaces because they are narrower than standard tips. They are commonly used in situations where the forklift needs to maneuver in narrow aisles or other tight spaces.

Hook tips: The hook-shaped end of these tips allows them to securely hold buckets or containers with handles.

Concrete slab tips: These tips have a wider and thicker blade than standard tips, and are designed for handling concrete slabs or other heavy loads. They are commonly used in construction or industrial settings.


What is the standard fork size?

The standard fork size for most forklifts is 4 inches wide by 1.5 inches thick and 48 inches long. However, there are many variations of fork sizes available depending on the specific needs of the forklift and its application.

What is the minimum thickness of a forklift fork?

The minimum thickness of a forklift fork should be at least 50% of the blade’s width. This means that if the blade is 4 inches wide, the minimum thickness should be 2 inches.

What should the width of forklift forks be set?

The width of forklift forks should be set to match the width of the load being carried. This ensures that the load is stable and prevents damage to both the load and the forklift. Typically, the distance between the inner edges of the forks should be slightly smaller than the width of the load.

What is the minimum forklift fork length?

The minimum forklift fork length is based on the capacity of the forklift. According to OSHA regulations, the forks must be long enough to support the load and extend at least 2/3 of the length of the load being carried. Therefore, the minimum fork length would vary depending on the size of the load being lifted.

Leave a Comment