Patriot Forklifts



Pneumatic vs Cushion Tire Forklifts: What’s the Difference?

When making a decision to buy a forklift, it is essential to determine what environment and what type of lifting you need the forklift to do. Most forklifts require specific tires, so do your research before making your forklift purchase to be sure the one you buy will work for you.

Choosing the right tire impacts the handling and safety of your lift. The majority of forklifts are specifically designed for a particular tire and tires are designed for specific uses or industries.

Before we look at the differences between a pneumatic tire and cushion tire forklift, start by answering these questions to help you determine which piece of equipment will be right for your needs:

  • What type of environment will you use the lift in? What type of lifting will you be doing?
  • Will you be using the forklift indoors or outdoors, primarily?
  • If using indoors, does your warehouse or building have narrow aisles that the forklift will be navigating?
  • How important is turning radius?
  • Are you working with a large, open space?
  • If using primarily outdoors, what type of surface will the forklift be traveling on? Asphalt, gravel, concrete, grass, or other rough surfaces?
  • Are there any large, sharp, or potentially dangerous object on the grounds?

The main characteristics of pneumatic tire forklifts and cushion tire forklifts.

When choosing the right tire for your forklift, there are two common choices: pneumatic forklift tires or cushion forklift tires. They both have significant differences that should be considered when evaluating which works best for your business.

What is a Pneumatic Tire Forklift?

Pneumatic tire forklifts are an excellent option if you will mainly be using it outdoors on rugged terrain. Pneumatic tires provide a strong grip on uneven surfaces and rough terrain and are popular on construction sites, in lumber yards and indoor/outdoor warehouses.

There are two types of pneumatic tires.  Solid Pneumatics are made completely of 100% rubber; therefore, you cannot have a flat tire. If you have lot’s of nails or metal in your yard then this would be your best choice.  This tire will, however, provide a harder ride than a standard air pneumatic tire. Air Pneumatics is layered rubber filled with air. These tires provide a softer ride than the solid resilient type tires.

What is a Cushion Tire Forklifts?

Cushion tire forklifts are ideal for both indoor and outdoor on smooth terrain. Cushion tires are made of smooth solid rubber bonded to a metal ring or baseband.

They are cheaper to manufacture and easier to maintain, but cushion tires do not get the same level of traction as a pneumatic tire, particularly outdoors. The tires on this type of forklift are primarily meant to be used indoors, specifically in warehouses and manufacturing facilities.

If you are working in tight quarters with narrow aisles, a cushion tire forklift may be your best option, as they have an excellent turning radius and are lower to the ground.

Since they sit lower to the ground than the pneumatic or resilient tire forklift, a cushion tire forklift can be driven outdoors but only on smooth concrete or asphalt.

Do you need a cushion tire forklift or a pneumatic tire forklift?

Now that you’ve answered the questions above and understand the main differences between a cushion tire forklift and pneumatic tire forklift, you can make an educated decision on the forklift that’s right for your budget, needs, and industry.

When you’re ready to buy, take a look at our used forklifts for sale.

You can also do an advanced lift search to find just what you want. Don’t see the one you’re looking for? We have access to many more lifts, so get in touch today!

Need help deciding?

Our forklift experts are available to give you the best advice based on your needs. Contact Us Today!

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