Pneumatic vs. Cushion Tire Forklifts: Which is Best for You?

If you’re considering buying a forklift, one essential choice you’ll need to make is the type of tires for your forklift. Different forklift tires are designed to work better for specific environments and applications, and most forklifts only work with a particular type of tire. Choosing the right forklift tires for your business will improve both safety and handling.

The two most common tire options are pneumatic forklift tires and cushion forklift tires. Here at Sam’s Mechanical, we offer a variety of new and used forklifts of both types. Which one is right for you? Let’s look at some of the key differences.

Pneumatic Tire Forklifts

Pneumatic tire forklifts are a great option for outdoor environments. Similar to car or truck tires, pneumatic forklift tires use durable rubber that provides a firm grip on uneven or rough terrain. While they can be used indoors, their larger frames and higher ground clearance make them ideal for use in lumber yards or construction sites.

There are two types of pneumatic forklift tires: Air Pneumatics and Solid Pneumatics. As the names suggest, air pneumatics are air-filled, and solid pneumatics are made of solid rubber fitted around a steel band. Solid tires are designed to be puncture-proof, meaning you can’t get a flat tire. If your environment has a lot of sharp debris like nails or metal, solid pneumatic tires are your best choice. However, the more common air pneumatics are still durable and provide a softer ride than solid tires.

While pneumatic tire forklifts are highly versatile, they do require a larger frame than cushion tire forklifts. This means they usually cost more. Still, for rough or outdoor use, there’s no substitute for a good pneumatic forklift. Check our stock of pneumatic tire forklifts for sale to find a great forklift for your needs.

Cushion Tire Forklifts

Cushion tire forklifts are designed primarily for indoor use or on smooth outdoor surfaces like concrete or asphalt. This makes them a great choice for warehouses, manufacturing plants, and distribution centers.

Cushion forklift tires are made of solid rubber fitted around a metal band. They are less expensive, easier to maintain, and typically have a longer lifespan than pneumatic tires. The tires can have a smooth or traction tread, but because cushion tire forklifts have a smaller chassis and limited ground clearance, they will struggle on rough or uneven terrain.

One of the most significant advantages of cushion tire forklifts is that their smaller frame makes them more maneuverable. They are lower to the ground and have a tighter turning radius than pneumatic forklifts, making them ideal for navigating narrow aisles or tight warehouse spaces. If you’re looking for an excellent option for your indoor facility, browse our selection of new and used cushion tire forklifts.

forklift tire comparison chart

Which Type of Forklift Tire is Best for You?

Both pneumatic and cushion tire forklifts come in a variety of different classifications to fit your needs and your environment. Just keep in mind that pneumatic forklifts and cushion forklifts have different frame sizes that typically only fit one type of tire or the other. They are not interchangeable, so it’s worth the time to research before deciding on the best forklift for you.

Remember that regardless of which type of tire you choose, any forklift requires regular maintenance to work most efficiently. Make sure you have a reliable forklift repair and maintenance service like Sam’s Mechanical to keep your equipment running smoothly.

Need Help Deciding?

Don’t get stuck debating over pneumatic vs. cushion forklift tires or wondering whether to rent or buy. As your one-stop forklift shop, Sam’s Mechanical is here to help you find the best forklift equipment for your needs. Contact us today to speak to one of our forklift experts!