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Comparing Electrical and Manual Pallet Jacks: Which is Right for Your Business? logo

Comparing Electrical and Manual Pallet Jacks: Which is Right for Your Business?

  • Published: February 28, 2024

  • Updated: April 18, 2024

The material handling world is fast-paced, demanding equipment that can keep up with deadlines, no matter the load. Your pallet jack is one such piece of equipment, occupying an indispensable place in warehouses and distribution centres. They’re the centre of pedestrian materials handling, offering an easy way for one person to safely move a ton of product.

There are two pallet jack varieties – electric and manual. When it comes to selecting the right one for your business, there are a variety of factors to consider.

Read on to dive deeper into the Astrolift perspective. Thanks to 17 years in the business (and counting), we have the expertise to guide you through considerations for power sources, load capacity, manoeuvrability, and maintenance when selecting a pallet jack.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.

Power Source

Electric Pallet Jacks

Electric pallet jacks are designed to operate on rechargeable batteries, ensuring you have consistent and reliable access to a pedestrian power source when you need to shift product. For businesses with high-volume operations or peak-season material handling needs, these jacks can be an excellent supplementary tool for your warehouse team.

A downside here is that you’re unable to use these jacks without a charged battery. Hence, they’re ideally suited to warehouses that can afford fleets for round-the-clock rotation, ensuring a jack is always live and ready for use.

Manual Pallet Jacks

On the other hand, manual pallet jacks are always ready to go, battery or no battery. While they rely on human power for operations, they tend to be more cost-effective than their electric alternatives. This option is much more suitable for businesses dealing with lighter loads or sporadic use.

That said, manually operating a pallet jack for hours at a time can become tiring. Lifting heavy loads for too long – even with the help of a jack – can put a strain on employees. So, it’s important to note that they may not be as applicable for heavy-duty loads.

Load Capacity

Electric Pallet Jacks

Electric jacks have supplemental power, meaning they can typically handle higher load capacities than their manual cousins. For businesses that need to shift heavy-duty loads all day, every day, this is an ideal solution.

Manual Pallet Jacks

Manual pallet jacks are designed with lighter loads in mind. While they can be used for heavy-duty loads in a pinch, it’s best to invest in manual jacks only if your business doesn’t have to consistently deal with heavy or oversized pallets.


Electric Pallet Jacks

Electric pallet jacks are well-known for their ease of manoeuvrability. With powered drive functions, they require less effort from operators to navigate through tight spaces, making them ideal for crowded warehouses.

Manual Pallet Jacks

Manual pallet jacks rely on physical force for movement, which can be more challenging in confined spaces. While they are generally manoeuvrable, you might need to put in more effort to navigate through tight aisles or crowded storage areas.

Maintenance and Operating Costs

Electric Pallet Jacks

Finally, maintenance costs play a major part in your decision, as this will dictate the ongoing costs of your chosen jacks. Electric pallet jacks may have higher upfront costs but often result in lower operating costs over time.

Manual Pallet Jacks

Manual pallet jacks are cost-effective in terms of upfront investment, but they also incur maintenance and repair costs associated with manual wear and tear typically on their wheels.

New Zealand’s most comprehensive range of materials handling solutions.

Curious about our range of manual and electric pallet jacks in NZ? Explore what we’ve got in store to see if it suits your needs.

Not sure which jack is for you? The Astrolift team is here to help. Download a comprehensive brochure or get in touch with us to discuss which pallet jack option is right for your business.