Forklift Tire Types

Whether purchasing a forklift, or in need of new tires, here’s a rundown of your options.  First, bear in mind that forklifts are manufactured specific to their tire type.  What you need the truck for will determine which tire it should have.  From there, you still have choices as to manufacturer and a few other things, too.

Cushion Tires

Three-wheel electric

Toyota electric forklift with cushion tires

Cushion tires are best in indoor applications.  Unlike a car tire, they are made entirely of rubber–i.e. they’re not air-filled.  This allows for optimal maneuverability, making cushion tire forklifts the best choice for 100% indoor warehousing operations.  Conversely, cushion tires require smooth, flat operating surfaces.  So, when choosing a forklift for this setting, you now know that you need a cushion tire forklift.

Once you’ve determined that you need a cushion tire lift truck, you can then select the more specific tire type.  For instance, non-marking tires are an option for those who need pristine warehouse floors.  These eliminate the black marks that traditional, carbon-based will leave. There are industries that require these tires, such as food processing or grocery factories. The one drawback to non-marking tires is that the lifespan tends to be shorter than cushion tires.  More basic choices include treaded vs. non-treaded tires.


Pneumatic Tires

Toyota LPG-powered forklift with pneumatic tires

Toyota LPG-powered forklift with pneumatic tires


Pneumatic tires are, generally speaking, air-filled tires designed for outdoor applications.  These bring forklifts higher off the ground and are overall better suited to the demands of uneven terrain.  Those who are purchasing a forklift for outdoor use will want one with pneumatic tires.  Afterwards, you can decide whether you’d prefer solid pneumatics.  These are not filled with air, but otherwise resemble their air-filled counterparts in functionality.  They’re ideal for situations where tires could get punctured, like scrap yards.





Solid industrial tires, including rubber press-on, pneumatic-shaped solids, and polyurethane press-on tires must be pressed onto the wheel to ensure that the tire works with maximum efficiency and conforms to safety standards.

Tires that are not professionally installed by a licensed dealer may even void the manufacturer’s warranty.  The Industrial Tire division of Summit Handling has heavy-duty, mobile tire presses that are specifically designed to press a wide variety of styles and sizes of tires for just about any application. Our Mobile Press Technicians have undergone a rigorous and extensive training process so that you can be assured that when our press truck arrives the job will be done right!

Summit Handling Systems, Inc. (SHS) is the region’s fastest growing material handling equipment dealer. In business over 50 years, SHS employs experienced personnel eager to provide solutions for your material handling operation. Whether it be the result of providing quality new, used or rental equipment or from fleet maintenance customer satisfaction is the key to our success. Contact us today!

Contact a Forklift Specialist

All fields are required.

First Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Company *
Phone *
Street *
City *
State *
Zip *
Message *