The average forklift weighs 9,000 pounds, according to the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce. This is three times the weight of the average passenger car.
Forklifts weigh so much in part due to the need for a counter weight toward the back to balance heavy loads carried in the front. According to the United States Department of Labor, the manner in which weight is distributed on a forklift alters the amount of weight the machine is able to safely carry. Forklift operators should make sure loads weighing near the maximum load weight are carried as low as possible to prevent the machine from tipping.
Lighter forklifts are ideally suited for maneuverability in tight spaces and for being mounted on the back of trucks for transportation. Heavier forklifts can carry heavier loads. For example, Rigger Lift claims that its model R160 is able to carry loads of up to 160,000 pounds.
In the United States, all forklifts are required by law to display a data plate stating their weight, model number, serial number, compliance and conformance designations and load capacity.