There’s often a debate about whether or not you should use fork extensions to expand your forklift’s capabilities. Let’s take a closer look at fork extensions and the pros and cons of using them. Click on each section to learn more.

  1. What Are Fork Extensions?
  2. What Are the Benefits of Using Fork Extensions?
  3. What Are the Risks of Using Fork Extensions?
  4. What Are the Different Types of Fork Extensions?
  5. In What Situations Would You Use Fork Extensions?

If you would like help choosing the best fork extensions for your forklift, contact us.

Fork Extensions: What You Need to Know

1. What Are Fork Extensions?

vehicle ip ratings for forklifts

Extensions help your forklift carry different load shapes and sizes.

Fork extensions are attachments used with forklifts to increase the length and capacity of their forks. They are essentially metal or steel extensions that slide over the existing forks of a forklift, providing additional length beyond the standard fork size.

Fork extensions slide over the existing forklift’s forks, allowing your forklift to handle longer or larger loads that exceed the length of its original forks. The most common lengths for original forklift forks used in warehouses and industrial settings are 42 inches and 48 inches. If you need longer forks than this, then you can install forklift extensions.

Extensions come in various sizes and configurations to accommodate different load shapes and sizes. Some common fork extension sizes include the following:

When choosing fork extensions, make sure you look for high-quality, heavy-duty ones. And ensure you don’t go longer then 1.5 times the original forklift fork length to maintain the warranty of the extensions. If you do use fork extensions longer than 1.5 times the original fork length there is an increased chance they will bend or break and no warranty applies in this case. For example – if you have a 48″ fork on your forklift now – you can use a 72″ fork extension safely (48*1.5=72″).

Also please note that a longer load center will affect the weight your forklift can lift! Most forklifts are rated at a 24″ load center – so if you now have a 6 ft load – and if it is evenly distributed – then the new Load Center is now 30″ and the Capacity of the forklift will decrease – call RIGOLIFT for a new capacity plate reflecting these longer load centers at 416-213-7277 or Sometimes in order to lift longer loads with longer load centers you will need to get a larger forklift truck. Call us before you find this out the hard way.

2. What Are the Benefits of Using Fork Extensions?

Linde forklift

Extensions can save you money by increasing the versatility of your forklifts – Image source: Linde

Using fork extensions with forklifts offers several great advantages that can enhance your material handling capabilities. These include:

Increased Reach and Versatility

Fork extensions extend a forklift’s reach, enabling it to handle longer or larger loads safely. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) data, these extensions can expand a forklift’s reach by up to 50% more than the current fork length. Fork extensions provide the much-needed support to handle bulky or oversized loads without compromising safety as long as the new load center and weight of that longer load are calculated by the manufacturer or dealer and they approve the new load center is safe for the forklift. Fork Extensions are indispensable in navigating various load sizes efficiently.


Investing in fork extensions can often be more cost-effective than purchasing multiple specialized forklifts. The flexibility these extensions offer can save you both time and money, allowing your operators to adapt to diverse load requirements without the need for time-consuming equipment changes. They are easy to install when needed and often cost less than $1000 CAD.

Enhanced Efficiency

The Material Handling Industry (MHI) reports that proper forklift attachments, including fork extensions, can boost productivity by up to 40%. By expanding a forklift’s capabilities, these extensions streamline operations, leading to more efficient and safer material handling processes.

3. What Are the Risks of Using Fork Extensions?

Linde forklift

You must follow the load capacity for your fork extension – Image source: Linde

Even though fork extensions have many great benefits, you need to strictly follow safety guidelines to avoid certain risks. These include:

Load Capacity Limitations

While fork extensions increase a forklift’s reach, they can also affect its load capacity due to longer load centers. It’s crucial to adhere to load capacity guidelines and understand that using extensions alters your forklift’s stability and weight distribution. The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) reports that overloading forklifts is a significant cause of accidents, underscoring the importance of being extra careful with your load management when using extensions. Call Ri-Go Lift truck BEFORE buying or using longer fork extensions to be sure you are not overloading your forklift. The longer the load center the less your forklift can lift!

Safety Concerns

Fork extensions can potentially compromise a forklift’s stability, especially when handling heavy or unevenly distributed loads. Alterations to a forklift’s original design, including the addition of extensions, may increase the risk of tip-overs or accidents if not used correctly. Always call your dealer and we will check what the new capacity of the forklift is with your new extended load center! 416-213-7277 or

Operational Adaptation and Training

Integrating fork extensions into warehouse operations requires specialized training for forklift operators. A report by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) emphasizes the importance of proper training to mitigate risks associated with using attachments. Operators must understand the following concepts that specifically relate to using extensions:

  • Load capacities
  • Load Center Changes
  • Safety protocols

Make sure that your operators understand how to use extensions properly and safely. Call Ri-Go Lift if you have any questions or concerns with your new fork extensions. 416-213-7277

4. What Are the Different Types of Fork Extensions?

There are many different types of fork extensions to choose from – Image source: Linde

Fork extensions come in various types, each designed to cater to specific load-handling requirements. Each type of fork extension serves a specific purpose and is designed to address different challenges in material handling. Here are some common types:

Standard Fork Extensions:

Standard fork extensions are the most common type. They add length to the existing forks of a forklift. They are versatile and suitable for handling longer or larger loads. They generally slide over the current fork and a bracket catches the back of the fork shank to remain in place. They are a bit “sloppier” then actual forks – therefore sometimes instead of using fork extensions a better idea is to get a pair of longer standard forks although these are a bit more work to swap onto the forklift. Your RIGOLIFT forklift expert can help you decide if fork extensions are a better idea or if longer forks make more sense. Remember either option requires a new capacity calculation and capacity plate for the longer load center.

Telescopic Fork Extensions:

Offering adjustable lengths, telescopic extensions provide flexibility in managing various load sizes. They can extend to a greater length than standard extensions and are adaptable to diverse load requirements. These are easier to use – but MUCH more expensive than normal Standard Fork Extensions.

Coil Ram Extensions:

Specifically designed for handling cylindrical loads like steel coils, coil ram extensions prevent rolling or slipping during transport, ensuring load stability.

Poly Load Protectors:

Made of durable polyurethane material, these protectors shield loads from damage caused by contact with the forks. They prevent load abrasion or marking, preserving the integrity of delicate or finished goods. These are not fork extensions but a rubber like material that attach to the top of the fork normally by magnet to protect delicate loads. No change to load center or forklift capacity with these load protectors.

Wide Load Extensions:

Tailored for handling extra-wide or irregularly shaped loads, wide load extensions minimize imbalanced handling risks and are suitable for managing oversized cargo.

5. In What Situations Would You Use Fork Extensions?

Extensions can help you handle oversized loads – Image source: Linde

Fork extensions are incredibly useful in various scenarios where standard forklift forks reach their limitations. Here are some situations where using fork extensions proves beneficial:

Handling Oversized Loads:

When dealing with pallets or loads that exceed the length of standard forklift forks, fork extensions offer the necessary reach to safely transport and stack these larger items.

Managing Irregularly Shaped Loads:

For loads that are wider, longer, or have unconventional shapes, fork extensions provide the extra support needed to securely handle and transport such materials.

Transporting Long Objects:

Fork extensions are invaluable when moving long loads with sufficent support under the load for stability.

Careful with your new longer load center!

Handling Cylindrical Loads:

Specialized extensions, such as coil ram extensions, are designed specifically for transporting cylindrical loads like steel coils, preventing rolling or slipping during handling.

Looking for High-Quality Forklift Extensions? Contact Ri-Go.

If you are in the market for forklift extensions or any other type of forklift attachment, contact us. We have a wide selection of parts as well as a huge inventory of new and used forklifts. Our knowledgeable staff can help you choose the perfect part or truck for your needs.

Since 1977, Ri-Go Lift Truck has been serving customers in Ontario and Quebec with everything they need for material handling. We are committed to providing you with quality service and a high level of customer satisfaction.

We are your authorized dealer for the following top brands:

We are also proud to offer you the full lineup of Hangcha forklifts!

In addition to our authorized distributorships, we can also provide you with:

No matter what your material handling needs are, we can help. Contact us today to let us know how we can be of service.

What Our Customers Think…

“Very professional! Always have what we need when we need it and competitive! A pleasure to do business with.”

– Matthew Headon
Print Friendly, PDF & Email