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What Is a Straddle Stacker? – [Updated for 2022]

September 16, 2022

Straddle Stacker Handle

The straddle stacker, also known as a stacker, is a class of equipment frequently used as an alternative to counterbalanced forklifts. The straddle stacker also makes maneuvering multiple pallets through tight spaces in warehouses and commercial facilities. This equipment is essential for work operations, especially when traditional forklifts aren’t ideal for the job.

Below you will learn more about straddle stackers, what they’re used for, some of the different types, such as the walkie straddle stacker, and if they’re the ideal choice when you compare them to more traditional equipment like the forklift or pallet jack.  We also offer a straddle stacker safety training video as well.

What Is a Straddle Stacker Used For?

The main function of a straddle stacker is to move stacks of pallets from one area to another, but what else does it do? This equipment is on wheels and features adjustable forks and straddle heights to more easily maneuver through tight aisles in any warehouse or facility.

Since not every warehouse or facility floor has unlimited space for moving products and equipment around, workers are forced to make it work with the limited square footage in the building. A straddle stacker makes it much easier to move around within the limited space.

These machines are specifically designed to transport pallets through narrow aisles and tight corners. Even though you don’t have a lot of space, you still need to find a way to transport heavy or large pallets. The solution is choosing the right equipment to handle the job. In this case, it’s the straddle stacker.

Straddle Stacker

Benefits of Using One

Stackers provide several benefits when compared to alternative equipment, including counterbalanced forklifts when it comes to working in areas where there are space restrictions. The compact design and maneuverability of stackers easily replace large counterweights used in equipment like the sit-down forklift.

The size and maneuverability are key selling points for stackers, but they have more to offer besides their design. This includes the fact they are typically less expensive than forklifts in unit price and maintenance. They can also be operated without the need for a certificate. This cuts down on labor costs and emphasizes their easy-to-use design.

The Different Types of Stacker

The load capacity will differ for each type and model, but the load capacity tends to be upwards of a few couple thousand pounds. You can find models with a load capacity maximum of around 4,000 pounds and a battery discharge indicator feature that helps workers stack pallets even more easily.

Although there are a few different straddle stacker types, they are all similar to the pallet stacker or lift truck when it comes to functionality. This machine can easily maneuver several pallets through tight spaces within warehouses or other commercial or industrial facilities. One of the biggest differences between the stackers and lift trucks is their maneuverability and leg design, which can impact the price.

Walk-Behind Manual Stacker

The walk-behind manual stacker is low in price and easy to use. The manual can be operated by hand or foot. They also come with power-assisted lift functions.

The manual straddle stacker tends to be lighter and more compact than the counterbalanced stackers. This makes them one of the better options for maneuvering in tight spots, including aisles and loading docks.

They also have a foot pedal or a hand crank that can be used to activate the lifting mechanism of the machine. The manual stacker is also suitable for intermittent use or short distances.

Raymond Straddle Stacker Picture

What Is a Walkie Straddle Stacker?

One of the most common types of stacker trucks used is the electric walkie straddle stackers. What makes these devices so convenient are their straddle legs that stabilize the unit as the load is lifted. In addition, the straddle helps the loads to remain balanced as they are lifted and helps the stacker to get as close to the pallet as needed to reduce the amount of space needed to pick it up.

These pieces of equipment are durable and touching, helping them to do difficult jobs in the industry. They are designed with a mast that helps them lift pallets at great heights. The features are similar to those of the counterbalanced stacker, with the biggest difference being that it has outrigger arms. These prevent the truck from falling over as it lifts heavy loads.

The walkie straddle stacker is designed to lift between 2500-4000 pounds in tight applications. It can even stack loads 3-4 high in a structure intended to maximize cube utilization. This makes organizing the warehouse easy.

Walk-Behind Reach

Crown Equipment Corporation is one of the world’s largest material handling companies. Crown has expanded its capacities with some of its walkie straddle stackers with a maximum load capacity of 4,000 pounds and can lift up to 192 inches.

The Crown has a long life for all of its lift trucks. Not only that, but business operators can purchase these trucks for a reasonable price to give their warehouse the right type of truck to stack as efficiently as possible when you compare it to alternative machinery.

Crown allows workers to move around easily in small workspaces commonly found in grocery stores and retail facilities. The Crown stacker also easily stacks the pallets vertically into an organized rack structure system so that operators can quickly find their products without having to move numerous loads to get to them.

The Crown straddle stacker helps you stack and move more products in the same size room. This is possible by making the aisle width more narrow to optimize the available space and make it easier to use. More usable space allows workers to maximize efficiency in moving and stocking products.

Crown pallet stackers allow you to move more products as all of their different functions can easily handle them. The frame and other features, including the outriggers and mast, are made from steel, and a steel power unit is included to help the machine live a long life. When you compare your options, consider investing in a truck that has steel parts to ensure its security.

Two other brands offer similar quality stackers: PDS and Raymond.

The PDS walkie straddle stacker is best used for picking up heavy loads where only tight space is available. In addition, the power steering makes it extremely easy to operate within narrow aisles.

The Raymond RSS Walkie straddle stacker trucks provide versatility for moving through narrow aisles to storage areas within a warehouse facility. When you compare it to the other walkie straddle stacker options, the price and design are similar.

Straddle Stacker Handle

What Are Straddle Legs on a Forklift For?

One of the most common issues when it comes to stackers is accessibility. Sometimes the legs of the stackers are positioned directly under the forks with the slats on the bottom of the pallet, making it more difficult to properly get under pallets to lift them up. Some companies have addressed this accessibility issue by removing the legs. However, this truck design can limit the loading capacity because the legs help enforce the stability for large loads.

The straddle stacker fixes this dilemma by having legs that are positioned in a wide stance outside of the forks. This allows the forks to be as close to the ground as possible while the legs go past the pallet. The option to straddle and move right under the pallet without having the slats in a position that blocks the legs makes it easier to lift the load with the forks completely underneath. This is the most efficient material handling method for using this type of truck in a limited space.

How Does it Lift Pallets?

Since the straddle stacker is operated with one person standing behind it in the same way a simple pallet jack would be used for material handling, one or more pallets can easily be moved into a tight space where a forklift would be unable to fit. With straddle stackers, you no longer have to sacrifice efficiency or ergonomics to incorporate traditional forklifts into your warehouse operations for material handling.

What Is the Difference Between a Forklift and a Stacker?

A forklift is very compact but requires a spot for an operator to sit down and operate the machinery. The spot for the operator is what gives forklifts a slightly bulkier build than the stacker, which doesn’t require seating for the operator. With these machines, the operator will stand behind it and control it, similar to a simple pallet jack.

Typically, when a company doesn’t have the space required to use a forklift, they will opt for the next best machine — pallet jacks. However, a straddle stacker does exactly what pallet jacks do but with more efficiency, low maintenance, and a lower price.

Pallet jacks use hydraulics to lift pallets only a few inches off the ground to move them. However, the straddle stacker does the same, but with more efficiency, because it is electronically powered, meaning it requires less effort to accomplish the same method of material handling.

Warehouse Operations

A straddle stacker is easy-to-use for material handling, and it’s easy to maintain too. It beats the more traditional lift truck because it tends to be more compact and easier to use in tighter spaces, making each daily operation smoother when you compare it to traditional machinery.

It’s a great choice regarding handling, stacking, and work positioning in tight spaces. If you need to frequently work in a narrow aisle, positions and the overall width can be adjusted to suit the truck and the operator’s needs.

It’s also safe and secure for warehouse operations. A key is required to be in the ignition when being used. This is one trait that straddle stackers and lift trucks share, but it adds another benefit to choosing the stacker. The straddle stacker can only be operated when the person operating the truck has the right key. If there is no key, the truck will be immovable and unable to lift anything. This promoted workplace safety, ensuring that only individuals trained to use the machine can do so.

Depending on the budget of the warehouse, there is variation in the price of each truck. The prices depend on the brand and design of each truck. Business owners will be familiar with the price options if they are regular customers of the brand they intend to purchase from.

When it comes to purchasing a regular straddle stacker or a walkie straddle stacker, the design, price, and how it can benefit employees according to daily tasks should be considered.

Choosing a Straddle Stacker

With many various features and designs to choose from, you’ll have plenty of search results to peruse to find the ideal equipment.

Material handling is made easier in any warehouse or facility with limited space. This is because the forks and body of the machine are designed to make up for the operation flaw of the pallet jack trucks. Straddle stackers like the walkie straddle stacker are budget friendly with their reasonable price, especially when bought in quantity, and they work easily. These benefits make this machine an essential part of the warehouse floor lineup.

Using a Straddle Stacker

Some business owners may feel they can only use a traditional forklift or a pallet jack for stacking. However, this isn’t the case. The straddle stacker provides an alternative that does the job more efficiently for business than the traditional options.

There are many unique features of the straddle stacker compared to two other traditional warehouse tools. With these benefits in mind, a straddle stacker deserves a spot as an essential machine in the warehouse for maneuvering pallets and products within limited spaces.