Telehandlers are tough machines capable of performing a wide variety of tasks. They are essential on farms and worksites, with widespread use across a range of agricultural and light industrial applications. But which size do you need to get the job done? Light, standard or heavy: what is the right telehandler for you?


Here is a quick summary of the three most common telehandler sizes:


Light – General agricultural use

 These telehandlers range in size from 2 – 4 tonnes, and have a lifting capacity with a reach of between 5 – 7 metres as standard.

Used for: Hay and silage handling, grain handling and general farm work.

 Pros: Excellent flexible machine for agriculture and ideal for multi-tasking. Can act as an all-terrain forklift, a loader with bucket. The addition of a hay fork turns it into an excellent hay loading machine.

 Cons: Visibility can be an issue when the boom is mounted to the right of the operator. These machines require training in order to understand the limits of the machine, as they can be dangerous if operated by someone inexperienced.


Standard – General use for agricultural and light industrial

 These telehandlers are typically 4 – 9 tonne capacity machines with a reach  of up to 8 metres.

Used for: High volume farm work like handling fodder and grain. Often used on building and construction sites for general handling and waste collection.

Pros: Great all-rounder on a work site or large farming operation. Ideal for cleaning up on site and lifting materials around site, especially when things get muddy and wet.

 Cons: These require strict training and licensing when over 3 tonne lift capacity, so experienced and licensed drivers are required to operate it.


Heavy – Heavy industrial use

The telehandler size within this category is between 3 – 9 tonne capacity, with long reach boom arms up to 17 metres or greater.

Used for: Bulk handling at waste management facilities and general lifting on work sites.

Pros: Excellent machine to have on a waste re-handling site due to its multi-tasking capacity and generous reach for loading high-sided trucks or hoppers. Great ground clearance for dealing with waste, and the large boom machines have incredible reach that is sometimes equivalent to a crane – with the added flexibility of multi-tasking with a bucket, jib or work platform.

Cons: Operating work platform requires extra licensing and very skilled operators. High boom machines pose a risk for operators due to the possible dangers of this height lifting capacity. Telehandlers occasionally get placed into applications against a wheel loader and too much is expected of the machine, because the tear out force is not equivalent to the wheel loader.

Telehandlers are very common, in large part due to their versatility and power. They come in a number of different sizes, and each grade of telehandler is suited to different tasks. They are available in light, standard and heavy sizes, with varying applications for agriculture, construction and light industrial environments.