A question we hear fairly often is, “should I buy a 3-wheel or a stand-up forklift?” The price range for these two products is similar, $30,000- $40,000. Both forklifts are:

  • An excellent value for the money
  • Have a low-maintenance AC motors 
  • and have a max lift height of 23 feet. 

So how do you choose the best lift truck for your operation?

In this article, we’ll compare Toyota’s Stand-up Rider Forklift (8BNCU15 8BNCU18 and 8BNCU20) to Toyota’s 3-Wheel Electric Forklift (8FBE15U-20U, 8FBES15U and 8FBEH18U) so you can make an informed buying decision.

The video above gives a brief but thorough overview of both forklifts, but the short answer is: if your operators get on and off the forklift throughout the day, the stand-up forklift is better. If operators stay on the forklift for the majority of their shift, the 3-Wheel forklift is a better choice.

I’ll share some additional info and insights below, but first I have some important news to share. Here in northern California, there are two great incentives that make a new electric forklift more affordable than ever.

  • CARB’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program pays businesses that use electric material handling equipment. You can use the money for whatever you want, and we can help you enroll.
  • Also, from now through December 31, 2021, you can trade in any gasoline, dual fuel, or LP forklift and receive a rebate of up to $3,500 when you buy a new Toyota electric forklift.

Toyota’s 3-Wheel Electric Forklift 


  • Toyota’s 3-Wheel Electric Forklift costs about 16 percent less than Toyota’s Stand-up Forklift and costs a bit less to maintain.
  • You can get cushion or pneumatic tires on the 3-wheel forklift, but the Stand-up Forklift only comes with cushion tires.
  • The three-wheel forklift has a faster maximum travel speed and slightly faster lift/lower speeds than Toyota’s Stand-up Forklift. Toyota’s 3-Wheel Forklift is actually 23% faster than other forklifts in its class.

Cons: If aisle space is at a premium, Toyota’s Stand-up Rider Forklift is a better choice than the 3-wheel. The minimum aisle width for Toyota’s stand-up forklift is 115”, versus 120” for the 3-wheel. 

For more pros and cons, read our Toyota 3-Wheel Electric Forklift product review. Ready to buy? Request a quote for a Toyota 3-Wheel Electric Forklift or check our used inventory.

Toyota Stand-Up Rider Lift Truck


Toyota’s stand-up rider forklift is the better option if:

  • Your operators need to get on and off the forklift a lot
  • Your aisles are less than 120” wide (but at least 115” wide)
  • You need a forklift for loading and unloading truck trailers

Cons:  Toyota’s stand-up forklift is only available with cushion tires. If you need a small lift truck that can operate outdoors or on a rough surface, Toyota’s 3-wheel forklift is a better option. 

If your forklift operators aren’t accustomed to a traditional, sit-down forklift, there may be an adjustment period.

  • Operators can’t sit down, they must stand
  • and the forklift is operated with a joystick instead of a steering wheel

That said, when Wallaby Yogurt replaced their 4-wheel sit-down forklift with a stand-up forklift, operators said they liked the stand-up rider because it was fun to drive. Compared to their old forklift, the stand-up forklift was faster and more maneuverable.

To learn more about this lift truck, check out our Toyota Stand-up Rider product review. If you’re ready to take the next step, request a quote or check our inventory of used stand-up forklifts.

Save Big When You Buy an Electric Forklift in California

In Summary: both forklifts are a good choice for narrow-aisle warehouses or other operations with tight spaces. 

– The electric stand-up forklift is better if operators must get on and off the truck throughout their shift.

– The electric three-wheel forklift is better if your forklift will be used on rough terrain and/or if operators can remain seated most of their shift.

Now through the end of 2021, there are two incentives that make both these forklifts extremely affordable. We can help you apply for both.

If you’re reading this in the Bay Area, we invite you to test drive these forklifts at our state-of-the-art demo center in Livermore, CA. Contact us online or by phone to schedule your test drive, or with any questions you may have:

East Bay – Livermore (510) 400-8367
Fresno (888) 964-1178 
Sacramento (916) 476-8450 
Salinas (831) 269-5274

Further Reading: