A telehandler is a versatile lifting machine incorporating a telescopic boom fitted with a lifting attachment.

The main features of a telehandler:

  • Capacity Options: 4,400 lbs. – 12,000 lbs.
  • Fuel Options: Diesel
  • Tire Option: Large pneumatic for rough terrain
  • 4x4x4 (4WD & 4 wheel steering)
  • Reach capability: 19’ to 54’

A telehandler is also called a telescopic handler, teleporter, or boom lift. It is similar to a forklift but has a boom, which makes it more like a crane than a forklift.

A single telescopic or articulating boom can extend forward and upwards from the vehicle, making it very versatile. On the end of the boom, the operator can fit one of several attachments.

Attachments are usually mounted on a four-wheel-drive chassis. They are equipped with a telescopic boom that can provide lift heights to 50 feet or more.

Telehandlers are widely used in the agriculture and construction industry. Most are fitted with pallet forks for lifting materials. The range of attachments used will depend upon the design of the particular machine.


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The most popular attachments for a telehandler are:

  • Fork tines
  • Earthmoving bucket
  • Work platform
  • Lifting jib
What is a telehandler

In the industrial sector, the most common telehandler attachment are pallet forks. The telehandler is used to move loads to and from places unreachable for a conventional forklift. For example, they can remove palletized cargo from inside a trailer and place those loads on rooftops and other high places. The latter application would otherwise require a crane, which is not always practical or time-efficient.

In the agriculture sector, the most common telehandler attachment is a bucket or bucket grab. The telehandler is used to move loads to and from places unreachable by a wheeled loader or backhoe loader. For example, they can reach directly into high-sided trailers or hoppers. The wheeled or backhoe loaders would require a loading ramp or conveyor.

Most telehandlers use a computer which uses sensors to monitor the vehicle. It will warn the operator and/or cut off further control input if the limits of the vehicle are exceeded.

Telehandlers can also be equipped with front stabilizers which extend the lifting capability while stationary.

What companies manufacturer telehandlers?

Cat, Genie, JCB, Manitou, BobCat, Ingersoll Rand, JLG, Skytrak, Gehl, Lull, Terex and more. We sell all these brands…

What is a compact telehandler?

Compact telehandlers are popular because of their size, low weight, maneuverability and attachment versatility which makes them an attractive alternative to rough-terrain forklifts.

Compared to rough terrain vehicles, a compact telehandler:

  • Weighs less
  • They are easier to maneuver
  • can work in areas inaccessible to rough-terrain forklifts
  • They are easier to transport. Most can be hauled behind a one-ton truck.

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What is the life expectancy of a telehandler?

Like any other piece of construction equipment, a telehandler’s life expectancy is dependent on operator care and owner maintenance.

Whenever possible, replace filters with quality OEM replacements to minimize internal wear.

To decrease downtime, fluids should be checked and replaced on a schedule that complies with the manufacturer’s direction. Hydraulic systems and engines are extremely vulnerable to contamination.

Make sure all maintenance staff know the proper procedures before they work on telehandlers. Separate procedures exist for maintaining telehandler boom sections.

Boom slide wear pads and chain guide assemblies should be properly maintained to keep telehandlers operating smoothly.

To increase the lift span, make sure a consistent boom maintenance program, compliant with the manufacturer’s recommendations are followed.

Do I need to be trained to operate a telehandler?

It is extremely important to be fully trained to operate this equipment. OSHA is a great resource for Frequently Asked Questions about Powered Industrial Truck Operator Training.

Read our article How To Become A Forklift Operator


More useful forklift information:

Common forklift questions
6 forklift safety tips
8 benefits of buying a used forklift
The most common types of forklifts and what they are used for

Categories: Education

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