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Choosing the Right Telehandler

The process of choosing the right telehandler for your project can prove to be a long, confusing, and frustrating task. Telehandlers provide a wide range of functionality by combining the lifting capabilities of a crane with the versatility of a forklift. While they are a great tool for both simple and complex jobs, achieving  the desired results from your telehandler starts with an accurate selection process. 

Understanding Weight, Reach, and Range of Motion Charts

Each telehandler model is accompanied by a range of motion chart, which represents the performance capability indicated by the manufacturer. Range of motion charts are essential in the telehandler selection process as they show the user how far and high each telehandler model can reach at certain weight capacities. Range of motion charts are broken down into working envelopes which provide different weight capacity zones at certain distances for each telehandler as shown in the examples below.  

Telehandler range of motion charts

While range of motion charts are a helpful and essential tool when choosing the right telehandler, they can be complex and confusing. Telehandler models are often combined into broad ranges of categories. The images above, for example, are broken into “10k” and “12k” categories. The blue range of motion chart is categorized as a “10k”, shown by its maximum lifting capacity of 10,000 pounds, and the orange range of motion chart categorized as a “12k”. These categories are a helpful starting point, but can be misleading  and do not capture  the full abilities of the machine. The “10k” and “12k” categories only refer to the lifting capabilities at the shortest working envelope, which can cause confusion for users during the selection process. Yes, there are certain scenarios when a user may need to carry heavy weight exclusively at short reach requirements. However, for the users that need to reach farther distances, attempting to use a machine under the assumption that it can carry the same amount of weight prescribed at the shortest working envelope at any distance could be detrimental.  

Utilizing a range of motion chart correctly starts with accurate data collection. Ask yourself these questions: What is the maximum amount of weight I need to lift with the machine? How high and how far is my required reach area from where the machine will be placed? If necessary, am I able to use stabilizers in the area where I am placing the machine? All of these questions are essential to selecting the right piece of equipment. Now, how are you going to ensure your answers to these questions are correct? Are you taking an educated guess? Are you basing this decision off of prior experience? As depicted in the range of motion charts shown above, the capabilities of each machine can rapidly change from one working envelope to the next. You can lose 1,000 to 2,000 pounds, and sometimes more, of lifting capacity ability between working envelopes, which often only differ by a few feet. These drastic differences can entirely change the ability of the machine to complete the job safely or even complete the job at all. Manufacturers are required to include safety procedures within the machines causing them to “lock out” when they exceed their performance capabilities, i.e. attempting to lift too much weight within a certain working envelope. 

Knowing what you know now, are you confident that your current equipment selection process will lead you to the right machine for your job?

Now of course there are more factors involved in the equipment selection process than solely reach and lifting weight capabilities, but these are absolutely some of the most essential areas where accurate data collection and the correct use of that data is paramount. Not only for the guaranteed delivery of the right machine to help eliminate delays and minimize costs, but also to ensure the safety of the machine operators and others on the job site. 

Accurate Data Collection and Equipment Selection

With the availability of so much useful equipment data provided from the manufacturer through spec sheets and range of motion charts, and with  technology accessible to utilize this data, it begs the question: Why is there not a simpler and more streamlined process for equipment selection? Now there is, with JED-EYE.

JED-EYE has utilized this available manufacturer data and uncovered a process that provides accurate data collection on the job site. JED-EYE uses this data in conjunction with equipment specifications and range of motion charts to provide you with the most optimal equipment for your needs, every time

Telehandler selection process

How to Use JED-EYE

Using a data collection device such as a range finder, capture accurate required reach data, i.e., distance to target, like the example shown below. 

Taking measurement for telehandler selection

Simply enter the reach data captured by the range finder, combined with your required lifting weight and other critical factors such as the maximum weight the terrain can hold, opening width and height of entryways or drive thru areas, electric, diesel and 4x4 requirements, and more into the JED-EYE software.  

Telehandler selection process

JED-EYE then searches through millions of manufacturer specifications and cross references the data against hundreds of machines to provide you with  the most optimal equipment for the job.  

Choosing your telehandler

This means the equipment is not oversized just to “be sure” it can complete the job. Oversized equipment can lead to issues such as excessive weight for the terrain, stowed width and height dimensions that are too large for entryways, and more.


Using JED-EYE ensures that you have collected accurate data and used this data accordingly with the specifications that are provided by the manufacturer. You can be confident that the equipment delivered to your job site is not only going to complete the job, but will enhance your efficiency, save you money, and provide safety for the machine operators and all others on the job site.  

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