Material Handling for Small Spaces

Material Handling for Small Spaces

The most efficient warehousing and material handling operations make the best use of all available space. Smaller facilities pose the additional challenge of maneuvering in confined areas, making it important to choose the right material handling equipment for the job.

In this post, we'll explore the various types of material handling equipment designed for use in smaller areas and provide tips to help you make the ideal choice for your operation.

Narrow Aisle Forklifts

Companies with smaller warehousing facilities must place racking close together to accommodate as many goods as possible. While this process conserves valuable floor space, it creates compressed aisles that are difficult for full-sized lift trucks to navigate.

Narrow aisle forklifts with slimmer profiles — many are less than 3 feet wide — are ideal for these facilities. These models come in diesel- and electric-powered options and provide substantial lifting and loading capacities. Some can handle loads up to 1,100 pounds while reach truck versions can handle 5,500 pounds.


A walkie stacker is a scaled-down version of a traditional forklift. The operator walks behind the unit and uses the control panel to pick up, raise and lower the pallet containing the load. Walkies are highly maneuverable and come in various configurations. Some models even allow the operator to stand on them during use, which conserves additional space. Walkies run on battery-supplied electricity and can lift up to 5,000 pounds, depending on the version.

Order Pickers

These electrically powered machines are larger than walkies but not as big as narrow aisle forklifts. They can reach heights up to 30 feet, which works well for many smaller facilities that stack goods vertically to maximize space. Maximum load capacities typically range up to 5,000 pounds.

Pallet Jacks

A pallet jack is a hand-operated piece of equipment that uses hydraulics to raise and lower the forks. They're small, narrow and highly maneuverable and can provide a lifting capacity of up to 5,500 pounds.

Hand Trucks

For areas that are too small or narrow for motorized material handling equipment, manual options can provide a practical alternative. A dolly is a two-wheeled hand truck that works well for moving smaller items from delivery trucks to storage racks or other areas of a store or warehouse. The width can range from 20 to 26 inches, which is compatible with narrow aisle facilities.

The Cat® Rental Store Has the Right Material Handling Equipment

The Cat® Rental Store near you is your one-stop headquarters for all types of equipment for rent at affordable rates. We recognize the challenges that material handling for small spaces presents — we'll help you choose the best products for your unique work environment. We also provide complete repair and maintenance service for every model we rent.

Contact Us to Get the Rental Process Started

Please view our extensive material handling equipment inventory today. If you would like more information or have any questions, call us anytime at 1-800-RENT-CAT. You can also contact us online to request a quick quote.

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