Tires with Blue and Orange Racking

Forklift Tires – Understanding the Difference


Forklift tires come in all shapes and sizes. They aren’t all black, round and created equal. With so many options it’s difficult to know what’s best for your forklift and your application. Here’s your definitive guide to understanding the difference between forklift tires. Let’s start with the basic characteristics of the forklift tires you might see.


Basic Characteristics of Forklift Tires

Pneumatic Tires are similar to a car tire: made of traction rubber and filled with compressed air.

Pneumatic Forklift Tire


Solid Pneumatic Tires are made of solid rubber.

Solid Pneumatic Forklift Tire


Cushion/Press-On Tires are made of solid rubber that is molded to a round metal band.

Non-Marking Cushion Forklift Tire


Non-Marking Tires are made with hydrated silica’s and special additives to eliminate the black marks on the floors.

Non-Marking Smooth Cushion Tire


Polyurethane Tires are a lightweight, polyurethane option that provides good traction with low rolling resistance.

Polyurethane Forklift Tires



Which Forklift Tire is Right For You?

Though we’ve given you a basic description of each forklift tire type. They each have benefits and drawbacks that could affect your decision.

Pneumatic Tires

  • Pneumatic tires have air or foam in them
  • Can be used indoors and work well outdoors on asphalt, on gravel and in yards. However, be sure your work area is free of any sharp or jagged objects which could puncture the tire
  • Pneumatic tires extend the operating life of the forklift by providing an air cushion between the forklift and the terrain
  • Foam-filled pneumatic tires give a smoother ride than solid pneumatic tires

Solid Pneumatic Tires

  • More expensive than air pneumatic tires
  • Can’t deflate puncture as they are 100% rubber
  • Ideal applications include recycling centers and lumber yards where there are sharp debris on the ground

Cushion/Press-On Tires

  • Can be traction or smooth rubber
  • Very durable: never pop or deflate as they are 100% rubber
  • Suitable for indoor as well as     light outdoor use on smooth surfaces

Non-Marking Tires

  • Available in solid pneumatic, air pneumatic, and cushion
  • Require you to use an anti-static strip on the forklift as the tire is prone to cause static electricity
  • Short life span

Polyurethane Tires

  • Provide the right amount of traction and have a low rolling resistance
  • More resistant to splitting, tearing, or chunking out under load than rubber tires
  • Have approximately twice the life span of rubber tires
  • Best suited for light applications: warehouse and indoor use only
  • Perfect for use on stand-up electric counter-balance forklifts, order pickers, reach trucks and electric pallet jacks

Find out which tire type is common for your industry, plus much more in our extensive forklift tire guide.