forklift tire options

What type of forklift tire is best suited for my application?

Some forklifts use only a specific tire, but if restrictions are not an issue, it is important to know the best forklift tire options for your application.


Cushion tired forklifts have a tire that is made by bonding rubber to a metal base band. Smaller than pneumatics, cushion-tired forklifts have a tighter turning radius needed for most indoor applications, especially those with narrow aisle racking. Cushion tired forklifts are designed for indoor use but can be taken outside for light work where surfaces are smooth.

Cushion tires are also available in polyurethane. This increases the carrying capacity by approximately 64% while decreasing the rolling resistance to help enhance battery life and reduce fuel consumption. Traction is poor due to the smaller footprint and hardness, plus it offers very little suspension for the forklift.


Pneumatic tired forklifts afford more flotation for a better ride and traction on most surfaces, and are ideal for heavy duty outdoor applications. Most pneumatics have deep treads, reinforced sidewalls and strong wear-resistant rubber. They can also be foam filled to reduce downtime due to punctures. If debris is a concern, solid pneumatic tires are another option. Shaped like an air-filled tire but composed of rubber compounds, they are made to perform in the harshest environments such as recycling, scrap metal and demolition.


Pneumatic and cushion forklift tires are also available in a non-marking compound. This feature is critical when house cleaning is a major issue, and the floors must be kept clean. Carbon Black is replaced with Hydrated Silicas which help to prevent the tire residue from adhering to the floor surface. Non-marking tires typically have a life of approximately 25% less than its marking counterpart.

Are your forklift tires worn?  Have more questions about which tires to use in your facility?  Call Thompson & Johnson today to speak to an equipment specialist or fill out a Customer Request Email Form above! 

Got Questions?

If you have a question on this or any topic related to safety with your forklift, give our resident expert, Dave Bennet, a call or fill out the request form.