A sideloader operates by lifting loads from the side. In circumstances where regular forklifts may become unbalanced, a sideloader forklift specialises in lifting wide loads. Their design makes them ideal for use within narrow spaces and aisles giving the driver full view of their surroundings.

Sideloader Forklifts are forklifts fitted with the lifting forks perpendicular to the drive direction of the forklift. By configuring the forks perpendicular to the drive direction this allows the forklift to operate in close spaced isles.

The lifting mechanisms are provided as hydraulic, pneumatic, electric or mechanically operated. Side-loader forklifts can be either man-up or man-down configurations. The man-up version has the advantage of locating the operator close to the load. One of the main advantages of a side-loader fork lift is that storage area requirements are reduced because forklift can travel, load and unload within much narrower aisles. This is facilitated by the fork lifts ability to extend and retract the lifting forks perpendicular to the forward and reverse drive line of the forklift.

Side loader forklifts are available in diesel, gas or electric power.