6 Things to Consider When Picking The Best Forklift Dumpster

self-dumping hopper on forklift

Forklift dumpsters are an easy way to streamline operations, reduce injuries, and improve your team’s efficiency and output in a variety of manufacturing settings.

The best forklift dumpsters will be durable, easy to use, and ultimately can save you money over the course of their life.

We’ve spent the last few decades perfecting the design and materials used in our self dumping hoppers and rotating forklift boxes, and we’ve learned a lot from working with customers and prospective customers just like you!

Here are six things to consider – and some of the most pressing questions you should ask any forklift hopper manufacturer before you buy – to get the best forklift dump hopper or bin for your operation.

Explained: What Is a Forklift Dumpster?

Good question!

To begin, forklift dumpsters (also called forklift hoppers, self dumping hoppers, rotator boxes, and more!) are generally smaller metal dumpsters (from ¼ to 8 cubic yards) that sit on forklift pockets to accommodate tow-motor forks, forklifts, or skid steers with forks. Forklift hoppers are typically used for trash and waste materials, but they can also be used for storage of parts in the manufacturing process. These can be simple squares or rectangles, or they can have sloped sides, varied-height sides, and more.

However they’re designed, forklift dumpsters are made to be easy to move with a standard forklift.

A forklift trash hopper with a self dumping design – which we call a self dumping hopper – includes a hinged operation allowing the dumpster to be dumped from a flat position on a forklift with a mechanism triggered by the forklift operator with a chain or rope. 

We also design and build rotator forklift bins, which are simple boxes on fork pockets that can be dumped using a rotator attachment on your forklift. 

Self dumping hoppers and rotator boxes are both helpful in the workplace. They can be quickly lifted and whisked to an outdoor dumpster or larger receptacle, meaning fewer manual trips to the trash with waste cans, less back-breaking labor for employees, and generally more efficient material handling around the facility. 

Let your employees stick to their craft – building great products to sell! – and reduce the time they spend moving materials around with quality hoppers and dumpsters.

6 Questions To Ask For The Perfect Forklift Dumpster For Your Business

1. What’s the right dumpster profile for your business and facility?

We specialize in heavy duty custom trash hoppers that are designed based on your business’ needs.

For instance, where will you be placing your dump hopper or rotator box? For any low-height situation (like underneath a workbench or conveyer belt), you may want to consider a low-profile, high-volume self-dumping hopper on wheels. 

Built on heavy duty casters, you’ll be able to roll this dumpster into position just about anywhere you might need to put it to use. (Check out this video to see our low-profile forklift hopper in action!) They’re convenient, and every customer we’ve worked with who’s replacing basic trash cans with low-profile dump hoppers on wheels has been thrilled with their ease-of-use.

Or maybe rather than casters, it makes sense to put your forklift hopper on a dolly. We’ve built rotator boxes specifically to fit multiples on a single handcart, and even stacked on a dolly with casters!

We also make rotator bins with one side lower than the others. These can be stacked on top of each other yet are still accessible and easy to reach in and out of to hand-pick parts, making them a great replacement for traditional pallet racking or storage.

2. Do you have a forklift rotator, or do you need a dumping mechanism on your dumpster?

This is an important consideration for those getting their first dumpster: do you need a fixed rotator box or a self dumping hopper? 

Rotating forks allow a dumpster with no hinge or swing mechanism to be dumped sideways, but many forklifts or businesses don’t have this feature.

Our self dumping hoppers are the perfect solution, with built-in hinges that can remain in a locked position until the time comes for it to be dumped. When ready, a self-dumping hopper can be lifted and driven over top of a larger dumpster, often outdoors, where the operator pulls a chain or rope from the ground or driver’s seat that releases the container, which automatically dumps forward. Once emptied, the container returns to an upright, locked position on its own.

3. What size of dump hopper and weight capacity do you need?

Depending where you hope to store and use your hopper or rotator box, size is a key consideration. While a low-profile hopper will be convenient underneath benches, they can be more limited in size – to accommodate greater volume, you’ll need to go wider or deeper rather than “up.”

Worth noting: we make our rotator boxes and self dumping hoppers stackable, too! We generally recommend stacking no higher than three to five for safety.

For most customers, weight isn’t an issue, but our dump hoppers come in 4,000-pound and 6,000-pound standard weight-handling capabilities. This is determined by the gauge of metal with which we build the bin. We generally recommend higher weight capacity with a thicker metal for heavy or high-impact settings, like on construction sites if you’re throwing concrete blocks around!

Take a moment to think about length, width, height, and the amount of space you might want to fill – then call Creekside Manufacturing to learn more about our many options. Are you handling scrap wood or soft “fluffy” materials like foam that take up space but don’t weigh much? We find that when it comes to the right material handling equipment, working with us to talk through your specific needs often helps you get the best size for your business.

4. What should your forklift dump hopper be made of?

We make painted steel dumpsters, aluminum dumpsters, as well as stainless steel dumpsters.

Painted steel is durable and looks great, perfect for most refuse-handling situations.

Aluminum is particularly light-weight and won’t rust, which can be ideal for moist conditions, though it can still corrode around chemicals or corrosive materials. For forklifts with lower load capacities where you might be worried about weight ratings, this is a good option.

Stainless steel is perfect for corrosive materials, and we commonly make stainless steel dumpsters or dump hoppers for food manufacturing, liquids, and pharmaceutical companies.

5. Could dump hoppers be good for your storage?

With stackable rotator boxes and self-dumping hoppers, many of our customers realize they can do away with, or avoid the high cost of, pallet racks for stacking pallets and bins by switching to dumpsters. Stackable dumpsters are a great alternative to pallet racks, and our forklift bins are perfect for parts storage too.

We use dozens of rotator forklift bins for picking parts in our own manufacturing shop: fill them with parts, set them where you need them, roll them around on casters – you name it, the right forklift bin can be perfect for your manufacturing assembly line and storage in a single solution!

6. Have you thought about colors?

Another great consideration is color-coding your forklift bins!

Because we paint in a wide variety of colors, many of our customers will order different colors for every application: trash, recycling, fluids, and more! We’ve even done custom paints based on a company’s branding, and we can also weld custom identification labels in place.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re thinking about your first forklift hopper or love your experience and are simply ready for more, Creekside Manufacturing can help you get the perfect storage solutions for your needs.

We carry a handful of standard dump hopper and rotator box models, but we don’t force you to select one of a few options: we make custom hoppers for the unique needs of your business; whether machine shops, woodworking, or food processing, we’ve got durable solutions to fit your process. We ship nationwide, too.

Call today to learn more and get started.

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