Comparing Cable Reel Handling Forklift Attachments: Two-Piece vs. Single-Unit

Wire and cable distributors use a wide variety of reel-handling carts to move product around the warehouse, but for high-volume, high-capacity operations, only a forklift fleet will do. Standard lift truck forks aren’t built for cable reels, leading to a large market in fork attachments that make reel-handling safer and more efficient — to varying degrees, depending on the product’s design.

The simplest reel-handling forklift attachments consist of a pair of steel slots tightened onto the forks. Slide a spindle through the reel, slide its ends into the slots, and go. There are a few disadvantages to this approach, however.

These two-piece forklift attachments rely on users to place them perfectly parallel to one another. This is both time-consuming and potentially unsafe; even a slight angle to the spindles can place uneven pressure on the attachments, especially during payout. Because these attachments secure to forks only through hand-turned bolts, the risk of sliding or even outright failure can rapidly compound during use.

Instead, cable distributors should consider one-piece forklift attachments that can safely lift reels in a variety of configurations. Examples include:

  • Overhead reel lifters. This design is a single-piece fork attachment that lifts reels from above, thanks to a heavy-duty set of chains and hooks. Products like the BHS Overhead Reel Lifter (ORL) can provide greater clearance for large reels, enabling easier payouts with a minimal footprint. The beam includes keyhole chain-link slots, which allow workers to manage payouts from reels of different sizes; the ORL can safely lift reels of up to 5,000 pounds.
  • Spindle-free reel handler attachments. This type of reel attachment lifts units from underneath, eliminating the need for a spindle. The BHS Reel Handler Attachment (RHA) is a capable alternative. Capable of accommodating spool diameters of 23-59 inches, it has tapered ends for rolling fully loaded reels into place. Safety chains keep the spools in place, and an anti-slide stop at the rear keeps the reel stable during transport.
  • Reel roller platform attachments. If you’re looking for payout capability in a forklift attachment, a reel roller platform like the BHS Dyana Reel Attachment (DRPA) is an ideal option. With the tie-down kit in place, users can transport reels, then fill them or pay out cable from them — all without touching spindles or jack stands.

Single-piece reel handling attachments provide greater stability and safety than many two-piece alternatives. Regardless of the specific application, dedicated reel handler attachments have various safety features to ensure that spools remain locked in place during movement, including anti-slide stops and safety chains. Cable reel handling forklift attachments like the ones described above protect products and workers, making electrical distribution operations safer and more productive with every order.

For more information on material handling solutions for built for cable and wire distributors, visit


Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button