There are a large number of different types and models of stackers of the manual forklift kind on the market.

Virtually every large business that handles stock in any way employs these machines. Their application ranges from ports and shipping, to warehousing, to logistics, to manufacturing, to scrap yards to farming as well as many other uses. Because of such a large span of application areas, it makes sense that these machines will be available in different designs and configuration.

Because a manual forklift is designed to be manually driven by human operators, it is of importance that such machines are designed to be safe to operate in their intended use, through sound design and manufacturing practices. Although machines may conform to such requirements, they remain industrial equipment that should be treated with respect of the fact that their use may hold some danger to the operator. It is estimated that more than 200 people are killed in the USA annually, operating a manual forklift. Proper training in the use of such equipment is therefore paramount in the use of these machines to ensure respect in the use of machines by their operators.

The mentioned number of deaths excludes the number of serious injuries sustained by operators, which totals in the tens of thousands per annum.

A manual forklift may be of a machine type that merely moves single laden pallets around a space and is pushed by the operator to the new location and dumped using either a hand device or a foot pedal to lower the fork to ground level before the machine is moved away. Other designs may include scissor action or hydraulic action lifts of varying heights to stack pallets with a weight of up to 3 tonnes. These lifting mechanisms of these machines vary between foot pedal and electric activation of a hydraulic system. It is said that a manual forklift and operator can do the work of six manual labourers, so these machines are effective in their function. The dependence on these machines and their operators by industry and commerce alike make them invaluable as business recourse.