Should I Buy New Or Used Forklifts?


When deciding to buy either a new or used forklift, there are several factors to weigh.

Wikipedia Commons. Photo by Patsy Lynch/FEMA

Forklifts are expensive machines, so do your homework before you make a buying decision. Given an unlimited budget, everyone would like to have a shiny, new forklift with the latest technology, but for a lot of operations, the decision of whether to go with new or used mobile equipment is a difficult one. There is no easy and straightforward answer to the question of whether to buy new or procure a used unit. Take the time to assess the pros and cons of both options before you make a final decision.

The Cost Difference between New and Used Forklifts

Unfortunately, budgets are often constrained, and people look for ways to cut the cost. Going for a used forklift can offer significant price savings may turn out to be an ill-advised move if you end up paying too much for maintenance and a machine that is only going to have a short remaining service life. Let’s have a look at the price difference:

An electric warehouse forklift with standard capacity like 5000 pounds will cost you $15K-$25K. You need to spend another $2k to $5k for a battery and its charger. A brand new internal combustion (IC) forklift with similar capacity can cost as much as $30k. A high-end forklift that can handle even 35,000 pounds at a time can cost more than $100k.  

On the other hand, a used but well refurbished used electric forklift with 3000-pound capacity will cost $5k-$10k. A similar capacity IC forklift will cost $10k-$15k. So, going for a used forklift, you can expect to have 30% to 50% cost savings. But cost saving should not be the only factor when deciding whether to buy new or used forklifts.

Pros And Cons Of Buying A New Forklift

Pros

  • Buying a new forklift allows you to have the newest and latest model in the market.
  • You pay the listed price with no need for bargaining.
  • A new forklift should last longer and handle long hours at an efficient pace under proper maintenance.
  • Higher overhead.
  • All the parts of the forklift will be brand new contrary to used forklifts.  
  • You get precisely what you want.
  • You get a 12-36 months warranty.

Cons

  • Very expensive.
  • Financing, purchasing can involve lengthy paperwork

Pros And Cons Of Buying A Used Forklift

Pros

  • Huge cost saving (30%-50% less than brand new forklifts).
  • Quicker purchasing process.
  • Quicker delivery.

Cons

  • You normally don’t get a forklift as per your desired specifications and forgo some features.
  • You don’t get the newest model in the market.
  • The price valuation of the used forklift is important. If you do it wrong, you might lose big in the bargaining.
  • Less overhead.
  • Won’t work as efficiently as a new one.
  • Higher maintenance cost.
  • No or very limited warranty.

When To Buy Used Forklifts

According to experts, buying a used forklift is a good idea if the required daily use of the forklift is less than 4 hours. If you plan on using a forklift for more than 4 hours a day, it might not perform well for long enough. Still, the used forklift needs to be in good condition. It requires exceptional valuation and negotiation skills to buy a used forklift. Again, there remains the risk of buying from an uncertified seller. Buying a forklift from an individual is always risky. So, consider finding a certified dealer before you proceed. Availability of used and refurbished forklifts is another important consideration.

When To Buy New Forklifts

As mentioned before, when the required daily use of the forklift is more than 4 hours, you consider a new forklift. The 12-36 month warranty is a very important advantage that is money well spent for such heavy use.  

 

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