Heavy Equipment Buying Guide: Should You Buy New Or Used Forklift?

Heavy Equipment Buying Guide: Should You Buy New Or Used Forklift?
The Siliconreview
27 March, 2020

Manual labor is no longer viable when you need to move too much volume of your products. Especially when you want to move them fast, you'll need a forklift to do it. Not only will you achieve your quota, but the time you saved is worth more than you could imagine.

Whatever type of work you may need, various forklifts are there waiting for you to choose them. For instance, you may need an indoor or outdoor forklift, so you may need to check the forklift's model or type. Also, when buying one, you may need to consider whether to buy a new or used forklift.

Thus, you should consider the following to help you decide on buying a new or used forklift:

1) Price

One of the first things you need to consider is the price of a forklift that you'll need. Especially when you're a startup, you may be tight on your finances. Or, if you're scaling up your business, you'll also need to consider that the cost is within your business' finances. If not, you may end up getting more loans.

If you're planning to buy a new one, then you should have a high amount of budget. Since it's a piece of new equipment, expect that the price is higher than the used one. The overall cost of ownership will come pricey as well.

But when it comes to used forklifts, the price from the new one may go as low as 25% to 50% of its original price. However, the price of a new or used forklift may also vary depending on the model, or its condition. And when you're lucky, you can even find someone selling it at a much lower price, especially due to financial constraints.

2) Engine

Next to the price is the engine of the forklift. Whether it's a used or a new one, you should consider the right engine type of the forklift. Here's a quick glimpse of the most common types of forklift engines:

  • Propane Forklifts - Between the diesel and electric engine lift are the forklifts powered by propane. Like electrics, you need to avoid exhausting propane-powered forklifts as this can become a danger. But like a diesel, propane-powered forklifts can fully operate even when its tank is near empty. Thus, it's power is exceptional. You can also pair it with a catalytic converter or shortly use it indoors.
  • Diesel Forklifts - As mentioned, diesel forklifts can do extreme lifting as they're more powered than other engines. This is perfect for shipping large yards and construction sites. It's also best for rough outdoor terrain or on a graded surface.
  • Electric Forklifts - This type of engine doesn't require fuel storage as they have rechargeable batteries. With such, they've got a quieter engine and no dangers of spilling flammable materials. However, this type of engine is best suited for factory, retail stocking, warehouse, and other indoors.

Whether used or new forklift, don't just buy something that's cheaper than your original budget. It's best to know whether they'll be usable for your business or not.

Of course, when you're buying a new forklift, you're assured that the engine is new and in its best condition. When it comes to used forklifts, you wouldn't know its condition if you won't test and check it.

So for used forklifts, it's better to test and try its engine to know if it's still in its excellent condition.

3) Tire

Also, forklift tires vary depending on the type of usage. Whether you're buying a new or used forklift, you should also consider the type of tires the forklift has. If the forklift has a different type of tire from what purpose you'll use it, it may not function well.

Some forklifts may encounter overheating and accelerated wear using improper tires. Your operator may even experience ride discomfort and lower speeds. As a result, instead of minimizing the costs via your forklift purchase, you may also spend more on maintenance costs.

For new forklifts, the type of tire may be the right one. For steer axles and dry indoor applications, you may consider smooth tires. If you're going to use forklifts on extreme operating conditions or larger capacity trucks, choose grooved tires. But if you'll use it for various applications, traction tires may be the right choice.

On the other hand, you may need to consider the condition of the tires. Although you can replace the tires, it's best to find a few things. If the tires are wearing out, the wear indicator bar becomes visible located on the sidewall of the tires. Thus, if this is the condition, you can use it to haggle the price of the forklift.

4) Warranty

Lastly, you may need to consider the warranty of the forklift. For new forklifts, you won't have to worry about it as manufacturers offer at least a year of warranty or depending on the number of hours for the warranty coverage. Especially when you're not at fault for the forklift's damage or replacement, the warranty guarantees you full coverage of such.

However, when buying a used forklift, you may need to check with the seller. It's best if they offer you a warranty although for a limited number of days only. On the other hand, if they don't like to give at least some days of warranty, you may take it as a warning. It's because the seller may be keeping a secret on the forklift's real condition.


Indeed, a forklift can do so much for your business, but buying a wrong or defective one may only give you to spend on. Avoid such by setting a budget as one of your meters, whether to buy a new or used one. Then, if you've set up a budget, check the right engine.

Take note that the equipment you’re buying must be commensurate with the type of industry you're in. As for its tires, choose the ones that can also cater to your business' needs. Lastly, buy a forklift with a warranty to ensure that you can replace it if it's not your fault.