Guide to Buying Forklifts


Virtually all warehouses, manufacturing factories, lumberyards and distribution facilities, different kinds of forklifts are used to make their operations run smoothly. While some businesses use forklifts in unloading deliveries, others use them for daily operations. Either way, forklifts are an important part of fulfilling specific production needs.

In buying forklifts, you need to be aware that this equipment is a big investment, both for small and large businesses. Therefore, you should consider several things to make sure the forklift can handle your production requirements at an affordable cost. This guide will help you understand the things you need to know to buy the most qualified forklift for the job.

1) Production requirements:
Just like in buying any kind of equipment, the forklift should perform exactly what you need your equipment to do. Determine the size and weight of the products that needs to be loaded by the forklift. Consider the location of operation – are you going to use the forklift outdoors, indoors or both?

Determine if you will need the forklift for daily operation or just for deliveries. Also, consider the space your forklift will be operating. How wide or narrow are the aisles in your factory?

2) Capacity:
Determine how high and how much weight your forklift needs to lift. Since forklifts are rated based on the weight they could lift, buying an 8,000-lb model for lifting 1,000-lb products a day may not be a practical choice. Be aware that the size of your loads will influence your capacity requirements.

In addition, consider how high you need the forklift to lift the load. For instance, if you will use the forklift for unloading deliveries, you may not need too much height. However, if you will be using it for 30-feet high shelves, consider a forklift that could reach this height requirement.

3) Used vs. New forklifts:
If you determined the capacity and production requirements, it is time to consider whether to buy a used or new forklift. This will narrow down your choices.

As a rule of thumb, if you will be using the forklift truck for more than four hours daily, it is best that you purchase new equipment. Since using your forklift for more than 4 hours a day indicates it is a major part of your daily operation, consider buying a new forklift to save maintenance and operating costs.

On the other hand, if you will be using the forklift truck just for unloading deliveries, say 2 hours a day, it is more practical to buy a used forklift.

Many forklift manufacturers offer both new and used trucks. Whether your operation requires a new and heavy-duty truck or a used and lightweight forklift, considering these three guidelines can lead you to the most appropriate forklift for your business operations.