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April 07, 2020

Buying a forklift can be more complex than you think. There are many questions to consider as you make this important decision, but where do you start? This post is the start of our Guide to Buying a Forklift where we’ll tackle the new or used debate. We’ll walk you through some situations to help you make the right decision. Let’s dive in!

There are aseries of questions you should ask yourself when buying a forklift. But one of the most important questions to add to that list is: What is my budget? This will help you figure out if you should go new or used.



New warehouse style forklifts become increasingly expensive as you seek out more technical specs. Anything used is typically less expensive and you can often save money if you go that route, but there are some situations where you will want to consider a new forklift. 

  • Consider the daily usage of your forklift. If you are using it for two or more hours a day, it’s worth the investment to buy new. You could buy one used, but it may not last as long. 
  • If you are working in a harsh environment, get a new forklift so you can take advantage of your warranty options. You may not get a warranty if you buy a used lift.
  • If you are in need of a custom spec forklift, buy a new one and use until it is no longer economically feasible to repair. The used forklift market is full of many generic options, so it will be easier to find a lift that fits your custom-spec needs if you go new. Forcing a used machine to do something it can’t will often bring you to unwanted roadblocks.
  • If you are storing pallets on high racking systems, consider the weight capacity the truck can lift. Though most forklifts have safety features that automatically shut down if weight capacity is exceeded, you don’t want to risk any chance of it malfunctioning. Potential tipping can cause other surrounding components to fail, such as racking. This puts everyone in the warehouse at risk. 

Check Out the Dos and Don’ts of Buying Other Warehouse Equipment



If you’re searching for a more economical option, there are always used forklifts on the market. However, you don’t want to buy something that won’t fit your operations. Here are some tips to make sure you get exactly what you need. 

  • Buy used from a reputable forklift dealer.
  • Be very cautious of buying a forklift from a repair shop. Most of the time they aren’t experts like dealers are. Many people do not get the forklift they need when buying a used one from a bad seller. 
  • Rule of thumb: A good, used forklift will be roughly 50-60 percent of the cost of a new version of that same lift.



We highly suggest to avoid putting your heaviest inventory and pallets on your top shelves. It may seem convenient if that pallet is full of slow-moving product, but doing so can be risky. Some forklifts don’t function safely when lifting heavy materials at tall heights and some have limited driver visibility.

Trying to navigate heavy items when they are 25 feet high on the lift can get extremely dangerous. It’s very easy to knock or run into nearby racking. If you absolutely need to store heavy materials on high shelves, make sure you have the right forklift for the job.

Putting your heaviest materials on the bottom shelves allows you to work at faster speeds, making your operations more efficient.


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