Buying a forklift is a significant investment, so you want to consider every factor before making a final decision. You'll need to consider more than just the specifications. You should also look at the price, type, and make and model to help you determine the best choice.

We'll help you learn how to buy a forklift, how to find the right type and what to consider when purchasing a forklift.

What Types of Forklifts Are There?

You can choose various forklift styles and models to accommodate your needs, such as manual, electric and internal combustion forklifts. Whether you need a new forklift for your next job or want to rent one for a specific project, here are the different options you have:

1. Warehouse Forklifts

A warehouse forklift is one of the most recognizable types of forklift. These machines reassemble a golf cart but have twin forks extending from the front side. These forklifts are often used within facilities with extensive inventory since they are optimal for loading and unloading pallets and transporting merchandise to and from delivery freights.

2. Counterbalance Forklifts

These forklifts have forks in the front and weight in the back, allowing the unit to counterbalance the load's weight. Counterbalance forklifts can move directly to the load since they have no extending arms. They're also easy to maneuver, and operators can hop on and off between loads.

3. Heavy-Duty Forklifts

While heavy-duty forklifts can't maneuver through the same angles and spaces as smaller equipment, they can lift heavier loads higher off the ground than a standard warehouse forklift.

4. Rough Terrain Forklifts

Rough terrain forklifts are ideal for outdoor jobs on uneven surfaces. These pneumatic tire forklifts have bigger, threaded tires that allow them to maintain stability and balance as they traverse over rocky terrain. Rough terrain forklifts are ideal if most of your work occurs outdoors or at construction sites.

5. Pallet Jacks

Pallet jacks are specialized forklifts that can't lift large loads due to their size, but they're excellent for lifting small loads in tight spaces. While you'll sacrifice power with a pallet jack, their maneuverability makes up for it. Whether buying or renting, you can choose a manual pallet jack or an electric pallet jack based on your job requirements.

6. Order Picker

Order pickers help with picking up and delivering items from storage. This equipment can help lift operators to warehouse racks and carry individual units. These forklifts are ideal for storage facilities and order warehouses.

7. Reach Fork Trucks

Reach fork trucks are warehouse forklifts primarily used for indoor work. The main benefit of reach fork trucks is the extended forks that can reach warehouse racks in ways that standard warehouse forklifts can't. The operators have increased visibility within the open compartment, making it an ideal choice for indoor use.

How Much Does a Forklift Cost to Buy?

Price of new vs used forklifts

There are various types of forklifts, ranging from electric to internal combustion. The one you choose will affect the price. Internal combustion forklifts tend to be more affordable than electric forklifts, ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 for a brand-new model. Electric forklifts will vary depending on if you want a battery charger, but a brand-new model can range from $40,000 to $60,000.

There's a significant difference between the price of a new forklift and one that's used or rented. A used forklift can be a more affordable option for businesses on a budget. Used forklifts range between $10,000 to $20,000. Brand, age and specifications will influence the cost.

If you don't need to own a forklift, you can also choose to rent oneRenting a forklift is an ideal solution for temporary jobs. Prices will vary based on the company you choose, the rental agreement terms and the specs of your chosen model.

Factors to Consider When Buying A Forklift

When purchasing or renting a forklift, you want to get the best deal. Below are some factors you should consider that could influence the cost of your forklift and what you choose:

  • New versus used models: A new forklift is usually a more significant investment than used options of the same make and model. Different sizes or types of forklifts can also be more expensive, regardless of whether they're new or used. But businesses often pick used forklifts to avoid equipment depreciation.
  • Specifications: When buying a forklift, you need it to meet all the specifications for your job. You'll need to consider the type, height of the mast, width of the unit and whether you want an electric or internal combustion model.
  • Budget: One of the essential factors when buying a forklift is your budget. Determine how much you will spend on the initial investment, fuel, storage, maintenance and service. These factors can help you narrow down the choice between new or used.
  • Service history: One essential thing you should consider when buying a forklift is its service history. Consider whether it's been repaired, upgraded or serviced in the past. You'll also want to consider if any of the work on the machine was done by a professional, dealership or someone else and if the replacement parts are from the original manufacturer. 

Common Mistakes When Buying a Forklift

Many factors go into buying a forklift, so it's helpful to be aware of common mistakes during the buying process to prevent them from happening to you. Some mistakes you should avoid include:

  • Buying only by price: While price is essential when purchasing a forklift, it shouldn't be the only factor influencing your decision. A cheaper forklift may be appealing, but it may not have the specifications you need or may require more maintenance. Investing a little more into your forklift increases the productivity of the machine for your company.
  • Buying without getting a maintenance plan: Forklifts work like every piece of heavy machinery and require regular maintenance to keep them in working order. Make sure your forklift dealer has the necessary expertise to provide you with the support and service you need.
  • Buying from an untrustworthy seller: Buying from an individual seller online comes with the risk that your forklift may not perform the way you need. Work with a reputable dealer to ensure you can protect your investment and prevent unnecessary downtime.
  • Buying before trying the forklift: Renting out the make and model you want allows you to try it in your specific working conditions, especially if you've never owned a forklift before. You can get input from your operators to ensure it's performing as it should.

Choose Fitzgerald Equipment Company as Your Trusted Forklift Dealer

Fitzgerald Equipment Company offers high-quality material handling products, including new and used forklifts. We also offer rentals to help you test out a forklift or fulfill your need for a temporary job. Our family-owned business treats each of our clients as part of our family.

We focus on our customers first, supplying them with the equipment they need to fulfill their specifications. We also offer parts and services to ensure your forklift remains in working order, reducing downtime and improving productivity. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help!

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Rockford, IL
4650 Boeing Drive
Rockford, IL 61109