7 Things to Consider Before You Buy A Forklift

by Hank Ansley, on March 6, 2020 at 9:00 AM

Blog Image 7 Things to Consider Before Buying a ForkliftUnless you have a crystal ball, choosing the right forklift can be time-consuming, and involve a lot of uncertainty. How do you avoid buying equipment that won't meet your needs a year from now, or over-paying for capacity or features you may never use?

Whether you’re looking to buy a new or used forklift, the seven key considerations below will help you choose the right lift truck for your application - now and in the future. You can also take a shortcut by contacting one of our forklift experts who can help you find the best forklift for your application and budget.

Forklift Purchasing Factors

New vs. Used - Some buyers never even look at used forklifts, but if a new forklift is an unplanned expense, or you need equipment fast, used forklifts are a great option. Buying from a reliable dealer who stands behind their used equipment will give you peace of mind. Read some of the top reasons to buy a used forklift.

Capacity - How much capacity is one of the toughest questions to answer because more capacity = more money. The bigger the forklift, the bigger the price tag. When choosing capacity, consider your average load weight, attachments, and any customer trends or changes you’ve experienced over the past few years. Learn more about how to calculate forklift capacity.

Accessories and Attachments - Attachments, such as a single-double or sideshifter, can greatly enhance productivity. They also reduce total capacity, so be sure to take this into account when choosing capacity.

Mast Height - Your loads may get heavier, but your ceiling or top rack (probably) won’t get higher. When choosing mast height, start with your maximum load weight and choose a mast to suit that weight, or even a little heavier. If your forklifts operate in and out of trailers or in an environment with low clearances, you'll want a mast with free lift. Learn more about freelift and 2-stage vs. 3-stage masts.

Engine Type - For some buyers, the choice is easy. If your application involves food, pharmaceuticals, or working underground - you’re going electric. Heavy-duty applications will likely choose diesel, and applications where the forklift works remotely will appreciate the convenience of an LP forklift. For everyone else, it really depends on whether you want to pay more now (electric) or later (internal combustion).

Electric forklifts cost more in the beginning but often pay for themselves within two years. They have an enticingly-low cost of ownership and some models are built to work outdoors - even in the rain. Here are some pros and cons of electric forklifts.

Tire Type - This is another fairly easy choice. If your forklift operates primarily indoors, such as a warehouse or loading dock, cushion tires are a good choice. They’re less expensive and have a tighter turning radius. Most outdoor applications (lumberyards, gravel lots) use solid pneumatic tires. Other forklift tires (polyurethane, cold-prepped and static-resistant) are available for specialty applications.

Manufacturer - Using equipment from the same manufacturer across your fleet can lower costs and help maintain efficiency (operators don’t have to learn a new machine). Depending on your fleet size, this might not be a high priority.

Mid Columbia Forklift and MidCo Material Handling sells Clark, Doosan, Kalmar and Toyota forklifts, and we service them all. Our forklift service contracts help you save time and money, and our expert technicians are service multiple brands and equipment configurations.

Questions? We’re here to help. We take pride in providing world-class service and equipment for our customers.

Contact us online or by phone:
Auburn 253-854-5438
Pasco 509-547-7413
Wenatchee 509-663-9009
Yakima 509-457-5137

Further Reading
Common Misconceptions About Buying a Used Forklift 
Why Outsource Your Forklift Planned Maintenance 
When to Choose a Propane vs. Electric Forklift 

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