How to Buy a Forklift
Buying a forklift is a major financial investment. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or replacing an existing forklift, this overview will help make sure you think through all the important decisions before you make a purchase.
Forklifts are not a one-size-fits-all product. The first step in making a buying decision is deciding what basic type of forklift you need, and most of that decision is based on where you’ll be working and what you’ll be doing.
Indoors vs. Outdoors
The first question that will help narrow down your choices is whether you’ll be using your lift truck indoors, outdoors, or both.
If the lift will be used indoors, you’ll probably want an electric forklift. Electric lifts produce no harmful emissions and are quieter. Outdoors, you’ll want an internal combustion (IC) forklift. Whether gas or diesel, these machines are less expensive than electric lifts with a similar capacity. They’re also waterproof, unlike electric models. For use on uneven ground, rough terrain forklifts use large pneumatic tires and an extendable lifting arm.
If you’re going back and forth or using the lift in a semi-enclosed area like a loading dock, a liquid propane (LPG) forklift might be the best choice. They produce less exhaust than other types of IC lifts, so they can be used indoors, but can also operate safely outdoors.
There are many specialized types of forklifts designed for the crowded conditions inside warehouses. These machines are all electric powered.
- Walkies and riders are simply motorized pallet jacks. They’re great for moving palletized loads around a warehouse, but don’t provide much in the way of safety or lifting heights. These are the least expensive type of lifts.
- Narrow aisle forklifts let you save space in your warehouse by setting up aisles only 8′ to 10′ apart, instead of the 11′ width required by most lifts. Very narrow aisle forklifts can operate in aisles only 6′ wide. Both types of narrow aisle forklifts are more expensive than standard lifts.
- Reach trucks are similar but can extend their forks deeper into the shelves.
- Order pickers and turret trucks are also designed to be used in narrow aisles. These trucks lift the operator as well as the forks, providing access to higher shelves and saving time without removing the skid.
- Height and weight requirements
Once you have an idea of the type of forklift you want, the next step is to estimate your weight capacity needs. Forklift capacities go as high as 15,000 LBS and more, but the most common range is between 3,000 and 8,000 lb capacities.
Unusually shaped loads change the center of gravity and can reduce the capacity of the lift. If you often move odd-sized loads, be sure to ask the dealer how they’ll affect your needs.
Height requirements are also important, so make sure you know the maximum height you’ll need to place or pick loads. If you’ll be doing a lot of work at 15′ or 20′ high, a double- or triple-stage mast adds stability.
Make sure you can accommodate changing requirements in the future. What if the next version of your product is 10% heavier, or you switch to a new supplier who ships heavier pallets? Is there a chance you’ll reorganize your warehouse? Planning ahead can help you avoid an expensive mistake.
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Buying used forklifts
Used forklifts – or “reconditioned forklifts,” as they say in the industry – can be a great way to save money, in the right circumstances. If your lift will be used less than five hours per day and less than five days per week, then a reconditioned forklift could be the solution for you. If you plan to use your forklift more than that, the savings of buying used can be quickly wiped out due to repair expenses and costly downtime.
Forklift Free Quotes
When shopping for used forklifts, you’d better carefully review maintenance records, conduct a full inspection, and test-drive the forklift. It’s not that every dealer is trying to pull a fast one
In many cases, used forklifts will cost less than half of a new one with identical specifications.
Interglobe Alliance Inc. carries a large inventory to suit your budget from single units to a long-term rental.