How to Tell If a Used Forklift Is Quality

November 13, 2020 - Last modified: September 7, 2022 @ 4:17 pm

Investing in a used forklift is a great way for businesses to get the equipment they need without breaking the bank. Unfortunately, not every used forklift is worth the initial savings.

Four yellow forklifts under an awning

Most of us have heard at least one horror story about someone who purchased a used item. Maybe the product broke 2 minutes after they bought it. Maybe it turned out to be half of the size they expected. Whatever it may be, it’s all too common to have a negative experience when buying used.

That’s why it is important to do your research before making a purchase. This is especially true when it comes to investing in a used forklift. Used lift trucks might cost less than new ones, but they still aren’t cheap. You’ll want to make sure the equipment you choose is reliable and trustworthy. This means knowing how to check the quality of used forklifts for sale.

We’ve created this buyer’s guide to walk you through the logistics of finding high-quality used lift trucks. Use these tips to make a smart decision. Then, find trustworthy used forklifts for sale online with Forklift Inventory.

Used Forklift Cost

It’s true that a used forklift can save you lots of money. In fact, the average price of a new, standard capacity IC forklift is between $15,000 and $30,000. The used forklift cost for a comparable model is typically around $10,000.

Used forklift costs can save you up to 50% off the price of new equipment. That’s thousands of dollars that stay in your pocket.

However, the important thing to consider is future costs. While the used forklift cost may save you $10,000 upfront, that price doesn’t include future maintenance costs. If you purchase used equipment that is unreliable, it may break down or need frequent repairs. Combine maintenance costs with your initial used forklift cost and, suddenly, you’re losing money.

Also, consider the projected lifespan of the equipment. If the machine is only going to last one year, the low forklift price is not worth the initial savings. A $10,000 used forklift that lasts one year is actually more expensive than a new $35,000 forklift that lasts seven years because the new forklift has a yearly cost of $5,000, which is double the used forklift cost.

Of course, the price of used equipment varies just as much as the price of new equipment does. Some factors that affect the forklift price include capacity, fuel type, mast size, tire type, features, and accessories.

When it comes to used equipment, the condition, year, hours, and warranty play an additional role in used forklift cost. Learn more about these factors below.

Assessing Used Lift Trucks

1. What environment was the equipment used in?

Beware of any deals you find online that seem too good to be true. Not every eBay seller has your best interests in mind. A great picture does not give you the full story of how and where the equipment was used.

2. How many hours does the used forklift have?

While the forklift’s year might give you a glimpse of its reliability, nothing is more telling than forklift hours. Be sure to focus on usage hours, rather than key hours. Key hours are tracked whenever the forklift is turned on, while usage hours are a measure of actual forklift usage. For instance, usage hours include time spent driving, using the pump, and lifting.

A heavily-used forklift averages about 2,000 usage hours over one year. The average lifespan of a forklift is typically between 10,000 and 15,000 hours. Forklift hours are a lot like car mileage. Pay close attention to the hours when looking for used lift trucks for sale.

3. Does the forklift come with a warranty?

While most new forklifts include a warranty, this is not the case for used lift trucks. That doesn’t mean you should buy used forklifts, but it is something to be aware of. Paying a low forklift price upfront really doesn’t mean much if future costs are high.

Some used forklifts do have warranties, but they are typically much shorter. For instance, 30-day or 60-day parts and labor warranties are common on used lift trucks for sale. You may also be offered a six-month powertrain warranty. Keep in mind that a warranty may increase the forklift price.

Rows of used forklifts inside a large warehouse

Finding Used Forklifts for Sale

Not sure where to find high-quality used forklifts for sale? Start with Forklift Inventory. We partner with leading forklift dealers to collect a huge inventory of new and used forklifts you can trust.

Skip the scams and find reliable equipment in minutes. Browse the largest selection of new and used forklifts for sale with Forklift Inventory. Simply let us know what you need and we’ll send you transparent pricing on each of your options.

Requesting quotes from dozens of manufacturers and sellers is a huge hassle. That’s why we’ve combined the whole process into one step. Let us know what you need and we’ll send you quotes on used lift trucks for sale in your area that match.

Compare reliable used forklifts in minutes. Get started today.

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Forklift Inventory has the largest online selection of forklifts, aerial lifts and construction forklifts. Compare new and used forklifts to get the lowest prices available.


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*Savings claims are based on used forklift prices when compared to new inventory prices. Savings is not guaranteed and is subject to change.