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Advantages of buying a new forklift over a second hand forklift

Forklifts are essential tools for any warehouse business, thanks to their indispensability and reliability. You need a machine that moves your products safely and efficiently. However, most business owners struggle to decide on whether to choose a new or used forklift.

You should note that not all forklifts are equal. Some work best outdoors, while others work well indoors. Selecting the right forklift is vital in order to keep your business moving.

Below we take a look at when to buy a new forklift versus buying a used forklift, as well as the cost difference between new and used forklifts.

The cost difference between new and used forklifts

Businesses sometimes have budget constraints and are always looking for ways to cut costs. Choosing a used forklift may seem like a cost-saving move, but it could result in losses if you pay too much for maintenance, or the machine only serves you for a short period of time.

For example, a 1500kg-capacity used electric forklift will set you back around £6,500, while a 1500kg capacity IC forklift will cost approximately £10,000 – £15,000.

Buying a used forklift can save you up to 50% of the purchase price. However, you should not use the upfront cost as the only factor when deciding to buy a new or used forklift. There are other costs involved with these forklifts.

For example, the long-term costs associated with your forklift are just as essential as the upfront cost. Although you may buy a used forklift at a lower price, it could end up costing you more money in the long run. You also need to consider operation and maintenance costs.

Operating costs for an electric forklift are 80% less than that of an LP gas or diesel forklift. This means that an electric forklift could cost you up to £900 annually to maintain, while an LP gas forklift may cost you up to £6,000. When it comes to maintenance, an electric forklift will cost one-third of the amount it requires you to maintain an internal combustion forklift.

A new forklift usually comes with an extended warranty, often of around 3 years, which means you can get the machine repaired if something goes wrong within the stipulated timeframe. Some used forklifts have a limited warranty, which may be for a shorter period, and only cover specific parts. This gives you a significant saving in the first few years of owning a new forklift.

When buying a new forklift wins over a used forklift

Ability to handle long hours

You need a new machine if your operation runs multiple shifts. New models can handle long hours at an effective pace, while used models work better for occasional use.

High productivity and reliability

A new forklift guarantees higher productivity and ensures safety. You won’t have to worry about the machine breaking down or long periods of downtime.

When you need to choose specialised parts

Some machines require specialised parts. Unfortunately, buying a used machine may make it challenging for you to source these.

To match others in the fleet

If your company already has a number of forklifts, you may want to purchase a new forklift to match the rest in your fleet.

The benefits of buying new vs. used forklifts

Some of the advantages of buying a new forklift include:

New technology

Purchasing a new forklift allows you to enjoy updated and more modern technology. Most new machines have improved safety features and they are generally easier to operate. Newer models also have long-life batteries, while new fuel-powered forklifts have emission control systems. They take into account driver comfort and are more ergonomic, which can ensure that your drivers can also be more productive for longer.

Functionality and efficiency

A brand new forklift guarantees performance and durability. The ongoing maintenance requirements are lower, unlike those of a used forklift. For new forklifts there is a longer period between services, based on the fact that it is a new forklift. For used forklifts this will need to be more often, which can often be at an additional cost whether done in-house or as part of an external maintenance contract.

You can also be sure that the tyres, suspension, and brakes will be in pristine condition, with no signs of wear and tear. Moreover, you may find it more convenient to source replacement parts with a newer model as opposed to an older model. New forklifts are efficient in regards to fuel too.

Ability to handle long hours

Purchasing a new forklift ensures that you get a machine that can handle long hours at an efficient pace, with the right maintenance. Furthermore, a new device guarantees durability, something that may be difficult with a used machine. Used forklifts can’t work for long hours, and do not work as effectively as new ones. For used electric forklifts there might also be issues around battery life, a new electric forklift will come with a new battery which will charge quicker and hold charge for longer.

Warranty coverage

A new forklift comes with a manufacturer’s warranty, which usually ranges from 12 to 36 months. The warranty covers both the truck and its parts. Having a warranty allows you to have the forklift taken care of by an authorised dealer or manufacturer, and you won’t incur any extra costs within the warranty period should something happen to your forklift.

A used forklift may come with a short-term warranty of around 30 days. This enables you to try out the machine to make sure that all the parts are in a functional state. Once the warranty time lapses, you’ll incur the costs for repairs or maintenance. Sometimes these costs can outweigh the savings you made when you bought the second-hand forklift.

The type of forklift

There are a number of different forklifts on the market, so before you make a purchase, ensure you understand which one is best suited to your business needs. A new forklift can often make sense as a new range or new technology will be available that can make a real difference to your fleet, and by extension to the efficiency of your business.

Operational history and background

With a new forklift you know what specifications you are getting, the capacity of the forklift and the features that it comes with. With used forklifts it’s vital to check the operational background of the forklift. Where it was used previously, the temperature and conditions it was operating in, and other factors will all affect how it runs now. For example, a forklift that previously worked outdoors is likely to be less efficient due to degradation. It can be a lot harder to get a picture of the background of a used truck which might affected how it runs once you have it onsite.


Forklifts, like any other physical assets in your business, are something that can be represented in your accounts as depreciating. This ensure that you can earn revenue from it, having the forklift working in your warehouse, whilst expensing a portion of the cost each year in your accounts.

New forklifts attract less depreciation as it is over a longer period of time than a used forklift which can have financial advantages to your business.


When you look at the total cost of ownership, you may end up spending much more on a new forklift upfront, but it can serve you for much longer compared to a used forklift.

When buying a forklift, weigh up all the factors to make sure you’re making an informed decision when deciding between purchasing a new or used machine. Get in touch with us now and we can talk you through the process to get the right forklift for you.

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