Logistics & Materials Handling Blog

General Rules about Forklift Pricing

by Paul Hinz
Filed under: Forklift Basics

There are a few general rules to be aware of when assessing the price of a forklift. Forklifts are an important investment for any business. Therefore, it is integral to be aware of what you are paying for, from upfront costs to servicing and the overall cost of ownership.

As there is such a wide range of quality and extras that can come with particular forklifts, it is hard to determine the right price. This blog will provide you with key rules to help guide you in your decision.

Standard forklift 2

1. The higher the operating capacity and lift height, the more expensive the forklift will be.

• Operating capacity is how much weight a forklift can safely handle. The most common weight is 1.5, 2.5 and 4 tonne models, and these often fall in the $15,000 – $30,000 price range for a new model.

• As you look toward higher capacities, prices increase sharply. It is important to note, that knowing the typical dimensions and weight of your loads will allow you to work with sellers to determine the exact capacity you need.

• If your load capacity varies, you may want to purchase a forklift with more capacity than you need currently to make sure it gets the job done now and in the future. For this reason, it is important to do your homework and look for a forklift that has retained capacities. There are certain forklifts, which can perform the same functions as a larger unit but are a smaller capacity unit, this will save you on cost.

• If you require your forklift to reach excessive heights, such as 20 feet or above, you will move into a more expensive pricing bracket. However, unlike load capacity, your height needs are unlikely to change over time (barring new construction or major renovations). Therefore, it is best to buy for the height you need now.

Lifting capacity (2)

2. Top-tier brands are more expensive than less well-known brands, but their technology advantages enable greater productivity and reliability.

• Top-tier brands will have more upfront costs involved in their purchase. However, that extra cost gives you a forklift that is more productive, and reliable. It will also provide better tolerance of harsh environments, boast a lower cost of ownership and will provide you with access to a more established dealer network for service, parts and accessories.

These added benefits will save you time and money in the end. If the forklift is an integral part of your operation, it is worth investing in a reputable brand name machine.

Hyster Global BG Hero Image

3. Electric forklifts are generally more expensive upfront than internal combustion forklifts with identical specifications.

Electric forklifts are more expensive to purchase than their internal combustion (IC) counterparts. This is because there are more upfront costs involved, such as, multiple battery packs per forklift, battery rechargers, battery swapping equipment, battery-charging space and battery swapping personnel.

• Electric forklifts do offer significant advantages for some situations. Unlike IC forklifts, electric forklifts do not emit odor. In addition, they are environmentally friendly, quieter and offer a lower cost of ownership in the long run.

Lpg vs electric kfkgh

4. Pneumatic tyres are generally more expensive than cushion tyres.

• Forklifts with pneumatic tyres, which are inflated by compressed air, provide better traction and a smoother ride on rough surfaces. For heavy-duty lifting outdoors, on uneven terrain, you will commonly find gasoline or diesel forklifts with pneumatic tyres.

• Cushion tyres are made out of solid rubber and are less expensive. These tyres are better suited to indoor applications with a smooth surface. Electric forklifts designed for operating indoors typically have cushion tyres.


5. Used forklifts don’t always save you money.

• Buying used forklifts can save you quite a bit up front, as they usually cost around half the price of a new forklift. Generally, businesses that use forklifts for more than four hours each day should invest in new forklifts. With this much use, the operating and maintenance costs for used equipment can quickly cancel out the initial savings you gained.

• Another important aspect of buying a used forklift is that geography plays a big part. Inventory and availability fluctuate, so an organisation that purchases a forklift in one part of the country may not pay the same price as those in another part of the country.


This pricing guide gives you a general indication of added expenses that may arise when purchasing a forklift for your application. It is important to understand what the forklift will be required for in order to determine the best forklift for your organisation. Before making your purchase decision, you should speak to a forklift dealer to get a professional opinion about forklifts that will enhance your particular operation.