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What Factors Affect the Price of a Forklift?

By Ken Black
Updated May 17, 2024
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The price of a forklift is determined by many different variables including the capacity, operating capabilities, engine type, brand, condition, and accessories. The most expensive forklifts naturally tend to be larger lifts that are capable of handling a high tonnage. Understanding what the lift is going to be used for, and prioritizing the variables that affect pricing are critical when buying a forklift. If a new lift with consistent performance is important, it may also be possible to lease a forklift for the long term or short term.

The largest factor affecting the price of a forklift is likely to be the capacity. This is usually expressed as how much weight the forklift is safely capable of handling. Typically, industry standards run anywhere from 3,000 pounds (1,361 kg) to 8,000 pounds (3,629 kg), but it can go much higher. Outside of the 8,000 pound class, prices are likely to increase very quickly because of the technology, engineering, and raw materials needed to produce the higher-capacity lifts.

Another factor in the price of a forklift is the operating capabilities. Most forklifts can lift approximately twice their resting mast height, or the height of the mast when the forks are grounded. In some warehouses and factories, a higher lift capability is needed. Getting that additional lift is going to cost some additional money.

The engine type can also make a difference in the price of a forklift. Typically, an electric forklift will cost more than a forklift with a fossil fuel-based engine. While some of those costs could come back in the form of lower maintenance and fuel costs, the initial acquisition price will be higher. Still, for those working in a fully-enclosed environment without a great deal of ventilation, the extra cost for electric may not be an option, but a necessity. Forklifts with engines that run on liquid propane are generally the cheapest.

Brand and condition also make up part of a forklift's cost. The better known the brand, the more costly the forklift will generally be. Those buying a name brand forklift may be getting a more reliable piece of equipment, however. Also, condition is a major factor, especially if the choice is between a new or used forklift.

Any accessories included might also have a big impact on the price of a forklift. Some forklifts may come with additional attachments that make the machinery not only ideal for moving pallets, but also carpet, barrels, and doing a variety of other tasks. Scales and headlights may also make some jobs easier, but add to the total cost.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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