When exploring different options for forklifts, one of the first questions that usually comes to mind is: how much does a forklift cost? The simple answer is: it varies depending on many different factors. Because there are so many different types of forklifts today that serve many different commercial purposes, there is not one single price.
The key to finding the best value for your forklift, in terms of pricing, is understanding your specific forklift needs as well as the factors that determine the cost of a forklift. Start by considering what kind of forklift you need for your project – for instance, how much weight does it need to support? How high does it need to reach? Is your project indoors or outdoors? Then, take a look at this Forklift Cost Guide to figure out how to find the best priced forklift for your needs.
The cost of purchasing a forklift largely depends on the type of forklift – for instance, a material handling forklift vs. an aerial lift. It also depends on the forklift’s size, weight and lift capacity, power source, and much more. A simple material handling forklift used in a warehouse such as a pallet jack will cost much less than a large construction aerial lift, such as a boom lift. It will also depend on whether you are buying new vs. used machinery.
Take a look at some common price ranges for purchasing the following popular types of forklifts:
|Vertical Mast Lift||$10,000-$25,000||$2,500-$10,000|
A new forklift can cost from $15,000-$75,000+.
It all depends on the type of forklift, the manufacturer, weight and lift capacities, gas vs. electric power sources, and more. For instance, a brand new electric forklift that can carry around 3,000 pounds might cost you anywhere from $15,000-$25,000. A brand new high-quality diesel gas-powered forklift that can carry 10,000 pounds or more can cost $25,000-$50,000 to purchase.
Of course, buying a used forklift can save you some serious cash. For instance, a used electric forklift (the same type mentioned above) that can carry 3,000 pounds might cost you as little as $5,000-$10,000 to buy. But be careful! Older forklifts in poor condition can cause you to incur serious fees in maintenance and upkeep over time.
Renting a quality forklift can cost $750-$10,000 per month.
If you only need to use a forklift for a short duration of time, such as a few months, you can opt to rent the equipment to save some money. Most forklift suppliers will offer daily, weekly, and monthly rates, depending on the duration in which you need to rent.
Like purchase pricing, rental pricing depends on factors such as size, weight and lift capacity, age, make and model, and rental duration. Below we have broken down typical rental premium prices depending on the forklift’s capacity.
|Low capacity |
|Per day: $100-$360|
Per week: $250-$700
Per month: $750-$1,100
|Medium capacity |
|Per day: $150-$450|
Per week: $350-$800
Per month: $1,000-$2,000
|High capacity |
|Per day: $200-$700|
Per week: $500-$2,000
Per month: $1,500-$10,000
Keep in mind that there may be additional costs involved with renting, including delivery and pick-up fees, gas refills, and hourly operator costs. Make sure to read your rental agreement thoroughly and ask your supplier questions about their pricing specifics.
We also highly recommend comparing your total rental cost over the needed time to the potential cost of buying the same machine. You may be surprised to see that buying the forklift costs the same or very little more than renting it for a long period of time. In this case, you can always buy the forklift and resell it to get some of your money back.
Forklift Cost: Factors to Consider
1. Weight capacity
As a general rule, the more weight a forklift can support, the pricier it will be. For instance, a new forklift that can support around 2,000 pounds may cost $15,000-$20,000 while a forklift that can support 10,000 pounds may cost more like $45,000.
With that being said, the last thing you want is to cut corners by choosing a forklift that cannot support the weight you need it to! Before buying or renting, make sure to figure out the maximum weight you need the forklift to support. Then, find a forklift with a similar maximum weight capacity, so you don’t have to spend unnecessary money.
2. Maximum lift height
Similar to weight, the higher elevations a forklift can reach, the more expensive it will be to buy and rent. For that reason, boom lifts and scissor lifts are some of the pricier forklifts as their masts can reach very high elevations.
If you need a forklift that reaches higher elections (ie. 40 ft. and up) but are concerned about pricing, keep in mind that there are other ways you can save money. For instance, compare multiple manufacturers as well as electric (instead of gas) models.
3. Make and model
Did you know that the same types of forklifts can cost more or less depending on the manufacturer? As with other products and types of equipment, brand matters when it comes to cost.
When exploring forklift options – both when buying or renting – it’s important to choose a high-quality, reputable manufacturer. At the same time, we highly recommend comparing a handful of reliable makes and models to find the best option suited for you and your budget.
4. Gas vs. electric
Gas-powered forklifts tend to cost more compared to electric (battery-powered) lifts over time. Part of the reason for this is that gas-powered forklifts typically require diesel gas to operate, which can add up when it comes to long term cost.
Compare this to electric lifts, which do not require regular payments for fuel. However, electric forklifts do typically require an upfront purchase of a battery and charger, which can cost around $2,500-$5,000.
Some businesses will absolutely need a gas-powered forklift (ie. if they work outdoors on rugged terrain). However, make sure that you ask your supplier about electric options for your project needs, especially if you work indoors.
5. Add-on features
Certain add-on features and attachments will hike up the cost of your forklift. For instance, added safety features such as LED lighting, mirrors, and cameras may result in additional costs when buying or renting.
Similarly, tools and attachments such as side-shifters or single-double attachments may also cause you to incur additional costs. However, if these add-ons are resulting in a boost in productivity, the cost may pay for itself in labor savings over time!
6. Operational costs
Remember that there are ongoing costs in addition to upfront costs and rental premiums you will owe. For instance, if you have a gas-powered forklift that uses diesel fuel, you will need to factor the cost of fuel into your ongoing budget. To get a sense for operational costs, electric forklifts cost around $1,500-$2,000 per year whereas gas-powered lifts cost much more – around $10,000-$15,000 per year due to the price of gas.
7. Maintenance and warranty
Additionally, most forklift owners will pay for maintenance on a regular basis to ensure their equipment stays in good working condition. The amount and scale of maintenance you will need per year depends on the condition and age of your forklift.
You can expect to pay at least $500 per year for an electric forklift and $1,500 per year for a gas-powered forklift. This doesn’t include replacement parts, such as tires, which can cost thousands of dollars to replace.
Remember that if you are purchasing a forklift, many will come with a warranty and extended warranty options, which can save you money on maintenance down the road.
8. Lifetime value
Lastly, whether you’re leaning towards renting or buying, considering the lifetime value of your forklift is crucial. You may be tempted toward buying a cheaper used forklift to save money on upfront costs. However, that older forklift may break down and cost you thousands in maintenance just a few years into ownership.
Similarly, if you choose to rent a forklift for a year or more, the rental premiums might end up costing you more than purchasing the same forklift would cost. When calculating your budget, make sure to do a cost comparison over time to make sure you’re getting the highest value out of your forklift payments.
Ready to compare prices?
Our free service here at 360Connect helps people like you find the best forklift for their needs at the best price possible! Start by filling out our free form for material handling forklifts or aerial lifts. Then, we’ll match you with our top forklift providers that fit your needs and provide you with the most competitive prices.