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An Ultimate Guide to Buying the Best Forklift for First-Time Forklift Buyers

Updated: May 12, 2021

Let us understand some key points which you should consider while purchasing a forklift, especially if you’re a first-time forklift buyer.

Purchasing a forklift for your business is a large investment and should be treated as such. Like any other investment, you should consider all available factors before committing your funds to the purchase of a forklift. These considerations will be both functionality of the machine, and business-oriented.

Let us address some important points which you should consider while purchasing a forklift, especially if you’re a first-time forklift buyer.

Application of Forklift

The type of forklift that you should purchase will heavily depend on its intended use and the environment where it will be used.

While order pickers and pallet jacks are most commonly found in warehouses and retail environments, counterbalance forklifts find themselves useful everywhere from warehouses to construction sites. When used on smooth surfaces or indoors, cushion tires are the most suitable, but if the forklift is to be used on rough surfaces such as construction sites and outdoor workspaces, then pneumatic tires should be used. If the load being handled by your forklift includes consumables such as food and medicines, then an electric-powered forklift should be used to avoid contamination of inventory.

Service Hours

If you are not going to use the forklift daily, then you might also consider renting a forklift. However, if you have, or are soon going to have daily need for a forklift, then it is best to purchase one as it will be very costly to rent as needed because you will typically be charged for transportation of the machine for every trip along with the rental and fees. Also, if you are not quite sure of what best fits your application you should ask your local dealer to come and survey your location and recommend the right unit for your application. Your dealer is going to want to earn your business and might offer a demo if you are qualified as a serious buyer. If not, or you are still unsure if the unit is the right fit, an option is to initially rent a forklift and see how it works for you. Often, we at Permian Machinery Movers, Inc. will apply some of the rental towards the purchase of said unit. If you are unfamiliar with how they operate, then an operator safety course is highly encouraged for your safety, the safety of others, and lower odds of product damage. Not to mention may be required by the local occupational safety officials.

Fuel Type

Fuel is one of the costliest factors in operating a forklift. Fuel consideration will depend on the working environment where the forklift is being used, as well as fuel availability.

Electric forklifts are most suitable for use in indoor workspaces while also providing long-term fuel and maintenance cost savings. With zero emissions, they are eco-friendly.

If you want to work outdoors or must work with heavier loads, then you should opt for forklifts that run on internal combustion. Diesel power being the optimal choice for the larger trucks. While they do emit exhaust, today’s EPA Tier 4 compliant machines use DEF and other sophisticated methods to reduce their carbon footprint. Typically, you will not find a large capacity electric truck available, unless it is custom made and costly. At that they are typically going to be cushion tire for indoor use only.

Spare Part Availability and Post-Sales Support

Because forklifts are used in industrial and high-load commercial environments, it is important to choose a forklift supplier which can provide you with spare parts and after-sales support. This is because even a short downtime for your forklift can mean a loss in terms of productivity for your business.

Attachments for Ease of Operation

Since forklifts are costly inventory items, you cannot expect to purchase a new type of forklift for each different type of work. If there are a multitude of jobs this machine will be performing it is advantageous to acquire a more versatile machine. Forklift attachments help you use one machine for a variety of tasks which ultimately reduces the overall cost of ownership of a forklift. Also, using the right attachment can reduce the turnaround time for jobs that require a forklift. Hence, it is important to consider the availability of different attachments while purchasing a new forklift for your business. If you require any attachments, you will need to be sure that the forklift you purchase qualifies to operate these attachments. Each separate function will need its own hydraulic circuit, so it would be better to buy a lift truck that has already been configured in this manner rather than incurring an exuberant cost outfitting the truck for the attachment after the fact.

Training and Safety

Businesses who invest more in forklift operator training usually spend the least in costs associated with accidents, operating costs, and maintenance. Some countries like the United States and Australia even have strict laws to govern forklift operations through detailed training mandates and safety clearances.

It is best to find a dealer who provides the training for forklift operators when you purchase from them. This will help you to save costs while ensuring that your operators are directly learning how to use the machines from certified professionals. One of our experts at Permian Machinery can help you decide what machine will best meet your needs.

Nice Specific or Broad Spectrum for Use

While it is good to have nice specific inventories, the costs associated with owning a forklift are not low. Hence it is best to find a perfect balance where you can own a machine that comes with the right attachment and can cater to varying operational needs. This will ensure that while all your requirements are being met, you do not have to invest a huge amount.


Purchasing a forklift can be a daunting task and it is best to talk to a consultant to consider all factors before purchasing a forklift for your business. Please reach out to us here at Permian Machinery Movers where we can tailor fit the truck to your specific application! We will focus on the lift trucks so that you can focus on operating and growing your business.

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