Are you thinking about buying a forklift? This decision goes beyond simply acquiring a new piece of equipment – it’s about choosing an asset that will make your operation run smoother, faster and more economically, literally lifting it to new heights! Whether you’re eyeing a new model or searching for a dependable used forklift, understanding your needs is crucial. That’s why asking yourself the right questions is so important. Below, we’ve compiled a list of key questions to help you navigate the decision, ensuring that when you do select a forklift, it aligns perfectly with your business needs.


Options to Consider When Buying a Forklift

Deciding to buy a forklift opens up a world of choices, from brand-new models boasting the latest technology to pre-owned machines offering reliability and value. However, your options don’t end there because the truth is that forklifts vary widely in their capabilities and power sources. For example, electric forklifts are quieter and more environmentally friendly, whereas diesel or gas-powered forklifts are known for their strength and durability. Hence, understanding each option is crucial to finding a forklift that fits your specific needs.


Best Questions to Ask When Buying a Forklift

Now that you understand why it’s vital to ask questions before buying a forklift, let’s take a look at the top questions to consider: 


#1. What is the maximum height requirement for your lifting tasks?

Knowing how high your forklift needs to reach is vital for picking the right model. If your workspace includes high shelves, you’ll need a forklift designed for reaching those elevations safely – high-reach models. These specialised forklifts can extend to heights not achievable by standard models, ensuring you can safely and efficiently manage tasks at elevated levels. 

#2. What is the load capacity you require for lifting purposes?

Understanding the weight of the items you need to lift is crucial in selecting a forklift. Our range includes models capable of handling loads from 1.8 to 10 tons. Opting for a forklift with a slightly higher capacity than your current needs can provide flexibility for possible future growth; remember though, that the cost varies with capacity, so knowing your precise requirements can help avoid overspending. 

#3. Will the forklift need to operate within shipping containers?

If unloading containers is a part of what you do, then make sure the forklift you choose is up to the task. Most models are equipped with container entry masts, but it’s a detail you shouldn’t overlook. Ensuring your forklift can comfortably work within the confines of a shipping container might be essential for you. 

#4. Do forklifts operate by using electricity or gas?

When buying a forklift, you’ll find both electric models and those running on fuel. Electric forklifts, powered by rechargeable batteries, offer a clean, quiet operation, making them ideal for indoor use. On the other hand, internal combustion engine forklifts (which run on gasoline, diesel or LPG) are typically more suited to outdoor tasks and environments where their power and durability shine. 

#5. Predominantly, where will the forklift be used ?  What environment?

When you’re looking to buy a forklift, understanding the environment in which it will operate is crucial. Whether it’s the smooth floors of an indoor warehouse or the rugged terrain of outdoor construction sites, the setting dictates the type of forklift you need. For indoor use, electric forklifts with cushion tyres are ideal for their quiet operation and lack of emissions. On the other hand, outdoor tasks may require forklifts with pneumatic tyres that can navigate uneven surfaces. Identifying the primary environment ensures your forklift perfectly suits its working conditions. 

#6. Can you explain the function of a Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) lift?

A Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) lift is a game-changer for warehouses, maximizing space efficiency. Designed to operate in aisles less than half the width needed for traditional forklifts, VNA lifts are all about precision and agility. In fact, their ability to manoeuvre tight spaces allows for higher-density storage, making them invaluable in settings where space is at a premium. By investing in a VNA lift when buying a forklift, businesses can significantly increase their storage capacity without expanding their footprint, ensuring a more organised and efficient operation.


#7. What specific forklift attachments will your operations need?

When buying a forklift, you should consider the attachments that could enhance its functionality. Attachments such as rotators, fork positioners or bin tippers expand the versatility of your machine, allowing it to perform a broader range of tasks. For example, a rotator can be invaluable for industries requiring the rotation of bins or containers. At the same time, a fork positioner adjusts the distance between forks quickly, catering to different load sizes. Determining the attachments your operations require ensures your forklift can tackle any task efficiently. 

#8. How are different types of forklifts categorised?

Forklifts are categorised into several classes, each designed for different environments and tasks. 

  • Class I forklifts are electric motor riders suitable for indoor use, offering a clean, quiet operation.
  • Class II includes electric motor, narrow aisle trucks, perfect for operations where space is limited.
  • Class III comprises electric pallet jacks and stackers, ideal for loading and unloading materials.
  • Class IV and V forklifts are internal combustion engine trucks, with Class IV using cushion tyres for indoor use and Class V equipped with pneumatic tyres for indoor and outdoor flexibility. 

Understanding these categories helps you select a forklift that aligns with your operational requirements, whether you’re manoeuvring through narrow aisles or tackling rough terrain outdoors. 

#9. What is the expected weekly operating time for the forklift?

This consideration helps determine whether a new or used forklift is more appropriate for your operation. For instance, if the forklift will be used extensively, investing in a new model might offer better longevity and reliability. On the other hand, for lighter, less frequent use, a high-quality used forklift could provide significant cost savings without compromising performance. Accurately estimating weekly usage allows you to balance upfront costs with long-term operational efficiency, ensuring you make a wise investment in your material handling capabilities.


Ready to Elevate Your Operations?

Ultimately, choosing the right forklift is a significant decision that can greatly impact the efficiency and productivity of your business. Now that you’re armed with the essential questions to guide your purchasing journey, you’re one step closer to enhancing your operations.


At Forkwest, we understand the importance of finding the perfect match for your specific needs. Whether you’re looking for robust performance or specific functions, our wide selection of forklifts is designed to meet every requirement. Explore our range of new forklifts for sale and contact us to discuss how we can help you optimise your material handling solutions.