Questions to ask before buying a forklift

  • Editorial Team
  • Forklift
  • 21 November 2019

Your eyes might light up when you see the ad stating ‘used forklift trucks for sale’ but before you hasten to buy, there are some questions that you should ask the vendor.

Is it the right kind of forklift?

There are, loosely, seven different kinds of forklift truck: rough terrain, industrial side-loader, industrial reach, industrial counterbalance, telescopic handler, and even pedestrian operated pallet trucks, which are technically dollies, but are sometimes designated as forklifts. When you see a forklift truck offered for sale, you should make sure that you and the vendor are on the same page when it comes to your needs meeting their product.

Rough terrain forklifts are intended for use outdoors, on construction sites and similarly unfinished surfaces, while side loading and reach forklifts are designed to be used in warehouses, in which products are stored in such a way that the forklift’s design works especially well. The difference between an industrial reach forklift and a telescopic handling forklift may seem negligible but the former is designed for use in warehouses that have high shelves with easy access and pallets, while the latter can be used indoors or outside on a construction site, can reach higher, and can lift awkwardly shaped loads: opting for an industrial reach when you need a telescopic handler could leave you out of pocket and unable to perform the necessary work.

What accessories come with the forklift?

Forklifts are battery operated and these batteries will need to be charged in between uses. The average battery lasts around eight hours and then takes an average of five hours to recharge, meaning that you will only be able to work the forklift during two out of three eight-hour shifts per day (assuming a full-time operation). If your newly bought second-hand forklift truck comes with a spare battery, then you can simply switch the batteries, put the depleted one onto charge and get back to work within minutes, instead of having to wait out five or so hours of downtime.

You can also get a number of attachments to alternate the usage of your forklift: from a two-man lifting basket to differently shaped and sized pallet forks. You can even get a small skip attachment, allowing you to gather waste and scrap items efficiently, carrying it to the large external skip and tipping it in effortlessly, with no health and safety issues caused by rubbish heaps or risk to personnel handling sharp or broken items, such as glass, splinter or nail-ridden wood and so on.