How Much Does a Forklift Cost

How Much Does a Forklift Cost? (New vs. Used vs. Rent With Examples)

Forklifts are an excellent investment for any business that regularly uses machinery for different projects. Their versatility makes them useful for several tasks around warehouses and construction sites.

They are designed to lift objects that humans cannot lift, thus their indispensability in most construction sites. However, one question that always comes to mind when searching for forklifts is whether to buy a new one, a used one, or rent. Before making your decision, it’s essential to know each cost. 

So, how much does a forklift cost?

A standard IC forklift pricing can range anywhere between $25,000 to $50,000 depending on the brand, model, and specifications.

A brand new, electric forklift with standard capacity would cost between $20,000 and $45,000, which can increase by $2,000 to $5,000 for a battery or charger.

Used forklifts will significantly cost less, with the most significant determiner of price being hours of use.

That said, here’s a detailed article explaining everything you should know about forklift costs. We’ll also review some factors to consider when choosing between a new forklift, a used one, and renting one.

Forklift Price Chart

Forklift TypeNew Machine CostUsed Machine Cost
Standard$15,000 – $40,000$5,000 – $25,000
Side Loader$24,000 – $100,000$11,000 – $75,000
Counterbalance$20,000 – $85,000$7,000 – $60,000
Industrial$31,000 – $60,000$11,000 – $28,000
Telehandler$65,000 – $130,000$14,000 – $60,000
Rough Terrain$21,000 – $ 49,000$7,000 – $28,000
Pallet Jack$300 – $7,000$150 – $4,500
Order Picker$11,000 – $25,000$6,500 – $19,000
Walkie Stacker $2,400 – $22,000$900 – $14,000
Reach Fork Truck$14,000 – $55,000$7,500 – $35,000

Cost of Buying a New Forklift

Cost of Buying a New Forklift

As you’ve seen above, the average cost of buying a new forklift ranges from $25,000 to $50,000, depending on the brand, model, and specifications.

Forklifts with less capacity are generally less expensive than forklifts with greater capacity. Attachments can also quickly add to the general cost of a new forklift. 

However, the most significant factors determining a new forklift’s cost are capacity, class, and engine type. Other factors like mast size and hydraulics can also affect the price.

These are the reasons why you can get some forklifts for as low as $20,000 and others for as high as $50,000.

Cost of Buying a Used Forklift

Cost of Buying a Used Forklift

As expected, the cost of buying used forklifts is significantly less than that of buying new forklifts. However, these costs are largely determined by the level of usage and the physical state of the forklift.

A used, reconditioned 3,000 lb. electric forklift typically costs between $5,000 and $10,000. A used 5,000 lb. internal combustion forklift would cost anywhere between $10,000 to $15,000. So, price is a significant advantage for people looking for used forklifts.

However, we advise looking at other factors when buying a forklift. 

We also advise inspecting this kind of machine with an expert. An expert can tell its present state beyond its physical looks. Forklifts that have undergone more extensive usage are typically more likely to break down in the short run.

Cost of Renting a Forklift

Cost of Renting a Forklift

With the cost of buying a new forklift almost going above the roofs, it’s not surprising to see construction engineers and warehouse workers opting to rent.

The average cost of renting an electric counterbalanced forklift with a load capacity of 3,000 to 4,000 lbs. is usually between $1,150 – $1,600 per month.

For electric forklifts with load capacities of between 5,000 to 6,000 lbs., you can expect to pay between $200 to $350 per day, $400 – $700 per week, and $1,250 – $2,000 per month.

Electric forklifts with load capacities between 7,000 to 10,000 lbs. would usually go for $200 – $350 per day, $590 – $890 per week, and $1,500 – $2,500 per month. 

Again, remember that these renting prices are determined by the owners and can go slightly higher or lower depending on many factors.

Longer renting periods will typically attract lower rent rates and vice versa. Some owners also prefer to charge separately for attachments. Find out the price and terms for renting this equipment from different owners before deciding where to rent from.

Factors That Affect Forklift Pricing

Factors That Affect Forklift Pricing

As we’ve stated earlier, forklift prices vary, and there are good reasons for this. Whether you’re buying a new forklift or a used one, you’ll want the best deal for it.

Thus the need to know what influences forklift pricing beforehand. When it comes to forklift pricing, here are a few things to have in mind. 


Higher capacity translates to more power, which means more cost. It works just like homes or any other asset purchase. The bigger the asset, the more expensive it will be. It’s an excellent idea to know the exact capacity of your forklift before paying for it. This way, you will only spend what you’re supposed to spend on it. 

Brand Consideration

Forklifts are typically manufactured by different brands. Different brands represent different qualities. As with anything, renowned brands are more expensive than less-known brands. Besides, these top-rated brands also have long-term value. 

Long-term Cost

Another factor that can significantly influence the price of machinery is long-term cost. When in the market for an inexpensive or used forklift, think about long-term cost. Forklifts with better long-term resale value will typically cost more than those without resale value. If you intend to use the forklift for years or to resell it in the long run, then opt for one that promises value for a long time. 

Operating cost

Some machines cost more to maintain than others. Don’t be surprised if a seemingly good forklift is cheaper than its counterparts. It could be because of the possibility of incurring more running costs. Therefore, if you’re going to buy a forklift, consider the possibility of incurring operating costs and factor it into the initial costs.

Factors That Can Affect Forklift Rental Cost

Factors That Can Affect Forklift Rental Cost

If you’re not a regular forklift user or don’t have much money to spend buying a new one, consider renting one.

However, before contacting a rental service, it’s essential to know that rental costs vary. Here are some of the common factors that can influence forklift rental costs. 

1. Location

When it comes to forklifts, one of the most important determiners of the rental cost is project location. This is why a Florida forklift rental service may offer you the same machinery at a significantly lower price than other rental services in locations where forklifts are less popular.

Therefore, you’ll need to enter the exact user location when requesting a quote to get an accurate estimate for your project. 

2. Project Timeline

Another significant determiner of cost is the project timeline. This is why renting a forklift for short-term projects costs significantly less than for long-term projects.

However, if you calculate on a rate basis, you’ll find that renting for long-term projects costs less. Here’s how it works: a company may offer their forklift for rent at the rate of $200 per day. But the same company will offer the same machinery for around $150 per day if you rent for up to a month.

Therefore, most experts recommend reviewing your project to know the exact timeline before paying for rentals to avoid paying for unused days.

3. Forklift Type and Brand

This one’s a no-brainer; forklifts come in different types, brands, and capacities. Like buying forklifts, the rental cost is also influenced by these factors. Top brands have the best specifications and, as such, cost significantly more to hire.

However, there are still some relatively unknown brands with great specifications. We recommend adequate research on brands and specifications before choosing a forklift for rent.

4. Size

Like in most types of machinery, size specifications play a significant role in determining the rental cost of forklifts. For example, larger forklifts with more power are typically more costly to rent than smaller models.

Apart from their sizes, bigger forklifts have better specifications and are typically more fuel efficient than smaller ones. So, it’s not surprising that forklift rental services will charge more for them.

Before contacting a forklift rental service, estimate the work you want to know which size suits it more. If a small size would do the work well, there’s no need to go for a bigger one. 

5. Market Conditions

One final factor that’s worth talking about is present market conditions. This is the main reason why many rental services will offer identical forklifts with similar specifications at different prices.

The state of the rental market can easily change. This is why you may rent a forklift at a lower price in a particular season and pay higher for the same machine in another season. Please note that rental costs are usually higher in areas with higher demand.

Qualify The Buy

Qualify The Buy

Consider renting a forklift as an opportunity to try before buying to avoid mistakes. You can set yourself up for mistakes when you go through the purchase process too quickly. For example:

You get a new client that wants a job done on a 25-foot aerial work platform. Unless you’re sure of the client’s long-term commitment, renting a forklift may be an excellent way to get the job done without tying up capital.

If your subsequent jobs require more than a 25-foot lift, the initial forklift becomes almost useless because it can’t handle the new jobs. 

One significant characteristic of smart buyers is their ability to dedicate their time to evaluating short and long-term needs. This way, they can find the balance. If you need clarification about your utilization ratio, feel free to talk to an expert about it.

Most experienced managers are surprised to hear expert analysis of which is better between buying and leasing equipment.

Other Reasons to Rent 

Other Reasons to Rent 

Cut costs during slow periods

Every business has periods of market boom and slackening. Equipment renting allows you to get the needed equipment during a market boom.

You can always return the equipment when business gets slow. It also allows you to get the piece of equipment for seasonal usage and avoid paying for it when it’s not in use. 

Lower maintenance costs

Equipment rental is a lifesaver for any business working on a budget. It’s easier to plan for than unexpected repair costs.

Besides, you don’t have to pay for occasional maintenance since you’ll send the machine back to the owner at the expiration of the rent period.

Allows you access to the most current technology

Old equipment comes with old technology and often does not meet the latest OSHA standards for safety and emission. Buying a forklift means you may be forced to buy new equipment a few years later.

However, you can always get up-to-date equipment for maximum efficiency with rental.

Location-specific rental

Moving equipment from one location to another can be a big issue if you have your operation sites spread across different locations.

Unless you have a delivery vehicle that can carry a forklift, it makes sense to rent one in the location or to have the rental company pick up and deliver it.

Pros of Buying a New Forklift Vs. a Used One

Pros of Buying a New Forklift Vs. a Used One 

We get it; buying used machinery always seems like a smart way to save money. But is it really smart? Especially when it’s about forklifts. We often advise people to prioritize buying new forklifts, and here are some reasons. 

1. Peace of Mind 

Nothing beats the peace of mind that buying new machinery gives you. You know that the machine has no hidden damages you’ll need to repair.

All parts and components are also new. Not to mention the peace that comes with knowing you were not short-changed during the negotiation process.

2. Reliability

Buying a new forklift means you’ll have to pay more than buying a used one, but it may be a smart decision if you intend to use the machine to the max.

Otherwise, you’d have to get used to paying hefty amounts for maintaining a used older machine.

Additionally, new forklifts will deliver better output for longer working hours, even in extreme working conditions, thus improving your business productivity. 

3. Suitable for longer use periods

New forklifts are a more suitable choice for people who want to expand their fleet anytime soon. Apart from the maintenance ease it offers, buying a new fleet allows you to maintain uniformity in your fleet since you’d have many options to choose from.

Furthermore, the relationship you’ll establish with a dealer allows you to get similar models at a discounted price when you want. Attachments are also easily available for newer models compared to older models. 

4. New, better features

With new forklifts, you’d have the opportunity to buy a machine with the latest features and technologies. New forklifts have the most recent technological advancements, making them more advantageous than others.

Most technological advancements are added to improve work productivity and workplace safety.

Conclusion: How Much Does a Forklift Cost?

Conclusion How Much Does a Forklift Cost

Forklift costs vary greatly depending on type, brand, and specifications. However, new forklifts typically cost from $25,000 to $50,000, while used ones cost between $5,000 to $20,000, depending on several different factors.

However, whether you’re buying a new forklift or a used one, always investigate several reputable options and choose a manufacturer with years of top-notch experience.

Such manufacturers hardly get it wrong when it comes to quality and efficiency.


What is the cost of a new forklift?

The cost of a new forklift can vary widely depending on several factors, including the type of forklift, its lifting capacity, brand, features, and attachments. On average, you can expect to pay between $20,000 to $50,000 or more for a new forklift. Larger and more specialized forklifts can cost significantly more.

What is the fair value of a forklift?

The fair value of a forklift, whether new or used, is determined by its market price based on factors like age, condition, maintenance history, brand, and current market demand. Fair value can vary from forklift to forklift, and it’s important to assess these factors when buying or valuing a forklift.

Why buy a new forklift?

There are several reasons to consider buying a new forklift. New forklifts typically come with manufacturer warranties, ensuring reliability and reduced maintenance costs. They often feature the latest technology and safety enhancements, increasing productivity and safety. Additionally, new forklifts may be more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly, which can be important considerations for some businesses.

How much does a 10k forklift cost?

The cost of a 10,000-pound (10k) forklift can vary depending on its specific features and brand. On average, you can expect to pay between $30,000 to $50,000 or more for a new 10k forklift. The actual price may be higher for specialized models or those with additional attachments and features. It’s important to obtain quotes from different dealers and consider your specific requirements when determining the cost.