Finding and choosing the most productive and cost-effective forklift machine requires insight and a bit of research. There are so many things to consider when you want to buy forklift machines aside from the size and power source. You need to evaluate your long-term costs, how high it can lift, whether to buy or rent, among others.
In recent years, technology has advanced so much so that you can find forklifts with ergonomic design. Even small adjustments can not only save you time but boost your productivity significantly. It’ll also contribute to the cost-effectiveness of your operations, which makes choosing the right forklift for your business very important.
A large variety of forklifts are available in the market, all of which are designed for specific jobs. Choosing a forklift may be more involved than you think. You can’t just pick the first one you come across or the most aesthetically appealing one.
For this reason, we bring you a comprehensive forklift truck buying guide and guide you through all the factors you must consider before making a final decision.
- The Application
The most significant factor to consider is why you need to buy a forklift. What do you intend to use it for? Consider all the specifics of your application, like whether you’ll be using it indoors or outdoors.
It’s essential for you to choose the right forklift depending on whether you’ll be using it on smooth surfaces or rough terrain. What light heights and weights do you require, and what kind of materials or products you need to lift? Understand that there are numerous forklift manufacturers and hundreds of models to choose from, but the decision will become clear once you assess all your application needs.
- The Selection Criteria
There are specific criteria you need to look at when you want to buy a forklift. One of the most vital things to consider is the load capacity of the forklift, and picking one with a maximum capacity below your requirements would be a mistake. Consider the stock the forklift will be handling, the average load weight, the heaviest load you usually handle, the type of materials you’re loading, and the width of your largest loads.
The height of the lift is just as important, and it’ll also depend on the size of your warehouse, the nature of your business, and your application. Consider the typical lift height you need, the highest point you’ll need the machine to reach, and whether there are any height restrictions to consider. Beyond that, think about the aisle width in your warehouse, and the collapsed height of the forklift if you need to get underneath structures.
The fuel type is the nest criterion in line, and you need to choose between electric and internal combustion. Electric machines produce zero emissions and are quite economical, but they are more expensive than combustion models. Internal combustion models run on various fuel types, from gasoline to liquid propane gas, compressed natural gas, and diesel.
- Tire Selection
Your operational environment will have a huge impact on the tires when you buy forklift machines. This means you must consider whether you’ll be using it on rough terrain or paved areas and indoors or outdoors. You can choose among three options, which are pneumatic, cushion, or solid tires.
Pneumatic tires are filled with air and are suitable for heavy lifting and outdoor operations. Solid tires are extremely durable and also ideal for heavy-duty work. Unlike their pneumatic counterparts, they won’t puncture, go flat, or pop.
Cushion tires are better suited for indoor use, but they come with great maneuverability as they sit lower on the ground.
Beyond this, you need to consider whether you would like polyurethane tires, which are only used indoors, and if you need non-marking tire options, which are widely used in food processing plants.
- The Type of Forklift
Forklifts come in a wide variety, and some of the most common are hand pallet jack, and electric pallet jack forklifts. You can opt for the manual stacker, the walk behind the electric pallet stacker, the order picker, or the counterbalance internal combustion forklift. There are many more types of forklifts, so do some more research to find out which is most suitable.
- Attachments and Accessories
When you buy a forklift, you also need to buy forklift attachments and accessories. Some of the most essential attachments include the boom, fork, hook plate, pole, man basket, rotator, lifting, and drum side.
- To Buy or Rent
Some people opt to rent a forklift due to the high initial costs involved in purchasing one. Before you come to a decision, think about the operational costs, depreciation, servicing, tires, and fuel.
Would it be a better investment if you bought yours, or more suitable if you rented?
Of course, renting would be more cost-effective, but if you feel your business has more room for growth and you’ll have use for the forklift now and in the future, buying one may be better. Besides, you’ll get to claim tax benefits and depreciation costs.
It’s vital that you think about the comfort of the operator. Go for high-quality, adjustable seating because they are likely to be operating the machine most of the day. The overall design and the placement of the controls will also play a huge role in their comfort levels, and it’ll lessen the likelihood of accidents and illnesses, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or back pain.
- Training and Safety
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration or OSHA has strict training guidelines because forklift accidents are very rampant. Consider how many forklifts you want to purchase and factor in the costs of training for your staff.
All forklift operators need to be of legal age. They’ll also be evaluated and recertified every three years.
Buy Forklift Machines Today
There you have it! Now you know what factors need to be considered if you want to buy forklift machines for your business. There are many types of forklifts and many models, so ensure you research into each one to understand which one will be more suitable for your business.
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