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How Much Does a Forklift Cost?

Forklifts are valuable pieces of equipment for distribution warehouses, lumbar and manufacturing services and additional work environments that need heavy loads moved or transported. Most forklifts can move from 3,000 to 30,000 plus pounds in smooth transactions that save a company many man hours of labor, for example. There are several types of forklifts and each of these types has its own price range. Finding out what your distribution needs are ahead of time can allow you to purchase the right size of forklift.

Forklift Costs and Different Types of Forklifts

There are two categories of forklifts that are determined by the machine's structure and by the fuel that is needed for each kind of forklift. The following are the two major kinds of forklifts that you can research for your particular business needs:

  • Forklift prices are determined by the type of machine that is selected. A standard forklift can lift from 3,000 to 5,000 pounds and can reach up to a height of around 20 feet.
  • A reach forklift is a narrow aisle machine and this selection is the one that is used in warehouses and distribution centers. Space in these work places is narrower and a reach forklift is needed to find and locate merchandise that may need an extended range.
  • A telescopic forklift is an extendable reach machine and this selection tends to be more heavy duty. A telescopic machine is a rugged version of a standard forklift with a telescopic boom that can be extended. This machine is used in rough terrains and can move loads of 30,000 pounds or more and can extend up to 70 feet.
  • A straight mast forklift is a lift truck and this selection is used frequently in rough terrains. It can only move loads vertically up to 12,000 pounds. A straight mast forklift has a height reach of 10 to 30 feet.

Forklift Prices and Fuel Costs

Forklifts have various types of fuel that can be used. There are several ways to power your company forklift and the type of fuel for a machine can determine your forklift costs. The following are various ways to power your company machine:

  • Your company forklift can be powered by electricity. Electric forklifts use large rechargeable lead acid batteries that run for 5 to 6 straight hours. An electric machine is used for indoor use and does not produce gas emissions, for example.
  • An internal combustion engine can be used to power your forklift and this type of machine can run on gasoline, diesel fuel, propane or a compressed natural gas. Internal combustion forklifts are easy to refuel and can carry loads that are heavier than electric forklifts.
  • A fuel cell is a hydrogen cell and this type of power source provides zero gas emissions and are quieter.

Forklift Prices and Cost Examples

Forklift expenses can vary according to your location and requirements. A new standard forklift with an electric power source may cost from $15,000 to $25,000 or more. A battery and battery charger for your company machine will cost from $2,500 to $5,000. There are additional types of forklifts that you may choose from and these include the following costs:

  • An internal combustion forklift costs from $15,000 to $30,000 or more. An internal combustion machine with a 10,000 capacity may cost from $25,000 to $50,000. A forklift for lifting over a standard amount of cargo can cost over $100,000.
  • An electric forklift may run around $25,000.
  • Forklifts can be purchased used. A used electric forklift can cost between $5,000 to $10,000. A used internal combustion machine can run from $10,000 to $15,000.

Costs to Operate Your Machine

There are certain operating costs that are based around a standard work year. Operating expenses can run around $1,500 to $2,000 for an electric standard machine. A diesel fuel or a machine that operates with a liquefied petroleum fuel may be significantly more expensive. These additional operating costs can range in the several thousands of dollars.


Finding the right forklift for your business needs is important. A forklift can be a cost saving investment for a business that has heavy cargo to move on a regular basis. Many man hours and sizable labor costs can be saved for distribution depots and manufacturing companies. Forklifts can be used for light lifting and can be purchased for smaller or tighter warehouses spaces. Extended reach capabilities can be included with a forklift. Different fuels are available and the type of power used can be a cost saving feature.