Purchasing a Diesel Forklift
For many business owners or labor services, a diesel forklift is a fundamental part of getting the job done. With so many makes and models of diesel forklifts available, it can sometimes be a daunting task to determine which would be the right one to purchase.
Diesel forklift buying considerations
- Power - First, determine what kind of loads you expect to be moving, and how much power you need for the jobs. Diesel forklifts come with an array of lift-power attributes. Naturally, as the power and ruggedness of the forklift increases, so does the price. Unless you need significant power, it's best to avoid overspending on an expensive model. On the other hand, make sure you're not buying a low-powered, small machine that can't handle the jobs you need it for. A diesel truck is usually superior to an electric model in both acceleration and lift - omitting the potential for a shortage of battery capacity due to the hydraulic attachments.
- Climate - Another thing to keep in mind is climate. If you work in regions that experience particularly cold winters, for instance, you may be more inclined to buy a tougher model. The same applies for very humid climates - it takes a toll on engines and machinery.
- Environment - Environment also plays a role in deciding what type of tires to order. Diesel forklifts come with multiple tire options that are designed for different surfaces. If you're working mostly in a warehouse, cushion tires (made of solid rubber) would be your best choice for work on concrete or linoleum. If your work is mostly outside, pneumatic tires (filled with compressed air) would be the better choice.
- Indoor vs. outdoor - All diesel forklifts work on an internal combustion engine, inherently making them much stronger than their electric counterparts. The problem is that combustion engines aren't that safe to use inside a warehouse environment where the air tends to remain stagnant throughout the day. If you want to use combustible engine forklifts in a warehouse, try to keep a few dock doors open to help ventilate the fumes.
- Fuel efficiency - In like-for-like usage, diesel engines have been shown to be far more fuel efficient than their LPG-powered counterparts. On average, they run on a 50-liter fuel tank that lasts significantly longer than an 18 kg tank of propane. The frequency with which your operators change tanks will not only impact their productivity but also the cost-effectiveness of the fuel itself, with higher costs to be expected from continuous propane replenishment.
- Productivity - Be sure to consider work efficiency. It's best to employ 2 to 3 small forklifts to handle multiple small jobs than one large diesel forklift.
- Noise and size - The two main disadvantages, in addition to the emission of toxic exhaust, is the extra noise they produce in comparison to other models. Their size is a further detractor in some cases. Typically heavier than all other models, and featuring a design that enables them to perform heavier tasks, diesel forklifts often require larger work areas to operate effectively and safely.
Calculating diesel forklift costs
Expect to pay a relatively low price up front for a new or used diesel forklift, often ranging from $3,500 to $12,000 for models requiring some repairs or with high hours. Newer models with low hours tend to fall in the $14,000 to $35,000 range. Brand new lifts can run $29,000 to $44,500 and higher. Just remember to take into account the costs of fuel.
Speaking of fuel, we can estimate that the average business may pay around 6 cents per kWh for an electric lift. With a 48 kWh industrial battery, this equates to just under $3 to recharge a battery that's close to dead. In comparison, with the average price of diesel hovering around $4 per gallon, you'll pay about $28 to fill a 7 gallon tank. And at more than $3 per gallon, a 33 lb LPG tank costs about $23 to refill (1 gallon of propane weighs 4.2 pounds).
With these figures in mind, the cheapest option is the electric truck, but only if it can provide the power you need, which it often can't. At least with the above fuel costs in mind, you can plan accordingly. For more information on the current cost of fuels, visit the Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
If you're expecting to use forklifts for jobs which require a pretty consistent lift load, one or two heavy-duty forklifts working in tandem may do the trick. More importantly, you'll save on diesel costs. Whether your job is big or small, chances are there is a forklift out there to accommodate your needs.Ready to Compare Forklifts Price Quotes?