Buying A Used Forklift Verse Buying A Chinese Forklift

Its been the last ten years or so in Australia that we’ve seen an explosion of Chinese import forklifts. We’ve taken a look at the Chinese made forklifts before, and the guiding principle here as with anything is, you get what you pay for.  Whether you are looking at you buying second-hand forklifts or new

We wanted to take a look at a few things you might want to consider when buying a second-hand forklift or buying a refurbished used forklift.

buying Chinese forklifts

It’s really important to compare apples with apple when you looking at purchasing a new Chinese model or a refurbished second-hand model.  So make sure you know what you need the forklift for so consider lift height, fuel type e.t.c when looking at your purchase.

Why buy a Chinese forklift

A new 2.5T Chinese made forklift, with a 3000mm mast, petrol will retail for about $14 999 at the bottom end and up to $19 000 at the top end of the Chinese product market.  You should find that they will generally come with a minimum 12-month warranty.  (Ask first about what warranty to expect).

A refurbished Hyster H2.5TX model (which is approximately five years old) with a 4000mm mast will retail for about $15 000 and you could generally expect a 90-day warranty with it.

There are a few things you need to consider when making the choice


Chinese manufacturing is light years ahead of where it was five years ago.  With most if not all major brands bring out a Chinese equivalent (Yes think Toyota, Linde, Hyster).  With lots of smaller forklift companies now running Chinese forklifts in their rental fleet. So are they reliable well in the right application yes they can go the distance?


Depreciation is the true hidden cost of a forklift.  Buy a good condition second-hand brand name forklift such as a Hyster, you will still get a decent resale figure when you go to sell it down the track.  Meaning that generally, they will hold their age.

A new Chinese unit, whilst is cheap, will quickly lose its value at the end of five years.  At the end of the day, you could lose, up to 70 % of its value from new.

Backup and Spare parts

There seem to be a never-ending number of different forklift companies importing Chinese brands of forklifts to Australia over the years.  A lot of that has gone out of business, or have stopped selling Chinese forklifts.

These companies are normally around for two or three years or until their warranty issues become too much.  Then the Chinese manufacturing company moves on to another importer, you see a lot of these companies selling on eBay.

A forklift is a business tool and should be view as such.  You need to make sure you are buying for the right reasons.  Make sure you know what application you are wanting to use to you forklift in. New Chinese or a refurbished second hand, it’s still an investment.

You just make sure you look for the obvious things, you need.

Avatar of Scott Di Natale

By Scott Di Natale

Scott has been involved in the heavy plant and machinery industry for most of the last 30 years. Now he's a dedicated writer for industry-related publications.