Is Buying a Diesel Forklift Truck a Good Investment?

Posted on March 31, 2017

With so many different varied forklifts out there, different scales, fuel types, and sizes, you’re absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to purchasing your forklift. However, it can be hard knowing which one or type to buy. With so many modern electric contenders, as well as petrol, you’ve got to know which is right for you, as well as if diesel is still a good option, both suited to your work areas, climate, budget and as an investment.

With a raft of pros and cons attached, diesel forklifts are somewhat divisive. However, if you’ve got the kind of business that they suit well, a diesel forklift could be absolutely ideal and provide the ultimate solution to your lifting needs. Points like cheap fuel, plenty of lifting power and speed and decent efficiency make diesel forklifts still very feasible. The inability to work indoors without expensive ventilation equipment can be very limiting, and there are other environmental factors working against fossil-fuel powered equipment.

Here’s some more of the pros and cons, to help you decide whether or not a diesel forklift is the right investment for your business.

One of the first considerations is whether you should even buy the forklift, or just rent it. Depending on how frequently you’re using the forklift and the cost of local rental, it could be a cheaper and more logical solution to simply hire a diesel forklift from a rental company. If you’re definitely going to be using the truck all day every day, you need to buy one.


Diesel is better for heavy lifting. If your business involves shifting some extremely heavy loads, then diesel is the way to go for you. Even if what you’re lifting isn’t always the heaviest, but you sometimes require more power, diesel should be your go to, as you don’t want to be caught out with delays and hassle when you find yourself needing more power. Diesel powered forklifts are among the most powerful out there.

If you’re based somewhere in the cold, diesel could be a great option, as diesel engines run well in the colder climates, especially when compared against other forklifts. Reliability is the name of the game when it comes to almost any industrial equipment or machinery, and as such you don’t want anything that packs in when it gets too chilly. Diesel forklifts are ideal for outside work. Speedy and powerful, they work much better in open spaces, lifting heavy loads.

Diesel engines are also more efficient than petrol ones. This can make the running of your diesel forklift much cheaper in the long term, which can help cover the initial investment costs of purchasing the forklift truck. This combined with lower fuel costs can make running a diesel forklift much sturdier economically.

When compared against propane driven forklift trucks, diesel has the upper hand thanks to the rearward visibility provided by the lack of propane tank. Visibility is hugely important when running any kind of heavy machinery, it makes for increased safety, efficiency and easier operation. Diesel powered forklift trucks also have a long and reliable life span, with a little regular maintenance. When you invest in a diesel forklift truck, you’re going to have a running and reliable forklift for a long while.


However, there are a number of issues when it comes to diesel powered forklifts. When purchased new, they can be quite expensive, making the initial cost of investment pretty high. Their emissions make them awkward to use indoors without expensive emissions accessories, and thorough, powerful ventilation. They’re essentially outdoors only, due to emissions and their noisiness.

If you’re using diesel forklift trucks a lot, a bulk storage tank for fuel could be required, which could require all sorts of health and safety type regulations and standards. On top of that you’ve got to remember that we are in fact slowly running out of fossil fuels, and as such the price of diesel is set to steadily rise in coming years. And of course, if you’re working in remote areas, you might struggle to get fuel out there.