How to Purchase a Used Pallet Jack
Authored by Pat McAssey
September 3, 2013
What is a pallet jack and how does it work?
Used pallet jacks are one of the most useful and commonly used warehouse tools. Pallet jacks transfer thousands of pounds of inventory with ease, and can be used to unload trailers as an alternative to forklifts.
Pallet jacks are a tool for lifting and transporting pallets that can be either hydraulic (manual), or powered. Manual and hand powered pallet jacks have forks that are separated from the wheels, allowing them to move upwards while the wheels stay firmly planted on the ground. The forks are hydraulically lifted enough for the pallet load to be raised just off of the floor.
Powered or electric pallet jacks are motorized, allowing them to lift moderate sized loads. This style will allow you to move the used pallet jack with a throttle-control for forward and backward motion, and a handle for steering. Some models of electric jacks contain a platform for the user to stand on while operating.
What is your required width, length, and weight requirements?
To determine the width required for the forks of your used pallet jack, measure the width of the forklift openings on the pallet. The forks on the pallet jack should have one inch of space on either side when inserted into the openings of the pallet. So subtract two inches from the width of the pallet openings when selecting your used pallet jack.
The length of the forks should typically be the length of the stringers, which are the parallel pieces of timber on a pallet. If you have different sized pallets, it is recommended to get pallet jacks that are fitted to the largest length you have.
Electric or Hydraulic?
Both electric and hydraulic used pallet jacks can hold a considerable amount of weight, but the standard hydraulic lift capacity is 5,500 pounds, with some models that can hold more. Electric pallet jacks usually range from a 3,000 lb. capacity to 6,000 lb. capacity. When purchasing a used or new pallet jack, be sure to check the weight restrictions specific to that model, as they can vary widely.
Hydraulic pallet jacks require you to manually transport the load once it is raised off of the ground, but they also require little to no maintenance and no external power source. Electric pallet jacks are easier to maneuver, but also require charging and some upkeep when used over an extended period. Both are extremely useful, so it is determining which is more appropriate for your application.
Pros and Cons of Buying New vs. Used
The main advantage to purchasing a used pallet jack over new is it costs less. A new electric pallet jack can cost several thousand dollars over the cost of used. Lead time is a bigger factor when purchasing new, because typically lead time for buying used equipment is much less (depending on the company and product). On the other hand, buying used can be risky if you aren’t dealing with trustworthy vendors. If the hours of usage aren’t accurately recorded on a used electric pallet jack, the battery will need to be replaced sooner than expected. This can cost as much as the pallet jack in some cases.
How to Purchase a Reliable used Pallet Jack
There are certain things that you must look out for when trying to find a trustworthy and reliable reseller of used pallet jacks. Ask the vendor for pictures of the specific used pallet jack that you are considering buying, and ask for up-to-date usage logs. The picture will be able to tell you the current condition and how or where it was being stored. You should also look for some sort of guarantee that allows you to return the product if it isn’t working properly. For example, here at ASI we provide a 30 day ASI guarantee on our used electric pallet jacks. This allows the customer to inspect and test the used pallet jack to ensure it is working properly.
You also want to make sure you have good customer service supporting the purchasing process to ensure you get exactly what you need. At ASI our sales team will work with you to determine the specific used pallet jack that is right for your material handling needs. They will answer any questions you might have, and figure out what you are using it for and your capacity requirements. They will then choose the specific used pallet jack that is right for the end user and explain why it was chosen.