Tom Haug


One of the big questions that you may ask when looking to upgrade your material handling equipment fleet is ‘how much does a forklift cost?’ The cost burden of buying a forklift can have significant impacts on your bottom line. Renting or leasing your equipment can be the short-term procurement option that will allow you to keep up-to-date with the leading forklift technology without the need to buy it. Deciding between renting or leasing your forklift can be a complicated process, yet knowing the impacts of using each approach can make the decision less of an undertaking. We have compiled the average forklift prices for both renting and leasing for the most common forklift models.

Which financial solution is right for you?

The first step in the procurement process is determining whether renting or leasing will be better suited for you. Listed below are the advantages of both financing options.

Leasing a Forklift
  • The initial and monthly expenditure for you is lower than both buying and renting a forklift. There is generally no down payment when leasing equipment, so the initial forklift cost is lowered as well. The combination of no upfront money and a lower monthly payment will leave you with less of a burden on your cash flow.
  • At the end of the initial term, you have the option to purchase, renew, extend, or return the forklifts. Leasing material handling equipment often proves to be one of the most financially efficient ways to ensure you have the best fleet.
  • In terms of the specifics on a leasing contract, you can adjust the terms in the lease. The industry experts at Meridian will take into consideration your unique financial and business objectives and customize a lease that works best for you. Flexibility and the ability to customize the lease terms are a few of the key attributes you will want to find in your lease partner.
  • One downside of leasing is that you have a contractual obligation to pay for the entire lease, meaning you must pay for the forklift even if you are not using it for that time. The average amount of time that most businesses rent forklifts are four to seven years.
Renting a Forklift
  • Seasonality can affect the amount of equipment you need to get the job done. Renting will allow you to obtain a forklift and benefit from its use for a limited amount of time, such as peak seasons. Renting will also be advantageous if you need a unique machine to satisfy a specific job or if you just need extra capacity. You can also save money on storage space if your facility does not have the budget to store the forklift when it is not in use.
  • There are significant cost savings while renting because you only pay for the amount of time you need the forklift. You won’t need to invest in having and paying for equipment that you truly only need for a short duration of time.
  • Like leasing, you will not have to worry about your equipment becoming obsolete because you will only be renting the equipment for a short period. Once the rental agreement is up, you can choose to rent a state-of-the-art forklift for only a short time, and then upgrade again once a newer model is released.

It is important to take note that if your facility has specific requirements that need to be matched with the size of the lift, such as door heights and aisle widths, then you may need a very specific type of forklift. Equipment may not be readily available when you are looking to change or upgrade your forklift.

Cost Implications

The cost of your forklift will depend on the type of financial solution you choose. Now that you have a better understanding of the elements of both leasing and renting, we have detailed the forklift price for each.

Forklift Lease Pricing

We have broken down the forklift cost for machines costing $30-50K. An FMV lease for an IC forklift with pneumatic tires, 3-stage mast, side shifts, and 2,000 annual hours of work for normal/dry conditions would generally come out to the below pricing for a 36 or 60-month leasing period. These prices should be used as a reference when considering acquiring a forklift.


36 Months

60 Months


$580 - $720

$430 - $520


$775 - $950

$575 - $690


$970 - $1,190

$720 - $860

Forklift Rental Pricing

For rental pricing, it depends purely on the amount of time you are looking to rent the machine, the type of lift, the tire type, the fuel type, and whether it is in a new or used condition. A customized financial solution can be developed by the team at Meridian to fit your organizational needs.


Keep in mind that this pricing can be different for each company that is looking to rent or lease. The factors listed below are associated with these prices and will determine how much you will end up paying for the forklift:

  • Credit score
  • Length of time your facility has been in business
  • Length of time you want to finance the forklift
  • Model type: tires, fuel, lift capacity
  • Forklift condition: new or used

Forklift leases and rentals can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here at Meridian Leasing, we are here to provide transparency to the seemingly complicated process with our consultative approach. We can work with you to find the machine and financial solution that will best match your organizational goals within your budget. Call +1 (855) 980-4578 or send an email to [email protected] for more details or to speak with a material handling equipment specialist.