How to Rent a Forklift – The Beginner’s Guide

15 September, 2023

6 min read


  • How to know if renting a forklift is the right option for you
  • Learn how much forklift rental typically costs depending on type
  • Understand what’s included when renting a forklift and how to get the best deal

So you need to rent a forklift? Forklifts are heavy-duty machines that can be used for a variety of purposes, including lifting and moving heavy objects. If you’ve never rented one before, it can be a little daunting. How do you know which forklift is right for your needs? How much does it cost to rent one? And how long can you keep it? In this article, we will answer all of your questions and help make the process as easy as possible!

Is Forklift Rental The Right Option For You?

Before you start the process of renting a forklift, it’s important to make sure that rental is the best option for your specific needs. While there are plenty of advantages to renting, including not having to pay upfront or commit to a long-term lease agreement, there are also some drawbacks. For instance, if you need a forklift for an ongoing project, you may want to consider buying one instead. This way, you’ll own the equipment so you won’t have to keep paying additional costs and rental fees.

a forklift in action

The Benefits Of Renting A Forklift

Renting a forklift is often the best option for those who need temporary access to a machine. Here are some of the main benefits:

  • Low upfront costs – renting means lower initial cost, so you don’t have to make an expensive purchase to get started, and don’t have the worry of owning a depreciating asset.
  • Flexibility – you can rent a forklift for different periods, so you can rent one for a day or a month, allowing you to scale up or down your fleet depending on demand.
  • Try Something New – Renting a forklift gives you the ability to try a new machine before you commit a large sum of money to buy one, this is one of the best ways to ensure you are going to get value from your machine!
  • Safety – renting from a reputable company means that the forklift will be in tip-top condition and up to all safety standards.
  • Maintenance Is Included – renting a forklift from a reliable company also usually includes regular maintenance checks, so you don’t have to worry about the maintenance cost or the extra cost of repairs.
  • Predictable Costs – While buying a forklift might be better value for longer term projects, renting avoids any unforeseen costs. 

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Essential Information for Renting a Forklift

When stepping into the world of forklift rentals, there are certain crucial aspects you need to understand to make an informed decision. Among these, the lift height and capacity of the forklift play a pivotal role.

Understanding Lift Height and Capacity

Lift height refers to the maximum height a forklift can raise its load. This is an essential factor to consider based on your specific needs. For instance, if you’re in a warehouse setting, you might need a forklift that can reach higher shelves. Lift heights can range from 8 feet to over 20 feet depending on the model.

Capacity, on the other hand, refers to the maximum weight a forklift can carry safely. Overloading a forklift can lead to accidents and damage, so it’s crucial to know the load capacity of the forklift you’re renting. Capacities can vary widely, from as low as 3,000 pounds to as high as 35,000 pounds for larger, industrial models.

Choosing the Right Forklift for Your Needs

When choosing a forklift to rent, take into account the nature of your operation. There are many different types of forklift on the market today each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. 

As well as the lift height and lift capacity you should consider:

  • Fuel Type: Forklifts operate on a variety of fuel types, including diesel, gas, or electricity. Electric forklifts are recognized for their low noise levels and environmental friendliness, although they may lack the raw power provided by diesel or gas-powered models.
  • Forklift Dimensions: The physical dimensions of the forklift should be a key consideration in your decision-making process. If your operations involve navigating narrow aisles or compact spaces, a smaller, more manoeuvrable forklift or specialist narrow aisle forklift model may be required.
  • Manufacturer Reputation: Finally, don’t overlook the importance of the forklift’s manufacturer. Established forklift brands with a strong reputation often provide superior quality products and extensive after-sales support, enhancing the overall value and reliability of your investment.

Where Can You Rent A Forklift?

There are many large rental companies and local dealers that offer forklift hire for both limited time and long-term projects; this can make a proper comparison of rental prices a painfully slow task.

Finding the right rental company can be difficult with so many to choose from online, keep it simple and instead of spending hours researching and contacting local dealers let Forkify do the heavy lifting for free! Simply enter a few details and the Forkify experts will put you in contact with the best local dealers that provide the very best deals! 

The Cost Of Renting A Forklift

The cost of forklift rental in the UK varies based on many factors and ranges from £50 a week for an electric pallet truck all the way up to £400+ for large counterbalance models. Other factors play a crucial role in the price including the length of your rental contract, transport costs, the special attachments you require and the forklift fuel type. If you’re interested in learning more check out our guide on how much it costs to rent a forklift in the UK.

Tips To Get The Best Price When Renting A Forklift

Here is how to get the very best price when renting a forklift:

Know your requirements – Take the time to understand what it is you need, and for what length of time you need the material handling equipment. This will allow you to make a more informed decision and help reduce your rental costs, you should:

  • Estimate the number of hours per week you will be using each rented truck.
  • Calculate the overall rental agreement time.
  • Think about how many trucks you need.
  • Consider the lift heights and weight capacity you require, prices can differ massively depending on the load capacity required.
  • Think about your preferred fuel type if an electric forklift is what you require, which battery type? Or if a gas-powered or diesel forklift is preferred, be sure to look at the diesel options. 

Compare prices – Once you have an idea of which type of material handling equipment best fits your needs and the length of time it is required fill in your requirements on and receive quotes from local dealers straight to your inbox. This is the best method as many times dealers will offer special discounts that aren’t advertised online in order to stay competitive.

Always check the terms – Make sure you read the terms and conditions of your rental agreement carefully before signing, to avoid any hidden cost and to make sure everything you require is included.

What’s Included In A Forklift Rental

The forklift rental industry has become very competitive in the last few years, this is great news for you as it means forklift dealers are offering more for the price! The following items are usually included within your monthly payments:

  • A fully serviced and maintained forklift with enough fuel to get started.
  • Insurance to cover damages to the machine and provide legal liability protection while operating.
  • Scheduled maintenance checks throughout your contract as stipulated by law.
  • Breakdowns and repairs assistance.
  • A designated dealer contact person should you have any issues.
  • For electric lift trucks extra batteries and battery chargers are also usually included.

Some forklift companies may also offer forklift operators higher along with the truck allowing you to have a highly trained professional using your truck at all times.

Checks To Make Before You Rent A Forklift

Before renting a forklift, it’s crucial to conduct several checks to ensure the equipment is in good working condition. First, visually inspect the overall condition of the forklift, looking out for any signs of excessive wear and tear or damage.

Next, test the forklift’s operational capabilities, such as its ability to lift, lower, and manoeuvre smoothly and efficiently. Pay particular attention to the tires, checking for any signs of wear, damage, or deflation that could compromise the forklift’s stability.

Also, inspect the forks and mast for any signs of damage or bending, as these could affect the forklift’s lifting capacity. Safety features should not be overlooked; verify the condition of seat belts, lights, and alarms to ensure they are functioning correctly.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of questions to ask and checks to make before purchasing or renting a forklift you should take a look at our pre-purchase evaluations article.


When renting a forklift it’s important to make sure you’re getting all that you need so your business benefits from your new rental. Take the time to review all terms and conditions before signing any contract, use Forkify for free to compare prices and find great deals on local rentals! Renting any type of forklift doesn’t have to be difficult, get started today!