New vs. Used Logging Equipment

Adding a new piece of equipment to your forestry fleet is a major decision. Performance and productivity need balancing against price and availability. The issue of new or used equipment also needs considering. Do you opt for more expensive new machines, or gamble on an older, and possibly less reliable, model?

Below are some issues you need to evaluate before deciding to buy new or used equipment.



Price is an important consideration when comparing new and used logging equipment. Forestry equipment represents a significant financial investment. Forestry equipment’s size alone increases purchase costs, as does the undeniable fact most forestry equipment is highly specialized.

Buying used equipment allows you to add to your fleet while maximizing your operating budget. Bear in mind, however, even used logging equipment comes with a hefty price-tag. Most sales centers offer financing for used as well as new forestry machinery, so you can finance your purchase without overtaxing your expenditures budget.


forestry equipment
Roger Cornfoot [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

New and Used Selections

If you’re looking for a specific make and model of logging equipment, you may only be able to meet your needs by purchasing new. Companies selling used forestry equipment have varied and ever-changing inventories and the precise model you want may not be available used.

This isn’t a problem, of course, if you’re willing to compromise on equipment make and model, but if, for instance, you insist on purchasing a Cat® feller buncher, remember used inventories don’t always supply your needs.


Age and Usage

It’s an obvious advantage, but when you buy new you receive a machine which has not been used. It has no miles on it, and has never been exposed to the demanding and damaging elements common to forestry projects. You receive the machine at the beginning of its work life.

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If you opt for used equipment, it’s vital you understand exactly how the machinery was used and what servicing it’s undergone. A machine with a long history of repair work may not provide the service and performance you require.

Bear in mind, however, that logging equipment is built to be both sturdy and long-lasting. A used machine with a good service record has proved its worth. In addition, used machinery has probably already experienced any potential problems caused by factory defects.

One the best way to purchase reliable used logging equipment is to purchase machines released from a rental company’s fleet. Such machines usually receive regular servicing and care, and are restored to optimum condition before sales.


Logging Equipment
By BenFrantzDale (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Warranties and Servicing

Warranties and service agreements add value to new machines. You can operate with confidence knowing your new machine is protected against parts failure. This alone makes a new machine well worth the cost.

Don’t assume, however, that you’re on your own when it comes to servicing used logging equipment. Used logging equipments’ factory warranties have usually expired long before they go on sale, but the company selling the equipment usually offers servicing equipment. Check to make sure the used equipment seller has a well-stocked parts inventory and well-trained service staff before making any purchasing decisions.


Part and Accessories

The need for servicing brings us to one last consideration when deciding between new and used logging equipment: parts availability. The older a machine is, the more servicing it’s likely to need. At the same time, parts availability for older models can become an issue. With new machinery, replacement parts should be readily available.

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So, new or used? The answer depends on your individual needs, operating budget and personal preferences. In either case, be sure you’re getting the machine which best fits your need. Forestry’s an expensive enough industry without buying equipment which doesn’t completely fill.

By Michelle Rebecca