What to Look for When Buying Used Machinery

Posted on 6 Sep 2017 by The Manufacturer

Opting for used machinery over brand new can save you a considerable amount of money.

Getting solid used machinery is important for many manufacturers. Image courtesy of Flickr - Jeremy Keith
Getting solid used machinery is important for many manufacturers. Image courtesy of Flickr – Jeremy Keith

There are a number of purchasing options for used machinery; online and in person auctions, online retail sites, and in-person sales or trades. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages and there is no one single way of searching for used machinery or parts that is inherently better than any other. If one isn’t careful in their approach, however, it is easy to end up spending more money than you otherwise would have because the used machinery isn’t in peak condition and is unreliable. Below are some words of advice for those searching for used machinery and parts.

Do Your Research

Once you’ve identified exactly what equipment you need, take some time to find out what your best options are in terms of manufacturers and models. Take note of any prices you come across, both for brand new and used options, and make sure to be realistic in your expectations. Also, remember that price will vary according to condition. Every piece of machinery is different and, depending on its function, it will show signs of aging and stress from general use in different areas. Before you go to inspect any machinery, or before you ask any questions of a potential seller, be sure to investigate the most obvious signs of imminent failure for the specific part you are looking at. Always investigate the site or individual that you are purchasing from. With individuals, you can meet them in person and inspect the machinery for yourself. If you choose to purchase online make sure you are using a reputable seller such as Surplex.com.

Try Before You Buy (Or Ask the Right Questions)

Trying machinery out is clearly the best way of determining its current condition and whether it represents good value for you. It will not always be possible to try machinery out before a purchase, even if you are buying in person, in such cases inspect the machinery thoroughly. As long as you’ve done your research well beforehand you’ll know what questions to ask and where to look on the machinery to identify any potential faults. When purchasing online, do not make decisions on quality based on photographs alone. Photographs be digitally altered; even by changing the angle of the shot the photographer can obscure or exaggerate particular details.


This is perhaps the most important piece of advice of all and is dependent upon you following both of the above steps. Once you have an understanding of what condition the machinery should be in, and what condition it is actually in, you can make a sound judgement on the asking price. If you feel it is too high, then negotiate to lower it. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you think you are being misled, deliberately or otherwise.

Buying machinery used is a great way to save some money but it can also be a minefield for the unprepared. Make sure you research what you’re buying and who you’re buying it from and be confident in your own estimations of a product’s value.