Buying Construction Equipment: New vs. Used (Pros & Cons)

Let’s dig in! Discover the pros and cons of buying new vs. used construction equipment to make the best choice for your construction projects.

Article Contents

New or used—that is the construction equipment question.

Whether you’re firing up a new construction company, need to expand operations, or your older equipment is ready to be put out to pasture, the question remains: do you buy new construction equipment or look into used construction equipment for sale?

That’s the question we’re aiming to help you answer for your construction operation.

Short on time? Use this handy-dandy cheatsheet guide.
new vs used construction equipment infographic

Without any further delay, let’s hop into some factors to consider to help you arrive at your conclusion. 

Which is more cost-effective—new or used construction equipment?

The first consideration for many folks is, unsurprisingly, the cost.

Pricing Factors of New Construction Equipment for Sale

Brand-new construction equipment comes with a heftier price tag—no surprise there. But more than quality construction equipment, you’re buying peace of mind—knowing that your equipment should run smoothly with minimal hiccups. Also with new construction equipment, you're getting the latest technology and often, a manufacturer's warranty and possibly some lucrative financing options

buying new construction equipment

Pricing Factors of Used Construction Equipment for Sale

On the flip side, used construction equipment offers lower upfront costs. Used equipment can provide a more budget-friendly option—particularly good news for small to mid-sized companies or for folks only needing construction equipment for infrequent jobs. 

Possible Tax Advantages 

Buying either new or used construction equipment can have its tax advantages—such as deducting the cost of machinery as a business expense (a Section 179 tax deduction). And because the depreciation of equipment can usually also be deducted from your company’s taxes, accounting for a new model’s depreciation is a bit more straightforward.

buying a used bulldozer construction equipment 

What about equipment performance and reliability?

Performance Factors of New Construction Equipment for Sale

New construction equipment boasts the latest advancements in performance, fuel efficiency, and emissions. If having cutting-edge tech is important for your operations, a new model might be the way to go. 

When buying new construction equipment, keep in mind that you may be up against the odd potential bug, recall, or other defects that haven’t been worked out. Even though these are usually remedied on a manufacturer’s or dealership’s dime, they may lead to performance setbacks that interfere with your project schedule. While not a dealbreaker, they’re something to consider. 

crane operator new equipment

Performance Factors of Used Construction Equipment for Sale

If the latest bells and whistles aren’t as important to you, used construction equipment has the advantage of proven reliability. With the proper maintenance, “battle-tested” machines have definitely had their bugs worked out, most recalls accounted for, possible upgrades made, and may serve you just as well. 

Don’t Forget Equipment Inspections

All of that being said, it’s definitely worth the money to have any used construction equipment you’re considering buying inspected by an experienced equipment mechanic. This inspection will likely cost a few hundred dollars but is a small price to pay if it saves you from buying a potential money pit. This inspection may also reveal problem areas you can use to negotiate the price or simply help you feel better about your purchase. 

construction equipment mechanic performing an inspection of used equipment

Should I consider long-term value?

Because you likely won’t be completely working the tracks off any construction equipment you buy, it pays to consider how much value you’ll get from the machine—both during its working life and when you need to replace it. Whether new or used, buying models of construction equipment with a reputation for reliability can help preserve the equipment’s value over time. 

Preserving the Resale Value of New Construction Equipment
New equipment can have better resale value, depending on the brand and model. New gear also has the added benefit of knowing the equipment’s complete history—something you should continue to document over its time with your team to increase its resale value. 

How Used Construction Holds Its Value
Used construction equipment, after its initial depreciation dip, actually holds its value well. If cared for, you may even be able to sell it for close to what you paid—especially if it's a popular model. 

construction equipment value

Is the availability of construction equipment a concern?

If you’re leaning toward a new machine, getting precisely what you need when you need it may be an issue if you’re on a tight timeline depending on the dealership.

New models might not be immediately available due to manufacturing lead times. However, with used equipment, what you see is what you get. You can often purchase used construction equipment and put it to work immediately if no maintenance is necessary. 

buying construction equipment for sale

What should I know before I begin shopping for construction equipment?

When it comes to choosing between new and used construction equipment for sale, it's all about assessing your needs. 

  • Understand what features and capabilities you need versus which are niceties. Keep your operators in mind first and foremost. 
  • Knowing your budget—including all fees, taxes, interest, and the true cost of ownership of heavy equipment. Have your “walk away price” ready to go and don’t exceed it!
  • Have the date and time when you need this equipment to get started working for you. This will help you calculate how long the sales process will take, including any necessary maintenance, shipping, and the like. 

Just be square with me—is it a better idea to buy new or used construction equipment?

Honestly, neither option is inherently better; it’s about what works best for your unique situation. But to maximize the value you get from your equipment and have a pleasant shopping experience, it's important to know what you need, when you need it, and how much you can afford. 

Enjoy new and used construction equipment for sale—now at your fingertips.

When you're ready to make a buying decision, whether for new or well-loved machinery, you can get the buying process started today with help from your friends at My Little Salesman. Since 1958, My Little Salesman has been connecting buyers and sellers of construction equipment and more. 

Get Started Buying Construction Equipment for Sale Now

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About Ken Lane
Ken’s affinity for the heavy equipment industry was fostered as a curious youngster—becoming happily lost on his grandfather’s tractor sales and service lot (his favorite color is still Allis-Chalmers Orange). Since then, he’s perfected the art of turning black coffee into helpful buyer resources and marketing materials for My Little Salesman.
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