New Bucket Truck vs. Used Bucket Truck – Which One Do I Buy?

When you think about it, buying an item in new condition is usually understood to be better than buying a used one. Because new bucket trucks come directly from a company like Altec (manufacturer of new bucket trucks), the buyer expects impeccable quality. There could be an exception to this rule if a business is in the market to buy a bucket truck, especially if equipment cost is the primary concern. The decision to buy either a new bucket truck or used bucket truck has advantages and disadvantages. In order to determine the best bucket truck for a company’s needs, an analysis should be done comparing new and used models in terms of performance, reliability, purchasing cost, operational cost, and technology.


Performance wise, there is not much difference between a brand new bucket truck and a well-maintained used bucket truck. Bucket trucks are built to be tough and have a long service life. Even a fifteen-year-old used bucket truck can perform as well as a brand new model if it has been regularly maintained and properly operated.


Both trucks are pretty much comparable in terms of reliability as long as the used bucket truck has been well maintained. The positive aspect of a new truck is that the buyer can experience the use of its entire service life. That doesn’t mean that just because a truck is brand new, it will not encounter any problems. Although the majority of trucks that come directly from the manufacturer will run without any difficulties for many years, there are some that will break down in the first 30,000 miles. Factory defects do happen, even with trucks. There really is no 100% guarantee that buying a brand new truck will ensure perfect performance throughout its entire serviceable life.

Purchase Cost

When buying a used bucket truck, the most obvious benefit is a lower cost than a new one. When you find a deal on a used bucket truck the cost will sometimes be half or one third as much as the truck’s original price. The reason for the lower cost is due to its depreciation. Normally, the value of the truck drops as much as 30 percent in the first three years and then that declines over the age of the truck.  When buyers opt to buy a used bucket truck, they generally pay a lot less than the original cost.

Repair and Maintenance Cost

Maintenance Cost – There is usually not a significant difference between a new and a used bucket truck in terms of maintenance costs. This is because the maintenance intervals will remain constant whether the truck is new or used.

Repair Cost – When considering a used bucket truck, you do need to plan and know where replacement parts can be obtained, before you buy the truck.  There are sources of parts for most bucket trucks, but occasionally there will be a model for which parts are scarce, because the company that made it is no longer in business.  Planning before you buy will take care of this aspect!


Unless you need the absolute latest technology, like control handles or truck options (like bluetooth or an MP3 player) there’s not a wide gap between the technology of a new and a used bucket truck. The design of a bucket truck 5 to 10 years ago has not changed substantially from the bucket trucks that are designed today.  What you will notice is upgrades and changes  along the lines of working height (bucket trucks are always advancing to greater heights) and operator comfort and efficiency (more ergonomic control handles, in-cab truck accessories, etc).

Whether you need a late-model bucket truck, only 2-3 years old, or you would like one that has more “experience”, as it leaves a fleet, compare your needs and weigh the costs and benefits of buying new versus used equipment.  Some will find that there is not a large difference between a new and a used bucket truck – other than the price.

J.J. Kane Auctions sells hundreds of used bucket trucks at public auctions every week.  Our auction sales are located all across the U.S. and you can buy in person or online.  We make it easy to but what you need. Allow us to help you as you weigh your options.   Contact us if we can assist.