What to look for when buying hydraulic equipment

It doesn't matter if you're a professional garage, a mobile auto service or just doing some work fixing up a car at home, sometimes you just need to get that car off the ground. Thankfully, unlike the old days of heavy lifting and unreliable kit, hydraulic equipment has made the work as easy as picking up a feather. However, not all hydraulic equipment is built the same, and there are many things to think about before you hand over any money. For auto service companies, you also need to ensure that your staff are trained and comfortable with the equipment you invest in, so make sure you to include them in the decision making process.

Rent or buy? 

While renting hydraulic equipment has a lower initial investment, it is always more cost effective in the long term to buy. However, the decision to buy or rent is slightly more complicated than just cost. Those embarking on projects at home are unlikely to need to buy kit unless they spend a serious amount of time on their hobby. Mobile auto repair services will need to think about whether it makes more logistical sense to buy the essential hydraulic equipment like jacks to keep in their van, and then if needed rent specialist equipment as needed. Fixed and professional services will almost always find it makes sense to buy. 

Remember though, it's not just the upfront payment - you'll also need to pay for any spare parts or repair that's required, general maintenance kit like lubricant and of course insurance for particularly expensive equipment that may break, or worse (and much more of a risk for mobile auto repair companies) be stolen from a van or garage.

Brand reputation or cost

Particularly true when buying, but still an important factor when renting, is the trade off between brand quality and cost. Hydraulic equipment is expensive to make, and this cost is transferred right through the supply chain down to you as a customer. While all equipment will meet, and often exceed, Australia's basic safety standards, the differences come in the robustness of the build, the pressure achieved and the weight that equipment can lift.

One way to cut costs is to only buy or rent equipment that meets exact level you require, however this means you have less leeway should you find that you need to lift something heavier. This is easier to achieve at the lower end of the market, where you're just looking for cylinders for example, but is tougher at the higher end when buying trolleys.