When it comes to making wood pellets, looking for a used pellet mill may be an option you want to consider to reduce your initial investment. However, there are potential risks you need to consider before such a purchase. Also before you consider purchasing any equipment I would encourage you to read my post on how to make wood pellets. You will learn about the best raw materials to make wood pellets from and the perfect moisture content. Purchasing a used pellet press can be like playing a game of roulette. You may get a great deal and a machine that provides many years of use. Alternatively, you could end up with a machine that is actually damaged, and sourcing replacement parts could be very difficult and expensive.
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If you want to make pellets is a used pellet mill a wise investment? Image – Amazon
Question Why Is The Used Pellet Mill Available For Sale?
The fact is many of the used pellet presses for sale on eBay are where the individual has purchased a Chinese pellet mill and experienced issues. Now those issues could be down to user error due to a lack of information/experience on the process of producing pellets or the issue could be with the press itself. Either way, it will lead to the item going up on eBay with comments such as ‘barely used’.
If the issue was operator error you could potentially pick up a very cheap pellet maker that with the right help could produce wood pellets. However, it could have also been operator error that actually led to an issue with the press. The rollers may have been clamped down again the die with no roller/die gap. Perhaps a poorly prepared raw material was used in the machine etc. They may have found frequent pellet mill die blockages to be too frustrating. The risk is that in some cases there may be damaged bearings, rollers or die. In other cases the pellet press casting could be broken, there is an element of risk to any used pellet mill purchase.
Are You Actually Saving Any Money With A Used Pellet Mill?
Let’s presume you are considering purchasing a used/second-hand flat die pellet mill. Odds are that the machine was produced in China. However, there are a lot of resellers on the Internet making the process of making wood pellets appear much easier than it really is in order to sell their pellet mills. So an individual purchases the pellet mill only to realise the process is a lot more complicated than they thought. They try to get a refund which is refused so they try and shift the pellet mill on eBay.
Most small used pellets mills available on eBay etc will be flat die presses from China: Image – Amazon
They know they won’t be able to sell the pellet mill for what they purchased it for so they try and get between 50% and 75% of the original purchase price. However, the fact is many of these resellers are marking up the price of the Chinese pellet mills by 200-300%. Therefore a second hand (potentially damaged) pellet mill on eBay may still be significantly overpriced.
Purchasing Directly From China
The reality is its often a better deal to purchase a new pellet mill directly from China than to purchase a used pellet press from eBay. You can use an import agent. However, they are going to charge you quite a significant service charger for purchasing a single press. So there are two options.
Ask To Purchase a ‘Sample’ Machine
The best place to get in contact with Chinese pellet mill manufacturers is Alibaba, which is an online Business-to-Business market place. Simply search for pellet press and various companies will appear. You can contact the companies and explain to them you are potentially interested in starting a business selling their products. You then request to purchase a single unit as a ‘test sample’. Some will refuse but some will agree to the deal. You can then use the Escrow service offered by Alibaba. They then hold the money on the purchaser’s behalf and only release the payment to the seller if you are happy with the purchase.
A typical example of Chinese diesel pellet mill: Image – Amazon
Purchasing a Pellet Mill Through AliExpress
So AliExpress is basically the retail side of Alibaba. Instead of being business-to-business, it offers products to the general public. You may not be able to secure quite such a good deal as purchasing a ‘test sample’. However, you will be able to get a much better deal than purchasing a pellet press from a reseller adding a 200-300% markup. You can also pick up spare parts of the pellet mills at a fairly reasonable price as well.
Before you consider purchasing any pellet mill I would encourage you to read this guide called The Pellet Handbook: eBook and Hardcover – Amazon