People looking to purchase a barge need to first decide what type they need; barges come in an array of configurations. The size of the barge matters as well, so it's important to pick one that's large enough for its intended purpose.
The core component of a barge is its flat bottom, manufacturers make from a variety of materials. Some manufacturers build barges to hold a fairly light load, while others build them for shipping. The easiest way to purchase a barge is to buy one already configured, but the simple design of barges means that the top reconfigures for a new purpose. Barges are designed with longevity in mind, so people often reuse old models. However, people buying older barges might want to inspect any metal components for signs of rust or metal fatigue, as salt water corrodes surfaces if not treated properly.
It's also important to decide between barges with engines and those that need a separate boat to tow them. Barges used for houseboats rarely need to be moved and are less expensive, but people looking to move material with barges might prefer an integrated model. When purchasing a powered barge, buyers need to ensure that the engine functions well, and the high price of these models means that it's often best to hire an expert to inspect it.