How Can I Select the Most Appropriate Aerial Lift for the Job?

Aerial Work Platforms

You can simplify your job by renting a crane or an aerial lift. Whatever your requirements, you can find an aerial lift that meets them. You can use it to reach tall workspaces or for elevated worksites. Aerial lifts come in many different types, and finding the right one for your needs can be tricky.

How is the work site? What height will you need to reach? What is the maximum weight that the aerial lift can carry? You may have to decide on a lift based on all of these factors. Scissor lifts provide a high-level work space that is suitable for multiple people. Similarly, if you need a lift to do horizontal jobs, an articulated boom may be the ideal lift.

Usually you can easily find a suitable aerial lift to rent if you are familiar with aerial lift rentals. However, if this is your first experience renting an aerial lift, or if you only do it occasionally, you may require help choosing the right aerial lift equipment. Here are some tips on choosing an aerial lift that is right for your needs.

Scissor Lifts

A scissor lift is a vertical lift with a platform the same size as the base. These can be used for both indoor and outdoor projects, and are popular because they can lift personnel and equipment easily. A scissor lift that is smaller is often used in parking garages, in urban areas, and in indoor applications. Rough terrain lifts are the most common aerial work platforms used in a variety of situations.

Scissor lifts are often used as work platforms because of their stability and large platforms. In contrast to boom lifts, scissor lifts can only move in one direction: up. This will require that you position the base directly beneath the area to be worked on. Scissor lifts can reach ten to sixty feet in height, depending on their model. However, most scissor lifts have working heights ranging from 20 to 40 feet. The vertical height of scissors lifts is typically lower than other aerial lifts.

The scissor lift carries greater loads than most other aerial lifts despite the lower vertical elevation. Scissor lifts can lift up to 1,000 pounds unrestricted, and even more with restrictions. Scissor lifts with the greatest lifting capacity can hold up to 50 tons of weight. These heavy construction scissor lifts are usually used in rough terrain.

Electric Scissor Lifts


Electric Scissor Lifts are best for indoor use, small spaces, multiple personnel, and narrow areas like warehouses. They can reach a height ranging from 10 feet to 60 feet. Its workspace size is from 2 feet to 10 feet wide. Electric scissor lifts are often used as aerial work platforms indoors. Elevators powered by electricity or battery don’t emit fumes like those powered by gas. As a result, they are healthier for workers and safer for indoor use.

Rough Terrain Scissor Lifts

Skyjack SJ6832 RT Scissor Lift

Rough terrain scissor lifts are ideal for aerial work platform, multiple personnel, outdoor use, and uneven surfaces like ungraded construction sites. Their height can go up to 60 feet. Its workspace size ranges from: 2 feet to 10 feet. They are aerial work platforms specifically designed for working on uneven surfaces or outdoors. Typically, exterior scissor lifts are powered by diesel engines.

Boom Lifts

Boom lifts are one of the most versatile aerial lifts on the market. These lifts come in a variety of solutions, but they all include a base, an arm that can be maneuvered, and an attachment at the end of the arm. That’s where the similarities end, though. There are three major differences between boom lifts: Boom type, Bucket/workspace attachments and Power source. Vertical, knuckle, and telescoping booms are the most popular types of boom lifts. The type of boom lift determines how high a workspace can be extended, whether it can be angled or simply lifted up and down, and how much weight it can lift.

On most boom lifts, there is a workspace platform at the end of the boom. Depending on the weight capacity of the boom, the type and size of workspace is affected. In addition, boom lifts can be equipped with a variety of different attachments. Lifting hooks, lumber forks and buckets are all common alternatives.

The power source is the third major difference between boom types. Aerial booms can be electric, battery-operated or diesel-powered. There are also towable aerial booms, which are pulled by a truck or van.

Electric Boom Lifts

JLG N40E Lift

Electric boom lifts are perfect for construction projects in confined spaces, workspaces where you’ll need to move from side to side, lifting one worker or for jobs that require multiple attachments. Maximum height for electric boom lifts ranges from 30 feet to 100+ feet, depending on model. The workspace size for these lift bases ranges from 3 feet to 10 feet wide; Work platform varies more widely. Compact electric boom lifts can be operated in tight spaces. The power source is electric or a combination of electric and battery. Since they are fumeless, they are suitable for use in confined spaces. Additionally, they are more environmentally friendly than diesel engines.

Towable Boom Lifts

Niftylift TM42T Tow-Behind Cherry Picker

Towable Boom Lifts are ideal for outdoor decorating and for jobs where portability is important. The Maximum height for these lifts ranges from 10 to 60 feet, depending on model. Its size is usually 4 to 6 feet wide. Towable boom lifts are an ultra-portable option, and that makes them ideal for jobs that require lots of movement. Lifts like these can be pulled to different jobsites by a van or truck. In addition to outdoor projects that require portability, such as outdoor decorating, they’re also used for utility work. Towable boom lifts are sometimes used in place of cherry pickers, since their functions are similar.

Articulated Knuckle Boom Lifts

JLG 600AJ Lift

Articulated Knuckle Booms are perfect for hard-to-reach areas like behind equipment, up-and-over workspaces, and wide work areas that require extra reach. Its height can go up to 125 feet. The width of articulated booms is usually 3 to 8 feet wide. Unlike conventional aerial lifts, articulated knuckle booms are more flexible. They’re often compared with telescoping booms, straight booms, and stick booms. These booms are versatile and useful in a wide variety of job sites because they can be used vertically and horizontally.

Straight Telescopic Boom Lifts

Genie S-40 Boomlift

Straight telescopic boom lifts are best for extremely high workspaces, and workspaces with minimal horizontal movement. Their height can go up to 185 feet. The workspace size is of 8+ feet wide. A straight boom or telescopic boom is generally a more common substitute for articulated booms. These booms are sometimes referred to as “stick booms” because they have a single moving arm. 

Ready to rent an aerial lift? View our full range of lifts online, or call us (813)971-9990 for more help choosing an aerial lift.

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