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Boom Lift vs. Telehandler: Which One Is Right for Your Business?

Discover How Your Business and Its Workers Can Benefit from a Boom Lift, Telehandler, or Both.

Aerial lifts come in many shapes and sizes, and they perform a variety of functions. Two of the most common types of aerial lifts include boom lifts and telehandlers. If you use aerial lifts on a regular basis, there’s a good chance you’ve already used boom lifts and telehandlers.

Boom Lifts vs. Telehandlers: What You Need to Know

A boom lift is an elevated work platform that holds workers, materials, or other essential job supplies or items. It encompasses different types of aerial work surfaces and equipment, including:

Boom Lifts and Telehandlers

– Telehandlers

– Scissor lifts

– Cherry pickers

– Articulating boom lifts (jointed, with a flexible mechanism for custom positioning)

– Telescopic boom lifts (straight-line boom lifts, with custom height options)

– Telescopic forklifts

A telehandler is a special type of boom lift, and it has multiple moving joints and can be moved both horizontally (side to side) and vertically (up and down). On top of that, a telehandler has customized attachments, so it provides more versatility in comparison to a standard boom lift.

Types of Telehandlers/Types of Boom Lifts

There are two types of telehandlers: standard fixed boom and rotating models. A standard fixed boom telehandler has a low range of motion, and it is commonly used for construction and agricultural applications. On the other hand, a rotating telehandler has a cab and body that rotates up to 360°, while the machine’s body remains in place at all times. 

Along with these types of telehandlers, you can explore compact and heavy lift models. There are also telehandlers designed for rough terrain and other specialized applications.

In comparison, common boom lifts include: 

1. Articulating Boom Lift

An articulating boom lift is sometimes referred to as a “knuckle boom.” It has a turntable at the end of an arm; the turntable swivels to provide an operator with vertical and horizontal reach. 

Articulating boom lifts can extend up to 125 ft. vertically and up to 75% of their height. They are intended for indoor and outdoor work applications and can be electric- or diesel-powered.

​​2. Telescopic Boom Lift

A telescopic boom lift, aka a “stick boom,” consists of a bucket at the end of an arm that only extends in a straight line. To use a stick boom, an operator extends the machine’s arm horizontally. Then, he or she can move the arm up and down.

Telescopic booms can extend up to 185 ft. vertically. As such, they are great options for operators who need to perform cleaning, maintenance, or repairs at the top of tall buildings.

It can be easier to operate a telescopic boom than an articulating one. This is due to the fact that a telescopic model only has a single boom.

3. Atrium Lift

An atrium lift is categorized as a type of articulating boom. Whereas an articulating boom has wheels, an atrium lift has tracks similar to those used on excavators. Therefore, an atrium lift can be ideal for use on rough terrain.

Atrium lifts tend to be narrower and lighter than comparable boom lift options. They offer a maximum vertical reach of 60 ft.       

Telehandler Sizes

If you’re considering a telehandler for your worksite, you should first evaluate why you need a boom lift. That way, you can find out if a telehandler is the right boom lift for the job. If you determine a telehandler is beneficial for your worksite, you can then select one that comes in a size to accommodate your work requirements. 

Compact telehandlers are generally ideal for indoor worksites. They are smaller and lighter than other telehandlers, which makes them simple to maneuver, particularly in tight work areas. 

Conversely, if you plan to use a telehandler for heavy-duty applications, you may need a larger model. A heavy-duty telehandler typically has a weight capacity that ranges from 6,000 lbs. to 14,000 lbs. It also may extend up to 56 ft. 

Regardless of the size of your telehandler, you should always ensure the boom lift is used properly. By providing your telehandler operators with comprehensive training, you can teach them how to correctly use a telehandler and limit the risk of boom lift accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

Boom Lift Sizes

For operators who work indoors and require access to narrow spaces, a 30-ft. electric boom lift can be a terrific option. This small lift ensures operators can use their machine safely and limit their risk of tip-overs and other accidents. 

Comparatively, a large boom lift can reach up to 185 ft. vertically. This lift is capable of extending up to the 19th story of a building.

What Is a Telehandler Used for?

A telehandler is used to lift, move, and place material. The machine is designed to handle a broad assortment of materials, including:

– Bricks

– Gravel

– Lumber

The effectiveness of a telehandler ultimately depends on the types of attachments used in combination with the machine. If your business wants to get the most value out of its telehandler, it should explore different attachments. This ensures that your business can use your telehandler for myriad applications.

What Is a Boom Lift Used for?

A boom lift can be used to elevate workers and materials. Operators can use certain types of boom lifts to complete tasks at heights and maneuver around obstacles or corners.

Boom lifts can also provide viable alternatives to scissor lifts. Both boom and scissor lifts enable operators to perform work at heights. But a boom lift can offer greater maneuverability than a scissor lift.  

What Telehandler Attachments Are Available?

Common telehandler attachments include:

– Forks (which turn an aerial lift into a forklift for uncommon height requirements)

– Lifting/rigging hooks

– Buckets (great for construction work, moving earth, etc.)

– Swivel hooks

– Spreader bars

– Standard work platforms

– Lifting jib (a versatile accessory for rigging and heavy loads)

– Trash hoppers

Attachments separate a telehandler from other types of boom lifts. With the right attachments at your disposal, you can get the best results from your telehandler — and maximize telehandler safety.

What Boom Lift Attachments Are Available?

Boom lift attachments include:

Spill guards

Tool trays

Panel cradles

Control box covers

Auxiliary rail

All boom lifts should enable operators to safely handle tasks at heights. Boom lift operators must also receive OSHA-approved certification training. In doing so, they can use boom lifts and related attachments in accordance with OSHA requirements.  

Boom Lift vs. Telehandler Comparison

Your workers can benefit from boom lifts, telehandlers, or both. Here are factors to consider as you weigh the pros and cons of boom lifts and telehandlers:

✓ Size: Ensure your aerial lift fits safely within your workspace. 

✓ Weight Capacity: Verify your aerial lift can hold workers and materials.

✓ Jobsite Conditions: Confirm your operators can use an aerial lift at your jobsite without endangering themselves or others. 

If you choose a boom lift, telehandler, or both, get your workers up to speed on certification training. This enables your aerial lift operators to learn about OSHA safety requirements. It can also help your business avoid aerial lift accidents, along with associated OSHA compliance penalties, brand reputation damage, and revenue losses. 

Enroll Your Workers in Aerial Lift Safety Training Today

For workers who want to learn how to use a telehandler or other type of aerial lift, safety training is key. Thanks to AerialLiftCertification.com, your workers can begin boom lift safety training and quickly become OSHA-certified boom lift operators. 

We offer a convenient and affordable online aerial lift certification training program that is 100% OSHA-approved. With our program, your workers can become OSHA-compliant aerial lift operators in as little as one hour. 

To learn more about our boom lift safety training program or enroll your workers in it, please contact us online or call us today at (888) 278-8896.

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