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Boom Lifts and Telehandlers: Similarities and Differences

(Updated July 2020)

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, 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

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 rotate 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 specifically for rough terrain and other specialized applications.

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

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 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


Enroll in Boom Lift Safety Training Today

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