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How to Choose the Correct Aerial Lift for the Job

aerial lift

Aerial lifts are machines used in many construction projects that allow workers to reach heights while not having to spend time or funds on building scaffolding. Aerial lifts are also used for maintenance work such as cleaning windows on tall buildings. There are a few different types of aerial lifts to accommodate the varying tasks needed, including bucket trucks, boom lifts, telescopic boom lifts, and scissor lifts. Below we will look into each type more carefully to determine when you would use each aerial lift for specific jobs.

Bucket Trucks

This type of equipment is also known as a cherry picker and they are typically used to prune trees, landscaping, and by utility workers. But many power companies use bucket lifts for workers to access transmission lines. The lifting arm and bucket is situated on a standard vehicle so they can travel on roads following the traffic speed.

Articulating Boom Lifts

This aerial lift is also known as a knuckle lift and has a platform mounted on an arm which has a swiveling base to allow the operator to get around obstacles and awkward spaces. When a worker needs to access exterior electrical, piping, or to repair something on a building, the articulating boom lift will provide the access to hard-to-reach areas. They allow workers to reach up and over obstructions and are ideal for roofing applications. Industrial lifts are ideal for indoor operation and are usually made with non-marking tires. Rough terrain articulating lifts are designed to navigate construction site terrain.

Telescopic Boom Lifts

For the projects that require maximum height in order for the operator to access the area, a telescopic boom lift is used. A standing bucket is mounted on a straight, extendable lifting arm and the base sits on a turntable like an articulating boom lift. A telescopic boom lift can only accommodate one worker, so this type of lift is best used for specific tasks that a single person can handle, like electrical repair or window washing. They can reach in any direction and are ideal for reaching horizontal or vertical applications.

Scissor Lifts

Scissor lifts have an extendable, crisscrossing brace that mounts a wide platform that can accommodate several workers. The wide platform allows workers on construction sites to carry building material. However, a scissor lift is much more limited in use when compared to the other lifts and it cannot handle hard-to-reach areas, as it needs to be situated directly below the work site. Scissor lifts cannot swivel around itself or be set at an angle, so they are used solely for overhead work, especially indoors or on flat surfaces. They are great for ventilation, air conditioning, and electrical projects.

When you are deciding upon which aerial lift to choose for your specific job, the height and the reach requirements, outdoor or indoor working environments, and the weight capacity you’ll need for your particular job will tell you which type of equipment you need.

If you need to train any of your employees in how to operate all types of aerial lifts properly and safely, check out the OSHA-compliant aerial lift certification with


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