How Many Scissor Lift Sizes There Are and Why They Matter

A scissor lift is just one type of aerial lift, but it serves a specific purpose. It is designed to move vertically to help workers reach tall heights. This lift gets its name from the X pattern design of the lifting mechanism, which extends a horizontal platform up to a maximum height for operation. The lift may operate by hydraulics, pneumatics, or mechanical means. Businesses choose to purchase or rent a scissor lift, depending on how often they are needed. These lifts are invaluable in construction, repairs, and many other tasks. One of the most important considerations when choosing a lift is the scissor lift size or the height it will reach.

Scissor lift sizes vary. When discussing scissor lift size or height, the lift is rated based on the highest point the platform reaches. However, you can typically figure a functional height is 6 feet higher than scissor lift height, allowing for the roughly 6-foot tall worker standing on it. The maximum platform height plus 6 feet for the worker is called the scissor lift’s working height. 

Small scissor lifts reaching 2 -26 feet typically run on electricity, are very quiet, and are better suited for indoor job sites. Comparatively, larger scissor lifts are used outdoors at construction and other rough terrain job sites. These models run on diesel or dual-fuel (gasoline and propane) engines. While most scissor lift heights range from 20 to 40 feet, larger lifts up to 70 feet are common. The world’s largest scissor lift reaches up to 123 feet! 

Initially, scissor lifts were used mainly in industrial settings. These days, they are commonly used in a wide variety of job sites, such as retail outlets and parking garages. Let’s take an in-depth look at scissor lift sizes, scissor lift height limits, and more!

Be sure your workers are fully trained and certified to safely handle all scissor lift sizes with OSHA-approved aerial lift training from!

Scissor Lift Height Ranges

There are many different scissor lift sizes and models. Each is designed to reach a certain height and work on certain types of jobs.

19-ft. Scissor Lift

These models are best for narrow and ideal for fitting into tight spaces, and they offer limited flexibility. They work well for accessing ceilings and ductwork inside buildings. The typical ceiling height is about 10 ft. But with a maximum reach height of 25 ft, these models can handle a wide variety of ceiling heights. If you could get a scissor lift up there, you could access the top of George Washington’s nose on Mount Rushmore! One of the benefits of this scissor lift size is that it decreases the hazards of ceiling crushes when working in tight spaces or other indoor tasks. This lift is also suitable for outdoor jobs as long as the surface is stable.

○ 26-ft. Scissor Lift

This scissor lift size is built with a wide platform, and it is best for jobs that require heavy equipment. It has a working height of about 32 ft., allowing it to reach the third story of a building. Common job applications include washing or repairing windows and other external maintenance work.

○ 32-ft. Scissor Lift

Designed for taller jobs, a 32-foot scissor lift size can achieve a working height of 38 ft. It is ideal for workers who need to access telephone and power cables that must be repaired or replaced. One of the benefits of this scissor lift size is that it allows the worker to work at the extended height for long periods. They are often found at construction sites and for maintenance jobs.

○ 45-ft. Scissor Lift

This model is similar to the 32-ft. scissor lift, just with a greater reach. A 45-ft. scissor lift height is best for workers who need to access tall buildings. It may be beneficial for those who need to access elevated signs as well. For example, this would be the perfect scissor lift size to access the top of the famous Hollywood sign.

○ 50-ft. Scissor Lift

A 50-foot scissor lift size is best for workers who require maximum height. It can access the fifth story on a building or a tall tree — about as high as most scissor lifts can go. These lifts are often designed specifically for rough terrain since they are used outdoors. A rough terrain scissor lift can reach great heights and is designed to handle rugged terrain. They come with other features and may include dual-fuel capability for more versatility.

Consider the job that needs to be completed to determine the scissor lift height range you require. Next, let’s consider the general price range, based on scissor lift size.

Average Scissor Lift Prices

The average price of scissor lifts vary depending on variables like the type of motor — electric, gas, diesel, or dual-fuel — as well as the scissor lift size. Now, let’s look at the average prices for some of the most-popular sized lifts:

– 19-ft. Scissor Lift: $10,000 to $15,000

– 26-ft. Scissor Lift: $15,000 to $25,000

– 32-ft. Scissor Lift: $25,000 to $40,000

– 45-ft. Scissor Lift: $40,000 to $55,000

– 50-ft. Scissor Lift: $55,000 to $70,000

Cost is an important factor in assessing different types of scissor lifts, but it should not be the only consideration in your quest to find the right lift for your worksite. Instead, you must consider the task at hand and the safety of your aerial lift operators. You can then select a scissor lift size that helps you maximize the return on your investment. Additionally, you can provide your workers with the training they need to safely operate your scissor lift of choice.

Benefits of Working with Scissor Lifts

Scissor lifts offer many advantages over ladders and scaffolding. They are easy to operate and move from one job site to another. They have the flexibility to handle many different types of job tasks. Consider the following scissor lift benefits:

  • Operator Safety – Far safer than ladders, a scissor lift raises a solid, sturdy platform vertically to the full scissor lift height. Railings surround the platform to prevent falls.
  • Scissor Lift Height – Scissor lifts take worker safety to new heights, securely lifting 2-4 people. The lift also accommodates heavy machinery, lifting it safely to be used or installed at height. 
  • Platform Size – In addition to lifting multiple people with tools and heavy machinery, the large, stable platform allows a single worker to change their position along a wall several times before moving the lift. It enables a person to cover more space before repositioning the lift.
  • Storage & Versatility – Even the largest scissor lift size folds into a relatively small space, allowing easy storage. It is easy to move to reposition for further work or put away after the task is finished.
  • Electric Options – Electric scissor lifts work quietly and without emissions, making them perfect for indoor worksites. Most indoor scissor lifts come with tires that won’t mark your flooring.

Working with Scissor Lifts and Different Scissor Lift Sizes 

Scissor lifts are often used in place of ladders and scaffolding. In fact, for safety purposes, OSHA considers them to be a form of scaffolding. As a result, scissor lift workers don’t have to wear fall protection gear. The large, sturdy platform supports workers securely. 

Scissor lifts use crisscrossed folding supports to raise the work platform to the scissor lift height. Pressure is applied to the outside of the lowest set of supports. This elongates the crossing pattern and lifts the platform vertically. Most scissor lifts use hydraulic power to raise the platform. Others may use pneumatic or mechanical power. Lowering the platform can be a powered operation, or as simple as releasing the hydraulic or pneumatic pressure. This allows for a safe return of the platform to the ground without needing power.

Other types of aerial lifts can move vertically and horizontally while in the air. In contrast, scissor lifts can only move straight up and down. This means they have to be positioned directly under the work area for the job to be done. However, the scissor lift’s stability and large platform make it ideal for use as a work platform.

Scissor Lift Height: How High Does a Scissor Lift Go?

One of the most common questions our training experts receive is: how high can a scissor lift go? Scissor lifts can extend as high up as 60 ft., or about one-third the height of the tallest aerial lift.  Most working heights range from 20-40 ft. Scissor lifts have less reach power than boom lifts but can hold more weight. Many scissor lifts have an unrestricted weight limit of 1,000 lbs. With others, restricted weight limits can go even higher. This makes them ideal for jobs that involve the movement of heavy weight. For example, carrying heavy building materials on a construction site or heavy equipment to perform repair or maintenance work.

Regardless of your scissor lift height limit, OSHA requires training and certification to ensure a safe work environment. Just as scissor lifts heights are restricted., untrained workers are restricted from operating scissor lifts!

Small Scissor Lifts: The “Short Side” of Scissor Lift Height Limits

Sometimes you need a small scissor lift for a small job. In those situations, companies often turn to “mini” scissor lifts. These models can vary in size, with some as small as 4 ft. wide. The maximum height reach for mini scissor lifts is about 19 ft. These small lifts have a smaller work platform that makes them ideal for one-person jobs. These scissor lift sizes make them perfect for indoor use. Despite their scissor lift height limitations, mini lifts still offer big-time performance attributes!

Small scissor lifts are safer than ladders. They are easier to set up and take down than scaffolding, partly due to their scissor lift height restrictions. And most run on electric power, so they don’t emit hazardous fumes like gas-powered models. Mini scissor lifts are often used to navigate tight aisles inside warehouses to access hard-to-reach areas. Scissor lifts are ideal for indoor painting and repairs for areas unsafe or inaccessible with ladders. They also come in handy for routine maintenance and other light-duty tasks at lower heights.

Get Fast, Affordable Online Training with ALC

No matter what size scissor lift you may need, OSHA requires training and certification to handle the lift safely and prevent accidents before they are allowed to operate a lift. Even on a small scissor lift, hazards like unstable work surfaces and bad weather can cause major accidents. Be prepared to operate any size scissor lift in a safe and compliant manner with OSHA-approved scissor lift training today from ALC. (ALC), the leader in online OSHA-approved certification, offers three different training courses to keep you compliant. The Train a Trainer course allows you to establish a safety expert in your company for all types of aerial lifts and all sizes. The Operator Training Kit is a complete solution to train all lift operators in your organization. With the Bundle and Save package, you get both courses at a discount to ensure your company is always 100% OSHA certified.

We can fully train and certify your employees within 1 hour. When you’re ready to elevate your safety program, contact us or call us today at (888) 278-8896. We look forward to ensuring your workforce is OSHA-compliant, safe and efficient. Let’s get started!