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Types of Aerial Lifts

types of aerial lifts

Aerial lift is a broad term for the various different types of diesel and electric work platforms. Each variation comes with its own share of capabilities and strengths to help you boost the productivity and efficiency in your business. An essential element that goes hand in hand with all of the different types of lifts, is aerial lift certification.

If your company uses any of the following types of aerial lifts, or you’re an individual operator who wishes to operate work platforms, employers are responsible for providing the training you need to create a danger-free workplace and work safely with the different kinds of lifts.

The Different Types of Aerial Lifts

The different types of aerial lifts are designed with a set of specific jobs in mind – some are made for indoor work, others can handle ultra-heavy loads, and some can travel over rough terrain. Once you receive your aerial lift certification that covers all these different types of lifts, you’ll be all set to choose the best type of aerial lift for the job and get to work with confidence.

Here are the major types of aerial lifts on the market:

Cherry Pickers

Also known simply as aerial lifts, cherry pickers are the most familiar type of aerial lift that you see around a community. They are vehicle-mounted and have a boom-supported aerial platform where operators access the work area. Cherry pickers are used in orchards for picking hard to reach produce, and for accessing utility lines, trees, and for many types of construction and maintenance work.

Personnel Lifts

Sometimes called people lifts, this is basically a mechanical ladder. Personnel lifts offer greater stability than regular ladders, and they’re easy to set up and store, and can approach heights of close to 50 feet. While personnel lifts may seem like simple enough tools, they still require aerial lift training to be used safely.

Articulating Boom Lifts

An ABL is a type of crane. They can position anywhere, while keeping the basket at a steady height. Designed for higher elevations, articulating boom lifts have two boom areas with hinged joints, allowing greater flexibility. With full 360-degree rotation, these kinds of lifts are ideal for maintenance, construction, landscaping, and other jobs that require accessing hard to reach areas. Articulating lifts are types of aerial lifts that come with certain risks. Since they are often used right up against buildings and other large, fixed objects when reaching difficult work areas, the risk of being crushed and struck by falling objects increases dramatically. Aerial lift training can prepare you to handle these different types of lifts safely and prevent these accidents from happening.

Telescopic Boom

This lift is just like the name sounds – the work surface retracts just like a telescope. Reaching heights up to 100 feet, these lifts are used for tree trimming, large mechanical jobs, maintenance, bridge work, accessing multi-story buildings, painting, and even helping stranded ride goers on a stalled roller coaster. Telescopic boom lifts are usually more expensive types of aerial lifts, and require thorough training before anyone can operate them to avoid doing great damage to the work zone, to the lift, and to oneself.

Scissor Lifts

With the ability to reach up to 60 feet, scissor lifts use an accordion-style device to lift workers for painting, assembly, construction, and other jobs. They are different types of lifts in that they are considered scaffolding, and not aerial lifts. Scissor lifts come with their own unique set of safety requirements regulated by OSHA and outlined in scissor lift training.

Towable Boom Lifts

Lightweight, portable and ready in an instant, towable boom lifts are great for yards, gyms, and other light industrial jobs. And, as its name suggests, they can be towed anywhere. As one of the most convenient kinds of lifts, workers often skip over safety protocols and operate towable boom lifts with a more casual mindset, which can lead to accidents and costly damage. Operators of towable boom lifts need to be just as careful as when working with other types of lifts.

Popular Aerial Lift Brands

There are many aerial lift and scissor lift manufacturers on the market today and each have their own specialties. Different lift brands also come with varying capabilities and limitations, so having specific training for the brand you use will be important to the efficiency and safety in your workplace.

Snorkel Lift

Snorkel is a company that creates and sells many types of aerial lifts and scissor lifts that are used for both small and large projects, from indoor duct work to tree care. These different kinds of lifts require separate sets of skills, confirming the need for a comprehensive aerial lift training program.


Designed to move in only one direction, Manlifts are mainly used to transport workers between the different floors of a building. While they may seem straightforward, manlifts have been the cause of a handful of deadly accidents over the years. To understand how to use manlifts properly, you need manlift training.

Genie Lift

Genie Lift is a company that manufactures different types of aerial lifts and scissor lifts. One of their most used models is a one-person scissor lift, which is used indoors to lift and handle heavy and awkward materials. Out of the different types of lifts, the genie lift is designed for tight spaces and narrow aisles, coming with its own set of unique risks. Get your genie lift certification and prevent deadly accidents.

The top lift brands and scissor lift manufacturers for each of the main categories of aerial lifts are:

Scissor Lift

Popular scissor lift manufacturers include JLG Lift, Haulotte, and MEC.

Boom Lift

Some of the most popular boom lift brands are JLG, SkyJack, NiftyLift, Teupen, MEC, and Haulotte, in addition to the brands we mentioned above.

Cherry Picker

The top cherry picker brands include NiftyLift, Haulotte, JLG, SkyJack, Genie and Snorkel.

Why Do You Need Training for the Different Kinds of Lifts?

No matter which of these different types of lifts you are operating or lift brands are used in your business, the key to being successful is to complete aerial lift certification training. Training will equip operators with the skills and knowledge they need to operate the types of aerial lifts, perform safety equipment inspections, recognize and avoid hazards, and prevent accidents.

Aerial lift accidents happen everyday on worksites across the country, and the number one cause behind these accidents is operator error. Untrained operators simply don’t know the dangers of working with different kinds of lifts and the specific hazards involved, which include:

Falls from heights
Objects falling from the lift
Ejections from the platform
Collapses of the lift
Contact with nearby and overhead objects

Additionally, OSHA requires that aerial lift operators must have proper training before they can be allowed to work on or with aerial lifts. Training must teach aspiring operators of the various hazards associated with aerial lifts and how to avoid them; how to recognize and avoid unsafe situations; correct operational techniques; when and how to perform inspections; the manufacturer’s requirements, and how to operate the lift following demonstrations of the skills and knowledge needed.

Aerial lift certification helps to keep workers safe, prevent damages, and keep employers out of harm’s way of getting hit with costly OSHA fines.

Get Your Aerial Lift Certification from ALC in One Afternoon!

As the number one online provider of aerial lift certification for all the different types of aerial lifts, can help operators and companies get the top quality, comprehensive, OSHA-compliant training they need.

We offer 3 distinct ways to train in the different types of lifts on the market. With Guided, Self-Paced, or Group Training, you can pick which one works for you. With any of our training options, trainees receive their own easy-to-follow online program that can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. Even though it’s self-paced, our aerial lift training course can be completed in only about one hour! And once that’s done, students will be certified and prepared to operate all kinds of lifts safely, and will be able to print their certification card immediately after completion.

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