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How to Select the Right Aerial Lift or Boom
Choosing the right aerial lift for the project is essential. There are many types of lifts available, each with its own strengths. But not all aerial lifts are suited to all projects.
For instance, spider lifts are useful for indoor construction jobs, scissor lifts offer large platforms and stability for big work crews and cherry pickers are best suited for one-man crews who need a lot of mobility.
This guide will help you select and find the right aerial lift for your project. You'll also find useful tips for renting, buying new lifts or buying used lifts.
Key Questions to Ask When Deciding on an Aerial Lift
Most people choose their aerial lifts based on a few key factors:
• Maximum height needed
• Weight capacity needed
• Indoor or outdoor working environments
• Platform, bucket and attachments
Identify the most important features ahead of time. A dealer can help you find the right equipment for your project needs.
Aerial lifts range from 10 feet to 180 feet. As with all equipment, there are tradeoffs between shorter lifts and taller lifts.
Shorter lifts (under 30 feet) tend to be much more mobile. Cherry pickers, personnel lifts and scissor lifts can all fall into this category. Some lifts are vehicle mounted. Others have a stand-alone mobile platform or cab. If you'll need flexibility at a project site, consider equipment with a Z boom or telescoping boom. These will allow workers to maneuver over and under a project area.
Taller aerial lifts include telehandlers, booms, and some cherry pickers and scissor lifts. These lifts can reach up to 80 feet and are used to raise equipment or materials. They’re suitable for areas with few access points. Many taller lifts need stabilizers or counterbalances to maintain stability, and these stabilizers can include legs or outriggers.
Weight capacity is essential if you're planning to move heavy materials and equipment. You'll also want to consider weight if you have a big work crew who will be using the platform.
Consider height and weight at the same time: Some lifts and telehandlers can become unsteady when moving heavy material. Aerial lifts are levers. Heavy material on a fully extended boom can overbalance your cab.
If you’ll be working with heavy materials, look for boom lifts with stabilizers. Stabilizers can include legs, counterbalances and outriggers. You may also want to consider balance sensor technology, as these devices alert the operator if you're in danger of overbalancing.
Whether you work indoors or outdoors can affect what lift you choose. Some power sources, wheel types and weights are better suited to indoor projects. Crawler treads and heavy lifts are better for outdoor construction.
If you’re considering buying an aerial lift for indoor work, think about power sources. Some lifts are battery operated, while others are electric. These lifts are usually quieter than diesel or gas lifts. They also don't have emissions, which is important in indoor environments.
The weight of the lift itself is a factor when indoors. Some environments have maximum weights that rule out larger lifts.
Tire type is important for both indoor and outdoor lifts. If you'll be working on unstable terrain, consider a lift with crawler treads. Legs and counterbalances can also help stabilize aerial lifts on rugged terrain. For indoor projects, consider lifts with non-marking tires.
Many people choose aerial equipment based on the platform features. Lifts can have buckets or platforms. For one person jobs, buckets are usually adequate. If crews will be working together, look for larger six-to-eight foot platforms. Both platforms and buckets usually have secondary operator controls.
Some platforms offer additional features that could make a difference to your work speed. These features include air or water lines and electrical outlets. Some platforms also have generators.
You may want to consider other attachments to make the most of your aerial lift. Some equipment can be fitted with pallet forks or crane jibs.
Should You Buy a New or Used Aerial Lift? Or Lease a Lift?
Many customers consider renting aerial lifts. This can be a wise strategy if you use an aerial lift for just a few jobs. If you’re renting, group together projects that will need an aerial lift. This will allow you to make the most of your rental.
You may also consider a lease purchase plan. Ring Power offers finance leases with a purchase option at the end of the lease. You'll work with one of our ten Florida dealerships to arrange lease terms and purchase options. We also offer monthly, quarterly, and annual payment arrangements on leased equipment.
If you’re in the market for a boom lift, consider looking both used and new boom lifts. This will give you a much larger market of potential equipment to choose from.
Many customers consider price a primary consideration when buying an aerial lift. Used aerial equipment is usually less expensive than new lifts. They offer many of the same benefits and features.
For example, a used spider lift usually costs between $15 thousand and $65 thousand, even though a new spider lift of the same type can run between $25 thousand and $125 thousand.
Some customers buy new boom lifts because of limited finance options. But if you're looking for a used boom lift for sale, Ring Power can help you arrange financing. We have relationships with many major finance and leasing companies, including Caterpillar Financial Services.
Maintenance and repair is another major consideration. New lifts generally have lower maintenance costs. They're unlikely to need major repairs.
If you’re purchasing a used aerial lift, do your homework. Research its maintenance and repair records, which should be available from the dealer. Look for equipment that’s been well maintained. Good preventative maintenance will cut down on major repairs in the future.
You should find out how much a used lift has been operated before you buy. Find out its hours of operation, and compare this to the life of the vehicle. A newer vehicle with many hours of operation may have as much wear and tear as an older vehicle.
Different Types of Aerial Lifts
There are many types of aerial lifts on the market today. Read on to find out about the features of different types of lifts.
Telehandlers are the weightlifters of aerial boom equipment. They have a maximum weight capacity of 12 thousand pounds and can reach up to 180 feet. Telehandlers, or telescopic handlers, are often used lift heavy materials for construction projects.
Unlike many types of aerial lifts, telehandlers are operated from the cab. They usually have a single telescoping arm, which can reach up to 80 feet. Telehandler booms don’t swivel, so adjusting the position of materials is more difficult. Telehandlers can be fitted with pallet forks, crane jibs and buckets attachments.
Many telehandlers come with stabilizers and counterweights. Because of the heavy weight of materials, telehandlers can easily become unstable. Many modern telehandlers also have load sensors. These will cut off power or alert the operator if the telehandler becomes unstable.
Aerial Boom Lifts
Booms lifts come in three general varieties, each with its own strengths. Boom lifts are the most versatile of the aerial lifts, and are used in a variety of projects. Innovations in boom lifts include the Z boom, which provides greater maneuverability.
Telescoping boom lifts provide maximum height. Workers on a telescoping lift can reach up to 180 feet in the air. Most telescoping boom lifts are used in construction. They’re favored for high areas with limited access. For tall projects, consider boom lifts like the Genie S-125 Boom Lift, which has a maximum height of 125 feet.
Articulating boom lifts usually have a bucket or basket attachment. They're shorter than telescoping lifts, but allow for horizontal movement. These boom lifts save time on projects where workers need to maneuver around a project site. The basket of the lift usually has a duplicate set of controls. This allows operators in the bucket to position themselves as needed.
Finally, trailer mounted boom lifts are the most mobile boom lifts available. They’re usually compact and lightweight, but sacrifice height for added mobility. These lifts are good choices for indoor projects. They're also great choices for projects where weight is a concern: Construction projects on sidewalks or in parking garages often use trailer mounted boom lifts.
Scissor lifts are a vertical lift with a strong base and a large platform. They’re one of the most stable of all aerial lifts, and do well in small spaces. They rise with a vertical, accordion style base, and they're most suitable for indoor projects or urban construction.
Most scissor lifts have a maximum reach of 50 feet and weight capacity of 1500 pounds. These scissor lifts are more stable than buckets and have large platforms.
The platform is usually the same size as the base. With a large work platform and a solid base, scissor lifts are ideal for crews. Consider your maximum weight capacity. Lifts like the GS-2669 RT Scissor Lift can hold up to 1500 pounds, which makes them a great choice for construction crews.
Scissor lifts can be either electric or engine powered. Electric scissor lifts are usually small and compact, with low emissions and noise levels. They’re best suited to indoor projects, and often have non-marking tires.
Engine powered scissor lifts are more suitable to projects on rough terrain. Engines can be either gas or diesel powered. Some outside scissor lifts have 4-wheel drives to maneuver over difficult surfaces.
Personnel lifts are usually used for indoor maintenance. They’re compact lifts that are pushable or towable. They’re often used for maintenance in schools, churches and hospitals.
Because they’re used indoors, most personnel lifts are battery powered or electric. This means that they’re quieter and don’t produce emissions, unlike gas powered lifts. Some personnel lifts are truck mounted, while others have their own mobile base. Lifts with a mobile base are often equipped with non-marking tires for work on indoor floors.
One of the limits to personnel lifts is the small work platform. They’re often about the size of a pallet, and the platform is only suited to one person. If you’re looking for a platform for a work crew, scissor lifts are more suitable.
Each piece of equipment in Ring Power’s rental fleets is serviced and maintained by our expert technicians to ensure we pass quality merchandise on to our loyal customers. Due to our customer support and our extensive inventory, which includes both used machinery and used power systems, Ring Power holds a strong position within the industry as a provider of high value previously owned equipment.
Ring Power’s extensive network of dealers can help you find the right aerial lift or work platform for your project. You can view used lifts for sale or contact one of our ten Florida locations today to find out more about financing.