Boom Lift or Scissor Lift: Which One is Better For Your Project?

Boom Lift or Scissor Lift: Which One is Better For Your Project?

In urban conditions, at oilfields, outside the city limits, people daily implement various construction and maintenance projects. If only they could reach all tall structures with a ladder! Of course, they can’t and rely on modern powerful equipment. To hoist personnel, materials and tools far off the ground to hard-to-reach points, they normally use aerial platforms that will keep people safe while they are working. Both scissor and boom lifts can reach the height and let you do the job but the question is – which equipment will satisfy the needs of your project better?

Let us figure out the differences between scissor and boom lifts in this article to choose an appropriate machine for your project.

Scissor Lifts

Industrial and construction companies, as well as manufacturers cannot do without aerial platforms sometimes. Scissor lift has an X pattern which is also called criss-cross. Moving up and down, these helpers hoist people and tools to a certain operating height. The main advantage of this equipment is probably a spacious platform – big enough to raise several crew members at once and necessary materials too.

Speaking about the reached height and maneuverability, these workhorses do not outperform boom lifts. They can reach the height of 20-50 ft (around 15 m), moving vertically only – that is these machines will not help you to overcome obstacles elevated over the ground.

They may have electronic, hydraulic and pneumatic type of powering. Now let us compare them to boom lifts.

Boom Lifts

boom-lift-alpha-1 Boom Lift or Scissor Lift: Which One is Better For Your Project?

A truck mounted boom lift is surely a more flexible solution for multiple projects. The main advantageous difference of this machine is maneuverability compared to a scissor type. A hydraulic arm can move around obstacles and save a lot of time and efforts. Depending on the area to reach, a long arm can be angled at a certain direction. However, the size of a boom lift platform is smaller than the one of a scissor lift, so it can hoist only few workers and some materials.

The height you can reach with this aerial work platform is as high as about 130 ft (40 m). You can maneuver and access hard-to reach spots. Besides, the range of operations can be extended by the use of additional attachments – a lifting hook or a fork, for example.

These machines can be powered electrically, by diesel or batteries. You can choose an articulating or a telescopic boom lift for your project. The first one has a bendable arm which provides even higher maneuverability while performing the task. The second has a straight arm but can hoist a worker (not a team) even higher. It’s especially useful when you deal with electrical wiring or trimming of trees.

Decide between available aerial platforms

Discuss details of your project with our specialists and answer standard questions to decide between scissor lifts and boom lifts.

First of all, it’s the matter of the height you need to reach. When the height is the main requirement, choose straight boom lifts – scissor lifts will never bring you this high. If you don’t need to work on tall structures or trees, you can use a scissor lift and operate at the height below 20 m.

The next fact is maneuverability. If you need to move around obstacles to reach certain elevated areas, choose boom lifts, especially telescopic ones.

If you need to hoist many workers and this factor is deciding, you should rent a scissor elevating machine – it will hoist many people, materials and tools. As to boom lifts, they cannot hold many people – one person or few workers only.

Scissor lifts are mostly recommended for indoor works – all kinds of enclosed areas. Outdoor projects normally rely on boom lifts.

Speaking about the budget, a scissor lift is a cheaper option compared to a boom lift. But it cannot perform such a wide range of tasks and be as flexible and versatile as a boom lift.

Among other options, Alpha Platforms offers a double articulated S-120 platform on an eleven-ton chassis. It can hoist your personnel to the height up to 120 ft and hold three persons at once together with tools. Besides, this lift has a side outreach of up to 75 ft. This model is highly maneuverable and useful for many construction projects.

Another popular workhouse from Alpha Platforms is A-150. Being compact and light weight, it’s perfect for many urban works. Its cage is wide as 12 ft and the engine is rather powerful. Few machines can compare to this model in terms of versatility.

If you still hesitate what type of aerial platform would fit your project best, contact our specialists and find the best answer.



The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide in the widest sense – through providing technical advice and information; through influencing and interpreting legislation and standards; and through safety initiatives and training programmes. IPAF is a not-for-profit organisation owned by its members, which include manufacturers, rental companies, distributors, contractors and users. IPAF members operate a majority of the MEWP rental fleet worldwide and manufacture about 85% of platforms on the market.
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