Types of Aerial Lifts
The type of aerial lift that is best for you depends on your needs. The three main aerial lift designs include:
- Boom lifts: There are two types of boom lift, articulating and telescopic. Articulating boom lifts are often referred to as knuckle booms and have arms that bend, allowing them to reach over and around obstacles. Telescopic boom lifts have extendable arms that reach up to 120′ high. Boom lifts provide the greatest combination of horizontal and vertical flexibility.
- Scissor lifts:These lifts are different from booms in that they only travel vertically (i.e. up and down). However, scissor lifts typically have greater lifting capacities and larger platforms for greater worker stability. In addition, they often have platform extensions that provide up to 6′ of horizontal reach from the top of the lift.
- Vertical personnel lifts: As the name suggests, vertical personnel lifts are designed to move users up and down. Vertical personnel lifts are more affordable than other types of aerial lift and are usually small enough (in their collapsed state) to move through a standard-size doorway. Some of these lifts can handle two workers at a time, with most weight capacities holding a single worker and some tools.
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How Much Does a New Aerial Lift Cost?
The cost of an aerial lift depends on the size of the lift, type of lift, weight capacity, any add-ons, the brand, and the vendor you purchase through. What follows is a general pricing guide to provide an idea of what you can expect to pay for your new aerial lift.
- Vertical personnel lifts are the least expensive aerial lift, with an average cost of $7,000 – $9,000. However, there are “push around” models for as little as $2,000 – $3,000.
- A new 19′ scissor lift has an average cost between $10,000 and $15,000 with 20′ and 30′ units costing as much as $40,000 – 50,000 or more.
- Boom lifts are the most expensive type of aerial lift. A new 30′ to 40′ boom lift has an average cost between $30,000 and $75,000 .
- A 110′ boom lift may cost $100,000+ .
Factors to Consider when Buying an Aerial Lift
Though cost is important, there are other factors to consider when buying an aerial lift, such as your power source. The majority of aerial lifts are self-propelled, typically powered by diesel, electricity, gasoline, or propane, as well as some hybrid or bi-energy models. Most outdoor lifts use diesel, gasoline, or propane, while most indoor lifts are electric, due to the lack of emissions. You don’t want workers inhaling dangerous fumes. Hybrid aerial lifts allow for use indoors or outdoors, as you can switch between power sources.
It is also important to think about the lifting capacity and height of your lift. Consider what you’re going to be lifting (equipment, tools, workers, etc.) and decide what operating capacity you need. Height for aerial lifts is measured to the platform height, which is how high the floor of the lift platform itself reaches. Your working height is 6′ above the platform, so a lift with a 30′ platform height allows you to work at heights up to 36′. Remember that, generally speaking, aerial lifts with increased lift capacities and heights are larger machines.
In addition, you need to take a look at the environment of your workspace; namely, are you working on even or uneven terrain. Aerial lifts are typically divided into rough terrain and slab categories. Rough terrain lifts operate easily on rough and uneven surfaces. These models are usually powered by diesel, gas, or some type of dual-fuel system. Slab lifts are meant to be used on flat surfaces and indoors, and are most often electric-powered.
Once you have figured out your height, power, weight, and configuration needs, you can finalize your aerial lift choice. Otherwise, you could wind up paying more than necessary for a machine that goes far beyond your needs, or stuck with one that doesn’t help you in the slightest.