Types of lifts – Scissor lifts – Fork lifts – Aerial & Boom

Saad Iqbal | 🗓️Modified: August 20, 2018 | ⏳Time to read:7 min

Few years back when I was managing a maintenance project of a multi-storied building; I was actually in the same situation as you are i.e. searching for the different types of construction lifts suitable for my needs.

Types of Construction Lifts
Types of Construction Lifts

In all the construction projects you need machines that let workers reach workplace at a height whether it involves cleaning of a window glass or rendering plaster on a wall or even in painting a wall.

One day or the other you need to opt renting or buying the construction lift machines.

So today I am going to share with you the research I did first time I got stuck in the situation.

My research work involves identifying various types of lift equipments in construction, different types of lifts used in buildings, types of manlifts, types of aerial lifts etc.

Gone are the days when you need to build and assemble heavy duty scaffolding pipes for establishing a platform where actually the masons can work but that also was prone to deadly accidents.

The construction lifts are also termed as aerial or boom lift equipment.  There are different types of construction lifts available in the market that you rent or purchase.

Your selection for the right equipment is a tricky job; but after reading this article you would be able to easily select the right one.

Selection Tips

  • What is the job site like?
  • How high will you need to reach?
  • How much weight does the aerial lift need to carry?

Scissor Lift

As the name suggests “scissor” lift – it involves cross-braces or criss-cross “X” pattern that moves and pushes the platform attached at the end to reach an elevated work place.

As the liver is pushed, pressure is built outside of the lowest set of supports thus elongating the crossing pattern and propelling the work platform vertically.

Type of Scissors lift
Type of Scissors lift

Now please don’t buy this type of lift if you can’t reach the immediately below spot at the work site. You need a stable and even ground below the elevated work space.  Now here are the conditions where you can use the scissor lift.

It can be used both in indoor and outdoor projects.

It can hold both persons I mean labors as well as any equipment that is in need to be lifted.

In indoor projects you have to buy a small scissor lift that is easy to reach your garages and urban areas. For outdoor projects you have to buy rough terrain lifts.

Scissor lifts are more stable and provide relatively large work platforms. So if your job site involves a height of range 20 to 40 feet and you need to unrestricted weight capacity of around 1,000 pounds you have to opt-in the scissor lift.

This type of construction lift is best suited where the workspace is elevated and there is a need of multi people to carry at height.

In scissor lifts the width of the platform and that of the base of the lift is same.

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Types of Scissor Lift

Depending on the mechanism involved in lifting the the work platform, the scissor lifts are classified into two types

  1. Electric Scissor Lift
  2. Rough Terrain Scissor lift

The electric scissor lifts are mobile; letting operators easily maneuver around tight indoor and outdoor worksites with firm, level surfaces. They provide excellent capacity and large platform workspaces. Electric scissor lifts can easily move over smooth or solid slab work surfaces.

As they are electrically driven so they are environmental friendly, with low noise levels and no hazardous emissions.

The rough terrain scissor lifts are for outdoors where they are required to navigate uneven or unstable terrain. They are useful for rigorous construction applications where large working platforms are needed with ample lifting power. They can traverse slopes, uneven terrain and even mud.

Rough terrain scissor lifts have four-wheel drive with reinforced tires.

In most of the cases exterior scissor lifts are more expensive and preference is given to take them on rental basis.

So our recommendations are as under:-

For indoor use

For small spaces

For multiple personnel

For narrow areas

Where height to reach is between 10 to 60 feet

Use electric scissors.

For outdoor use

For uneven surface rough terrains

Use rough terrain scissor lifts which can reach more than 60 feet.

Boom Lifts

Telescoping boom lifts mount a work bucket on a straight, extendable arm that sits on a rotating turntable.

They are typically used for jobs that require maximum height, as their reach often exceeds that of other types.

Workers can perform exterior repairs on medium-height buildings in these lifts without the extra work of setting up an outside elevator or pulley system.

Since the bucket of a boom lift can typically only hold a single worker, though, they are better suited to specific tasks such as electrical repair, rather than general maintenance like window-washing.

These lifts are also available with both gas and electric motors and outdoor or indoor tires.

Types of Boom Lifts
Types of Boom Lifts

The most popular types of boom lifts have vertical, knuckle or telescoping booms. The type of boom affects how high the workspace can be extended, whether it can be angled or simply lifted up and down, and the amount of weight that the boom lift can hold.

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It is well suited where a horizontal boom is needed for lift of labour.


I hope I have elaborated in detail about all the different types of construction lifts in a well manner. I am actually going to establish a wizard that would help you in selection and would share it here so stay tuned to that.

Moreover, I have recently developed a info-graphics for types of construction lifts which will ease your selection and would help you in remembering the different types of lifts; so just save it in your computer or mobile phone.

Types of Construction Lifts Infographic

[su_button url=”https://definecivil.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/types-of-construction-lifts-infographics-Copy.jpg” target=”blank” style=”bubbles” icon=”icon: arrow-down”]Download this Infographic[/su_button]


Saad Iqbal is a professional civil engineering and freelance write. He's passionate about structures, construction management, and home improvement topics. He's been working as a Senior Engineer in a consultant firm for over 8 years. Besides he loves writing informative and in-depth content focused on construction and home-related topics. You can catch him at his linkedin page or reach out via our contact us page.

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