What Type of Aerial Lift Should You Rent?

Introduction: Your Guide to Renting Aerial Lifts

Aerial lifts are versatile pieces of equipment featuring extendable platforms that allow you to access higher work areas, such as ceilings, roofs, windows and HVAC equipment. Lift prices tend to vary greatly due to the wide variety of specialized features and options available. Deciding on the right lift for your job can be complicated, but MacAllister Rentals is here to help. Read on to learn about the various types of lifts available and advice on which type is best suited for your next job.

What Are Aerial Lifts?

Aerial lifts feature a platform supported by a “boom,” or a tall, extendable arm used to lift the platform to a greater height. You may also know them as boom lifts, cherry pickers or bucket lifts. Aerial lift rentals are seen on many commercial construction and residential projects, and they come in many sizes and forms.

what are aerial lifts

Some are designed for a specific use, such as atrium lifts. Others are meant solely for elevating a single person with a limited number of tools, and some are built for rough terrain and outside weather. In any case, aerial lifts are flexible pieces of equipment that are a necessity on many modern jobsites.

Types of Aerial Lifts

Some types of aerial lift rentals you can consider for your project include:

  1. Electric Scissor Lifts: Scissor lifts move up and down, offering more capabilities than standard scaffolding. Their wide variety of platform and working heights give you more flexibility on the job.
  2. Rough Terrain Scissor Lifts: Similar to standard scissor lifts, rough terrain scissor lifts have been outfitted to withstand outside terrain and harsh environmental elements.
  3. Personnel Lifts: A personnel lift is best suited for jobs that will be completed by one person. With working heights that range from 17 to 26 feet, these are ideal for a variety of indoor projects.
  4. Electric Boom Lifts: Boom lifts are a type of aerial lift with a platform that can move beyond the base of the lift itself, horizontally and vertically. The boom has a considerable reach advantage and greater versatility than many other aerial lift options.
  5. Straight Telescopic Booms: Straight telescopic boom lifts are a great option for outdoor use. This lift lets you access hard-to-reach areas and elevated locations that aren’t suitable for scaffolding.
  6. Articulated Knuckle Booms: Articulated boom lifts provide even greater versatility than straight telescopic booms. These lifts are typically used in crowded outdoor environments where there are hazards and obstacles to avoid.
  7. Towable Boom Lifts: The ability to tow a lift behind your average work truck makes it easy to transport between jobsites and to secure it overnight.
  8. Atrium Lifts: The atrium lift can fold into a compact size to squeeze through a doorway. The lift then opens to reach high locations with ease. An atrium lift is best suited for a job that requires precise vertical movement.

Some aerial lifts may require specific certifications or qualifications to operate. These requirements depend on your specific job and how the lift will be used.

usage and certifications

The necessary certification and training courses may be available at your local college or technical school. Be sure to consider expected usage, any required operator certifications and the availability of specific lifts when making your final rental decision.

Industries That Use Aerial Lifts

Aerial lifts are not specific to one particular industry or job. For instance, manufacturing companies use aerial lifts to reach overhead components, as well as to reach behind large pieces of equipment. General contractors use lifts to reach high areas when painting or making repairs, and construction companies identify aerial lifts as one of the most critical pieces of equipment in their fleet.

Emergency crews use aerial lifts to reach buildings, and HVAC contractors use them for indoor and outdoor applications. In essence, aerial lifts provide reliable access for a range of industries and purposes.

Aerial Lifts Using Alternative Fuel Systems

MacAllister Rentals offers aerial lifts that are diesel, gas, liquid propane and battery-powered. Depending on the size and strength of the aerial lift you are considering, some are offered with different power options.

Articulating and straight telescopic boom lifts with a platform height of less than 80 feet are generally available with dual fuel systems that use gas and propane. These lifts, including Skyjack’s rough terrain scissor lifts, are a great option for alternative fuel on the jobsite.

The important thing to remember with lifts that are fueled by diesel or gas is that they emit carbon monoxide. These lifts will need to be used in well-ventilated indoor areas or outside.

Some lifts are available in push-around models. Push-around lifts are useful for indoor jobs that are clear of obstacles and debris. These devices are light enough to be pushed by hand, yet sturdy enough to support the weight of a worker and a limited set of tools. Such lifts are available with a variety of platform heights, working heights and ground dimensions. The most common models feature a working height of 30 or 40 feet, and a total stowed height of less than seven feet.

Push-around models usually aren’t the best choice for outdoor jobsites. The exterior terrain makes the manual movement difficult and can present serious safety hazards. Their relatively light frame means they’re easily damaged by high winds, flying debris and other obstacles.

Understanding Your Options and Choosing the Right Aerial Lift Rental for Your Project

It’s important to be aware of the different lift options available so you can pick the best lift for your upcoming project.

Our aerial lift guide will help you navigate the world of aerial lifts. You’ll understand more about the different uses of each lift and how to rent lift equipment. You’ll also learn about the many heavy-duty lift options that are on the market today.

Once you’ve found the lift you need, or if you want to review the features of each lift, contact MacAllister Rentals. We can help determine if that lift is best for your project needs.


Chapter 1: Electric Scissor Lifts

Unlike boom lifts with working platforms that can reach beyond the base of the lift, scissor lifts only move up and down. Most electric scissor lifts use wheels to move into the proper position for the job. Once positioned, these lifts don’t offer as much horizontal versatility.

Features of Electric Scissor Lifts

Electric scissor lifts are battery-powered lifts designed to lift several people or large amounts of equipment, and they come with a variety of platform and working heights. The average heights tend to be between 10 feet and 60 feet, and workspace sizes are typically between two and 10 feet wide. Most electric scissor lifts weigh no more than a few thousand pounds, but the biggest and most powerful models weigh more than 10,000 pounds.

What Are the Specialty Uses of Electric Scissor Lifts?

The standard electric scissor lift is commonly seen in small-scale applications and indoor construction sites. Small spaces and tight areas are perfect for the narrowly designed platform. The machine can be used for, but not limited to, maintenance, painting, window washing and construction projects.

Electric scissor lifts are also often seen in warehouses, retail stores and production sites. Installation of hanging signs is also an ideal application for these lifts.

What to Consider When Renting Electric Scissor Lifts

If you are looking to rent an electric scissor lift, consider the requirements of your project. Because scissor lifts offer more vertical height than horizontal space, be sure to plan accordingly.

Electric scissor lifts are ideal for indoor use, such as in a warehouse. If you are specifically renting an electric scissor lift for an indoor project, consider non-marking tires to prevent damage to floors.

The Benefits of Electric Scissor Lifts

Compared to bucket lifts, electric scissor lifts offer more weight capacity. Electric scissor lifts also offer 90-degree steering, which factors in to their enhanced maneuverability.

Additionally, because the machines are battery-powered, no fumes are emitted — which is beneficial for indoor spaces.


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