Boom Lift vs. Scissor Lift — When to Use What

Boom Lift vs. Scissor Lift — When to Use What

If your crew needs to take on projects that require reaching elevated areas, you may be wondering what your best lift option is. What works with your applications will depend on the type of work you're doing. 

Scissor lifts and boom lifts both offer useful features to optimize specific projects, so it's essential to know the differences between them. That way, you can understand which fits your application best. To help you better understand how these lifts works, we've put together a guide to walk you through your options.

Boom and Scissor Lift Differences

When choosing the right equipment for your application, keep in mind some primary differences between boom and scissor lifts:

  • Design: Boom lifts use a hydraulic arm to raise workers and supplies to the required height, while scissor lifts have crisscrossing braces that can fold up or straighten out to raise a platform.
  • Applications: Boom lifts can raise smaller attachments with more maneuverability. Scissor lifts offer less flexibility but can handle much larger platforms for projects that need multiple workers operating at heights.
  • Lift height: With a boom lift, you can typically raise your platform to around 130 feet. Scissor lifts allow you to work in a 30- to 50-foot range.

When to Use a Boom Lift or Scissor Lift

With the different features each type of lift offers, it's helpful to know which option to use for your project. What lift height will you need? Do you require something safe to use indoors or rugged and sturdy for a demanding outdoor work site? What lifting capabilities do you want from your equipment? As you answer these questions, you'll get a better sense of the type of lift you need for the job.

Boom Lift

A boom lift is ideal for projects where you'll move workers and equipment both up and over. If you need to maneuver around objects, the hydraulic boom arm offers the flexibility to move wherever you need it. It's also the best option for reaching extreme heights, as it has the most extended lift height range.

Some typical applications for a boom lift include electrical work and piping and other utility repairs.

Scissor Lift

When you're working at a lower height and need maximum capacity for transporting workers, a scissor lift is likely your best option. This equipment can handle a much larger platform than a boom lift and safely carry several workers to manage a job. 

For applications where you may need your entire team working at an elevated location — for example, a painting project or major repair — a scissor lift can effectively meet your requirements.

Are Boom Lifts or Scissor Lifts Right for Your Industry? 

Depending on the nature of your work, boom lifts or scissor lifts may be better for your job site. Here's a brief guide to which lift to use in your industry: 

  • Agriculture: Boom lifts are ideal for use in agricultural and landscaping jobs that require efficiently lifting, loading or transporting materials. Due to their compact size and slim frame, boom lifts are great for easily moving stacked pallets in locations that require flexible machinery. They also enable workers to perform tasks such as picking fruit or trimming trees with ease. 
  • Aerospace: Both scissor lifts and boom lifts are used in aerospace technology for tasks such as material loading, hangar maintenance, pre-delivery and flight-line inspection. With boom lifts, you can easily access hard-to-reach places in aircraft. 
  • Maintenance: Scissor lifts have the ability to reach high structures such as light fixtures, signs, banners, utilities and more. They're a must when maintaining facilities like schools, hospitals, libraries, churches or warehouses. 
  • Mining: Boom lifts are used in the construction and maintenance of the mining industry and are powerful and versatile enough to reach infrastructure such as overhead conveyors and processing facilities. 
  • Construction: Construction projects use a combination of boom lifts and scissor lifts throughout multiple project phases to move materials and help maintain or build elevated structures. 
  • Warehouses: With warehouses often utilizing vertical space to its fullest extent, boom and scissor lifts are necessary to move merchandise, construct new areas and maintain them. Compact lifts are ideal for navigating narrow spaces that are too high to reach in any other way.

Handle Your Projects With a Lift From The Cat® Rental Store

For many companies, renting a boom or scissor lift is a convenient option to handle their operational requirements. Our dealers at The Cat® Rental Store offer durable equipment for rent to help you and your crew tackle your next project. Reach out to your local The Cat Rental Store to get trusted lifts for your aerial work applications.