For most people, phrases like aerial lifts, industrial lift platforms, or boom lifts don't mean much. If you work in the maintenance or construction industries, you are aware of how important these lifts are. 

Aerial, or elevating, work platforms are the names for all mechanical machines providing access to isolated areas. They are useful for construction or repair projects requiring work in an elevated area. 

Boom lifts are a special kind of an aerial lift with a base and a maneuverable arm when moving. Working platforms for boom lifts are at the end of the arm. They are the ideal choice for lifting workers and equipment simultaneously. Boom lifts access complex angles, and with great flexibility.

There are two standard boom lifts: articulating and telescopic. Some people include another type: an atrium, or a spider lift. These are articulating boom lifts with tracks.

Things to Consider

The type of boom lift used depends on a few factors.

  • Project Site: Is the project inside or outside? What is the terrain like? Are there any obstacles? What is the how high is the worksite?
  • Project Requirements: Evaluate the overall weight the lift has to support. This includes the number of workers and equipment. Does the lift need be mobile or angled? 
  • Access: Examine if the worksite is reachable. Is work required on or underneath  the lift?

After answering these questions, consider the potential limitations of the project or terrain, such as:

  • Obstruction
  • Space
  • Budget
  • Other Factors

Different Boom Lift Types

Articulating Boom Lift


Articulating Boom LiftAlso called a knuckle boom. Articulating Boom Lifts offer high access with the extra capability of rotating around the worksite. The additional capabilities are possible because of its articulating arm with multiple joints.

This capability provides users with more flexibility as they can reach under, on, and around the site while working over different barriers.

Enhanced horizontal and vertical mobility means higher efficiency and effectiveness. While manufactured in smaller versions, they offer a maximum vertical reach of up to 150-feet and horizontal range up to 75% of its height. They can be extended with additional sections and mechanical parts and powered with both electric and diesel power.

Articulating boom lifts are used indoors and outdoors. These lifts are ideal for narrow, out-of-reach, and hard to access areas where there is a problem of space restrictions and obstacles. Indoor models usually come in smaller sizes and are electrically powered. Outdoor models are bigger and diesel-powered or pulled to the site by chain or line. 

Choosing an Articulating Boom Lift


Choose an articulating boom lift if:

  • Your worksite is hard to access and has many barriers and obstacles
  • The worksite terrain is rough and narrow
  • The situation requires an increased level of safety because of the space congestion
  • You want to be more flexible when swiveling around the worksite.
  • Work-related to electrical repairs, exterior house or building maintenance, high-level cleaning or general repairing

Telescopic Boom Lifts

Telescopic Boom LiftCommonly known as a straight or stick boom, Telescopic Lifts don't share the same mobility as articulating boom lifts. Still, they offer a greater horizontal reach than any other aerial lifts. 

The extended outreach allows for maneuverability on higher levels with safety and stability. The telescopic arm moves only up and down but extends significantly in a straight line. Telescopic lifts are widely used on uneven and rough outdoor terrains and all kinds of work on tall buildings and other level areas. They have a wider base, providing greater stabilization levels and easier operation due to the single boom. 

Incorporating these boom lifts improves work productivity and speed. Telescopic boom lifts are a standard tool at construction, road, or bridge building sites. 

Choosing Telescopic Boom Lifts


Select a telescopic boom lift if: 

  • The worksite is outside
  • The terrain is significantly rough and inhospitable
  • You want enhanced speed and operation
  • Your project requires an additional level of stability 
  • Your project does not require moving in more than one direction

Personal/Portable Lift

Personal/Portable Boom Lifts

Personal/Portable Lifts have tracks or extendable legs as a base. They are a popular choice for industrial and commercial businesses and often seen in larger places like warehouses or halls. Their maximum vertical reach is usually between 50 and 70 feet and powered by diesel, electric, or gas. They offer great rotation and access and adapt to uneven surfaces. 

In Sum

Regardless of which type you use, make sure the boom lift is made of high-quality materials, encouraging a safe working environment. 

Falls and slips are a leading cause of injuries and catastrophic events. Buying top-notch equipment and machines from industry-leading companies, such as JLG, is a must for project operators.