A Guide to Aerial Lifts

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May 18, 2020

Aerial lifts are used to raise workers, tools, or materials into place on job sites both inside and outside. We’ve created this quick reference to help you decide which type of aerial lift is right for you and your job.

Scissor Lifts

The scissor lift has a platform that lifts vertically up and down and is designed to raise up to the work area directly above the machine. There are three types of lifts in this category: slab, rough-terrain, and single-man lifts.

Slab lifts are battery-powered lifts used for paved surfaces, primarily indoors. They are available in narrow and wide bases and range from 12’ to 40’ foot platform heights.

Rough-terrain lifts can be either battery-powered or have an internal combustion engine. They are used in unpaved rough terrain areas and range from 26’ to 50’ foot platform heights. 

Single-man lifts can be moved around easily in tight work areas and lift one worker at a time with a range from 12’ to 20’ platform heights.

Boom Lifts

Boom lifts come in two basic categories: straight boom and articulated boom. Straight boom machines are used when the work area is accessible above the machine and articulated booms are used when you need to get up and over an object to reach the work area. Similar to scissors lifts, they are either designed to be used on paved surfaces or on a rough terrain job. The booms can be diesel, gas, propane, or battery-powered and range from 20’ to 210’ platform heights.


A telehandler or telescopic boom forklift is designed for rough terrain applications, primarily on agricultural and construction jobs. The most common telehandlers range from 5,000- to 15,000-pound basic capacity with 19’ to 55’ of lift and offer multiple attachments for different jobs.

Contact NOES for Expert Advice

Before you purchase or rent an aerial lift or telehandler, you need to know what the lift will be used for, the weight of the load, and the height you will need to reach. Contact Northern Ohio Equipment Services today for expert advice on how to choose aerial lift equipment, parts, and accessories that best fit your unique needs. Schedule an operator training class with NOES to learn proper and safe usage of your lift equipment in compliance with ANSI standards.

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