Lighting work. Building inspection. Painting. Sign and banner installation. Tree trimming. When you need people and tools in high, tough-to-reach places, boom lifts are the machines to choose. But what are they, what do they do and what makes them different from other machines?
What is a boom lift?
A boom lift is a machine designed to elevate workers, tools and materials to access areas that are otherwise unreachable. Boom lifts are just one type of aerial work platform – a category that also includes scissor lifts, bucket trucks and telehandlers.
A boom lift consists of:
A base, either towable or self-propelling, that supports the rest of the machine from the ground. The base may be equipped with outriggers to provide extra stability on uneven terrain.
Types of boom lifts
There are two main types of boom lifts: telescopic and articulating.
Telescopic boom lifts, also called straight booms, are just that: boom lifts with a straight arm. They are designed for maximum height and stability, and are ideal for outdoor jobs in open spaces like installing windows and painting exterior walls. With a maximum height of up to 185 feet, telescopic boom lifts provide the maximum height and carrying capacity possible from a boom lift.
While telescoping boom lifts offer superior height, articulating boom lifts offer greater flexibility — literally. An articulating boom lift features one or more bendable sections or “knuckles” in the boom, allowing for more maneuverability and a smaller overall footprint. Although they don’t reach quite as high as telescoping boom lifts, articulating boom lifts are perfect for indoor applications, confined spaces and jobs with obstacles such as tree limbs.
When should I choose a boom lift?
Boom lifts are designed to reach up and out from the base, not just straight up into the air. You’ll need a boom lift if you cannot place the base of the lift directly below the work area. Also, since boom lifts operate at heights that exceed those of scissor lifts and bucket trucks, a boom lift is often the only option for certain jobs.
Boom lift safety
The most important part of using a boom lift is safety. Here are a few tips to keep your jobsite safe while using a boom lift:
Select the right boom lift: Does your lift reach the height you need comfortably?