There are two primary types of boom lifts on the market today: articulating and boom. Both are valuable additions to a work site that make it easier to get the job done. However, there are differences between the two types of boom lifts that make them better suited for specific uses. If you’re trying to decide which one is best for your work site, here’s what you need to know.
What is an Articulating Boom Lift?
This boom lift, also called a “knuckle boom,” contains multiple segments. Joints in between the segments allow them to bend. The segments can operate independently of one another. The base of the boom lift features multiple platforms that are independently adjustable and can move both vertically and horizontally. The knuckle boom lift’s highly mobile segments and platforms provide maximum control. These attributes make the lift ideal for reaching tighter spaces that other boom lifts would have trouble accessing. In addition to its adjustable height, this lift has a wide reach that allows it to manipulate objects within a wide radius.
What is a Telescopic Boom Lift?
A telescopic boom lift is also called a “straight boom“ or a “stick boom.” While boom lifts typically range in height from 30-180 feet, straight boom lifts average 150 feet. Some models can exceed 185 feet. While knuckle boom lifts have multiple segments that can move independently, straight boom lifts have two large conjoined segments. One remains stationary, while the other can be adjusted upwards and outward. Because the base segment cannot be adjusted, the straight boom is ideal for use in larger spaces where less precise mobility is needed. The two straight boom segments are operated by hydraulics, which reduces excess motion and makes the machine very stable.
Best Uses for Each Type of Lift
Once you know the physical characteristics of each type of boom lift, the next step in choosing the right one is understanding what types of work each one is best suited for.
Articulating Boom Lift
- Tight areas
- Lower heights
- Indoor spaces
- Rough terrain
Telescopic Boom Lift
- Taller heights
- Outdoor spaces
- Lifting and stacking work materials
- Rough terrain
Because of their flexibility, articulating lifts are ideal for smaller and more confined spaces that other lifts have trouble reaching. They are also a good option for indoor use, as they can operate on battery power or electricity. Some varieties have a dual-fuel system that can alternate between electrical power and standard fuel. Since this type of boom is smaller and agile, it is a good choice for using in outdoor areas with rough or uneven terrain. Some models also come with oscillating axles and four-wheel drive for durability.
Along with their impressive heights, straight booms have up to a 75-foot reach. This makes them an excellent choice for lifting and moving construction site materials between floors on taller buildings. The stability of straight booms also makes them a good choice for using on rougher terrain. Because straight booms are larger than many other types of boom lifts, they are ideal for use in work zones that are difficult to reach and don’t offer close access. Since they typically run on standard fuel, these boom lifts are the best choice for using in outdoor work areas.
Which is Best?
Naturally, the “best” choice of which boom lift to get comes down to your job task and needs. Articulating lifts are commonly used for repairing telephone lines and cable lines. Telescopic lifts are often used for roofing projects, repairing bridges, painting, and constructing or repairing roadways. They can operate quickly, which makes them a good choice for projects that need to get finished on a tight deadline.
Quality Service, Repair, and Parts
No matter which type of boom lift you choose, keeping it properly maintained is key to a safe and functional work site. For that reason, you can rely on K&L Clutch & Transmission for support. Based in Texas, we are proud to offer fast service and support to customers nationwide and internationally. We carefully select only the top brands for our clients and keep a number of popular and affordable stock parts on hand for instant repairs. If you need immediate assistance, our service technicians will eagerly help. With quality products and a professional team, it’s easy to see why we’ve been a go-to industry resource for over 30 years. Next time you need repairs and reliable service, contact us for help.