Aerial Lift Buyer’s Guide

Aerial Lift Buyer’s Guide

There might be nothing as versatile today as an aerial lift. Not only are these excellent man lifts that provide personnel with instant access to difficult locations, but they can also be used to transport or access the various materials you may need to complete your project. Modern aerial equipment options including shelving, extended decks, and the capability to support hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds at a time.


These man lifts tend to be considered a tool for those in construction, land improvement, or aviation, but just about every industry can benefit from this equipment. The right lift could let you avoid an obstacle, perform maintenance at 50 feet or higher, and will save you an enormous amount of time compared to using scaffolding or ladders.


Are you ready to find the right aerial lift for your needs today? Then here are some of the key points you’ll want to consider.


Questions You Should Ask About Aerial Lifts


When you’re looking for the best aerial lift to meet your needs, it is good to ask questions. It is important to discuss specific features, accessories, or attachments that may be available for your preferred model. It will also be important to know how to use the equipment once you’ve acquired it, what your long-term maintenance costs will be, and what it will take to stay safe on a consistent basis.


That’s why these are the questions you’ll want to ask as you look for the right equipment to meet your needs.


What safety features does the aerial lift have?

You can have safety features added by the manufacturer or added after you take delivery of your new aerial lift. These features may include level warnings, pothole protection, descent valves, and static straps – just to name a few. In case your lift becomes unbalanced or loses power, these are the features that will help your personnel stay safe in the middle of a job.


What training resources are available?

If you’re acquiring one of the best aerial lifts being manufactured today, then there is a good chance that there will be some kind of training provided online. Most manufacturers offer at least one training course. Our team can also provide individualized training or instruction that can then be passed along to the rest of your organization.


Are there any in-person training courses?

Some manufacturers may require you to take classroom training sessions on your new equipment. Certain jurisdictions may also require you to be certified in the use of the equipment before you can legally use it. Repair and maintenance courses are also beneficial to discuss before finalizing your acquisition of an aerial lift. Any certification that you can obtain will save you money over the life of this equipment investment.


Do any financing options exist?

The cost of a new aerial lift can sometimes exceed $100,000. For small-to-medium businesses, that might be a cost that a single budgetary cycle cannot afford. Rather than try to save up enough cash, there may be financing options available for your business, including manufacturer-related incentives, to help you acquire this equipment right now. Our team can work with your lender or our network to determine what options may be available for you right now.


You may also wish to ask questions about the warranty of the equipment, especially if you are purchasing used or refurbished aerial lifts. Then, when you have all of this information, you’ll be ready to explore more of how an aerial lift can help you to complete projects quickly and effectively in the future.


What Type of Aerial Lift Should I Purchase Today?


If you’re wanting to acquire an aerial lift to meet your material or personnel needs, then there are several different types of lifts from which you can choose. Each lift type offers a certain advantage that must be considered during the acquisition process.


Scissor lifts are one of the most common aerial lifts that you’ll find today. They are indoor and outdoor lifts that will vertically lift materials or personnel up to 50 feet in height. Pricing for these lifts is based on the size of the platform, the type of fuel it takes, and the maximum height it can reach. The best value purchases tend to come from scissor lifts that provide supports in the 500 to 1,000-pound range for 20-30 feet in total height.


Spider lifts are similar to scissor lifts, but they offer more stability because they have legs that extend to support the equipment. This allows the lift to be used on a number of different terrain options. These lifts also offer a certain amount of reach away from the lift instead of providing a straight-up vertical lifting experience.


Boom Lifts are the best investment you can make in the world of aerial lifts. The design of the lift allows personnel or materials to be lifted in virtually any direction. You can avoid obstacles, reach heights of up to 80 feet or more with premium models, and have a portable solution that can move from site to site with little difficulty.


There are three different types of boom lifts that must be considered during the equipment acquisition process.


  • Articulating boom lifts are design to extend the boom of the aerial lift. Once the boom is fully extended, then it can move from side-to-side to meet specific needs. When a bucket attachment is included with this aerial lift, personnel can stay elevated for any aerial task that might need to be completed within range. Since you don’t need to keep raising, lowering, and moving the boom to different locations, you can save a lot on your setup time.
  • Telescopic boom lifts have the most horizontal reach in our industry today. When fully extended, some models provide a horizontal reach of up to 80 feet, stretching personnel or materials over areas of limited access or constructed space.
  • Trailer-mounted boom lifts can either be towed behind a vehicle or may be attached to a vehicle as part of the equipment. They are small enough that a van or SUV can often tow this aerial lift. Most lifts in this category are jointed, allowing an “up and over” lift experience to avoid damaging a work environment.


Personnel lifts do not usually provide the option to carry materials. They are designed to be used indoors for general maintenance needs. If you have a high ceiling that needs repair, then this is the type of indoor aerial lift you’d want to use. Schools, churches, hospitals, and any other business or building that does its own HVAC and interior maintenance may wish to consider this type of lift.


There is a final type of aerial lift that is worth considering, but the name that it is commonly given often causes it to be disregarded. The cherry picker is a vehicle-mounted aerial lift that can match the same vertical reach that a boom lift can attain. They were initially developed for agricultural work, but can be used for a wide variety of purposes in multiple industries. Some even combine the features of the best spider lifts, including stabilization legs, to add more safety to the lifting experience.


By understanding the needs of your common projects, you’ll be able to match those needs to the advantages that each type of aerial lift can provide. This allows you to acquire the exact equipment you need today.


How Do Aerial Lift Specifications Affect the Equipment Purchasing Process?


Size matters. If you have a restricted work space or need to maneuver in tight areas, then not every aerial lift has been designed to accommodate those requirements. Some lifts are over 6 feet in width, which would make it difficult to go down a warehouse aisle that is just 4 feet in width. The challenge here is to make sure the best aerial lift for your needs also has the specifications to meet those needs.


The flooring or ground where the lift will be placed is also important to consider. You might find a great scissor lift that can help you reach the ceiling of a gymnasium, but the finished boards of the flooring may become scuffed, warped, or damaged in other ways when you run the lift across it.


You will also want to avoid using an aerial lift that combusts fuel and has an exhaust output if you’re working indoors.


That means you’ll want to look at the power and movement specifications of each aerial lift as part of the procurement process.


There are four general power options that are available right now on the best aerial lifts.


  • This type of lift is suitable for all indoor tasks and light outdoor work. It operates off of a battery in most circumstances, prohibiting fumes or exhaust release. You will need to have a charging station available for this type of aerial lift.
  • This type of lift is suitable for outdoor environments only and should be in an area where emissions will not build up. This fuel provides long-term power for extended lift operations.
  • LP Gas. This type of lift is intended for short bursts of heavy work. Because the fuel is highly portable and easy to obtain, you can work just about anywhere. You’ll spend less time refueling, but you’ll also need more storage space for the fuel since it comes in specialized containers.
  • This growing segment of the aerial lift market allows for indoor and outdoor use. Combining a combustion fuel with the ability to run on electrical power only when needed, you receive more flexibility and can run the aerial lift for longer periods of time since you have a bi-energy fuel source.


Each fuel option has a cost that is associated with it. Battery-powered aerial lifts tend to cost less than others, but they are the only type of lift that can be used indoors safely. LP Gas lifts tend to be the most expensive, but they also provide an increased level of accessibility during operations.


What Are the Costs of the Best Aerial Lifts?


The final procurement cost of an aerial lift depends on its reach, how much weight it can support, and the type of power it uses. Entry-level models will typically cost around $10,000 and these are usually electric lifts that are designed for light indoor work.


At the upper end of the pricing scale, it is not unusual to see a top-of-the-line articulating boom lift to retail for more than $100,000. Some models can even be priced above $200,000. These are for the lifts that have a horizontal reach of up to 80 feet and other advanced features.


Most brands and businesses can typically find the equipment they need between these two price extremes. If you’re looking for the best value purchase, the vehicle-mounted lifts can provide you with the same reach as an articulating boom lift, but often for half the cost.


Each aerial lift will incorporate safety features and training resources, no matter where it falls on the pricing spectrum.


Are You Ready to Find the Best Aerial Lift Today?


The best aerial lifts come in many different shapes and sizes, but this is because every industry has different demands that must be met. By looking at what the aerial lift has been built to do and then adding certain accessories or attachments to the lift, you can customize your equipment to meet your core needs on every project.


Our team is standing by right now to discuss what those needs might be and how an aerial lift might be able to meet them. You won’t believe the time savings that a man lift can provide compared to scaffolds or ladders. That savings can help you to complete tasks faster, allowing you to boost productivity, and ultimately, your revenues.


The time to act is now. Start the procurement process today and the equipment that you find and purchase will be able to provide you with many benefits now and well into the future.