Aerial Lifts

Aerial Lifts

Advantages of Towable Boom Lifts

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There are jobs that require you or your employee to get up in the air. Construction and utility companies frequently find their work is off the ground. To do so safely and efficiently, boom lifts are an excellent piece of equipment. Boom lifts come in different configurations.

First, the boom lift is towable, stationary or self-powered. If you do all of your work in one work area, stationary may be a viable option. These days, there is very little work that is not mobile, so self-powered or towable are popular choices. The versatility is seen as an investment towards type of work expansion or a need for current work.

Towable boom lifts

Ease of transportability is a key factor when choosing a towable boom lift. Some portable boom lifts must be loaded onto a trailer for transport, in which case they should be equipped with features that allow them to be easily moved off and on to the trailer. A few manufacturers provide forklift pockets for this purpose. Some can be hauled via a Class 2 hitch; just make sure your truck has the right hitch and away you go.

If you do choose a towable boom lift, take some time to compare models and how fast they are to set up once you arrive at the work site. Saving a few thousand bucks at the outset can offset your profit margin if it takes an hour to set up at the beginning of the day and then another hour at the end of the compare. Dealers are happy to demonstrate.

Next, and very important, is how the boom lift is powered. Some of these machines are gas-powered, while others work from battery power, and still others have hybrid capabilities. With the rising cost of fuel, it might be more economical to go with battery power or a hybrid setup. But remember that batteries must be recharged. If there are no available electrical outlets at your job site, this option may not be acceptable. Evaluate your work, past and projected, to determine the type of power for your boom lift.

Self-powered boom lifts

Self-powered models should be the choice if the work requires frequent movement around the work site. These models may require a dedicated truck and trailer for movement between job sites. That should also be considered. However, the mobility of this boom lift, how soon it can be put to use upon arrival and maintenance make this a high value added option.

Self-powered boom lifts allow you to arrive at the job site, place the machine and get started. These models may take more maintenance. Drive and go has some great benefits though. Self-powered boom lifts also do not have the type of power concerns that come with towable boom lifts. This can possibly make two decisions with one choice.

Now that you've decided between a towable and self-powered boom lift, there are other features to make decisions on. The next most important thing to decide: articulating or telescopic.

Telescopic boom lifts

Telescopic boom lifts have straight arms. This mean once a person is in the bucket, you can go up or down but not sideways. Depending on the type of work that will be performed, this may be all you need. If so, it will save you some money - greater reach at less cost. Also, telescopic boom lifts tend to lift heavier weights. That may be a consideration. But if not, then articulating is the way to go.

Articulating boom lifts

Articulating boom lifts have buckets attached to arms that bend. The joints where they bend are called knuckles. If your applications require that you be able to move a worker over and under structures or power lines, articulating boom lifts are a smart choice. They cannot lift as much as some telescopic boom lifts, but sacrificing that might get you more use and more profitability in your jobs.

Other Factors

Boom lifts vary widely in price because the features are so different from one machine to the next. A used boom lift often is the most cost-effective solution, particularly if you can find a satisfactory machine that is only a couple of years old. Like cars, these machines depreciate quickly after they leave the showroom floor, and used equipment won't make much of a difference in performance as long as it was cared for properly.

Expect to pay at least $25,000-$30,000 for a brand new machine and around $15,000 for a used one. Of course a lift that can reach greater heights will be more expensive, the most powerful machines can cost in excess of $120,000.

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