Scissor Lift vs Boom Lift: the Differences

If you're working in construction or other industries where you need to work at height, you've likely heard of scissor lifts and boom lifts. Both pieces of equipment are aerial platforms that allow workers to safely perform jobsite tasks at levels of height, but many people ask what the differences are between a scissor lift and a boom lift?

Key Differences: Scissor Lifts & Boom Lifts

What is a Scissor Lift?

A scissor lift is an aerial work platform that uses a mechanism of interlocking metal supports (called scissor arms), to raise and lower the platform. Most often used in indoor jobsites such as warehouses, distribution centers, or retail stores for maintenance work (just to name a few), scissor lifts are available in a variety of sizes with working heights from 15 - 60 feet.

The scissor lift has a compact design, which makes this equipment sought after in a variety of industries because the ability to maneuver in tight spaces. Scissor lifts are very easy to set up and can be used on a wide variety of surfaces including concrete and asphalt. Scissor lifts offer limited mobility with only the capabilities to move up and down vertically.

scissor lift vs boom lift

What is a Boom Lift?

A boom lift, AKA "cherry picker", is an aerial work platform that uses a hydraulic arm (referred to as a "boom") to raise and lower the platform. The boom lift can be articulated with multiple joints, or telescopic which extends straight out. Boom lifts are popular in outdoor industries such as construction, tree trimming, HVAC, window washing, roofing, etc. Boom lifts range in size with working heights that range between 30 - 185 feet.

Another difference between a boom lift and a scissor lift is that boom lifts have greater mobility being able to move up and down as well as horizontally. They also have provide the flexibility to reach over obstacles to access hard-to-reach places. Boom lifts do require a larger footprint and aren't as compact as a scissor lift, require more setup time, and currently can only be used on stable level surfaces.

boom lift vs scissor lift

Boom Lift Pros and Cons

Pros of Boom Lifts

: Boom lifts have the capacity to reach great levels of height, perfect for construction jobs, tree trimming, window washing, etc.

Versatility: They come in various shapes and sizes and can be used on a variety of terrains, offering flexibility for a range of jobsite applications.

Stability: Designed to be stable, creating a safe working platform for workers.

Flexibility: There are various features for boom lifts like telescoping articulating arms, making it easier to reach difficult places.

Efficiency: These machiens save time and effort compared to traditional methods, moving workers, materials, and equipment to different jobsite locations.

Cons of Boom Lifts

Cost: Depending on the model & size, boom lifts can be expensive to purchase or rent.

Maintenance: Boom lifts require regular maintenace for proper functionality and safety measures. Potentially adding to overall costs.

Accessibility: Boom lifts may have difficulty accessing areas due to the size and shape. Can limit usefulness in certain situations.

Weather: Weather, such as high winds, makes boom lifts unsafe to operate; causing delays and disruptions on work schedules.

boom lift and scissor lift rental

Scissor Lift Pros and Cons

Pros of Scissor Lifts

Ability to reach high heights: Typically can reach higher heights than other aerial lifts, perfect pieces of equipment for maintenance and construction work.

Stable platform: Having a stable platform secures the base for workers to perform jobsite tasks.

Large platform: Because scissor lifts have higher platforms, it allows workers to have more space to move around while completing jobsite tasks.

Versatile: Because of their size, scissor lifts are versatile with the ability to be used both indoors and outdoors (depending on the terrain type)

Cons of Scissor Lifts

Limited mobility
: Scissor lifts can only move vertically, potentially limiting usefulness in certain situations.

Limited reach: Although scissor lifts can reach higher heights than other types of lifts, they may not be able to reach as far horizontally, which can make them less useful in certain situations.

Heavy: Most scissor lifts are heavy which makes them difficult to move around, even more so in tight spaces.

Maintenance: As with most heavy equipment, scissor lifts require regular maintenace for worker safety and machine functionality.

scissor lift and boom lift

Which Lift is Right for You?

Deciding which piece of equipent you need depends on the job you need to do. When working indoor spaces or tight spaces, a scissor lift may be the better choice. Working outdoors, or potential obstacles, a boom lift is the better option.

There are a few things to consider

The Height and Weight Capacity of the Lift You Need
The Terrain and Surface Where the Equipment Will be Used
The Operator is Trained & Certified to Use the Equipment

If you are looking to rent or purchase a scissor lift or boom lift for a project, please reach out to the team at All Access Services today! We have 3 locations throughout Southern California with the highest maintained equipment ready for your next project!


Boom Lift Sizes We Carry

40 ft Straight Boom Lift for Rent

46 ft Straight Boom Lift for Rent
60 ft Straight Boom Lift for Rent
66 ft Straight Boom Lift for Rent
86 ft Straight Boom Lift for Rent
135 ft Straight Boom Lift for Rent
150 ft Straight Boom Lift for Rent

Scissor Lift Sizes We Carry

13 ft Scissor LIft for Rent
19 ft Scissor Lift for Rent
26 ft Scissor Lift for Rent
32 ft Scissor Lift for Rent
45 ft Scissor Lift for Rent
40 ft Rough Terrain for Rent
33 ft Rough Terrain for Rent

We offer a free quote for all equipment rentals, please fill out our "Request Estimate" form or give us a call to speak with a representative!