Comparing All Scissor Lift Brands: Who Makes The Best One?
As one of the most popular pieces of heavy equipment, scissor lifts are staples in almost any construction project and warehouse. Their popularity also makes it possible for there to be so many scissor lift manufacturers.
With such a variety of scissor lift manufacturers to choose from, how do you choose which one to rent or own to get the most value for your projects? We've created this blog as a guide to choosing the right brand of scissor lift that fits your needs based on factors such as height, capacity, tires, motor, and more.
What is a Scissor Lift?
Before we look at the different brands of scissor lifts available, we'll walk through their uses and features to determine if this is the right piece of equipment for your project in the first place. Scissor lifts are a type of aerial platform lift, meaning it has a platform for workers and extra space for equipment that can then be raised to heights of 20-50 feet. These lifts are only capable of verticle movement, extending straight up using crisscrossing braces which can then collapse to make the equipment easily stored.
They provide a much safer and more reliable environment for workers to complete tasks at heights than the traditional ladder. The platform is protected by railings that have a gate for operators to mount and dismount the lift and provide a level of control and stability that ladders cannot, especially when working at taller heights.
Scissor lifts are often used throughout the construction industry and can be helpful for many different types of projects. They can be used both indoors and outdoors and over all types of terrain (as long as you choose the right brand), although we definitely recommend using them on harder and flatter surfaces if possible. They can be either electric or engine powered with electric lifts having a longer battery life but engine-powered lifts offer increased load capacity and generally greater outdoor functionality.
Common features that differentiate between types of scissor lifts are the power source, the working height achievable by the platform, and the load capacity of the lift. Scissor lifts are also customizable with attachments and accessories that can help you and your team work more efficiently. For more information about scissor lifts, we recommend reading our 'Everything You Need To Know' blog which includes potential hazards, the history of the equipment, FAQs, and more.
Scissor Lift Brands
While this is not a complete list of all scissor lift brands, we've focused our attention on North American manufacturers which are the most commonly used brands across the industry. We've chosen the following 7 brands to include in our discussion:
- Hy-brid lifts
A well-known brand across the construction industry, JLG does not disappoint when it comes to its wide array of scissor lifts. JLG has four series of electric-powered lifts, with 16 models spread throughout the series.
Looking for a low-noise, low-maintenance, zero-emission lift? Look no further than the DaVinci series. A smaller lift that closely resembles Skyjack's micro-model mentioned above, this lift has zero hydraulic components, guaranteeing zero leaks. The DaVinci series also allows you to use your smartphone for service and diagnostic information and consumes minimal energy which means no battery replacement should be needed over the life of the machine.
The ES series spans working heights of 25-38 feet and platform capacities of 500-1,200 lbs. Even with somewhat limited height capabilities, this series provides a much longer battery charge than most electric lifts, providing a distinct advantage if the scissor lift will be in constant use over a full day of work. JLG's compact and reliable R series lifts offer greater affordability with lower maintenance needs and can reach up to 45 feet in height, but perhaps the best series of electric lifts offered by JLG is their remarkable ERT series lifts.
The ERT series can reach up to 53 feet, but it is one of the few brands that offer electric lifts with rough terrain capability. Each of these lifts in the ERT series is also capable of driving at full height, and is usable both indoors and outdoors on buildings up to 5 stories tall, making it possibly the most diverse electrical scissor lift on the market.
JLG also provides a series of engine-powered lifts with rough terrain capabilities, most of which are drivable at full height. Some models also include an optional addition of the QuikLevel Advanced system which will automatically level the machine when there is a slight side slope, increasing the safety and stability of the operator. In addition to QuikLevel, some of the models are equipped with LiftSense, which takes into consideration the tilt and weight on the platform and shows the user its maximum achievable height. With platform capacities reaching 2,250 but limited height options, this is a heavy-duty, technologically advanced lift series that can reach up to five stories.
Overall, JLG is an exceptional scissor lift brand. Their impressive variety of electric models is in a league of its own, but both the electric and engine-powered models are somewhat limited in their maximum heights. If you are working on any project of 5 stories or less, you should seriously consider if a JLG scissor lift is right for you.
With eight electric and six rough terrain models, Skyjack provides a selection of scissor lifts for any project you may be working on. Skyjack has been recognized as an industry leader in electric scissor lifts for over a decade and their electric scissor lifts are ideal for indoor work that requires precision turning in tight spaces.
Their micro-lift model is ideal for tight spaces but has a limited working height of just under 19 feet. The other electric scissor lift models offer some of the industry's best options when it comes to balancing working height and platform capacity. These lifts can carry 1,000 lbs up to heights of almost 32 feet to loads of 700 lbs at a height of 45 feet with plenty of options in between. As a general rule; as working height increases, platform load capacity decreases, and you won't find many electric scissor lifts that can match the height to capacity ratio achieved by Skyjack.
Moving to the engine-powered, rough terrain models offered by Skyjack, you'll find some of the largest platforms and capacities available on the market. Able to carry over 2,700 lbs to a height nearing 40 feet and a weight of 1,130 lbs to 70 feet (and of course, some great options in between) few brands are able to match the incredible height and capacity of Skyjack scissor lifts. Many of these models are also drivable at full height, increasing your work efficiency by removing the constant up and down when you need to move and adjust your lift. These rough terrain lifts also come with cross-symmetrical four-wheel drive and industry-leading gradeability, the ability to drive up sloped surfaces, delivering superior all-terrain performance in comparison with most other brands.
All 14 Skyjack scissor lift models are excellent options for your project and you'll certainly be able to find a model that suits your needs. As such, Skyjack is one of the best brand options when choosing a scissor lift. For more specific information on their models, we recommend taking a look at their product website.
Genie provides the third largest selection of scissor lift models among North American manufacturers. The majority of their 12 electric-powered models are low-capacity lifts, with 10 of them having platform capacities of fewer than 800 pounds. Genie prides itself on building electric scissor lifts that have high efficiency and runtime. These lifts vary between 20-52 feet in working height and provide a 36-inch roll-out platform extension which provides extra workspace.
Many of Genie's electric lifts are also equipped to produce reduced sound levels and low or even zero emissions and some, such as the GS-3232, are capable of both automatically leveling the machine on slopes up to 5 degrees and handling driving on inclines of up to 14 degrees. If these are factors in your buying or renting decision, please check the specifications on the model as not all of their machines have these same capabilities.
The rough terrain models offered by Genie are tough, four-wheel drive-equipped machines with exceptional platform capacities. With a maximum working height of 59 feet and a capacity of 1,500 lbs at that height, Genie is on par with industry leaders in height-to-capacity ratio. These models are built with some of the best-in-market gradeability and excel at driving through dirt, sand, and mud.
Some of these models also provide optional oscillating axles, which help to level the machine on small slopes. Unlike some of its competition, Genie offers rough terrain models with electric-drive motors and emissions-free performance, providing a unique experience for outdoor-focused scissor lifts.
Genie provides excellent performing lifts and a wide variety of options for height and platform capacity while manufacturing models capable of both indoor and outdoor projects. At the end of the day, you can't go wrong with a Genie scissor lift.
Snorkel is a unique company in the construction industry due to its exclusive focus on lifts. Providing by far the largest selection among any of the brands discussed today, Snorkel scissor lifts come in a staggering 41 different models.
Among their 10 models of electric scissor lifts, Snorkel focuses each of their lifts slightly differently. Among their many compact and nimble options, it is easy to find a lift suitable for tight spaces in the range of 700 lbs capacity and 22 feet working height. With other models designed specifically for long working life, an industry-leading stable working platform, and maximized area for the platform, the only type of lift not provided by this brand in their portfolio of electric models is a high capacity, high working height model (in comparison with industry leaders). Aside from this one drawback, no matter your priorities, Snorkel will have great electric lift options for you.
A line of scissor lifts unique to Snorkel is their 5 low-level lifts. Good both indoors and outdoors, these lifts are available as either push-around or self-propelled units. Designed to be a super mobile, safer alternative to traditional low-level equipment such as ladders and podiums, these lifts are lightweight and can each pass through a single doorway or travel in a passenger elevator.
Snorkel's biggest asset is its absolutely mind-boggling 26 different models of rough terrain scissor lifts. With lifts capable of carrying 2,000 lbs up to heights of over 76 feet, these models are beyond comparison. These machines have a wide variety of specialties from compact and narrow lifts for outdoor work in confined spaces to large working platforms with remarkable heights and capacities. Unfortunately, we do not have enough space in this article to give each model its fair share of attention. Suffice it to say, these models deliver excellent outdoor performance for any project, and you are sure to have a hard time deciding between their many great lifts. However, you will be almost sure to find one that fits the exact specifications of the project you're working on.
While Snorkel may not be the go-to brand for electric scissor lifts, its low-level and rough terrain lifts are certainly on pace with or exceeding industry leaders. To get a more detailed overview of their many lifts, and to decide if a Snorkel scissor lift is right for you, feel free to visit their product website.
With 10 electric-drive lifts all falling under the micro, slim, or compact variety, MEC scissor lifts are ideal for fitting into tight spaces. One such micro model has a best-in-class working height of 32 feet with a respectable platform capacity of 550 lbs. A very reliable class of lifts with maintenance-free batteries and extended productivity, MEC makes great electric scissor lifts though it is one with few advantages over the brands discussed above.
MEC's nine rough terrain scissor lifts show greater performance than their electric lifts in comparison with industry leaders. With oscillating front axles and auto leveling equipped on each of their models, stability on uneven surfaces is at a premium with these lifts. Peaking at 66 feet in working height with a platform capacity of 1,200 lbs, MEC compares similarly in height-to-capacity ratio to other brands while reaching greater heights than the likes of JLG and Genie.
Although not quite able to compare to industry leaders in most aspects, MEC scissor lifts are reliable and get the job done. Their rough terrain lifts significantly elevate their brand's value in the industry and are worth checking out, especially if your project requires heights of 60+ feet.
Hy-brid offers no rough terrain scissor lifts, no lifts that exceed a working height of 25 meters, and - you guessed it - no models with a platform capacity of over 800 lbs. All that said, if you're looking for a scissor lift to use indoors, in tight spaces, and at a relatively low working height, Hy-brid lifts can provide you with a model that will get the job done.
Offering one push-around model as well as five with electric drive, Hy-brid prides itself on making lifts that excel in confined spaces. With all of their models weighing under 2,000 lbs, operators can use these lifts on more types of flooring, including green concrete. Their push-around option is an excellent choice if you're seeking a safe alternative to a 24-foot or smaller ladder, and their zero-turn series means these models can turn on the spot, making it a good option for navigating complex job sites.
Although limited, Hy-brid still provides some well-made electric lifts. If you're working indoors and prioritizing lightweight and maneuverable machines, take a trip to their website and find out if a Hy-brid scissor lift is the one for you.
Ballymore's best offering is its mini scissor lift series. With four lifts falling under this classification, these models reach up to a 32-foot working height with 500 lbs of platform capacity. Drivable at full height, these lifts are quality alternatives for those working indoors and who need a low-capacity, compact lift.
Even with only four models of electric scissor lifts, Ballymore provides a significantly greater variety than one might expect. Reaching up to 51 feet, these lifts are great for indoor work at heights up to five stories. All models offer a tilt sensor with an alarm, letting the operator know if the platform is too uneven, along with an emergency stop button and an emergency lowering valve.
With a small selection of models, Ballymore scissor lifts define the phrase "quality over quantity". A reliable option for indoor projects of up to five stories, if you're looking for a scissor lift you shouldn't overlook the value that Ballymore lifts can provide.
Things To Know Before Choosing Your Scissor Lift
Many of the brands above offer similar options when it comes to both electric and rough terrain scissor lifts. When choosing a lift for your project, consider the heights you need to reach, the weight you need to carry, and the terrain you want your lift to be able to handle. Whether you want to reach 70+ feet outdoors or just 19 feet indoors, you can be sure to find a scissor lift that can help you work more safely and effectively.
Highlighted throughout this piece are the most relevant aspects of each brand of scissor lift, but there are many more specifications and features that come along with them. Before you choose your model, make sure you take a more detailed look at the specifications to ensure it suits your needs.
As mentioned earlier, many of these brands are also compatible with scissor lift attachments that can help you and your team work even more efficiently and extend the functionality of the lift. If you're interested in utilizing these attachments, you should always also double-check, either online or with a service representative, whether they're compatible with the brand of lift you choose.
How Do I Rent A Scissor Lift?
Having talked about so much information about scissor lifts, one question is left unanswered... "how do I get one?" One option is to visit the websites of the brands listed above and reach out to a dealer to buy a scissor lift. If you know you'll need a scissor lift for many projects in the near and distant future, buying your own is certainly an option you should consider.
Another option that we recommend is looking into renting a scissor lift. On the DOZR Marketplace, you can search for a scissor lift rental in your area and rent it by the day, week, or month with prices listed transparently for your budgeting needs. To rent a scissor lift near you all you need to do is input your location, the type of equipment you want, and when you want it and DOZR will show you all the rental options in your area. We will even help you plan delivery to the job site and pick it up when you're done. Check out the DOZR Marketplace to see prices and availability near you.