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Straight Boom Lifts: The Ultimate Guide
8 minute read
Kevin Forestell headshot
Kevin Forestell
June 22, 2023

Straight Boom Lifts: The Ultimate Guide

While they sometimes go by different names, telescopic boom lifts, and straight boom lifts are the same machine. These boom lifts are a specific type of aerial lift and module elevated work platform (MEWP), that is most identifiable from its telescopic arm. They are used for working at extreme heights or for accessing areas that are blocked or hard to reach.

Straight boom lifts are most often used for industrial maintenance, electrical work, painting, and any other job that requires access at a great height. They are not exclusively used in construction, as many other professions use them, like in event installations and the film industry.

What is a Straight Boom Lift?

Straight boom lifts have telescopic arms and no pivot points on the jib like articulating boom lifts do. These booms are collapsible and capable of holding enough weight on their platforms for one and sometimes two people. These arms have swivel joints that allow them to have a range of motion within the radius of their arm.

Another easy way to define your straight boom is by their arm's capabilities of simplifying moving materials and people into hard-to-reach places and keeping them there. Compared to other aerial work platforms, like articulating boom lifts, scissor lifts, and others, straight boom lifts are best when you need stability and heavier lifting to extreme heights.

Anatomy of a Straight Boom Lift

In order to best understand how straight boom lifts work and how to best use them, you should understand the components and how they function.

Lift Components and Mechanism

Found at the bottom of the boom lift is the base or chassis. Serving as the stable foundation, they come equipped with either wheels or tracks for transportation, the engine or power source, and other mechanical systems used in their operation.

The boom refers to the extendable arm of the lift and is typically made of steel or aluminum. This section is made up of multiple telescopic sections that can be slid within each other to be extended or retracted as desired. The boom is mounted on a swivel mechanism that allows it to rotate for optimal maneuverability.

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40 ft - 180 ft
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The platform or basket is the enclosed area attached to the top of the boom where workers can stand while they work or use the lift. This is where the controls will most likely be located to operate the lift. However, the boom can also be operated from the base. They are designed to provide a safe and stable work surface at elevated heights.

Straight boom lifts can also often be equipped with stabilizers or outriggers to ensure stability while the lift is in use. These extendable legs or arms are deployed to provide additional support and prevent tipping or tilting of the lift. Stabilizers are particularly important when working on uneven or sloped surfaces.

Operating a Straight Boom Lift

Straight boom lifts include various safety features to consider when operating, all of which aim to protect operators and workers. These may include emergency stop buttons, overload sensors to prevent exceeding weight limits, alarms or warning signals, tilt sensors to detect any excessive angles, and interlock systems to prevent unauthorized use.

In order to understand straight boom lifts, it's important to understand the mechanisms that they rely on. Hydraulic systems control the extension and retraction of the boom sections, as well as the raising and lowering of the platform. The hydraulic system is typically powered by an engine or electric motor and uses hydraulic fluid to transfer force and power.

Comparing Different Boom Lifts

When considering which boom lift is right for you it's important to look at all machinery and decide which is best for you.

Straight Boom vs. Articulating Boom: Which is Better?

Articulating lifts are ideal for moving people and materials around obstacles and into different positions with agility because of their knuckle system. In contrast, straight boom lifts are better when people and materials need to reach and remain in a position when working. While articulating booms are better for quick movements, they are unable to hold materials and people in the same place for longer durations of time.

Some of the situations where you'll need a straight boom lift instead of an articulating one are when you'll need to reach something at a greater height for a longer period of time. Or when you need to lift heavier materials or equipment, a straight boom lift is better due to its higher weight capacity. Lastly, when you need to access something in a straight path, rather than a more angular one.

If you're still questioning which boom lift is best for you, then read our article Articulating vs. Straight Boom Lifts: How To Pick the Right Boom Lift.

Straight Boom vs. Towable Boom Lift: Understanding the Distinctions

Although both lifts are able to help people reach great heights, there are a few key differences to understand between the two when picking with is right for you. While straight boom lifts have their own engine and power source, allowing them to move around the work area independently, towable boom lifts require a separate towing vehicle for mobility and are typically compact and easier to transport.

One of the situations where a towable boom lift is less optimal than a straight boom lift is when you need to reach a greater height as they have a max range of 56' while straight boom lifts can go over 200'. Another important factor to consider is that while straight boom lifts are designed for rougher terrain applications, towable boom lifts are not. This means that straight boom lifts will offer smoother operation on harder-to-handle terrains.

Specifications of Straight Boom Lifts

For a full breakdown of straight boom lift sizes and specs, you can read our straight boom lift spec guide. However, we will cover some of the basics below.

How High Can a Straight Boom Lift Go?

The majority of straight boom lifts will have their platform height in the name of the model, making it easy to know what model you need. The majority of companies' tallest boom lifts will be 80' and their smaller model will be 40'. It's also fairly common for specialized booms to be taller, standing around 200'. The maximum height of a straight boom lift is impacted by the boom length, boom angle, and lifting capacity.

The Spectrum of Applications

Straight boom lifts have a wide spectrum of applications because of their capabilities and abilities to get materials and people in hard-to-reach places and keep them there, with ease.

Construction and Building Maintenance

Some of their main uses include construction and various types of maintenance. This includes commercial and residential building repairs, installation of electrical systems, painting, sheathing, window cleaning, and more. Their long reach and ability to carry heavy loads make them ideal for outdoor construction and maintenance tasks.

Industrial Maintenance

Using straight boom lifts in industrial maintenance increases efficiency and saves time. Workers are able to quickly and easily position the boom lift to their desired height, eliminating the need for scaffolding, ladders, or manual, insecure climbing. They provide a secure and stable platform for inspectors to visually examine machinery, electrical systems, equipment, and more.

Tree Trimming and Utility Work

Telescopic boom lifts have proven to be extremely functional in tree care and landscaping activities. These machines are most often used to access tall trees for pruning, trimming, and tree removal-related jobs. The maneuverability of the boom lift allows workers to navigate around tree branches and allows them to position themselves accurately for safe and efficient tree care operations.

Events and Filmmaking

When lifts like this continue to prove themselves useful, it makes sense they get roped into Hollywood productions. Straight boom lifts are frequently used because they allow filmmakers and technicians to position lights, camera equipment, and any other props that may need unique heights and angles. Providing desired lighting effects, unique camera angles, and fantastic scenes.

When to Choose a Straight Boom Lift?

There are various factors that should be considered when choosing if a straight boom lift is the right aerial lift for your job site. Below you'll find a breakdown of some of the factors to consider.

Lifting Capacity

Lifting capacity is one of the most important factors to consider. Not only does choosing the right lift with adequate lifting capacity help in terms of safety, but it also helps with equipment longevity. If you are using a machine past its capabilities then it's more likely to break down or need repairs.

Working Height

Choosing a telescopic boom lift with an appropriate working height ensures that the desired work areas can be accessed without compromising safety or productivity. Following specific regulations and safety standards when ensuring the appropriate working height is maintained, helps to ensure compliance with legal requirements.

Platform Size and Features

Before choosing a straight boom lift, there are a few important things to think about. Consider how many workers will be using it, the tools or equipment needed on the platform, and any helpful features for your specific task. The features available on the platform can significantly enhance worker efficiency, convenience, and safety.

Features such as control panels within reach, integrated tool trays, power outlets, or attachment points for harnesses or safety equipment contribute to a more productive and secure work environment. The presence of these features minimizes the need for workers to constantly climb in and out of the platform, increasing productivity and reducing the risk of accidents.

Terrain Considerations

Considering the terrain is crucial when purchasing an aerial lift to ensure safe operation, maintain productivity, protect the equipment, and optimize the overall work experience. It is important to consult with manufacturers or equipment experts to select the most suitable lift for the specific terrain conditions in which it will be used.

Make sure to check out the specs and sizes for all telescopic boom lift brands.

Leading Straight Boom Lift Manufacturers

It can be challenging to decide which manufacturer is the best option for you, which is why we dedicated a whole article to help you choose the right one.


Company Overview

Founded in 1969, and selling its first lift in 1970, JLG has continues to be on the cutting edge of innovative construction lifts. JLG has continually worked towards a more environmentally friendly approach to machinery.

Straight Boom Lift Features and Specifications

JLG was the first to introduce the 60-foot electric boom lift and continues to work towards environmentally friendly models. An offer that is exclusive to JLG straight boom lifts is their Self-Levelling services. The 670 SJ automatically levels on any slope 10 degrees or lower. This is extremely beneficial as the majority of boom lifts are inoperable on uneven terrain.


Company Overview

Under the Terex family, Genie was founded in 1966 and is identifiable by its iconic light blue color. Customers were impressed by the telescopic arm and its ability to raise and lower the platform. This led to the creation of the"Genie" name, which became synonymous with the power that comes from the bottle-like apparatus.

Straight Boom Lift Features and Specifications

Genie's telescopic boom lifts have an equally expansive range of models that rival the JLG production line. With their range of max working height being 36' to over 72'. Having models that have a performance capacity ranging from 500 lbs to 1000 lbs, Genie doesn't lack options.


Company Overview

Founded in 1985, Skyjack is a well-known company for specialized aerial design. Their goal is to help more people recognize that innovation doesn't always mean more complexity.

Straight Boom Lift Features and Specifications

Skyjack straight boom lifts have numerous features all intended to simplify their machine without sacrificing productivity, they succeed in their goal. With their 4-wheel drive system, 45% gradability, and the limited number of hydraulic connections in the chassis, they are able to decrease maintenance and increase uptime.


Company Overview

With over 130 years of service, Haulotte continues to keep an eco-friendly approach to equipment while providing equality of service and equipment. With fantastic energy efficiency, using recyclable materials, and environmentally friendly practices throughout their operations, they continue to challenge the status quo.

Straight Boom Lift Features and Specifications

Alongside their extensive range from 40 to 132', they also prioritize operator comfort and safety in their straight boom lifts. Haulotte straight boom lifts often feature ergonomic platforms with spacious work areas, providing operators with a comfortable and secure space to perform their tasks.

Safety features such as safety harness attachment points and intuitive controls are incorporated to ensure a safe working environment. If you want a more detailed comparison of straight boom lift specs then check out our Ultimate Straight Boom Lift Spec Guide.

Safety Guidelines and Best Practices

Pre-operation Safety Checks

It continues to remain important to complete equipment checks and site assessments for the safety of workers, compliance with legal regulations, and productivity. Additionally, having a checklist or guideline specific to straight boom lifts will remain beneficial to your project.

Safety Gear and Equipment

The most important gear and equipment to have included a properly secured harness, helmets, and a lanyard that has been fully secured to the bucket. Although it may seem unneeded for experienced workers, even small bumps can throw operators off. If you're interested in learning more about the best safety attachments for your straight boom lift, check out our article The 5 Best Straight Boom Lift Attachments For Your Job Site.

Emergency Procedures

Under CSA Standards, every organization that operates Mobile Elevated Working Platforms (MEWPs) requires a developed safe use plan, and a documented rescue plan, that is specific to your job site. Having professionally trained operators on the machine and how to follow procedures, in the chance of a MEWP fails to work, after it has reached its extended height is essential to having a safe job site.

Future Trends and Technologies

Innovation and trends regarding straight boom lifts continue to change the way you think about your project. Electric and hybrid models have too many benefits to list here but one of the key ones to consider is the reduced noise pollution and the safety that comes with it. Additionally, each brand continues to develop advanced specialized features unique to each brand.

Rent Straight Boom Lifts from DOZR

We hope this guide has provided you with a helpful overview of what straight boom lifts do, how they can be beneficial to your job site, and whether they are the right aerial lift for your upcoming construction site.

Whether your project is more construction, industrial, landscaping, or creative, our aim is to assist you in finding the perfect boom lift rental. To rent a telescoping boom lift tailored to your requirements, simply visit the DOZR marketplace and discover the precise class of equipment you need for your next endeavor.

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Find Your Next Equipment Rental on DOZR
Straight Boom Lift, 40 ft, Dual Fuel image
40 ft - 180 ft
Electric, Dual Fuel
Straight Boom Lift, 60 ft, Dual Fuel image
40 ft - 180 ft
Electric, Dual Fuel
Straight Boom Lift, 80 ft, Dual Fuel image
40 ft - 180 ft
Electric, Dual Fuel
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Kevin Forestell headshot
Kevin Forestell
Kevin Forestell is CEO of DOZR and one of the co-founders. Kevin first got started as an entrepreneur when he founded Forestell Landscaping right after graduating from University. His love and passion for the industry and desire to help solve an equipment problem that contractors faced every day is what brought the founding team to start DOZR. Kevin is proud of the level of efficiency brought to the industry through DOZR and hopes that DOZR will help change the standard way equipment is rented.
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