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The buckets of 6 articulating boom lifts at different heights
The buckets of 6 articulating boom lifts at different heights

The Top 8 Jobs For Articulating Boom Lifts

8 minute read
Kevin Forestell headshot
Kevin Forestell
July 11, 2022

The Top 8 Jobs For Articulating Boom Lifts

When it comes to contracting or landscaping jobs that require reaching high heights, there are a few great heavy equipment options that can help get the job done. Scissor lifts, articulating boom lifts, and straight boom lifts all possess a similar function, however, each type of lift has environments and jobs where they perform better than the others.

For example, scissor lifts require flat, hard surfaces that are close to where you're trying to reach due to how they're designed. Boom lifts, on the other hand, are designed for navigating soft terrain and are great for maneuvring around a project fairly easily. However, choosing between an articulating boom lift and a straight boom lift is going to help you fix a lot of headaches.

By the end of this blog, we want you to walk away with the following information:

  • The two types of boom lifts

  • How articulating boom lifts differ from straight boom lifts

  • When to use an articulating boom lift

  • The most common projects for articulating boom lifts

  • How to rent an articulating boom lift

The Two Types of Boom Lifts

As mentioned above, the two types of boom lifts are articulating boom lifts, also commonly known as knuckle lifts, and straight boom lifts, which can also be called telescopic boom lifts.

The Differences Between Articulating and Straight Boom Lifts

While they look pretty much the same, they provide different solutions to various challenges that might occur on the job site. For example, articulating boom lifts have multiple pivot points in their arms where they can bend and provide versatility in terms of reach and bucket movement. These pivot points on articulating boom lifts, also commonly referred to as knuckles, help with moving the platform up and over obstacles with ease, making access to tight areas more achievable. Straight boom lifts, however, have one arm with no pivot points and only extend horizontally, making angle changes and maneuvering around obstacles very difficult, but amazing tools for open environment projects.

The other difference between straight boom lifts and articulating boom lifts would be their vertical reach. Telescopic boom lifts can reach higher vertical heights than articulating boom lifts. The max vertical height for straight boom lifts is about 180 feet or 55 meters while articulating boom lifts have a max vertical height of 150 feet or 45 meters. While articulating boom lifts are not the best choice if going for height, they are great for jobs where you need to change your position frequently.

Articulating boom lifts at different height extensions
Articulating boom lifts at different height extensions

When To Use Articulating and Straight Boom Lifts

As you can see from the differences above, if the contract job you're working on requires simple vertical or horizontal movement with big heights, a straight boom lift is probably the best rental option. However, if you need to get around any obstacles like trees, barriers, or street lights, then articulating boom lifts would be the better rental choice.

Typically, if you're looking to determine when you should be using an articulating boom lift versus a telescopic boom lift, there are a few easy criteria to help:

  • If you need access to something in confined workspaces or places that are tight and narrow

  • If there are lots of obstacles and you need to reach over them

  • If you're working indoors

  • If you need extra reach from the platform

  • If you need to travel over rougher terrain

Using these criteria as an easy checklist should help you determine whether you should be using an articulating boom lift or a telescopic boom lift on your next project.

Common Jobs for Articulating Boom Lifts

While the criteria above can help you picture what kind of jobs an articulating boom lift might help you with, we also did some research and created a carefully curated list of jobs that contractors frequently use these machines for.

1. Painting Walls or Ceilings

You can use scissor lifts or telescopic boom lifts for painting tall walls and ceilings depending on the environment you're in, but it would make more sense to use articulating boom lifts for tall, tight spaces with sharp corners since the knuckles and pivot points will help you navigate the environment better.

2. Fixing Street Lights and Hanging Signs

Not every street light or sign is easily accessible. Some might be a few yards or meters away from the street, around corners or bends, or above and between trees. By using an articulating boom lift you can ensure to duck between branches or maneuver around them much better than you could on a straight boom lift.

An articulating boom lift doing work on a parking lot structure overhang
An articulating boom lift doing work on a parking lot structure

3. Fruit Picking

Much like how these machines can be used to maneuver around trees in order to fix street lights or hang signs, articulating boom lifts can also help you maneuver through trees in order to pick fruit that's hanging on them. There's a reason some people like calling the articulating boom lift a "cherry picker" and it's because of how often you can find them being used on farms and orchards to pick the fruits from trees much easier.

4. Cleaning Gutters and Eavestroughs

This one might be more for the residential owners reading this but one of the most creative ways that we saw an articulating boom lift being used was by the YouTuber Outdoor With The Morgans who rented the man lift to clean his gutters and eavestroughs. Rather than using a ladder to pivot around his house with high roofs, he decided to rent an articulating boom lift to maneuver around his house instead, rarely having to move the lift from its original position.

5. Tree Cutting and Trimming

Another YouTube-inspired idea we saw was using an articulating boom lift for tree cutting and trimming. If you have a large, suburban property with large, tall trees, or are working on a commercial complex with the same issue, then articulating boom lifts can help you get straight to cutting by avoiding climbing up trees and using ladders.

6. Lighting and Electrical Work

Many warehouses, stores, and commercial buildings have tall ceilings with lighting in hard-to-reach places. Articulating boom lifts are great at solving these problems in an efficient manner. Not only are they great for working at tall heights but they also provide the range of motion that is often necessary for fixing multiple lights without having to reposition the whole machine, which would be required if using scissor lifts or a telescopic boom lift.

7. Work on Stadiums, Bridges, Hangars, and Convention Centers

All of these jobs and environments have massive ceilings and are typically quite hard to maneuver because of all the objects in the way like lights, scoreboards, screens, or even airplanes. As such, telescopic boom lifts are probably unlikely to be useful in these areas. Articulating boom lifts, however, would be perfect for all the other reasons we listed above.

8. Roofing and Sheathing

Different than cleaning out gutters, you might see articulating boom lifts on a lot of residential housing projects. They can be very useful for helping lift shingles onto roofs, but even more than that, articulating boom lifts can be a great way to sheath a house in an efficient manner. All you have to do is have one or two people in the bucket and navigate around the pre-built home to sheath easily.

Two people on an articulating boom lift doing the sheathing
Using an articulating boom lift to put up sheathing

Renting An Articulating Boom Lift

When it comes to renting an articulating boom lift, it's important to know what size you will need to complete the job. The standard size options are 30, 45, 60, 80, 120, and 150 feet. Within this range of size options, you should be able to complete any of the tasks listed above and more. If you're looking specifically for an electric option, be aware that they only are manufactured at the 30, 45, and 60 feet models currently.

If you're looking to rent an articulating boom lift for an upcoming project, search the DOZR Marketplace to find one near you. We provide access to articulating boom lift rentals of all sizes across North America. You can also search our rentals for straight boom lifts if you think those would better serve your needs. If you prefer to talk to one of our service representatives, you can call us at 1-844-997-0150 to help you find the best solution for your next project.

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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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