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10 NOVEMBER 2020

What type of boom do I need? Choosing the right boom for your project


From changing light fittings to performing maintenance overhead, boom lifts are a popular type of access equipment for working at height and getting into hard to reach places. But to be able to work safely and efficiently with booms we must choose the right type of equipment to get the job done. Use this guide to inform your search – or reach out to Coates Hire for help today.


A few things we need to know about booms


What are boom lifts? Boom lifts are a common type of access equipment, aptly named for an extendable hydraulic arm (or boom) that supports the work platform.

How does a boom lift work? Boom lifts consist of a work platform (or bucket), a hydraulic lifting system (either straight or jointed), and a base that can either be grounded, mobile, or mounted on a truck or trailer.

What is the difference between a boom lift and scissor lift? Scissor lifts only extend vertically, while boom lifts can move both vertically and horizontally. And while boom lifts typically have higher and more versatile reach, they also tend to feature smaller work platforms.

When can boom lifts be used? Boom lifts are a useful and versatile type of access equipment for many industries, but they are particularly popular within construction and the industrial sectors. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, booms can support a variety of tasks that involve working above the ground, like:

  • Pruning tall trees
  • Painting high surfaces
  • Making repairs and performing maintenance at height
  • Performing site and equipment inspections and other industrial maintenance tasks


Are there different types of booms? Yes – booms come in a variety of different forms:

  • Knuckle (or articulating) booms and cherry pickers feature a bendable or “jointed” hydraulic arm for greater manoeuvrability. These flexible booms can be useful for moving up and over obstacles and they are particularly effective in narrow and confined workspaces.
  • Straight booms (or telescopic booms) offer good horizontal reach, and are frequently used in construction, facility management and industrial work environments.
  • Personnel lifts tend to be lighter than other types of booms, and are well suited to single operator jobs and indoor work environments – like multistorey buildings and shopping centres – where equipment weight limits apply.
  • Self-levelling, rubber tracked and spider booms are more suited to sites with limited / narrow access that is usually also at an angle that regular boom lifts can’t operate on.
  • Trailer mounted booms are quick to set up and easy to move from one site to another, lending themselves to quick jobs and smaller construction sites.
  • Power source is another variation between booms, with diesel, electric and hybrid models available.


Coates Hire’s unrivalled range of access equipment features all of these popular boom lifts and much more.


Finding the right boom for your next project


Asking the right questions can help you to choose the right boom. Here’s what you should consider:

  • Do you need to go straight up and down, or manoeuvre up and over objects?
  • How much vertical and/or horizontal reach do you need?
  • What type of ground conditions will you be working on? Are there load-bearing issues to consider?
  • Do you require mobile access?
  • Will you be working indoors or outdoors?
  • What size, weight and type of loads will you be lifting?
  • What type of licence and competency does your operator have?


Safety is a really important consideration when it comes to choosing access equipment – so as well as choosing the right type of boom make sure you have trained and qualified personnel available to work safely at height too. Coates Hire’s registered training organisation offers a range of elevated work platform training. Coates Hire is also deeply committed to improving safety for access equipment, through driving industry change and improving the safety of its own fleet.

For all your access equipment needs reach out to Coates Hire today – or find your local branch.


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