Articulated vs Telescopic Boom Lifts: What’s the Difference?

Elevated work platforms are a necessity for workers to move light loads of equipment from a tall building to the ground or to access tight spots at height. You may be wondering which boom lift is best for your specific job, well this guide is here to discuss the differences so you can make an informed decision about whether you need an articulated or telescopic boom lift for your next project.

What is an Articulated Boom Lift?

An articulated boom lift, also known as a knuckle boom, has several sections that can bend as a result of a ‘joint-like’ system. This makes the boom lift very diverse in the various work that can be completed as the boom lift can go up and over obstacles in tight places. Each section can be adjusted independently which makes the articulated boom lift ideal for tight spaces. For this reason, the ideal working environment for an articulated boom lift are outdoors in environments that have obstacles and that are very narrow.

What is a Telescopic Boom Lift?

A telescopic boom lift, also known as a stick boom or straight boom, has the boom section extending out from the boom hoist by using hydraulics to extend or retract the boom. Since the larger section of the boom extends out and up, area for the telescopic boom lift to move is required which increases the size of the worksite needed to operate this boom lift. The telescopic boom lift is also an extremely stable machine due to the larger section being straight and not compacted down. For this reason, the ideal working environment for a telescopic boom lift is an open work space, where it has plenty of room to move.

Which Boom Lift Works Best in Tight Spaces?

Before you start looking at which boom lift to hire out, you first need to determine the surrounding work environment. This could include buildings or other machinery on the worksite. Consideration for overhead obstructions such as powerlines and trees, as well as determining different access points is essential. If you are working in a suburban location, the articulated boom lift is your best option.

If the worksite has plenty of open space such as property development, the telescopic boom lift would be the superior choice. However, the articulated boom lift could also be used in this environment, so looking at the various factors to decide which boom lift is the ideal hire.

telescopic boom lift

Where will the Boom Lift be used; Inside or Outside?

Another decision that you will need to consider before hiring a boom lift is whether the job required takes place inside, outside or both. In regard to the use of a boom lift inside, hiring an articulated boom lift would be the preferred option. This negates the requirement of ladders or scaffolding as these can be unstable and cannot reach certain heights. In regard to outside use, the articulated and telescopic boom lifts can both be used and complete tasks necessary.

A second consideration before hiring a boom lift inside is whether you want to use fuel or an electrical source to power the boom lift. Choosing an electrical-powered boom lift not only will significantly reduce carbon emissions but also make them good for job sites that don’t have good ventilation systems. Fuel powered boom lifts are able to lift heavier objects at a higher height but are not recommended for use inside.

Which Boom Lift is More Versatile?

What job will be required from the boom lift is another factor to consider before hiring. As touched upon above, the telescopic boom lift is more stable than an articulated boom lift. Therefore, you can reach much higher places by utilising a telescope boom lift while not being concerned about stability issues. The telescope boom lift also adapts to rough terrain very well, while also being able to make use of the height for moving equipment.

If you however need a boom lift that can manoeuvre in tight spaces while being able to move over obstacles, the articulated boom lift is the superior choice. This machine can be positioned, then adjusted depending on the required height needed. The sections on the articulated boom lift can be adjusted individually, to adapt to each work site. The articulated boom lift is overall the more versatile boom lift when compared to the telescopic boom lift.

Which Boom Lift Has the Greater Vertical Reach?

As alluded to above, telescopic boom lifts are generally known to reach greater heights than articulated boom lifts. This is due to the hydraulics of the telescopic boom lift which make the base more stable when compared to articulated boom lifts. However, when determining the boom lift to choose, height should also be a consideration, so you don’t select the incorrect boom lift. These lifts can reach heights between 9 to 54 metres.

Ultimately, the one thing to consider is that different working environments require different boom lifts to complete tasks. We have covered the main considerations to determine which boom lift is best suited to your job. Therefore, by analysing all aspects of the workplace, you can make the best-informed decision before hiring a boom lift.

To hire either an articulated boom lift or telescopic boom lift for your next project head over to iSeekplant to check out our boom lift supplier listings. You can browse through the different boom lift suppliers at different locations and find the best boom lift for your project or give us a call on 1300 691 912.