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What Size Boom Lift Do I Need?

what size boom lift do i need?

When it comes to aerial work on construction sites, maintenance tasks, or even setting up events, selecting the right size boom lift is crucial for safety, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Boom lifts, also known as MEWPs, are a type of aerial work platform that provides access to inaccessible areas, usually at heights. With various types and sizes available, it can be challenging to decide which boom lift is right for your specific needs. This guide aims to simplify that decision process by highlighting key factors to consider.

Understanding Boom Lifts

Before diving into sizes, let's clarify what a boom lift is. It's a type of aerial platform with a base, a maneuverable arm, and a bucket or platform at the end where workers can stand. They come in two main types: telescopic (straight arm) and articulating (jointed arm), each serving different purposes depending on the job's nature. Keep in mind, just because some boom lifts are categorized in the same class does not mean they have the same capabilities at certain reach requirements.

Telescopic vs Articulating Advantages

Telescopic and articulating boom lifts are two primary types of aerial work platforms that serve to provide access to elevated areas, but they differ significantly in their structure, functionality, and ideal use cases. Here's a quick overview of each:

Telescopic Boom Lifts

Genie telescopic boom lift

Telescopic boom lifts, also known as straight or stick booms, feature a single, straight extendable arm that can reach out at great heights directly above the base. The boom extends telescopically, meaning sections of the boom slide out from within each other to reach its full length.

Key Features:

High Reach: They typically offer greater vertical reach than articulating boom lifts, making them ideal for tasks that require height over versatility.

Greater Capacity: These lifts often have a higher weight capacity, allowing for heavier loads.

Simplicity: The straight boom design is less complex, potentially offering more stability and ease of operation in certain conditions.

Ideal Use Cases:

Tasks that require access to high elevations without obstacles, such as window cleaning or construction work on tall buildings.

Situations where the work surface is directly accessible from above, without the need to maneuver around barriers.

Articulating Boom Lifts

JLG articulating boom lift

Articulating boom lifts, feature a boom with multiple sections connected by joints, allowing the boom to bend or "articulate." This design enables the lift to extend both vertically and horizontally, with the ability to maneuver around obstacles.

Key Features:

Versatility: The articulating design allows for exceptional maneuverability, enabling access to hard-to-reach areas, especially where obstacles are present.

Compact Footprint: Many models are designed to be more compact, allowing them to operate in tight spaces where a telescopic boom might not fit.

Up-and-Over Capability: They excel in situations requiring the lift to reach over and above obstacles.

Ideal Use Cases:

Projects with barriers or obstacles, such as tree trimming or maintenance tasks inside complex structures.

Jobs that require precise positioning of the platform to access work areas.

What Size Boom Lift Do I Need?: Key Considerations

Working Height

One of the most critical factors in choosing a boom lift is the working height, which is the height at which you can comfortably work from the platform. This is not just the height of the arm but includes the reach from the ground to the maximum height of the arm plus the height of a person standing on the platform. Boom lifts can range from 30 feet to over 180 feet in working height, so knowing the exact height you need to reach is essential.

Horizontal Reach

Horizontal reach is the distance from the base of the boom lift to the furthest point the platform can extend horizontally. This is particularly important if you need to bypass obstacles to reach your work area. The required horizontal reach can significantly influence the size of the boom lift you choose.

Make Sure to Consider Both

Combining working height and horizontal reach is crucial when selecting a boom lift because it ensures the selected equipment can safely and efficiently access the specific area where work needs to be performed. This combination addresses two fundamental aspects of aerial work: how high you need to go and how far you need to reach from the lift's base.

Weight Capacity

Consider the weight capacity that the lift needs to support. This includes not just the weight of the workers, but also any tools or materials they will bring up. Smaller lifts might have a capacity of around 500 pounds, while larger ones can carry up to 1,000 pounds or more.

Terrain and Space Constraints

The environment where the boom lift will be used also plays a significant role in selecting the right size. For indoor use, you might need a compact model with a smaller footprint and electric operation to navigate tight spaces and avoid fumes. Outdoor projects might require larger, diesel-powered lifts with four-wheel drive and rough terrain capabilities. The lift's base size and whether it needs to fit through narrow passages also affect your choice.

Transport and Setup

Larger boom lifts may require special transport arrangements and additional setup time, which can affect project timelines and budgets. Ensure that you have the means to transport and set up the boom lift at your site.

Making the Right Choice

Given these considerations, choosing the right boom lift size involves a balance between the height and reach you need and the lift's capacity and footprint. For most standard construction and maintenance tasks, a boom lift with a working height of 40 to 60 feet is adequate. However, for projects with unique requirements such as high-rise construction, you may need a lift that can reach over 100 feet.


Selecting the right size boom lift is essential for the safety and success of your project. By considering working height, horizontal reach, weight capacity, terrain, and space constraints, you can ensure that you choose a boom lift that not only meets your project's requirements but also works efficiently and safely. Remember, when in doubt, consult with a professional to make an informed decision.

Using JED-EYE for Boom Lift Selection

JED-EYE MEWP (Mobile Elevating Work Platforms) and telehandler selection software is designed to streamline the complex process of choosing the boom lift or telehandler for specific project requirements. JED-EYE will significantly simplify the selection process by taking into account the crucial factors of working height, horizontal reach, weight capacity and additional parameters necessary for making an informed decision. Here’s how JED-EYE will manage this process for you:

what size boom lift do i need? JED-EYE process

Comprehensive Database

JED-EYE has a comprehensive database of boom lifts (MEWPs) and telehandlers, including detailed manufacturer specifications like working height, horizontal reach, weight capacity, and terrain capabilities. By inputting your project requirements, JED-EYE quickly filters through its manufacturer specification and range of motion database to find the equipment that matches your needs, saving you the time and effort of manual comparison.

Customized Recommendations

The software uses algorithms to combine the inputted project requirements, such as the desired working height and horizontal reach, with additional factors like weight capacity, the terrain of the worksite, and indoor or outdoor use. It will then provide customized equipment recommendations that are tailored to the specific needs of your project, ensuring that safety, efficiency, and productivity are optimized.

what size boom lift do i need? JED-EYE process


By selecting equipment that perfectly matches the project requirements, JED-EYE reduces the risk of choosing an undersized or oversized machine, which can lead to unsafe working conditions or inefficiency. The software ensures that the recommended boom lift or telehandler is capable of safely reaching the work area without compromising stability or overloading capacity.

what size boom lift do I need? JED-EYE process


JED-EYE contributes to cost-efficiency by recommending the most optimal equipment for the job. This prevents over-investment in larger, more expensive machinery than necessary, or the additional costs associated with using inadequately sized equipment, such as increased labor hours or the need for additional rentals.

Project Management Efficiency

JED-EYE can integrate into broader project management tools, allowing for efficient planning and scheduling. With accurate equipment selection at the early stages of project planning, timelines can be more accurately forecasted, and logistical challenges related to equipment delivery, setup, and use can be minimized.

rental software integration

User-Friendly Interface

Jed-Eye is designed to be user-friendly, making it accessible to project managers, contractors, and workers without requiring deep technical knowledge of MEWPs and telehandlers. This ease of use encourages more frequent and accurate equipment selection, contributing to overall project success.

Why You Should Choose JED-EYE

JED-EYE takes care of the entire process of selecting the right boom lift or telehandler by leveraging advanced technology to analyze project requirements against a comprehensive database of equipment. This ensures that all critical factors, including working height, horizontal reach, and weight capacity, are considered. By doing so, it offers a streamlined, efficient, and safer approach to equipment selection, enhancing project outcomes and cost management.

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