Andrew Johnson|

What is a Vertical Mast Lift?

When working in industries like construction, facilities, and maintenance, having the right tool for the job can mean the difference between meeting a deadline or budget and going over budget or delaying the completion date. The need for the right equipment is especially crucial when safety is a concern, such as when working at heights. Many companies have scissor lifts or boom lifts for these jobs, but sometimes the work calls for a more precise machine, in which case a vertical mast lift may just do the trick.

A vertical mast lift is an aerial lift–similar to the more common scissor and boom lifts–that is designed with a different use case in mind than its relatives. Instead of using the scissor mechanism that the scissor lift gets its name from, and which requires a wide platform, the vertical mast lift uses a multi-stage system that deploys directly upward from a central mast. This allows the vertical mast lift to have a much smaller footprint and a more condensed platform.

The size of a vertical mast lift’s platform is more akin to that of a boom lift, but unlike a boom lift, which can swing in multiple directions, the vertical lift can only go directly up and down. This means the lift needs to be lowered and moved to work in multiple areas of a building or construction site, but it takes up much less room and requires less coordination while working.

What are vertical mast lifts used for?

Vertical mast lifts have two main advantages over scissor lifts and boom lifts. The first is that they have a smaller footprint and are more compact, both when deployed and when in storage. This quality allows a vertical lift to be used in tight spaces, such as in the narrow aisles between shelving units. Many models can also easily fit through standard doorways, which makes them useful inside buildings, like schools or offices, where they can be used to change overhead lighting or perform maintenance on ceilings. When a vertical mast lift isn’t in use, it takes up much less room than a similar scissor lift or boom lift would, so it is easy to store in a large closet or a small garage, and it can even be easily tucked away on a cramped work site.

When in use, a vertical mast lift is easy for people and other vehicles to maneuver around. Because the platform doesn’t swing or articulate like it would on a boom lift, it’s also easy to plan around where the lift will be. Instead of needing to keep a wide area clear to ensure no one is ever walking underneath an extended boom, site managers only need to worry about a space as wide as the vertical mast lift’s footprint. 

The second advantage a vertical mast lift has is its small platform and easy operation. A vertical mast lift only goes directly up and down, and so it must be positioned directly underneath the work area. This makes knowing where it needs to be easy. Meanwhile, the small platform means that the lift operator can fit into tight spaces that might be inaccessible to another lift type. Once elevated, the platform of most vertical lifts can be extended to increase the working area if need be. This makes them ideal for working on overhead lighting, stage lighting, tight corners of ceiling, and hanging signage. Many models of vertical mast lifts are also capable of working outside and in rough terrain, such as dirt or gravel.

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