Man lifts are commonly used in many industries to complete a variety of tasks. They’re used primarily when an individual or group of workers needs to safely perform tasks at height.
While there are three primary types of man lifts (more on this below), all of them feature a platform attached to a lifting mechanism that raises and lowers workers, tools, and supplies to the desired height.
When compared to other options — such as a ladder or scaffolding — a construction lift is safer and more efficient.
Some of the settings in which man lifts are commonly used include:
- Retail stores
- Commercial buildings
- Construction sites
- Distribution centers
For example, if exterior maintenance is required near the top of a commercial building, a man lift is the safest way to gain access.
Types of Man Lifts
There are several types of man lifts, which makes it easier to choose the one that’s best for your application. Here are the three main categories:
1. Vertical Personnel Lifts
Also known as a one-man lift, these are among the smallest types of lifts. With a weight capacity of only 300 pounds, it’s critical to know the weight of any tools and/or supplies that will accompany you.
Vertical personnel lifts are used for tasks such as order picking in warehouses, reaching high shelves in a commercial building, or even changing light bulbs when a ladder can’t do the job.
One man lifts move in a straight up and down direction, making them a good choice for smaller areas where access with larger equipment is a challenge (or impossible).
2. Scissor Lifts
With the use of crisscrossed metal supports, scissor lifts can raise and lower heavy loads. As the platform rises, the metal supports expand in a scissor-like fashion. Conversely, as the platform lowers, the supports “flatten out.”
Scissor lifts can take on heavy loads of both workers and equipment, without losing anything in regards to stability. They can reach heights up to 60 feet, making them useful for many applications, both indoors and out.
There are two basic types of scissor lifts:
- Rough terrain scissor lift: These are designed to provide stability when working on uneven or rough ground, such as on a construction site. Furthermore, they’re more capable of making it through rough terrain on the way to a job site.
- Electric scissor lift: Unlike rough terrain lifts, these do not require fuel to operate. Electric lifts are preferred when working indoors, as they don’t emit much noise.
3. Boom Lifts
Boom lifts are similar to one man lifts in the way that they don’t have a large platform or high weight capacity. However, unlike a one-man lift, several workers can be safely lifted.
With a movable arm, a boom lift provides more flexibility, making it a good choice for accessing hard-to-reach spots. There’s a bucket attached to the end of the arm for a worker and equipment.
The two most common types of boom lifts include:
- Articulating: Also known as a knuckleboom, its arm can safely navigate around obstacles at height. This comes in handy for building maintenance, power line repairs and installation, and tree branch removal.
- Telescopic: A telescopic beam is used to extend the bucket to heights as high as 100+ feet. These can be used in both indoor and outdoor applications.
How to Choose a Man Lift
With three main types of construction lifts to consider, making a final decision can be complicated. Fortunately, answering the following questions will put you on the right path.
- How many people do you need to lift? If you only need to lift one person, a vertical personnel lift will work. However, if you have to lift an entire team, a scissor lift is a better option.
- Do you have a weight requirement? On the low end, a one-man lift can handle roughly 300 pounds. If that’s not enough, a scissor lift is a better option.
- How high do you need to reach? Measure this before choosing a lift, as you don’t want to find yourself coming up short. A boom lift with a telescopic arm, for example, can reach as high as 100 feet or more.
- Are you working indoors or outdoors? This will help you narrow your options. Take for example if you decide to use a scissor lift. If indoors, choose an electric unit. But if you’re working outdoors, a rough terrain lift may better suit you.
- Is noise a consideration? This generally comes into play when working indoors, as too much noise can disturb others and cause hearing issues. Electric man lifts are best for indoor projects.
- Is maneuverability a consideration? If you don’t have a lot of room to work and/or you need to move around obstacles, only certain types of man lifts will work. An articulating boom lift is an example of one that has the capability of maneuvering around various obstacles at height.
- What type of access do you have to the job site? This is often a concern when working outdoors, such as on a construction site. If access is limited, a rough terrain scissor lift is a popular choice.
The availability of three distinct types of man lifts allows you to find one that suits your many requirements.
By answering the questions above and comparing features, you don’t have to guess which construction lift to rent or buy. You’ll have a clear idea of which one is right for the job.