Andrew Johnson|

5 Types of Scissor Lifts for Warehouses & Construction 

Scissor lifts are commonly used in warehouses and on construction sites. This is due in large part to their ability to tackle a variety of jobs, both big and small.

A scissor lift provides a safe and secure enclosure, connected to a rising platform, which allows you to complete various tasks at high elevations.

Scissor lifts vary by application, fuel type, and size. There are five primary types of scissor lifts: Hydraulic, Electric, Diesel, Pneumatic, and Rough Terrain .

1.  Electric Slab Scissor Lift

As far as aerial platform machines are concerned, electric scissor lists are among the most popular. Without the use of fuel, you can expect these lifts to operate in a nearly silent manner. That’s just one of the reasons why it’s a commonly used warehouse scissor lift. 

Also, since electric scissor lifts are smaller than many other types, they’re easier to use in compact indoor spaces. 

2. Rough Terrain Scissor Lift

A rough terrain scissor lift is exactly what it sounds like. It’s designed for outdoor use where access to the job site is less than ideal. Furthermore, these scissor lifts are designed to work on slopes and in inclement weather.

Compared to the other types of lifts on this list, rough terrain machines have heavier duty tires and a higher weight capacity. Most of these lifts are powered by liquid propane, gas, or diesel fuel. 

What to Consider When Choosing a Scissor Lift for Your Project

Choosing the right scissor lift is imperative to completing your project in a safe, secure, and efficient manner. Fortunately, with five distinct types of scissor lifts to choose from, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the right one.

There are five factors to consider when choosing a scissor lift:

1. Platform Size

Sometimes, a small platform for one individual is all you need. But at other times, you may require a scissor lift that can move several workers and their equipment into position.

Platform size varies from one type of scissor lift to the next, so have a clear idea of exactly what you need to safely complete the job.  

2. Weight Capacity

This goes along with platform size. You need to answer two questions:

  • How much weight can the scissor lift safely raise and lower?
  • How much weight do you plan on lifting up and down?

Once you answer the second question, you can make a better decision as to which type of scissor lift will work best. 

Remember, it’s never a good idea to attempt to lift more weight than suggested by the manufacturer. 

3. Indoor or Outdoor Use

Some scissor lifts are best for indoor use, while others are designed with outdoor projects in mind.

For example, if you’re working in a warehouse setting, an electric scissor lift is a common choice. Its compact size allows you to navigate tight spaces and its electric power is nearly silent. 

For outdoor use, a rough terrain or diesel scissor lift are better options. These give you the power and features you need to take on less than ideal conditions. 

4. Lift Height

Before choosing a scissor lift, have a clear idea of how high you need it to reach. This varies from one type to the next, as well as from machine to machine within each category. For instance, one diesel scissor lift may not have the same lift height as another. 

Tip: Don’t attempt to stand on an object or use a ladder on a scissor lift. If your lift doesn’t have enough height, choose a different machine for the task. 

5. Load Method

How you load a scissor lift could affect your decision. Generally, your loading options include:

  • Rolled on and rolled off with a cart or wheeled vehicle
  • Placed on and picked off, such as with crane loading
  • Slide on and slide off, in a conveyor belt manner

The load method is most important if you plan on loading and unloading objects onto the platform. 


If a scissor lifting machine is what you need to safely complete a job at height, choose from one of the five types above while considering all applicable factors. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re seeking a construction lift, warehouse scissor lift, or a machine for another use, there’s a good chance that there’s one that can provide the features you’re seeking. 

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