Articulated vs. Straight Boom Lift: Which is best for your next project?

Also referred to as a mobile elevated work platform (MEWPs), a boom lift helps workers access elevated areas for different types of temporary work, such as maintenance or construction tasks. Unlike scaffolding or stationary platforms, MEWPs provide workers and their materials maneuverability, space, and agility on a job site.

Each type of boom lift serves a specific purpose. Some of the most common configurations include articulated and straight (or telescopic) boom lifts.

Both configurations can tackle tough jobs and come in a range of options:

  • Indoor and outdoor
  • Engine (diesel, gas, LP), electric, or hybrid-powered
  • Tracks versus tires
  • High-capacity versions

Articulating Boom Lift vs. Straight Boom Lift

When selecting a rental boom lift, there are three considerations to keep in mind: agility, job site conditions, and outreach. Here are a few tips to help you choose between articulated and straight.

Articulating Boom Lift

Genie® articulated boom liftArticulating booms have the best versatility in tight spaces and confined work areas. This configuration would be the preferred choice for maneuvering around job sites with obstacles and structures, such as chimneys, ceiling joists or roof trusses, HVAC or electrical fixtures, the floors of a building under construction, or warehouse shelves.

With the multiple “joints” and “knuckles,” this lift provides a more narrow operating profile and allows for multiple angles and access to overhead work. However, articulating booms offer less horizontal reach than straight booms.

Straight Boom Lift

Genie® straight telescoping boom liftStraight or telescopic boom lifts are best for applications that require a higher reach and overhead work.

This model positions people and materials into place quickly and allows access to work from a distance; however, the straight boom requires plenty of room to turn and does not navigate obstacles as well as the articulating boom lift.

This configuration best suits multi-story buildings or under or around bridges as it covers more vertical space than an articulating boom lift.

To distinguish between the two lifts, keep in mind that telescopic models are best suited for projects that require high reach and overhead work, as this particular configuration is best for keeping workers in place. Articulating versions are more agile and best for moving workers and materials into position on a job site. These models are more versatile and agile in confined spaces.




If you have any questions about which type of boom lift is right for your application, contact Vandalia Rental to learn more about articulated and telescopic boom lifts.