Manlift | Different Types

A manlift or aerial lift comes in many different forms, each one tailored to performing specific tasks. A aerial lift is an instrument that allows people to work in high elevations. Aerial lifts are used in a wide variety of different work settings – from retail stores to construction sites and warehouses. Essentially, an aerial lift is an ideal tool to get a worker to a place that would never otherwise be safely reached by a ladder or other ordinary means.

All the different kinds of manlift are divided in to two major umbrella categories:

  • Slab. These are designed to work indoors and are often electric powered. They come with thick tires and are meant to work strictly on hard smooth surfaces.
  • Rough Terrain. These gas, diesel, or fuel powered lifts can operate on uneven outdoor terrain.

For slab lifts, non-marking tires are your best option, as they are designed to not mark up hard floors. For rough terrain lifts, pneumatic tires perform well on uneven surfaces and come with the option of being foam-filled to avoid flats.

In terms of aerial lift design, there are three major designs available in the market currently.

  • Boom lifts are composed of one or more mechanical arms with a bucket on the end. Maximum heights can vary between 20 to 100 or more feet. Three types of boom lift exist:
    • Telescopic. These booms lifts have a telescoping beam that can move in almost any direction and can reach up to 130 feet. Mainly for use in construction sites or places that require a worker to reach a very high, tricky spot.
    • Articulating. These boom lifts are jointed for the purpose of moving around obstacles. These are often used in power line repair, trees and plant maintenance.
    • Trailer mounted. These smaller diesel- or battery-powered lifts can be towed behind another vehicle and reach up to 70 feet.
  • Scissor lifts. This kind of manlift has the advantage of a high carrying capacity, anywhere between 500 to 1500 pounds. Therefore, scissor lifts are ideal for moving large amounts of people or heavy equipment from one place to another. Scissor lifts can usually go as high as 40 feet above the ground.
  • Vertical personnel lifts. These are mainly for single-person operators who wish to reach high places. They only move vertically and can carry up to 300 pounds at one time. It’s the ideal choice for reaching a high shelf in a warehouse, for instance.
  • Spider lift. Operating like a boom lift, a spider lift has a unique, lightweight base composed of four structural legs, or outriggers. The advantage of a spider lift is its light weight for easy transport while also sporting all the advantages of a boom lift.

How much each kind of manlift will cost will depend the manufacturer, type of lift, and where you’re located. You may also want to consider renting a manlift if you’re looking into a one-time job.


For more information on any of our products call Curt Blank at ATAL today (559) 225-8000 or E-mail


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