How to Choose the Right Scissor Lift


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Whether you are an interior designer or construction contractor, scissor lifts are a safe and efficient equipment for completing aerial tasks. Much safer than ladders, scissor lifts offer more stability and room and are ideal for both indoor and outdoor operations. Considering the many applications of this equipment, it is important to know how to choose the right scissor lift. This article explores important factors to consider when buying scissor lifts.

Lift and Lower Speeds

When choosing a scissor lift, it is important to know the rate at which the lift goes up or down. Depending on the type of work you do, the lift’s speed can have a huge impact on productivity. If your operations are high-paced and require moving the lift to different locations multiple times, a faster unit will serve your needs better. Places where the lift will be used as a stationary equipment can use a unit with slower speeds.


Before choosing a scissor lift, consider the dimensions of your work area. Check the height and width of doorways, ceilings, passages and other areas where you might need to use the lift. Some scissor lifts have fold-down guardrails and remote-control capabilities for easier manoeuvrability in confined spaces. Whatever you do, make sure the scissors lift you buy has smaller dimensions than your work space.

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Vertical Height

When buying scissor lifts, it’s important to consider the lift’s height, and the height required to complete aerial operations, which is the working height. To get the working height, add six feet to the platform height. You should only buy a lift that allows workers to complete their tasks easily and safely.


The width of a scissor lift matters because it can affect its manoeuvrability and utility. If the equipment is too wide, using it in tight spaces can be difficult. The width can also affect the number of workers, equipment, tools and supplies the lift can accommodate. So, consider the needs of workers on the lift before choosing one.

Operator Controls

The best scissor lifts are agile and come with intuitive operator controls for easy handling and positioning. To make your work easier, go for models with control boxes that have remote capabilities. That way, it becomes easier to position the equipment in the right spot and you have more flexibility manoeuvring in cramped spaces.

Safety Accessories

While scissor lifts have a lower vertical operating height, it is still important to ensure that they have all the safety features to protect workers. Have a look at the operating manual, and check whether the lift has guard rails or fall protection devices, emergency brakes and other safety-related features.

Power Requirements

Scissor lifts can be electric or rough terrain. Electric units are battery-powered and are typically used indoors. These usually have lower vertical height and are most ideal for smooth surfaces. Rough-terrain scissor lifts use gas or diesel-powered engines, reach higher heights, and are perfect for outdoor environments. They can work in rough, muddy terrain and have higher ground clearance.

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Personnel and Load Capacity

The personnel and load capacity of a scissor lift is important. If your lift can only accommodate three people, it is dangerous to put four people in it even if you haven’t exceeded the total weight limit. Consider choosing a lift that provides excess capacity so you have more flexibility and safety for workers.

Terrain and Ground Clearance

If you are going to work in rough terrain, a four-wheel-drive model is ideal for your needs. You need more ground clearance if the lift will work on rough terrain, where it may have to move in mud or over debris. Indoor environments are more suitable for ground-hugging models.


Cost is an important factor to consider when buying scissor lifts. Larger, more sophisticated models are more expensive than simpler units. Choose a model that provides all the features you need at a good price point. That way, you save on your investment and future operating costs.

Have you bought a scissor lift lately? What factors did you consider to make the buying decision?

How to Choose the Right Scissor Lift was last modified: by