If you've got a project coming up that requires access to high spaces, you might be considering cherry picker hire. But which type?

Scissor lifts and boom lifts both offer high reach, but there are some big differences in capabilities that could be deal-breakers when deciding which type of elevated work platform (EWP) is the best fit for your needs.

What are scissor lifts?

Scissor lifts use a foldable support structure that functions like a spring as it extends upwards to carry personnel and equipment safely to height. While a small scissor lift like the JLG 1930 Electric Scissor Lift may only have space for one or several workers, larger platforms can accommodate a whole team, with barriers keeping them safely enclosed.

What are boom lifts?

Boom lifts (or cherry pickers) have a more compact platform or bucket that is elevated using a hydraulic lift. There are two main types of boom lifts:

Straight booms – telescopic boom lifts offer the highest vertical reach of any access equipment like this Genie S-85 XC Boom Lift which boasts a working height of 30m.

Knuckle booms – articulating boom lifts with jointed arms. While these lack the height of straight booms, they make up for it in improved access when an up and over approach is required like this 15M Electric Knuckle Boom.

So which type of access hire does my project need?

Here are some questions to consider when choosing an EWP that will best deliver what your project needs.

1. How high do I need to reach?

Straight boom lifts are king when it comes to vertical reach, offering two to three times the height of scissor lifts. This could be the deciding factor if you're working on a tall structure or trees, but a scissor lift could also be an option at heights below 20 metres.

2. Do I need to reach around obstacles?

Knuckle booms can be guided over, under and around obstacles for access to areas that would otherwise be hard to reach. Many straight booms can also be set at a range of angles for upward or downward reach, whereas scissor lifts are limited to straight vertical movement.

3. How many people do I need to lift?

Larger platforms make scissor lifts the best option for lifting multiple personnel at the same time, along with equipment and materials. Boom lifts can normally only accommodate a single worker.

4. Will it be used indoors or outdoors?

Boom lifts are most commonly used outdoors, while most scissor lifts are designed for indoor use in factories, warehouses and other enclosed spaces. The exception is rough terrain scissor lifts like the Haulotte 10M Rough Terrain Scissor Lift, which can be used on construction sites and other outdoor areas.

5. Do I need a licence?

If you or your team will be working at heights above 11 metres, you'll need specialised EWP training as well as a High Risk Work Licence.

A high risk licence isn't required if you're working at heights below 11m, but you'll still need to complete scissor lift training to obtain an EWPA Yellow Card.

6. What's my budget?

Scissor lifts are cheaper to hire than boom lifts, as well as easier to operate, so they could be the best option on a limited budget. But if you need that extra reach or manoeuvrability, there's no substitute for a boom lift.

Corsair Hire is proud to announce that we are adding the Haulotte Star 8S to our fleet. An industry favourite, the Haulotte Star 8 vertical mast is a very practical and versatile boom which offers excellent manoeuvrability and productivity.

What features the Star 8S have?

Its progressive electric drive AC motors and proportional controls deliver smooth and precise control. The Star 8’s vertical jib adds more versatility by providing a 3 metre horizontal outreach, making them ideal for access over obstacles or hard to reach places. These vertical masts can reach a platform height of 6.70 metres with a lift capacity of 200kg. They can be driven at full height on flat surfaces and offer a very tight turning circle allowing effective cornering. Easily stored and transported, their non-marking tyres make them ideal for any indoor applications.

Hiring the Star 8S

We pride ourselves on providing the best access equipment for every job and we're excited to add the Star 8S to our range. To get your hands on a Star 8S, get in touch with our experts now!

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Corsair Hire is proud to introduce the Athena 1090 Scissor Lift into our fleet!


The bi-levelling Athena 1090 Scissor Lift is the only tracked scissor lift in the world, giving you the ability to move on and work on almost any ground condition... When you’re working on slopes or uneven terrain, this equipment can do the work that others can’t.

Helping you get the job done with maximum efficiency and safety.