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What Are the Different Types of Lifts in Construction?

The Hudson Tunnel Project is currently the largest construction project going on in the USA right now. It’s worth an astonishing $12.3 billion!

Of course, that’s just one of many thousands of construction projects—big and small—being undertaken across the country at any one time. Most boast a budget considerably less than the Hudson Tunnel!

Any project standing more than one floor tall requires one of the many types of lifts. They’re used to safely move materials from the ground to the second floor or higher.

Read on to find out what lift machinery construction companies use most often.


One of the most common types of construction lifts is the crane.

Construction workers use these large, powerful machines to lift and move heavy loads. Sometimes, you’ll see them perched—seemingly precariously—atop a skyscraper. Other times, they’re secured to the ground with enormous hydraulic systems, lifting structural components onto a rooftop.

The term “crane” is a broad category. Many types of cranes are used in construction, from enormous tower cranes to nifty mobile cranes.

Scissor Lifts

Another of the standard lifts in construction is the scissor lift.

Scissor lifts are aerial work platforms with a folding mechanism to rise and descend. They provide a stable platform for workers to stand on. They’re most often used for working at heights—think painting, maintenance, or installation tasks.

If you need to get your workers up to speed on using this vital equipment, review the scissor lift training linked here.

Boom Lifts

Boom lifts are another of the lifts typically seen on construction sites. They’re also known as cherry pickers or aerial lifts.

This machine features a platform or bucket attached to the end of an extendable arm (called a boom). Workers use a boom lift to access elevated areas like rooftops or building facades.

Boom lifts provide more precise vertical and horizontal reach, making them ideal for positioning tasks.

Material Hoists

When it comes to construction lift types, we can’t forget about material hoists. The material hoist is a vertical lift that transports materials and equipment up or down on a building site.

You’ll see them most often in high-rise construction projects where they’re used to move heavy items to different levels. These could include construction materials, tools, and machinery.

Personnel Lifts

Personnel lifts, also known as man lifts or vertical mast lifts, are compact, vertical lifts designed to move workers where they need to be.

They consist of a single mast or column with a platform that can be raised or lowered. They’re often used for maintenance, installation, or inspection work.

Personnel lifts are compact and lightweight—smaller than scissors or boom lifts. This makes them ideal for use in tight spaces. They also provide a safer alternative to ladders or scaffolding.

Construction Insights: Types of Lifts Explained

In construction, many types of lifts play a vital role. From towering cranes to nimble scissor lifts, each lift has its purpose. They enhance efficiency and help workers move themselves and materials safely.

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