What are the Different Types of Cherry Pickers?

An important part of using cherry pickers safely and effectively is using the correct one for the job. This is so important that it makes up a key part of most IPAF training courses.   To help you identify which cherry picker is right for you here is a quick rundown of the different types of cherry pickers that are available.

What is a Cherry Picker?

A cherry picker is a type of mobile elevating work platform (MEWP). They are also known as boom lifts. They feature one long arm that extends upwards and outwards, supporting a platform/cage that workers can stand-in. They are used to carry out work at height in a safe, efficient way.

What are the categories of Cherry Picker?

There are many things that differentiate types of cherry pickers, including reach, fuel type and how it is moved. Things are further complicated by the fact that different names can be used for each type. However, there are generally considered to be two main ‘types’ of cherry picker: articulated and telescopic. These types are defined by the way the platform of the cherry picker moves.  

Telescopic Boom Lifts

Telescopic cherry pickers are also known as stick lifts or straight lifts.   This type of cherry picker can only move its arm in one direction - vertically. The platform can be moved directly up or down, but due to the straight, rigid arm, there is little possibility of sideways movement. They do extend outwards at an angle, but this angle is also generally fixed.   Telescopic boom lifts are usually able to reach much greater heights than articulated lifts because they are stronger. They can also be quicker to get into position because of their more limited positions.   The disadvantage of telescopic lifts is that they aren’t suitable for tasks that involve any horizontal movement. Their restricted range of movement means they aren’t well suited to small or cramped spaces either.  

Articulated Boom Lifts

Articulated cherry pickers are also known as knuckled, jointed, or Z boom lifts. This is because the extending arm that supports the platform features hinged joints that allow the platform to move in a horizontal direction, left to right, as well as upwards.   This additional directional movement means they are not able to go as high as telescopic cherry pickers. However, they are a lot more agile which means they are able to move up and over objects to reach tight or difficult areas. Their added range of motion also makes them a great choice if a task requires a lot of position changes.  

Other Ways to Classify Cherry Pickers

Articulated and telescopic are overarching types of cherry picker. However, within these categories, there are other ways you can identify or classify them further.

By Propulsion

  • Tracked Boom Lifts: This type of boom lift is mounted on continuous/caterpillar tracks to move it around. Tracked boom lifts are great for stability and use on soft or fragile ground as the tracks disperse the weight of the machine more effectively than wheels. However, the tracks can limit their manoeuvrability and means they are less suitable for very uneven ground.
  • Self-propelled Boom Lifts: Cherry pickers that are self-propelled have an inbuilt drive system to help you move them into position. Their small wheels make them far more agile and easy to manoeuvre than tracked lifts. They can be less stable though.
  • Vehicle Mounted Boom Lifts: These are boom lifts that are fixed to the back of a truck, van or lorry. They are used outside on vehicles that have additional stabilisers fitted for use when the cherry picker is in motion.

By Use

  • Rough Terrain Boom Lifts: These cherry pickers are designed to be used on rocky, rough or uneven terrain. They have specialist tyres and are usually powered by diesel to give them more strength.
  • Mast Boom Lifts: This type of boom lift is small and compact, and highly manoeuvrable. They can be used indoors, outdoors, and anywhere that space is highly limited. They are commonly used inside warehouses, where narrow aisles limit access.
  • Spider Boom Lifts: Spider lifts take their names for the four legs that extend out from the base of the lift to hold it in place. These legs increase stability and spread out the weight and pressure from the lift, so they are often used in places with decorative or delicate floors such as atriums and shopping centres.

By Power Source

  • Diesel: This fossil fuel is best used outdoors due to the fumes it emits. Diesel-powered MEWPs tend to be quicker to position but can be more expensive to run.
  • Electric: Most indoor-only cherry pickers will be powered by electricity. They may not be able to reach such great heights as diesel fueled MEWPs but they are cleaner to use as well as being quieter.
  • Bi-energy: Bi-energy (or hybrid) powered boom lifts allow you to switch between energy sources to suit the environment or job they are being used for.
  Star Platforms supply a wide variety of cherry pickers for hire and sale from our depots across the UK. Browse our hire range or get in touch with our friendly team for expert advice on the best powered access equipment for your needs.