A scissor lift is just one of the types of aerial lifts, but it serves a specific purpose. It is designed to move vertically to help workers reach tall heights. This lift gets its name from the X pattern design, which can extend up to a maximum height for operation. The lift may operate by hydraulics, pneumatics, or through mechanical means. Businesses can choose to purchase or rent a scissor lift, depending on how often they are needed. They may be used in construction, repairs, and other tasks. One of the most important considerations is the scissor lift height.
Scissor lift sizes vary. Larger scissor lifts are typically used outdoors at construction and other rough terrain job sites. These models run on diesel or dual-fuel (gasoline and propane) engines. Comparatively, small scissor lifts run on electricity and are better suited for indoor job sites.
Early on, scissor lifts were used mainly in industrial settings. These days, they are commonly used in a wide variety of job sites, such as retail outlets and parking garages.
Does your company need scissor training? OSHA requires training for all scissor lift operators. AerialLiftCertification.com (ALC), the leader in online OSHA-approved certification, offers three different training courses to keep you compliant.
The Train a Trainer course allows you to establish a safety expert in your company for all types of aerial lifts and all sizes. The Operator Training Kit is a complete solution to train all lift operators in your organization. With the Bundle package, you get both courses at a discount to ensure your company is always 100% OSHA certified.
Even if you’re not up to speed on scissor lift height requirements or how high can a scissor lift go, ALC is here to help your company become as safe as possible.
Let’s take an in-depth look at scissor lift heights, scissor lift height limits, and more!
aerial lift certification
Working with Scissor Lifts and Different Scissor Lift Sizes
Scissor lifts are often used in place of ladders and scaffolding. In fact, for safety purposes, OSHA considers them to be a form of scaffolding. As a result, scissor lift workers don’t have to wear fall protection gear. Scissor lifts offer many advantages over ladders and scaffolding. They are easy to operate and move from one job site to another. They have the flexibility to handle many different types of job tasks. When finished with a job, they don’t take up much storage space.
Other types of aerial lifts can move vertically and horizontally while in the air. In contrast, scissor lifts can only move in one direction — straight up and down. This means they have to be positioned directly under the work area for the job to be done. However, their stability and large platform make them ideally suited for use as a work platform.
Scissor lifts use crisscrossed folding supports to raise the work platform. The pressure is applied to the outside of the lowest set of supports. This elongates the crossing pattern and lifts the platform vertically. Most scissor lifts use hydraulic power to raise the platform. Others can use pneumatic or mechanical power. Lowering the platform can require power. Or, it can be as simple as releasing the hydraulic or pneumatic pressure. This allows for a safe return of the platform to the ground without needing power.
Scissor Lift Height: How High Can a Scissor Lift Go?
One of the most common questions our training experts receive is: how high can a scissor lift go? Scissor lifts can extend as high up as 60 ft., or about one-third the height of the tallest aerial lift. Most working heights range from 20-40 ft. Scissor lifts have less reach power than boom lifts but can hold more weight. Many scissor lifts have an unrestricted weight limit of 1,000 lbs. With others, restricted weight limits can go even higher. This makes them ideal for jobs that involve the movement of heavyweight. For example, carrying heavy building materials on a construction site or heavy equipment to perform repair or maintenance work.
Regardless of your scissor lift height limit, training is required by OSHA to ensure a safe work environment. Just as scissor lifts heights are restricted to 60 ft., untrained workers are restricted from operating scissor lifts!
Scissor Lift Height Ranges
There are many different models of scissor lifts. Each is designed to reach a certain height and work on certain types of jobs.
○ 19-ft. Scissor Lift
scissor lift sizes
These models are best for narrow and ideal for fitting into tight spaces, and they offer limited flexibility. They work well for accessing ceilings and ductwork inside buildings. The typical ceiling height is about 10 ft. But with a maximum reach height of 25 ft, these models can handle a wide variety of ceiling heights. If you could get a scissor lift up there, you could access the top of George Washington’s nose on Mount Rushmore! One of the benefits to this size lift is that it decreases hazards of ceiling crushes when working in tight spaces or other indoor tasks. This lift is also suitable for outdoor tasks as long as the surface is stable.
○ 26-ft. Scissor Lift
This model is built with a wide platform, and it is best for jobs that require equipment. It has a working height of about 32 ft., allowing it to reach the third story of a building. Common job applications include washing or repairing windows and other maintenance work.
○ 32-ft. Scissor Lift
Designed for taller jobs, this model can work at heights up to 38 ft. It is best for workers who need to access telephone and power cables that must be repaired or replaced. One of the benefits of this size of scissor lift is that it allows the worker to work at the extended height for a long period of time. They are often found at construction sites and for maintenance jobs.
○ 45-ft. Scissor Lift
This model is similar to the 32-ft. scissor lift, but it can go higher than a 32-ft. scissor lift. A 45-ft. scissor lift is best for workers who need to access tall buildings. It may be beneficial for workers who need to access elevated signs as well — the lift may even help workers access the top of the famous Hollywood sign.
○ 50-ft. Scissor Lift
This lift is best for workers who require maximum height. It can access the fifth story on a building or a tall tree — about as high as a scissor lift can go (some scissor lift heights can reach up to 60 ft.). These lifts may be designed specifically for rough terrain since they are used mostly outdoors. A rough terrain scissor lift can reach great heights and is designed to handle rugged sites. They come with other features and may include dual-fuel capability for more versatility.
Consider the job that needs to be completed to determine the scissor lift height range you require. Next, you can browse different types of scissor lifts and the prices associated with them and choose the proper lift for your worksite.
Average Scissor Lift Prices
The average price of a scissor lift may vary based on the machine’s height. Now, let’s look at the average prices for some of the most-popular scissor lifts:
– 19-ft. Scissor Lift: $10,000 to $15,000
– 26-ft. Scissor Lift: $15,000 to $25,000
– 32-ft. Scissor Lift: $25,000 to $40,000
– 45-ft. Scissor Lift: $40,000 to $55,000
– 50-ft. Scissor Lift: $55,000 to $70,000
Cost is an important factor as you assess different types of scissor lifts, but it should not be the lone consideration in your quest to find the right lift for your worksite. Instead, you must consider the task at hand, as well as the safety of your aerial lift operators. You can then select a scissor lift that helps you maximize the return on your investment. Additionally, you can provide your workers with the training they need to understand how to safely operate your scissor lift of choice.
Small Scissor Lifts: The “Short Side” of Scissor Lift Height Limits
Sometimes you need a small scissor lift for a small job. In those situations, companies often turn to “mini” scissor lifts. These models can vary in size, with some as small as 4 ft. wide. The maximum height reach for mini scissor lifts is about 19 ft. These small lifts have a smaller work platform that makes them ideal for one-man jobs. These scissor lift sizes make them perfect for indoor use. Despite their scissor lift height limitations, mini lifts still offer big-time performance attributes!
Small scissor lifts are safer than ladders. They are easier to set up and take down than scaffolding, partly due to their scissor lift height restrictions. And most run on electric power, so they don’t emit hazardous fumes like gas-powered models. Mini scissor lifts are often used to navigate tight aisles inside warehouses to access hard to reach areas. Scissor lifts are ideal for indoor painting and repairs for areas unsafe or inaccessible with ladders. They also come in handy for routine maintenance and other light-duty tasks at lower heights.