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5 Types of Scissor Lifts Used During Construction

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Scissor lifts are a kind of platform used in construction to lift. Scissor lifts move vertically. The name comes from its folded crisscross pattern forming Xs, known as a pantograph. The vertical motion takes place by applying pressure on the outside of the lower set of supports. The exertion of force elongates the cross pattern and propels the platform in the upwards direction. It is used to transport heavy construction items such as concrete blocks, pipes, cement, etc. to elevated heights. Besides, its simplicity of operation is what makes it a must-have construction tool. Scissor lifts reduce workers’ fatigue and increase productivity.

In the construction industry, the scissor lifts are appreciated for their strength and potential to bear a substantial amount of weight. Therefore, scissor lifts hire are widely used in workspaces, more than ever. It has become a very common aerial lift because of the numerous advantages it offers over the traditional lifting methods. It reduces the dangers and risks at construction sites, that lifting usually involves. From lifting heavy objects to taking the labors to height, scissor lifts are one of the most essential and useful tools for construction. It provides enclosure and safety and helps achieve tasks at elevations.

Construction lifts include various types of scissor lifts, but with key differences. It might not lift to very high heights, but it can lift a workforce of dozens to the heights, at ease. It is the most affordable and efficient option for sites where height is not a problem.

Here are 5 types of scissor lifts used during construction, based on their working mechanism, capability, and potential:

1 – Hydraulic Scissor lifts

Hydraulic lifts are scissor lifts that can be used both indoors and outdoors. They are powered by hydraulic systems either hand-operated compressed air or engine/motor. Such lifts work when liquid is pushed from one cylinder to another. When the liquid moves from one cylinder to the other, the lift moves up, the same goes for when it is lowered. The liquid used is usually oil, which operates and moves the platform up and down.

Since this type of hydraulic lift is easy to operate, the operator does not usually need to undergo some special training. The accessibility adds to its value.

However, hydraulic scissor lifts are not a good option for regions where weather is extreme or cold. The reason is that oil has a quality of becoming viscous with the falling temperature. Due to decreased fluidity, the machine becomes slower and difficult to operate. Although the problem has been addressed in the latest models of hydraulic lifts, it is the best option for projects with moderate temperatures and where power and speed are not a concern.

2 – Diesel Scissor Lifts

Diesel scissor lifts are roaring machines fueled by the traditional diesel. It is one of the most commonly used lifts at construction sites. Its signature criss cross-braced design allows it to reach heights as high as 30 feet. The latest models with advanced patterns go as high as 60 feet.

Just like any other thing fueled by diesel, diesel scissor lifts also roar. Besides being extremely noisy, it also emits fumes into the atmosphere. Because of this, diesel lifts are restricted to outdoor use. They are best suited for exterior constructing work, with good ventilation and where the noise can dissipate and not disturb the other ongoing works on construction sites. Their hefty design allows up-to 4 workers to be lifted to complete the demanding jobs. The platform extension gives extra workspace and reach.

Since scissor lifts propel vertically, their operation is simple and non-complex. Another thing which makes diesel scissor lifts an ultimate construction tool is its grade-ability and tilting capacity. This helps workers with the most challenging task and provides maximum stability. It can support a weight of up to 40 kilograms at ease.

3 – Electric Scissor Lifts

As the name suggests, the electric scissor lifts work on a silent power-driven mechanism. Unlike the lifts driven by burning fuel, the electric scissor lifts neither emit fumes into the environment nor create noise pollution at the construction site. This deems it fit for use both indoors and outdoors. Indoors with not sufficient enough ventilation can take advantage of electric lifts.

Unlike other types of construction lifts, it lacks an arm and features a wide platform, which is supported by cross-brace. It makes vertical movement i.e. up and down, thus it requires placement exactly beneath the spot you are working on. This quality of the electric scissors limits its uses, but it is large enough platform makes up for that.

The platform of electric lift has wide space and allows the lifting of an entire team of workers to reach the target spot, at once. It is typically used while exterior building repairs, window installation, cladding installation, and cleaning.

4 – Rough Terrain Scissor Lift

A very famous scissor lift, rough terrain is exclusively designed for outdoor use. Rough terrain scissor lifts have a high weight-lifting capacity for lifting weights like heavy-duty tires. Besides, it is well equipped with safety mechanisms such as arrestors and fall restraint. They feature increased power and the potential to amplify productivity to meet the demanding outdoor tasks. They have internal combustion engines – either gas, diesel or liquid propane. Rough terrain scissor lifts are ideal for sites with sloppy and uneven surfaces and construction sites based in extreme regions. Their function is the same as that of the electric lifts, the only difference being its stable tires designed exclusively for exterior rough and rugged surfaces.

Generally, Scissor lifts work on smooth, plain surfaces, but with rough terrain, tasks at construction sites with rugged surfaces can be carried out conveniently. Moreover, it has the potential to lift several workers to the desired height at once, safely. Rough terrains with its stable customized for such conditions can lift heavy weights to as high as 50 ft.

5 – Pneumatic Scissor Lift

As the name itself suggests, this type of scissor lift works on the pneumatic mechanism i.e. on air. By making use of air pressure, the lift moves. It runs on air without any electric or hydraulic use. The use of air to make the desired movement in the pneumatic lift makes it the most hassle-free and easy-to-operate of all scissor lifts used for construction. Compared to the traditional aerial lifts, it doesn’t make noise either leave harmful fumes into the surroundings.

It operates by vacuuming and compressing the air from the atmosphere. Unlike its fuel-driven counterparts, it takes no electricity because of the absence of fuel during its operation. It is the most eco-friendly of all the aerial lifts, and comparatively clean and easy to maintain. A pneumatic scissor lift is ideal for food-processing factories, paint stations, and warehouses.


The scissor lifts are the ultimate machinery for construction sites and infrastructure companies to carry out their job conveniently. They reduce the work-load by lifting the weights and laborers directly to the desired height instead of having to climb ladders or stairs to go all the way up. This increases productivity. Except for a few cons such as inflexibility and less tilt ability, scissor lifts are ideal to make the job easier for construction sites that too at an affordable price as aerial lifts are available on rent.


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