Types of Knuckle Boom Lifts

Types of Knuckle Boom Lifts

If you’re looking to buy or hire a boom lift, you might wonder which variety will work best for your job. The three types are telescopic boom lifts (straight boom lifts or stick booms), articulating boom lifts (knuckle boom lifts) and towable trailer boom lifts.

In this article we’ll run through the different types of knuckle boom lifts available.

Knuckle boom lifts vs straight boom lifts

The mast of a knuckle boom lift comes as a series of segments that connect at joints or ‘knuckles’—hence the name knuckle boom. The articulation allowed by these joints means the knuckle boom has the flexibility to offer more options in regards to how it reaches.

This flexibility means a knuckle boom is suitable for working in a wide variety of spaces, including tight spaces (indoors or outdoors), around obstacles on a worksite, and around corners. The base unit can be positioned close to the job for added stability, and requires little floor space.

Access Hire Equipment like Knuckle boom lifts can also do effective lateral work at varying heights, as you can easily adjust the height of the platform and move it laterally, without having to reposition the base unit. Knuckle boom lifts are especially suited to painters, caulkers, electricians, plumbers, warehousers, roofers, renderers, window installers and maintianance.

On the other hand, a straight boom lift has one long, non-articulated mast that can be extended or retracted to reach its heights, or be swung into position. It's capable of reaching “high and wide”, but not much else. To move a straight boom’s platform horisontally, you need to move the base unit, then re-swing in to get to a desired position. This is fine if you have a wide space to work in, but not ideal when space is limited.

Types of Knuckle boom lifts

When you are looking at a boom lift for hire or a boom lift for sale, the main differences you’ll see between knuckle boom lifts surround the following features.

Knuckle placement

Power source
The type of power used may vary between models. The choices are diesel, electric or hybrid versions that employ battery power.

Electric models - Suitable for indoor use with no emissions

Diesel models - Outdoor use only due to emissions

Platform Height

Knuckle boom models come with different reach capacities. The knuckle booms Auslift stocks come in the following ranges:

  • 30ft electric narrow knuckle boom
  • 34ft electric/diesel knuckle boom
  • 40ft electric narrow knuckle boom
  • 45ft electric/diesel knuckle/straight boom
  • 52ft diesel knuckle boom
  • 60ft electric/diesel knuckle boom
  • 66ft diesel straight boom
  • 80ft diesel knuckle boom
  • 86ft diesel straight boom
  • 125ft diesel knuckle/straight boom
  • 150ft diesel straight boom

Lift capacity

Different models enable you to carry different amouts of weight. Models typically have a lift capacity of approimately 230kgs (2 persons) but for specific lift capactities plese refer to the model specifications which outline what the maximum capacity is. These standards should never be breached.


The brand of knuckle boom lift may be a factor in choosing a knuckle boom lift for hire or sale. (Auslift stocks leading brands: Genie, JLG and Haulotte. As well as towable boom lifts from: Snorkle, Genie and Haulotte.)

Towable or self-propelled

Towable knuckle boom lifts for sale or hire will need to be towed between site locations when changing between tasks, and this will require a vehicle. They come as elecric or diesel models. A towable trailer boom drives as a regular boom once on site.


Electric Boom lifts feature non-marking foam filled tyres for indoor use, whereas Diesel machines feature solid rubber rough terrain tyres for outdoor use. On new 2021 models of some brands you can find non-marking tyres on both electric and diesel models. For more information on these models for your needs give us a call on 1300AUSLIFT for friendly and free advice from our staff.

Auslift knuckle boom lifts


Auslift offers a range of leading brands of knuckle boom lifts. If you’re seeking a knuckle boom lift for sale, see our range of electric and diesel lifts here. If you need a knuckle boom lift for hire, click here for our hire range.

If you aren’t sure which model is fight for the job, talk to one of our experienced staff who can help assess your needs and recommend the type and brand that best suits. Note, of the brands we stock, we don’t preference any brand over another, we just recommend the best fit for you.

To get in touch, call 03 9702 7977 or complete an online enquiry and we’ll quickly get back to you.