What is a Scissor Lift?

A scissor lift is a mobile scaffold platform that raises people and materials safely and securely. The platform can be raised and lowered using criss-cross beams that can open and close, like scissors (hence the name).

Scissor lifts can be used for any task that requires elevated work. This can be indoor tasks such as warehouse work, ceiling work, or maintenance tasks, as well as outdoor work like tree trimming, sign work, or roof and building repairs.

Construction sites, warehouses, studios, and private homes or buildings can all benefit from hiring mobile elevated work platforms (MEWP). Speedy has a wide range of MEWPs and scissor lifts available for hire.




When do I need a scissor lift?

You don’t need a license to hire or use a scissor lift, so anyone can hire one when required.

They’re suitable for undertaking various working at-height jobs, such as:

  • Construction: brickwork, roof work and window fitting could all benefit from MEWPs
  • Building maintenance: gutter work, roof repairs, hanging decorative lighting, and accessing utilities
  • Warehouse work: shelf maintenance, fitting heating and cooling solutions
  • Signage: road signs and overhead store or warehouse signs can be changed or maintained


Essentially, scissor lifts can be used in any industry or building with high ceilings (hospitals, storage facilities, retail environments, or schools, for instance) and anywhere where storage is high and needs to be accessed or maintained without a ladder.


Why choose a scissor lift?

There’s a variety of MEWPs available for hire. As well as scissor lifts, you can hire Booms, Vertical Masts, and Low-Level Access from Speedy Hire, as well as Towers.

So why choose a scissor lift? Firstly, scissor lifts can be adjusted to the exact height needed. This can avoid overreaching, making working at height jobs safer. Scissor lifts are a better option than ladders for this reason.

Scissor lifts are also equipped with safety devices which protect workers from injuries such as falls. They have high sides and offer the user a stable, flat platform to stand on. Workers are also advised to wear a safety harness when operating scissor lifts.

They’re easy to operate, requiring no licence but with training available in a relatively short period.

Compared to other MEWPs, scissor lifts are generally relatively compact and can be used in tight spaces. They can also have larger platforms versus booms, so they can be better for working across a wider area without the need to dismount and move the platform.


Types of scissor lift

Scissor lifts can vary in size and maximum height, so you must hire the correct one.

Fuel type is a main difference, however:

  • Diesel: have traditional diesel-powered engines. They emit noise and exhaust fumes, so they are not recommended indoors. Best for environments where the noise and fumes will not cause a nuisance or health issues. Generally larger
  • Electric: powered by electric batteries. It is more environmentally friendly and quieter, so it can be used indoors. Generally, it is more compact and ideal for narrow spaces.
  • Bi-Fuel: powered by a combination of diesel and an electric motor, making for a quieter and smoother performance versus diesel alone. It is ideal if your scissor lift needs to be used inside and out, and limited charging is available.

Another difference is the suitability of the scissor lift on the terrain it will be used on.

If used indoors, you should hire a model with non-marking tyres which won’t damage the flooring. A scissor lift suitable for flat surfaces is fine here.

However, a dedicated rough terrain lift will be needed outdoors on uneven terrain. Most are diesel-powered, allowing users to go over this terrain and lift heavy loads.

They’ll also have heavy-duty tyres, a larger weight capacity, and additional safety mechanisms such as fall restraints and arrestors. This means they can be used on uneven ground and slopes while maintaining high levels of safety for the worker.


Do scissor lifts have any restrictions?

Scissor lifts can only go up and down. Thanks to the wheels, they can be driven to the correct position but then only offer vertical height access.

On the other hand, a boom lift can go in various directions, such as forwards, sideways, and upwards, which may be a better option if needing to work across a large horizontal area.


Before hiring a scissor lift…

Ask yourself some crucial questions:

  1. How high is the area I need to access?
  2. What is the terrain like?
  3. Is it indoor or outdoor?
  4. How narrow is the space I need to access?
  5. How heavy is the equipment and the worker?
  6. Which power source is best?




When you have all the answers, hire one of our available Scissor Lifts at Speedy Hire. We can discuss what you need if you call one of our depots or contact 0800 500 3993 for your price and additional information.

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