Construction equipment
Electric or hybrid vs. engine-powered boom lifts

Boom lifts, or cherry pickers, give you the reach necessary to complete difficult indoor and outdoor tasks safely at height — even extreme height. But how do you choose between electric, hybrid and engine-powered? Which one is right for you?

Your choice between electric, hybrid and engine-powered boom lifts depends on where you work, when you work, and the knowledge and availability of service personnel.


Engine-Powered Boom Lifts: Maximum Reach, Maximum Power

Engine-powered boom lifts give you the reach and power for outdoor performance. Some brands offer two types of engine-powered boom lifts:

  1. Articulating models have a versatile jib to take you up and over obstacles for precise positioning.
  2. Telescopic models provide faster ascent and extended reach so you can maximize productivity by reaching full height quicker.


Electric Boom Lifts: Less Intrusive Operation

Electric boom lifts help complete jobs with virtually no noise or odor and zero emissions, making them ideal for indoor applications. Their quiet operation also makes electric booms well suited for after-hours work, indoors or outdoors, including densely packed urban environments where noise may be disruptive to residents. Many electric boom lifts also offer non-marking tires or non-marking rubber tracks, keeping flooring, sidewalks and landscaping intact.

Lithium-ion batteries are available on some electric and hybrid machines, providing high energy density, low maintenance and maximum longevity.


Hybrid Boom Lifts: The Best of Both Worlds

Hybrid boom lifts can get you where you need to go, and then provide an electric solution for more sustainable — and less intrusive — operation. These machines have the unique ability to support a project from start to finish, on rough terrain to finished floors. The use of one machine for all work provides a more economical and efficient solution for the rental company and the end user. 

For example, JLG’s hybrid articulating and telescopic boom lifts run on a battery with electric drive system, coupled with a diesel generator. Users experience zero emissions when running in electric-only mode and low emissions when the diesel generator is running to charge the battery. In indoor applications, a user can disable the engine with a switch for emissions-free, low-noise operation. The charger can also plug into an external source of electrical power to charge the batteries without running the engine. 

Hybrid and electric boom lifts may help companies earn carbon credits, meet green building requirements set by municipalities, and achieve their corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. 


Service Considerations

Still not sure whether to go engine powered, electric or hybrid? Consider the capacity and skill of your service personnel. Some electric models are specifically designed for fewer scheduled services and less preventive maintenance. However, servicing and repairing high-voltage electric or hybrid machines requires advanced training, even if maintenance is less frequent.



Boom Lift Evolution

As technology advances and new power solutions become available, electric and hybrid solutions will continue to evolve, helping you achieve maximum productivity and push the limits of what’s possible.