Features to Look for in Rented Aerial Work Platforms
Many factors determine which aerial work platform you should rent, such as whether you will work inside or out, the availability of electricity, the type of terrain you will work on, the height you need to achieve and if you will need to reach up and over something. The following material describes the features to look for in an aerial work platform to fit various needs. Your local, ARA-affiliated rental store professionals also can assist you in selecting the best aerial work platform for your intended application.
  • Power source. Rental aerial work platforms can run on electricity, gasoline, diesel or dual fuel/energy. Quieter, electrically powered aerial work platforms use rechargeable batteries for performing lifting operations. Since this type of aerial work platform produces no exhaust fumes, you can use it indoors. However, some electric aerial work platforms come in rough-terrain models for use outdoors. Dual-energy models run on two types of energy, such as batteries and diesel, to allow the batteries to charge during use. New construction sites that have a rough terrain, but no power, require gasoline- or diesel-powered aerial work platforms. Some engines run on dual fuel — gas and propane.
  • Maximum reach. The reach of a rented aerial work platform may refer to either platform height or working height. Platform height refers to the maximum height that you can raise the platform and working height indicates the level that a worker can reach while at maximum platform height. The platform height of an aerial work platform generally falls short of its working height by about six feet. Platform heights can be as little as 12 feet or as much as 150 feet or more, depending upon the type of aerial work platform. Maximum outreach also is important on aerial work platforms that have articulating capabilities.
  • Load capacity. When deciding on the load capacity that you will need in a rented aerial work platform, make sure to include not only the weight of the workers, who will ride in it, but also the weight of their tools and supplies, as well as the weight of anything else they will need to lift. One-person aerial work platforms often support no more than 300 pounds, while rough-terrain scissor lifts commonly can support up to 2,500 pounds. Articulating and telescopic aerial work platforms usually carry less than 1,000 pounds.
  • Gradability. This aspect of a rented aerial work platform — expressed in percentages — speaks to the ability of the equipment to handle rougher grades. Some aerial work platforms only can work “on the slab,” meaning they require a hard, flat surface. Others can handle rough terrain or in other words, “off the slab” surfaces. Features, such as 4-wheel drive and tracks, can add to the gradability of an aerial work platform. A higher percentage of gradability means that the aerial work platform can handle rougher terrains.
  • Platform size. The platform on a rented aerial work platform should allow the workers on it to work comfortably. Scissor lifts typically have the largest platforms. Some aerial work platforms may come equipped with an extension deck to allow you to expand the size of the platform.
  • Weight. Rented aerial work platforms easily can weigh anywhere from 300 pounds for a small, manual aerial work platform to as much as 45,000 pounds for a telescopic boom lift. If you know the weight of a rented aerial work platform, you can check to make sure the surface you will use it on can support it.
  • Self-propelled vs. manual. Manual aerial work platforms require you to push or tow them to the jobsite, but self-propelled aerial work platforms can move by their own power source.
  • Towable or trailer-mounted. This feature on a rented aerial work platform allows you to tow them without a separate trailer. These aerial work platforms often feature an articulating boom.
  • Safety features. Some features that a rental aerial work platform may contain for safety reasons include a pothole protection system, lanyard attachment points, descent or tilt alarms and platform leveling features.
  • Optional features. Many optional features may make aerial work platform rentals more appealing, depending upon your particular application. These features may include an onboard generator for running power tools, a welder package, auto-leveling outriggers, foam-filled tires or non-marking tires.
Contact your local, ARA-affiliated, rental store for information on available rental products and services to meet your aerial work platform needs. To locate the rental store nearest you, use the Rental Store Quick Locator above.

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