Knuckle Boom VS Straight Boom – What’s The Difference?

in Boom Lifts Hire by Dave

knuckle boom Vs straight boom

Aerial lifts are used in a wide range of industries and across numerous jobsites around the world. Boom lifts, in particular, are an ideal choice for applications where you need to get workers, tools and materials to extreme heights in order to get the job done. These days, there are two options that dominate the market – knuckle boom lift and straight boom lift. What is the difference between the two?


Knuckle Boom


These are platforms with multiple boom sections that hinge (or ‘articulate’), allowing an operator to gain access to work areas in an up and over approach (which is great when there are barriers or obstacles in the way). These machines are the ideal choice in areas with tight access or that are hard to reach.


Why would you choose a knuckle boom?

  • You need access in confined work areas. Narrow models, in particular, are ideal for the tightest and most congested spaces.
  • You need to reach over obstacles. These machines have less horizontal outreach than other models, but they provide greater versatility.
  • You are working indoors. These days, most industrial models are powered by electricity or clean-burning LPG.
  • You need to travel over rough terrain. Such models are designed for use on rugged, unsealed construction sites.
  • You need extra reach from the platform. Some models offer a boom extension, known as a jib, to add another point of articulation.


Straight Boom


These are platforms with boom sections that extend up and outwards (or ‘telescopically’), allowing an operator to gain access to high up areas. They offer greater horizontal outreach than any other machine on the market, which makes them ideal for use in areas with limited reach.


Why would you choose a straight boom?

  • You need the maximum combination of height and outreach. These models are ideal when terrain or obstacles prevent close access.
  • You have a rugged, unimproved jobsite. Models with 4WD and active oscillating axles are designed specifically for such applications.
  • You want to maximise your productivity. These machines are designed to get up and into working position quickly.


Choosing the right type of boom lift for your project will make all the difference in how efficiently, safely and profitably you are able to complete the task at hand. Knowing the difference between straight boom and knuckle booms will go a long way to helping you make the right decision, so we hope that the basic breakdowns we have provided above give you an idea of what each machine does.