How High Can a Scissor Lift Reach?

Scissor lift hire Redland Bay

A scissor lift, often known as an aerial work platform, is a motorised vehicle with a railed platform that can be raised straight up in the air. The mechanism to achieve this is using linked, folding supports in a criss-cross “X” pattern. The upward motion is achieved by applying pressure outside the lowest set of supports, elongating the crossing pattern, and propelling the work platform vertically. Scissor lifts provide temporary access to inaccessible areas, usually at height.

This blog post will delve into the world of scissor lifts. We’ll explore different types of scissor lifts and how their design and specifications influence their maximum reach. We’ll look at average height ranges for common types of lifts and discuss some important safety considerations when operating these machines, especially at their maximum heights. Finally, we’ll look at some of the highest-reaching scissor lifts in the world. Whether you’re a seasoned professional who works with these machines regularly or just someone curious about how they work, this post will provide insightful information about how high a scissor lift can reach. So, let’s elevate our knowledge!

Types of Scissor Lifts

Scissor lifts come in various shapes and sizes and are designed for different purposes. Here are some of the most common types:

1. Hydraulic Scissor Lifts

These are the most common types of scissor lifts and are typically used for heavy lifting. They operate using the principle of hydraulics, where fluid is displaced to extend or retract the scissor arms. The height these lifts can reach varies, but most models can extend anywhere from 10 to 40 feet.

2. Pneumatic Scissor Lifts

Unlike their hydraulic counterparts, pneumatic scissor lifts don’t rely on any fluid or power to operate. Instead, they use air pressure to raise and lower the platform. These lifts are more environmentally friendly and quieter to operate. They can typically reach heights similar to hydraulic lifts, although some larger models may exceed this range.

3. Electric Scissor Lifts

Electric scissor lifts are powered by electricity and are mainly used for indoor tasks due to zero emissions. They’re popular for tasks like ceiling work or changing light fixtures in large buildings. Their height capabilities are generally lower than hydraulic and pneumatic lifts, with most models reaching between 20 to 30 feet.

4. Diesel Scissor Lifts

Diesel scissor lifts are robust, powerful, and designed for demanding outdoor work. They can handle uneven terrain and carry more weight than other types. The height these lifts can reach is often higher than other types, with some models capable of reaching up to 60 feet.

Each type of scissor lift has unique features and applications, and their maximum height capabilities can vary significantly. Understanding these differences is crucial when selecting the right lift for your needs.

Factors Influencing the Height of a Scissor Lift

Several factors can influence how high a scissor lift can reach. These include the size of the lift, its weight capacity, and design.

1. Size of the Lift

The size of the scissor lift plays a significant role in determining its maximum height. Larger lifts with extended scissor arms can typically reach higher heights than smaller models. However, the downside is that larger lifts may be more challenging to maneuver, especially in confined spaces.

2. Weight Capacity

The weight capacity of a scissor lift can also affect its maximum height. Lifts designed to carry heavy loads often have stronger, more robust scissor mechanisms, enabling them to reach higher elevations. However, it’s crucial to remember that as you load the platform closer to its maximum weight capacity, the stability of the lift can decrease, especially at higher heights.

3. Design of the Lift

The scissor lift’s design, particularly the scissor mechanism, can significantly impact the maximum height. Lifts with multiple sets of scissor arms or specially designed arms can often reach higher than those with more straightforward designs.

4. Power Source

The power source of the lift can also influence its height. For example, hydraulic lifts can often reach higher than electric ones because hydraulic systems can generate more force to extend the scissor arms.

Understanding these factors can help you choose the right scissor lift for your needs and use it safely and effectively. Remember that while reaching high is important, stability and safety should never be compromised.

Average Height Ranges of Scissor Lifts

Scissor lifts can vary greatly in their maximum height capabilities. Here’s a breakdown of the average height ranges for common types of scissor lifts:

1. Hydraulic Scissor Lifts

Hydraulic scissor lifts are widely used due to their power and versatility. They typically have a maximum height range between 20 to 40 feet. For instance, the popular hydraulic model, the JLG 1932R electric scissor lift, has a maximum platform height of 19 feet.

2. Pneumatic Scissor Lifts

Pneumatic scissor lifts use air pressure, making them environmentally friendly and ideal for indoor use. These lifts can usually reach heights of around 30 to 40 feet. The Genie GSTM-3232, for example, has a maximum working height of 38 feet.

3. Electric Scissor Lifts

Electric scissor lifts are perfect for indoor tasks due to their quiet operation and zero emissions. Most models have a maximum height range between 20 to 30 feet. The Skyjack SJIII 3219, an electric model, has a max platform height of 19 feet.

4. Diesel Scissor Lifts

Diesel scissor lifts are designed for tough outdoor tasks and can usually reach the highest heights of all scissor lift types. Some models can reach up to 50 or 60 feet. The Haulotte Compact 14 DX, a diesel-powered scissor lift, has a maximum working height of 45 feet.

Remember, these are average ranges; specific models may fall above or below these figures. It’s essential to consult the specifications of the individual model to understand its maximum height and ensure it meets your needs.

Safety Considerations When Operating at Maximum Heights

Operating scissor lifts, especially at high elevations, require stringent safety measures. Accidents can lead to severe injuries or even fatalities. Hence, following safety guidelines when operating these machines, particularly at their maximum heights, is crucial.

Importance of Safety Measures

The risk of falls and other accidents significantly increases when working at height. Factors such as unstable surfaces, weather conditions, and improper use of equipment can contribute to these risks. Therefore, ensuring the safety of operators is paramount.

Tips for Safely Operating a Scissor Lift at its Maximum Height

  1. Use Proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Always wear the required PPE, including harnesses and hard hats. Regularly inspect the equipment for any signs of wear and tear.
  2. Understand Fall Distance: Be aware of the distance you could potentially fall and ensure your fall arrest system is set up correctly to prevent hitting the ground or any obstruction below.
  3. Regular Training: Operators should undergo regular training to understand the correct operation of the lift and what to do in case of emergencies.
  4. Avoid Overloading: Do not exceed the weight capacity of the lift. Overloading can lead to instability and potential tipping over.
  5. Avoid Working in Bad Weather Conditions: Windy or rainy conditions can make operating a scissor lift at height more dangerous.
  6. Inspect the Equipment: Regularly inspect the scissor lift, including the hydraulics and safety mechanisms, to ensure they are in good working order.
  7. Enforce Safety Precautions: Managers should consistently enforce all safety precautions and resist the temptation to ease up on enforcement over time.

Adhering to these safety tips and precautions can significantly reduce the risk of accidents when operating a scissor lift at its maximum height.

The Highest Reaching Scissor Lifts in the World

Scissor lifts are indispensable tools in construction, maintenance, and many other industries requiring height work. Here are some of the highest-reaching scissor lifts in the world:

1. PB S370-24 ES 4×4

The title for the tallest scissor lift in the world currently goes to the PB S370-24 ES 4×4. This colossal lift has a maximum working height of approximately 123 feet. Its impressive height makes it ideal for a range of applications, including construction, building maintenance, and event setup.

2. Snorkel S9070RT-HC

The Snorkel S9070RT-HC is the tallest rough-terrain scissor lift in North America, reaching up to 76 feet. This lift is designed for rugged outdoor environments and combines impressive height with robust construction and stability.

3. Skyjack SJ9263 RT

Skyjack offers the SJ9263 RT, its tallest scissor lift, which has a platform height of 63 feet. This rough-terrain model is designed for challenging outdoor work sites where high reach is essential.

While these scissor lifts are among the tallest in the world, it’s important to remember that working at such heights requires stringent safety measures. Operators should be adequately trained, and all necessary safety equipment should be used to ensure safe operation.


In this blog post, we’ve delved into the world of scissor lifts, exploring the average height ranges of different types, safety considerations, and some of the highest-reaching models in the world.

We’ve learned that hydraulic scissor lifts typically range between 20 to 40 feet, while pneumatic lifts are similar but more eco-friendly. Electric scissor lifts are ideal for indoor tasks with a range of 20 to 30 feet, and diesel lifts can reach heights up to 60 feet for tough outdoor jobs.

Safety is paramount when operating these machines, especially at high elevations. Following safety guidelines, using proper PPE, understanding fall distances, regular training, avoiding overloading, and regularly inspecting equipment are just some of the steps to ensure safe operation.

Models like the PB S370-24 ES 4×4, Snorkel S9070RT-HC, and Skyjack SJ9263 RT stand out as some of the highest-reaching scissor lifts in the world, underlining the impressive capabilities these machines offer.

Understanding the height capabilities of scissor lifts is crucial in selecting the right equipment for your needs. The right scissor lift not only ensures the job gets done efficiently but also contributes significantly to the safety of operators. So, whether you’re in construction, maintenance, or any other industry that requires work at height, a thorough understanding of scissor lifts will go a long way in ensuring you have the right tools for the job.

If you need help when looking to hire a scissor lift for your next job, our team of friendly experts are here to help.

If you would like to speak with one of our expert team members, they are looking forward to chatting with you!

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