How High Can a Scissor Lift Go?

Scissor lifts are one of the most popular aerial work platforms (AWP) used for reaching an elevated work site. There are a wide range of conditions and tasks made simpler and safer by these sturdy, self-propelled vertical lifts. Scissor lift sizes can range from lifting the platform to a maximum of 2’ to 70’ feet high. 

On average, scissor lift height extends 20-40 ft. Frequently preferred to scaffolding, scissor lifts offer greater safety but less reach than other aerial lifts.

When measuring how high a scissor lift can go, the scissor lift size is the maximum height the platform reaches at full extension. Yet, the lift’s functional reach should take into account the roughly 6-foot tall worker standing on the platform. When evaluating scissor lift options, consider models across the following ranges:

? 19-ft. Scissor Lift

A 19-ft. scissor lift can be used by aerial lift operators who need to access ceilings and ductwork. It works well in tight spaces. However, a 19-ft. lift offers limited flexibility compared to larger scissor lift sizes.

? 26-ft. Scissor Lift

A 26-ft. scissor lift height offers a maximum reach of about 32 ft. It is often used by window-washers and others who perform building or maintenance work at heights.

? 32-ft. Scissor Lift

A 32-ft. scissor lift size is a great choice for electricians who perform telephone and power line repairs or replacements. The lift has a maximum reach of approximately 38 ft.

? 45-ft. Scissor Lift

A 45-ft. scissor lift height is typically used by workers who need to perform maintenance work on skyscrapers or other tall buildings.

? 50-ft. Scissor Lift

A 50-ft. scissor lift is the best option for those who need maximum height. Aerial lift operators will use this scissor lift size to perform work up to the fifth story of a building.

Types of Scissor Lifts

Scissor lifts are commonly used for construction and facility maintenance applications. The ideal scissor lift size and type varies based on the workspace and the task at hand. Popular options include:

1. Electric

An electric scissor lift is 2×4 driven and can be used in a warehouse or other indoor work areas where space is limited. It can take from 6 to 16 hours to charge an electric scissor lift, but it has no emissions, works quietly, and tends to be more affordable than other types of scissor lifts. An electric lift is a great choice for working indoors. Electric scissor lift sizes range from 10’ to 40’.

2. Diesel or Dual-Fuel

A diesel or dual-fuel (gasoline and propane) scissor lift requires fuel to power its engine. Unlike an electric scissor lift, a diesel or dual-fuel lift is 4×4 driven and better suited to uneven terrain and heavier loads than an electric lift. A diesel lift emits toxic fumes and should not be used indoors. On average, diesel scissor lifts reach heights of 19’ to 53’.

3. Rough Terrain

A rough terrain scissor lift provides safe elevation for workers and machinery in outdoor areas with an uneven surface or even a slope. Diesel- or gasoline-powered with a 4-wheel drive and reinforced tires to prevent flats, RT scissor lifts reach heights ranging from 32’ to 70’.

4. Hydraulic

A hydraulic scissor lift uses a hand-powered or electric motor to pressurize hydraulics to move the platform up and down. These are typically small, lightweight units that move heavy objects or people in a factory or workshop. Generally, hydraulic scissor lifts reach heights from just 24” to 144”. Think that sounds “small”? Some hydraulic scissor lifts are capable of lifting 68,000 pound loads!

5. Pneumatic

A pneumatic scissor lift leverages air pressure to raise and lower the platform. It operates on shop air and does not need electric power. As a result, it’s cleaner than other models, with no emissions, and generally requires less maintenance than other options. Air-powered scissor lifts sizes range from lifting just 29” to 43” and are most often used in warehouses with even flooring.

Considerations Beyond Scissor Lift Sizes

For both unique and everyday aerial lift tasks, how high the scissor lift can go is just one factor in judging the lift’s suitability for your needs. When evaluating scissor lifts, you need to look beyond the lift’s reach. Other factors to consider include:

1. Price

The average price of a scissor lift ranges from $10,000 to $75,000, depending upon the scissor lift size and type.

2. Worksite

A “mini” scissor lift size can be ideal in a tight workspace. Some mini scissor lift models are only four fet wide. Meanwhile, large scissor lifts may be necessary for workers who need to trim trees, fix power lines, or perform other tasks at high elevations.

3. Training

Safety training is a must, regardless of what scissor lift size you choose. This training teaches workers how to operate a scissor lift safely.

Scissor Lift Choice and Safe Operation

Evaluating scissor lift sizes, types, and safety features helps you to choose the best scissor lift for your job site and needs. But the best scissor lift in the world can still be a source of injury, product damage, and significant fines if your lift drivers are not fully trained and certified.

Well-trained scissor lift operators perform a wide range of tasks at height without endangering themselves or your property. offers a safety training program for workers of all skill and experience levels and all scissor lift sizes. Our prices are more affordable than a single accident or fine resulting from improperly trained staff. With our program, anyone can quickly become an OSHA-compliant scissor lift operator within just 24 hours. Take charge of the safety and efficiency of your operations today. Please contact us online or call us today at (602) 277-0615.