Knuckle Boom Lifts: How They Work, Lift Capacity & More

learn what a knuckle boom lift is

There are about five types of aerial work platforms (AWPs) and mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs), and each has its advantages and disadvantages. The knuckle boom lift, also known as the articulating man lift, is one of the most popular types of AWPs, and it offers immense flexibility and versatility.

Does your company use knuckle boom man lifts and articulating boom lifts? If so, has OSHA approved training and certification for every operator. Employers are responsible for providing the training required to operate equipment like articulating man lifts. If you’re not sure where to start with OSHA regulations & requirements – and many companies aren’t – we’ll take care of your training needs. 

Register your company with CMO and make sure you’re OSHA compliant…you can’t afford the cost of non-compliance, and your knuckle boom lift operators deserve a safe work environment.

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What Is a Knuckle Boom Lift? Here’s a Closer Look

A knuckle boom lift, sometimes called an “articulating boom lift,” is often used in tight workspaces. This is due to the fact that the lift gives workers the ability to lift themselves or various items up, over, and out with unprecedented precision.

Once in the air, a knuckle boom crane can extend and bend. It has a work platform rather than a bucket, which gives workers extra room to perform their job tasks. The lift also comes with a turntable at the base that allows the boom to swivel. This allows the operator to shift the platform to different areas of a worksite. As a result of these features, the knuckle boom lift can be used in many different types of jobs.

Thanks to its convenient accessibility, high degree of maneuverability and versatile performance characteristics, articulating man lifts are popular in all sorts of industries and job sites. Let’s take a look at where you’ll find knuckle boom man lifts and articulating boom lifts.

What Types of Jobs Is a Knuckle Boom Lift Used for?

Knuckle boom lifts are commonly used by businesses in the oil, forestry, and construction industries. They usually fit through standard doorways and are easy to maneuver around hazards. Plus, knuckle lifts make it simple to access overhead work from aisles or other congested work areas.

With the ability to reach over and around obstacles, knuckle boom man lifts can be positioned right in front of the hard-to-reach work area. They are often be found on job sites involving:

? Construction projects

? Maintenance and cleaning work

? Electric wiring or piping work

Small knuckle boom lifts provide a safer alternative to ladders and scaffolding. They allow lift workers to easily navigate through doorways and in tight spaces. Electric knuckle boom man lifts are quiet and don’t emit harmful fumes. They work well in airports, shopping centers, and other sites where loud noise can be a problem. Mobile boom lifts are designed for jobs that require mobility around the worksite.

What Is the Difference Between an Aerial Lift and a Knuckle Lift?

A knuckle lift has a jointed boom arm; other types of aerial work platforms do not have a jointed boom arm. Furthermore, perhaps the biggest difference between knuckle lifts and other types of lifts is that a knuckle boom truck can bend toward the middle of the boom arm.

Articulating boom lifts are able to reach vertically and horizontally, just like other boom lifts such as telescopic lifts, cherry pickers and typical MEWPs. However, the big advantage with articulating man lifts is they’re able to reach up and over obstacles and structures. 

Unlike other aerial lifts, a knuckle boom lift can be maneuvered horizontally and vertically and rotated 360°. As such, a knuckle lift offers greater maneuverability in contrast to other types of lifts.

While the maneuverability of a knuckle boom lift makes it a top choice in work areas where space is limited, the lift tends to offer a lower weight capacity than telescoping boom lifts. So, to determine if a knuckle lift is the right choice, you should evaluate all of the lift options at your disposal. This allows you to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of different types of lifts and find the right one based on your work requirements.

How Do You Operate a Knuckle Boom Lift?

If you want to learn how to operate a knuckle boom man lift, you need to enroll in a safety training program. This allows you to learn about a knuckle lift’s controls and how to maneuver the lift on different types of terrain. It also enables you to gain insights into knuckle lift operation hazards and how to avoid lift accidents and injuries.

Knuckle Boom Lift Benefits

Common reasons for using a knuckle boom lift include:

? Work takes place in a confined area. Knuckle boom lifts are specially designed to work in tight, confined areas. Also, their small base can fit within congested areas.

? You need to reach over obstacles and structures. Knuckle boom lifts can’t reach as far horizontally as some lifts. Yet, they can reach up, over, and out better than most.

? The work area is indoors. Electric knuckle boom lifts do not emit toxic fumes. They also use non-marking tires, so they won’t damage floors.

? The work area features rugged terrain. Rough-terrain articulating boom lifts can safely handle uneven terrain.

? The work requires extra reach from the platform. Some knuckle lifts have a boom extension, also called a jib. This adds another point to move the platform up and down.

Knuckle boom cranes can also be used to move heavyweights from one location to another, which is one of the reasons why they are commonly used in industrial and construction zones. Due to a knuckle truck’s superior lifting capacity, many companies rely on this lifting machine. The ability to move weight can also improve warehouse management and help workers complete tough lifting tasks on time.

Despite being smaller and lighter than most weight-moving machines, knuckle boom lifts provide great payload space than other types of lifts. The small base doesn’t take up a lot of space but offers ample room to load and carry materials. A knuckle lift can sometimes do jobs that would often take two or three machines, too.

Thanks to their design, knuckle boom cranes offer superb control as well. They are easy to operate and highly maneuverable, even in tight spaces. Plus, they can easily switch from one task to another.

Articulating Boom Lifts – FAQs

How Much Does a Knuckle Boom Lift Cost?

The cost of a knuckle boom lift ranges from $25,000 to $200,000, depending on the size of the lift, the manufacturer, the lift’s features, and other factors. You may also be able to rent a knuckle boom crane, with daily, hourly, or monthly rental options available. Check out CMO’s article on the pros and cons of buying and renting an aerial lift.

Which Job Sites are Ideal for an Articulating Man Lift?

The benefits of a knuckle boom lift can be significant. However, this type of lift is not intended for all jobsites.

To determine if a knuckle lift is the right choice for your jobsite, consider these questions:

? Can a knuckle boom lift handle the loads that workers will need to haul at my worksite?

? Will the lift provide enough working height to access everywhere your operators need to be, including those hard-to-reach places? This is an important safety consideration your supervisor needs to assess before choosing an articulating boom lift.

A knuckle boom lift can be a substantial investment, and your business needs to plan accordingly. One of the most important considerations is safety training, which is where CMO helps ensure your operators are properly trained and 100% OSHA certified! Once workers undergo this training, they will be well-equipped to use a knuckle boom lift and ensure that you can maximize the value of your knuckle lift investment.

What’ the Carrying Capacity of an Articulating Man Lift?

Most articulating boom lifts provide up to 500 pounds of platform capacity. Some models differ, so always make sure to check your operator’s manual before working at height.

Is Articulating Boom Lift Training Necessary?

Absolutely! And as an employer, you’re ultimately responsible for providing all required training. All types of aerial lifts require training and certification for safe handling. Every operator should be trained on the model of lift they use on the job. teaches workers the skills they need to safely use a knuckle lift. These skills include how to:

? Handle the lift’s many capabilities

? Inspect the equipment prior to each shift

? Recognize and avoid hazards that can lead to accidents

? Assess the work site for potential hazards

Our online training classes are easy, convenient and affordable. They also comply with all OSHA guidelines.

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Want to Ensure Your Knuckle Boom Lift Operators are OSHA Compliant? Sign Up for Safety Training Today

If your business wants its employees to become OSHA-certified knuckle boom lift operators, safety training is readily available from With our training program, your workers can learn about OSHA safety guidelines, so they are well-equipped to use a knuckle lift at a variety of worksites.

We are available to discuss our knuckle boom lift safety training program, so you can take the first to help your workers become OSHA-compliant boom lift operators. Ready to get started today with your company’s training and certification? Click here to register your company – it only takes a few minutes! To learn more about our program or to enroll your workers in it, please contact us online or call us today at (602) 277-0615.