What type of crane do I need?

There are a number of different cranes out there that serve many purposes. How do you know what type of crane do you need for your particular lift?

Here is a quick list of the most common cranes out there:

  • Tower Crane
  • Stick Crane
  • Knuckle Crane
  • Mini Crane (In Europe also known as Spider Cranes)
  • Wanna be a crane

Tower Cranes

Tower cranes are designed specifically for building large buildings and use the actual building as support. They sit in the elevator shaft and are designed for pulling materials up and down to different floors of the building that is being constructed. Unless you are a large commercial developer, you will not be renting this type of crane.

Traditional Stick Cranes

This is generally the most common crane you will see on the market. It’s simple design makes it cost affective to crane companies for doing your everyday lift. These cranes work great in open areas, like new construction. Where everything is wide open and there are no obstructions to work around. If your job site has lots of open space to work with, this is your go to crane.

Knuckle Cranes

A knuckle crane is basically a stick crane on steroids. Most knuckle cranes can do everything a stick crane can do and MORE. They were designed to solve the more common problem that stick cranes run into.

  • Faster deployment.
  • Work in tighter spaces with a smaller footprint.
  • Adjustable boom to reach further over height obstacles like tall roof lines, trees and power lines.
  • Has a knuckle or pivot point in boom that allows crane to reach in a totally different direction.
  • To allow its boom to reach down all the way to the ground, removing the 45 degree limitation.

If you have the choice between a stick or knuckle crane, a knuckle will always give you more options on your lift.

Mini Cranes – BG Lift & SPYDERCRANE

Mini cranes were designed to solve one specific problem. How do I get a crane closer to my lift. Traditional stick and knuckle cranes are normally on large heavy trucks. Those trucks may not be able to get where you need them. Mini cranes are smaller, lighter all terrain vehicles that are designed to get in close to where you are working. They could have either a stick or knuckle crane version attached to them. They are great for running down tight laneways or across yards. A lot of lifts do not need large cranes if you can just get the crane a little closer.

Wanna be a crane

What is a wanna be? That is when something is being used as a crane that was never designed or intended for that purpose. It could be a forklift, skid steer, excavator, tele handler or even a zoom boom that has been jerry rigged to preform a crane like function, basically because someone was being to cheap to get the right tool for the job. We added this type to our list for one reason: liability and the fact that it happens way more often then people care to admit. You or someone you know has this great idea about using something else that was never designed for that purpose, to hoist or lift an item. While it may sound like a great idea at the time, you always have to ask the question: “What if..?” What if something goes wrong? What if something breaks? Or worst yet, what if someone gets hurt or killed?

Crane operators are regulated for a reason, of which, safety is number one. I am not saying that the idea or other piece of equipment would not work for the situation. I am saying be very careful when you see a sketchy wanna be crane hoisting operation. These situations should only be considered and done by qualified people. Unfortunately, more often then not, that is not the case.

So, what type of crane do you need?

That really depends on your particular job! Space available to work, obstacles to get around, weight of object and distance to lift will be the main factors for determining what type of crane you will need. We hope these explanations give you a better idea of what is out there in the crane world to do your lift.