Boom Lifts vs. Cherry Pickers: What is the Difference?

Boom lifts and cherry pickers are terms often used synonymously. It is understandable because both machines feature elevated platforms for lifting workers above the ground to perform high-access tasks and duties such as upper-floor cleaning, maintenance, and repairs. The workers can even bring their tools and supplies on the elevated platforms.

The average person probably wouldn’t recognise the physical differences between boom lifts and cherry pickers because each one has an extendable arm with a bucket attached to the end. A hydraulic system controls the extendable arm connected to the ground-level cabin. The operator can utilise the hydraulic system to move the arm in any direction, whether horizontally or vertically.

However, there are some differences between boom lifts and cherry pickers you may not realise.

The top three differences are as follows:

  • Propulsion method
  • Driving mechanisms
  • Cost

Understanding the differences will allow you to choose the best machine for your job.


Propulsion Method

Boom lifts and cherry pickers may look mostly the same, except for what propels them underneath.

For instance, cherry pickers feature a trailer or truck bed with four outrigger legs mounted to it. These legs provide ultimate stability for the cherry picker and the worker in the bucket.

Boom lifts are much easier to move around because they have tyres of their own fitted underneath them. Most boom lifts are self-propelled and easy to drive to different areas of a worksite.

Driving Mechanisms

Boom lifts have control panels installed inside the basket. It allows workers to elevate, manoeuvre, and precisely position themselves where they need to be above the ground. Workers can maximise their safety with these advanced driving mechanisms built inside the bucket.

Cherry pickers don’t have self-propulsion, nor can you move them around and raise the bucket simultaneously. You have to lower the basket all the way before you can move the cherry picker to a new location. Of course, moving the cherry picker requires stowing it on a trailer or truck flatbed, which becomes a hassle each time you want to reposition the bucket at the precise spot you need to access.


Cherry pickers are the most affordable and cost-effective elevated work platforms because they are less sophisticated and have simpler functions than boom lifts. If you noticed, boom lifts have more advanced technological designs featuring control panels in the basket, enhanced bucket manoeuvrability, and tyres on the ground.

For this reason, boom lifts are more expensive than cherry pickers. But you may find it worth the extra money to buy or hire cherry pickers because of all the benefits included. It all depends on the nature of your business, your overall budget, and the tasks you need to do at higher levels above the ground.

Are you still having trouble deciding whether you need a boom lift or cherry picker for your work-related tasks?

Let’s examine an overview of each machine to learn more about their pros and cons.

An Overview of Boom Lifts

Boom lifts feature a bucket or platform attached to a hydraulic arm. The ground-level moveable base offers weight and support to the hydraulic arm. The lift operator steps foot into the bucket or platform and uses the controls inside to raise or lower themselves. The controls let the operator reposition themselves vertically, horizontally, and at a precise angle.

Boom lifts are ideal for elevated work projects because they provide workers with superior mobility, manoeuvrability, stability, and control. As a result, workers can remain safer and reduce the risk of personal injury or property damage while on the job.

Some examples of elevated work projects suitable for boom lift machinery include:

  • Hanging signs
  • Painting advertisements
  • Installing scaffolding
  • Repairing or installing lights
  • Picking farm fruit/harvesting

Boom lifts are much safer than traditional manual lifts or ladders, especially since you can carry your tools and resources in the bucket.

An Overview of Cherry Pickers 

A cherry picker features a platform or bucket connected to a telescopic arm. A hydraulic system raises and lowers the telescopic arm and bucket as needed. The machine was traditionally used for picking fruit from trees. But now, you can add attachments to a cherry picker to help carry out other tasks, such as stock picking, construction work, painting, cleaning, maintenance, and lifting equipment.

Cherry pickers are the number one elevated platform machines for utility companies because of their stability. Moving around cherry pickers may be a hassle because they don’t have wheels, but the security and safety offered are critical for utility workers. It is worth the extra time to set up the cherry picker’s legs on the ground so that the worker can work safely.

Some examples of elevated work projects suitable for cherry pickers include:

  • Repair and install power lines
  • Cleaning windows
  • Harvesting fruit from trees

Cherry pickers have the capability of reaching great heights above the ground. Some of them can even go as high as 20 metres. When working on areas high above the ground, you’ll care a lot more about stability and safety to ensure the worker doesn’t fall out of the bucket or make mistakes doing dangerous work.

The Verdict

Cherry pickers and boom lifts have many similarities but differ in how they function and how you can use them. Cherry pickers are easier to use and offer more safety and stability to the workers in the buckets. However, boom lifts provide more versatility, mobility, and flexibility because you can drive them around on their wheels and position the bucket exactly where you want.

We’ll leave it up to you to decide which machine is better for your business. But if you ever need to transport your machine to various worksites, whether short distances or long distances in Western Australia, contact a professional heavy transport provider like Executive Towing Services.

Need a Heavy Transport Service?

Executive Towing Services is an advanced boom lift and cherry picker transport service in Western Australia. We have heavy-duty tilt tray trucks to transport massive, irregularly-shaped machines like boom lifts and cherry pickers. Our tilt tray operators will ensure the safety and security of your machinery throughout the entire trip.