How to Choose the Right MEWP for Your Project - AFI Rentals
AFI Rentals

How to Choose the Right MEWP for Your Project

How to Choose the Right MEWP for Your Project

Mobile Elevating Work Platforms are essential equipment in construction, maintenance, and other industries. They are also known as aerial work platforms. As their name suggests, these machines make working with elevated spaces easy and efficient.

Different MEWPs exist, including scissors, boom, and vertical mast lifts. Further, every MEWP serves a different purpose and has varying features. Therefore, selecting the appropriate MEWP for your job is very important to do the job efficiently, safely and cost-effectively. Here, we will go through a comprehensive guide of the key factors to consider when selecting a MEWP for your project.

Understanding the type of MEWP

Scissor Lifts 

These lifts have a mechanism that looks like a scissor. The mechanism consists of a big platform and a crisscrossing apparatus that moves up and down vertically. Further, their huge platform provides a stage for the operators to perform all the aerial tasks. 

The only diadvantage that scissor lifts have is they cannot manoeuvre sideways. They are usually required for tasks requiring more stability and vertical elevation. They are commonly used in construction, maintenance, and warehousing. 

Boom Lifts

Cherry pickers are also known as boom lifts. They come with a hydraulic arm that extends outward and upward, offering greater manoeuvrability and flexibility than scissor lifts. There are usually two types of boom lifts: telescopic (straight) and articulating (knuckle). The telescopic boom lifts provide extended horizontal and vertical reach, while the articulating booms offer versatility and allow excess to hard-to-reach areas. 

Vertical Mast Lifts

Vertical Mast Lifts are compact, lightweight MEWPs. They are generally preferred for indoor uses and reach areas with less manoeuvrability. The mast lifts to move around the tight spaces and offer vertical reach. They can be seen in maintenance, inventory management, and light construction tasks. 

Key factors regarding the MEWPs:

Before selecting the Mobile Elevating Work Platforms, always keep these key points in mind:

Project Requirements 

It is imperative to determine and understand the requirements of the project. The height and reach required for the project will determine the type of MEWP. For instance, boom lifts are ideal for significant horizontal and vertical reach, while scissor lifts are suitable for vertical access. 

The weight of the load capacity of the project also plays an integral role. It helps you choose the MEWP that can handle the loads and maintain safety, reducing the chances of potential hazards. 


Work Environment 

Indoor vs Outdoor

The project environment, indoor or outdoor, will determine the type of MEWP needed for the job. Usually, for jobs that are indoors, electrically powered lifts are preferred due to their low emission rate and low noise. Also, electrical scissor lifts and vertical mast lifts are preferred for indoor tasks. Diesel-powered MEWPs are better suited for outdoor projects in rugged terrain requiring more power. 


Evaluating the site's terrain makes choosing the type of MEWP easy. The scissor and vertical mast lifts are ideal for rough terrains as their robust tyres enhance stability even on rough surfaces. Smooth floors and indoor environments are served with standard models. 

Space Constraints

The space plays a significant role in the selection process. Vertical mast lifts and narrow scissor lifts are preferred for confined spaces, whereas boom lifts or regular scissor lifts cannot work efficiently. 

Safety and Compliance

Always look for the safety features, as safety is vital while using these lifts. Check for built-in safety features such as guardrails, harnesses, emergency buttons, and non-slip platforms. The advanced models may include tilt sensors, overload protection, and automatic levelling systems. Reviewing the rental rates and agreement is also suggested to clarify the terms and conditions. 


We provide health, safety, and skills training to industry, construction, and maintenance staff with a long-established history in powered access. We provide accredited IPAF training and PASMA Working at Height training from our 21 dedicated training centres throughout the UK or, in some instances, on suitable customer premises.

Familiarisation and Emergency Lowering videos

Our range of Familiarisation and Emergency Lowering videos are aimed at operators and other ground personnel, taking them through the Familiarisation procedures that need to take place before operating the MEWP, and the Emergency Lowering procedure should they need to use it.

IPAF states that "Those who intend to use any machine with characteristics of weight, height, width, length or complexity which differ significantly to the training they have received should ensure that they receive a familiarisation to cover the differences."

We have a nationwide powered access fleet, including cherry pickers, scissor lifts, telescopic boom lifts, truck & track mounts, telehandlers, van mounts and mast lifts. Our experienced team of experts will help you select the suitable machine for the job. We're here to help and answer any questions you might have. Contact us here.

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