Scissor lifts are heavy pieces of machinery that help lift people or equipment to high places. One of their main uses is for reaching storage racks in warehouses, the upper limbs of trees, or high-up portions of a construction project that usually require a scaffold.
The scissor lift moves vertically, like an elevator with basic safety rails instead of walls. It provides more security for workers and a quicker method for reaching elevated areas, particularly if you use heavy equipment or stock large pallets of merchandise.
Depending on your needs and budget, you can buy a scissor lift, either new or used. Some sellers give you the option to lease if you don’t have all the money upfront. Also, stores like Home Depot often provide scissor lift rentals that charge by the day, week, or month.
A scissor lift is an excellent time-saver for both indoor and outdoor jobs. If your business requires you or employees to work high-up, a scissor lift is worth the investment.
Average Scissor Lift Prices
A significant factor for pricing is the height the scissor lift can reach. A new scissor lift with a 19’ reach costs anywhere between $12,000 and $14,000.
If you require a greater reach than that, a 30’ scissor lift costs between $20,000 and $24,000 if you buy it new. Prices vary based on the machine’s condition, the height it can reach, and the power source.
Types of Scissor Lifts
Not all scissor lifts are created equal. Depending on what you want to use your scissor lift for and what your budget is, you will want to choose a certain kind of lift.
A lift that uses a particular fuel source will differ in price from others. There are also different lifts for different environments, such as indoor, outdoor, and smaller spaces, as well as rugged terrain.
A hydraulic scissor lift is the most common kind of lift because it is the easiest to use and requires less training to operate safely. The hydraulic lift moves up and down with the help of changing the pressure of the hydraulic oil in the lift.
The hydraulics can be operated either by hand or by an engine. Hydraulic lifts are best for jobs that don’t require much speed or engine power.
Electric scissor lifts are smaller and quieter than hydraulic lifts. They operate on electricity and don’t produce fumes like some other power sources. Because they don’t make emissions, electric scissor lifts are suitable for use indoors.
Electric scissor lifts are typically cheaper than engine-powered lifts. They also cost less to maintain over the long term.
Diesel-powered scissor lifts are better for outdoor work, even in rough terrains. The fumes emitted by the diesel also make this kind of lift impractical for indoor use.
A scissor lift that runs on diesel or gas tends to be more expensive than its electric counterpart. This is because these scissor lifts have greater capabilities than electric ones.
Pneumatic scissor lifts operate with the use of sturdy airbags. The air pressure in the airbags serves as the mechanism. A pneumatic scissor lift works by sucking in air from the atmosphere and compressing it.
Pneumatic scissor lifts tend to cost more than other types of lifts, but once you buy one, it doesn’t require too much maintenance. It is also environmentally friendly.
A rough terrain scissor lift is made specifically for outdoor areas that are difficult to reach. These lifts have reinforced, oversized tires and four-wheel drive. This lift is geared toward construction and other outdoor work.
A rough terrain lift can be either diesel-powered or electric, and the price will vary depending on the power source and the height the lift can reach.
Features to Consider
When selecting a scissor lift, consider what you’ll be using it for. It might assist you to know the answers to the following questions:
- How high up do you need to reach?
- Are you using the scissor lift indoors, outdoors, or both?
- How many people do you need to fit on it?
- How much does your equipment or merchandise weigh?
Every workplace is different, and some features will be more important to you than others.
Most scissor lifts reach between 20-50’ in height, although some have a greater or smaller reach. Depending on the job you need the lift for, you will want it to reach a certain height.
This is something to consider when buying, renting, or leasing a scissor lift. You don’t want to buy a completely new machine and then realize it can’t reach what you wanted it to.
Another major factor to consider is the scissor lift’s fuel source. Some scissor lifts are electric, while others require a fuel source like diesel, gas, or propane. It is also possible to find hybrid lifts that can run on either electricity or fuel, depending on what works better for your job.
In general, it’s best to use electric scissor lifts indoors since they are quieter and don’t produce emissions. Fuel-powered lifts are better for outdoor work, thanks to their greater capabilities.
Don’t buy a fuel-powered lift for working indoors. The emissions produced from the fuel can cause problems in an enclosed space.
The weight capacity needed for your lift will depend on what kind of work you plan to use it for. The primary purpose of scissor lifts is to lift people and equipment to otherwise inaccessible places.
Typically, a scissor lift can carry between 500 – 1,000 pounds, although some can hold as much as 2,500 pounds.
When choosing a scissor lift, think about how many people will be working on the lift at one time. Also, consider whether you will be transporting any heavy equipment on it.
Scissor lifts that can take more weight have a lower lift height. Decide whether height or weight capacity is more of a priority for you.
New Scissor Lift Prices
The price of a new scissor lift depends on factors, such as lift type, power source, maximum reach, and the maximum weight the lift can carry. If you buy a new scissor lift, expect it to be a higher price than used machines you might find.
A 19’ lift costs $10,000 – $15,000, depending on other features and specifications. Scissor lifts that are 20-30’ can cost up to $50,000. If you need a scissor lift that’s anywhere between 35’ and 60’, it can cost you anywhere between $20,000 and $75,000.
Pros of a New Scissor Lift
- Never been used
- No unexpected problems from previous owners
Cons of a New Scissor Lift
- More expensive than used scissor lifts
Used Scissor Lift Prices
If you want to save some money, consider buying a used scissor lift. These are always cheaper than a brand new scissor lift, depending on how old the lift is, what type of lift it is, and other features and specifications.
When buying a used scissor lift, make sure to ask the seller about any repairs the lift has needed previously.
A used 19’ scissor lift costs between $3,500 and $6,000, depending on the unit’s type, age, and other specifications. You can buy a used 30’ scissor lift for anywhere between $7,500 and $15,000.
When buying a used scissor lift, price is only one of the factors you should consider. Saving money on a major piece of equipment is pointless if the lift is defective or lacks the features you need. Make sure the lift reaches the height you want and uses an appropriate power source for your job.
A used scissor lift is bound to come with some cosmetic wear and tear or minor problems. Most sellers are upfront about these, but others might hide serious issues to get more money.
Some buyers feel awkward asking a lot of questions about a used machine, but a trustworthy seller will gladly answer those questions.
While shopping for a used scissor lift, watch out for signs of a scam. If a seller avoids answering questions, they might be hiding a serious problem with the machine. Trust your instincts when buying a used scissor lift. If the price seems too good to be true, it usually is.
Pros of Used Scissor Lifts
- Cheaper than a new scissor lift
Cons of Used Scissor Lifts
- May have some wear and tear from previous owners
- Scammers typically sell used equipment
Scissor Lift Rental Prices
Some businesses or occupations require constant use of a scissor lift, and buying one is worth the investment.
If you only need a scissor lift for a one-time job, you should consider renting instead of buying. This can save you a lot of money, and you won’t have to worry about storing the lift when it’s not in use.
Typically, rough terrain lifts and larger lifts cost more to rent than smaller lifts or those powered by electricity. Make sure you know details about your project, like the height and weight capacity you need.
There are a lot of hardware stores or equipment rental companies that offer scissor lift rentals. Depending on how long you need the machine, you can pay for the rental by the day, the week, or the month.
Keep in mind that you will also have to pay for pickup and delivery costs, which are usually about $100 – $150.
An electric scissor lift with a 19’ reach costs between $100 – $150 per day, $350 – $500 per week, and $900 – $1,200 per month.
An electric lift with a 32’ reach costs $120 – $170 per day to rent, $400 – $700 per week, and $1,400 – $1,600 per month.
You pay slightly more for the extra reach, but this is still cheaper than buying a scissor lift.
Rough Terrain (Gas or Diesel) Lifts
Rental costs for a 32’ rough terrain scissor lift averages $150 – $200 per day, $475 – $600 per week, and $1,550 – $2,000 per month.
Pros of Renting a Scissor Lift
- More cost-efficient if you don’t use a scissor lift regularly
- Pickup and delivery are often included for an additional fee
Cons of Renting a Scissor Lift
- The price can stack up if your project takes longer than anticipated
Scissor Lift Lease Prices
Leasing a scissor lift is comparable to buying it but paying for it over time. It’s similar to leasing a car.
Your monthly payment will differ depending on how quickly you plan on paying off your lease. For someone who doesn’t have tens of thousands of dollars available at once for the purchase, leasing can be an excellent option.
For example, if you are leasing a battery-powered scissor lift with a 32’ working height that costs $24,359 at 8% annual interest, you would pay $595 per month over 48 months.
Of course, the price of your scissor lift and your loan term will differ from the example here, so you will want to calculate your lease before you commit.
Pros of Leasing a Scissor Lift
- Pay off your purchase a little bit at a time
Cons of Leasing a Scissor Lift
- Because of interest rates, you will end up paying more than the original price for the lift.
Scissor Lift Pricing FAQs
Is there a “Blue Book” for scissor lifts?
While there is not a “Blue Book” like there is for finding automobile prices right now, it would be a helpful project for someone to develop. If you are not sure where to find a scissor lift? There are a couple of sites you can check out to help you find what you need for your project.
The Blue Book Network has a section where you can find lift and mobile work platform rentals listed by state.
Where can I get a good deal on a scissor lift?
When buying a new or used scissor lift, it’s essential to do your research. Find out the price range for the kind of scissor lift you need, considering the height, weight capacity, and power source.
Do some research on a site that compares listings. You’ll notice a pattern in the prices and be able to pick out a scissor lift that’s reasonably priced.
Can I buy or rent a scissor lift at Home Depot?
Renting can be a good option if you only need a scissor lift for a short-term project.
If you need to rent a scissor lift, the Home Depot Rental has aerial equipment that you can rent from reputable brands like JLG and Genie. Home Depot also offers Mobile Elevated Work Platform training to ensure that you know how to operate the machinery safely.
Should I buy or rent a scissor lift?
It depends on whether you need to use a scissor lift regularly or for a particular project. If you constantly need workers and equipment moved up and down, it’s worth buying a scissor lift.
If you only anticipate using it for an infrequent project that takes a couple of days or weeks, you are better off renting.
Do I need a license for a scissor lift?
Scissor lifts are technically considered scaffolding by OSHA, but you need an aerial lift certification to operate one.
Scissor lift operators should have completed Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) training to be OSHA compliant. This training includes a rundown of OSHA standards and how to operate the lift safely. Typically the course takes an hour to complete.