A Comparison of Top Bucket Truck Models
Bucket trucks are an asset to industries like industrial, construction, utility, forestry and more. Designed to secure personnel working at great heights, bucket trucks ensure that workers complete their tasks safely in any environment. A bucket truck is a vehicle that has a platform at the end of a lifting boom. The boom is attached to the truck on a rotating turret. The truck is also capable of carrying materials needed by the personnel as they perform work while elevated in the basket.
In this article, we'll compare top brands such as Versalift, Utility Fleet and i80 Equipment for the following bucket truck types:
Start here if you're interested in comparing Aerial Lifts.The two machines may offer access to heights, however, they are for different functions.
Metrics to consider
Different makes and models of bucket trucks offer varying features and capabilities. Each has different attributes in regards to weight capacity, working height and side reach. Job requirements and site conditions will impact your decision on what bucket truck to buy or rent. When looking for the right bucket truck, consider some of the following factors:
- Platform height. This describes the maximum height of the bucket based on boom height and bucket position. The platform is at the end of an extending arm. The greater the arm extension, the higher your employee can work. Bucket trucks typically come in three categories: less than 50 feet, 50-59 feet or over 60 feet. It's important to note that the boom height and platform height are also referred to as "working height". This is the highest height at which an employee can safely work with the truck providing a stable and balanced base.
- Side reach. This is the horizontal movement of the platform from side to side. Side reach is the distance that the boom can move the platform and basket. There are bucket truck arms that can swivel 360 degrees while others models are limited by the boom position on the vehicle itself.
- Weight capacity. The weight capacity of the bucket will affect the platform height and side reach, depending on where the truck is positioned for work. If it is right under the work to be performed, you will be able to use the maximum height and reach. If you need to park the truck several feet away to extend the boom, it will not be able reach as high or as far safely.
- Fuel type. Bucket trucks have three different fuel types: gasoline, diesel and hybrid. Gasoline bucket trucks tend to be the smaller bucket trucks for jobs on paved or uneven surfaces that require lower height and side reach requirements, such as utility trucks. Diesel powered bucket lifts are found in heavy construction, rough terrain and maximum industrial requirements industries, and utilized by construction or agricultural industries. The gasoline or diesel engine powers both the truck and the hydraulic system for the lift. However, there are hybrid bucket trucks now in which the engine is powered by gasoline or diesel and the hydraulic lift operates on an electric motor. This saves fuel and improves your company's carbon footprint.
- Driveline. Driveline refers to the type of transmission and the driveshaft, axles, joints, differentials and wheels. The size and specifications of those components is dictated by purpose of use and transmission types.
- Transmission type. Transmission types include automatic, two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. Four wheel drive is used in all rough terrain and heavy jobs, such as forestry and construction. Two-wheel drive is used for lightweight bucket trucks. While you can find automatic transmissions in every type of bucket truck, there are models that use manual transmissions to give the operators more control over movement in tough areas.
There are a variety of bucket truck models and makes that are used for diverse functions for particular industries. It's essential to determine what type of bucket truck you need for your job. Our comparison below will help.
Articulated Over-Center Bucket Truck
An articulate over-center lift has the boom centered in the middle of the truck. "Articulated" means that the boom extending and raising the bucket or platform is jointed instead of a single solid piece. This provides greater flexibility of safe and efficient movement.
This type of lift works well in open or unrestricted construction and industrial settings. The boom can be moved to several different working positions before the truck needs to relocate.
|Articulated Over-Center||Altec NUECO||i80 Equipment||Utility Fleet||Versalift|
|Model Number||47OC||T45-L50||Terex Hi-Ranger XT55||SST-37-NE|
|Platform Height||48 ft.||55 ft.||60 ft.||37 ft.|
|Side Reach||40 ft.||30 ft.||40 ft.||42 ft.|
|Weight Capacity||400 lbs.||700 lbs.||400 lbs.||400 lbs.|
|Uses||Industrial, Utility||Industrial, Construction||Forestry||Forestry|
|Training||Online||In person, Online||Online|
Telescopic Articulated Bucket Truck
When it comes to a telescopic articulated bucket truck, the extenders for the boom are layered within the external piece, allowing the operator to extend the bucket at dissimilar degrees and distances. This type of bucket truck works well for limited access or confined space sites found in forestry and construction. The operator only needs to extend the necessary length of boom from the optimum working position.
|Telescopic Articulated||Altec NUECO||i80 Equipment||Utility Fleet||Versalift|
|Model Number||AM50E||TA-40||Terex Hi-Ranger LTM40||SST-40-EIH|
|Platform Height||52 ft.||48 ft.||45 ft.||40 ft.|
|Side Reach||44 ft.||40 ft.||31 ft.||35 ft.|
|Weight Capacity||400 lbs.||400 lbs.||400 lbs.||500 lbs.|
|Uses||Forestry, Construction||Industrial||Utility, Construction||Utility, Constuction|
|Training||Online||In person, Online||Online|
An insulated bucket offers an extra level of protection against accidental contact with electrical wires or other sources of electricity; which is why it's most commonly used by utility companies. The bucket trucks have three components to help protect against electrocution:
- Non-conductive material basket or non-conductive liner
- An insulated section between the upper boom and elbow
- Insulated section between the elbow and truck chassis
|Insulated Bucket Truck||Altec NUECO||i80 Equipment||Utility Fleet||Versalift|
|Model Number||AM900-E100||AM855||ETI ETC371H||SST-37/40|
|Platform Height||105 ft.||42 ft.||47 ft.||37 ft.|
|Side Reach||45 ft.||33 ft.||30 ft.||40 ft.|
|Weight Capacity||400 lbs.||400 lbs.||400 lbs.||400 lbs.|
|Training||Online||Online||In person, Online||Online|
Choosing a brand
With so many options to choose from, selecting the right bucket truck for your needs can be confusing. Talking with an experienced dealer allows you to ask questions relating to your intended use and benefit from their industry experience. The following are points to look into before and during your time with the dealer.
Reviews. Be sure to review the models that interest you. While reading reviews, look for content on customer service, service support and reliability of the bucket truck. Reviews also carry comments about how easy the controls are to use, how much room for materials is on the platform and how comfortable the truck is from the operator's point of view.
Awards and recognition. Awards recognize superior quality and service, presented by industry peers or consumers. Customer service awards indicate helpful and responsive actions when you are in need of support. Quality awards relay the dependability and longevity of the bucket truck while manufacturing awards give you the peace of mind that you are purchasing a reliable machine from a reliable brand.
Help and support centers. Before you take possession of the bucket lift, you need to know what support you will get from the manufacturer. Inquire about their customer service options, such as 24 hour call lines, online tech support, owner's manuals and remote troubleshooting capability. Ask if they respond to calls on site, if there is a response radius and any possible charges for calls outside of that radius.
Training and maintenance agreements. Large bucket trucks that weight more than 26,000 pounds require a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) to operate. Ask the dealer or manufacturer about specialized licensing or certification for that product. Ask if they will come to the job site to make repairs and perform maintenance. Inquire about in-person training or online options. Some dealers offer "train the trainer" training options where you send one person to learn the equipment and they teach their co-workers and fellow operators how to use the machine.
Also inquire about maintenance and repairs. Do they offer a warranty? Limited or unlimited? What does the limited warranty cover? Some dealers and manufacturers insist that maintenance and repairs be performed by trained personnel certified by the manufacturer or the warranty will be voided.
|Brand||Altec NUECO||i80 Equipment||Utility Fleet||Versalift|
|Most Recent Award||2011 EPA’s Climate Leadership Award||2014 PM Award Outstanding Achievement in New Product Design|
|Help & Support||24 hour online and phone support||Training in person and online||24 hour online and phone support||Online customer support and training options; 24-7 call center|
Still want more purchasing advice? Read our Bucket Truck Purchasing Guide.