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How To Choose The Right Cherry Picker For The Job

If you are looking to hire or purchase a cherry picker (or any other type of access platform for that matter), then it is important to seek professional advice to ensure your chosen equipment is right for the job. For this reason, we’ve produced a quick layman’s guide on how to choose the right cherry picker for the job.

Cherry pickers like this one can be hired from

Choosing The Right Cherry Picker

Choosing the right tool will help to ensure that when the equipment arrives on site it is safe and suitable for your working at height needs. This guide is not intended to replace any site-specific advice given by a professional.

1 – Height

The first and most obvious question is ‘what height do you need to reach?’. You will need a machine with a minimum ‘working height’ of this measurement.

Note that two phrases commonly used when dealing with access equipment are ‘working height’ and ‘platform height’. You should never confuse the two:

  • Max Working Height – This is the height which can be reached when stood in the basket and is usually 2 metres higher than the cherry picker’s basket floor. This is the measurement often found in sales brochures.
  • Max Platform Height – This is simply the height from the ground to the basket floor when the cherry picker boom is fully elevated.

2 – Capacity

Always think about what weight you need the platform basket to carry. All platforms have a safe working load limit (SWL for short). The SWL is stated by the manufacturer and should be clearly marked on all lifting equipment.

A common SWL on a self-propelled access platform would be in the region of 200 to 250kgs. This is normally adequate to carry two men along with some work tools. Some machines have more weight carrying capacity and some have less, you might even see the SWL vary by outreach.

Be aware that an access platform is not usually designed for lifting materials. If heavy loads are to be lifted, then you should source a forklift truck, telehandler, or other equipment designed for lifting. You should never exceed the SWL on any cherry picker, forklift or any other lifting equipment!

3 – Outreach

Can the cherry picker be situated alongside, below, or near to the work area? If not, you will have to hire a suitable access platform with enough outreach for the environment.

Be aware that when you reach out, your working height will be reduced. At this point, you will have to refer to a ‘working envelope chart’ to calculate the height/outreach. These charts can usually be found in the operator’s handbook which can be supplied by any professional cherry picker hire company. You can always ask our hire desk for this information.

This cherry picker has plenty of outreach for the task at hand.

4 – Manoeuvrability

Do you need a straight boom, articulating boom or mast boom? Different types of boom offer varying levels of manoeuvrability which can be a key factor in getting the job done safely.

A straight telescopic boom can be good for outreach and height but if you have to reach up and over an obstacle then you will need an articulating boom with an up and over boom configuration. Articulating booms are normally more compact when closed in the transporting position which makes them more manoeuvrable in tight spaces. A mast type boom simply goes straight up and down, sometimes with a short jib and is ideal for indoor use in tight spaces.

5 – Terrain

You will need to advise your cherry picker supplier on the terrain you intend to work and travel on as this can be a factor in choosing the right equipment.

As an example, for rugged site conditions, you may require four-wheel drive and traction tyres, whereas if you’re an electrician laying cables in a warehouse or a mechanical engineer contractor then you may require an indoor cherry picker with non-marking tyres so as to not damage the floor. Some examples of these are the Hr12 from Niftylift, the 3020N from Genie and the Star 10 from Haulotte, all of which are available for hire from Central Platform Services.

6 – Indoor/Outdoor Suitability

Are you working indoors or outside? There are access platforms specifically designed for indoor or outdoor usage.

You should consider battery-powered self-propelled booms and cherry pickers when working indoors as they feature low noise levels compared to their diesel equivalents. In addition, electric access equipment doesn’t emit the harmful emissions associated with diesel-powered equipment.

If your project is on rough ground and does not have access to a mains electricity supply then you will require an outdoor platform.

7 – Training & Safety

Don’t forget that you will need to be trained in the use of cherry pickers if you plan on operating the equipment yourself.

IPAF training is commonly recognised in the UK and training can usually be provided by your local access hire company. If interested, you can learn more about our IPAF training courses here.

You will also be required to wear a suitable safety harness & PPE when working at height! Again, your local hire company will be able to advise on the required PPE.


Choosing the right cherry picker isn’t always as simple as you might think. This guide has been kept short to help you consider the key factors in picking the right access equipment but there are often many other things to consider with regards to the challenges posed by working at height.

The best advice we can offer is to always call your local access professionals and ask them to do a site visit where they can advise on the correct access equipment for the job.

Here at Central Platform Services, we have a vast amount of experience and knowledge when it comes to hiring out cherry pickers, booms, scissors lifts and other access equipment. We offer free of charge advice to all our clients in order to help get the job done safely.

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