Logistics & Materials Handling Blog

What is a Scissor Lift?

by Paul Hinz
Filed under: Elevating Work Platforms

The Elevating Work Platform Association of Australia (EWPA) defines a ‘scissor type’ elevating work platform as:

‘A work platform which can only move in the vertical plane on which personnel, equipment and materials may be elevated to perform work’

Different to a boom type EWP scissor lifts have no telescope or rotational ability.

The units raising mechanism is the use of linked, folding supports in an ‘X’ criss-cross pattern.

Scissor lifts can be self-propelled, trailer or truck mounted and have optional outriggers or stabilisers.

Dingli Scissor Lift

Types of Scissor Lifts

There are five types of scissor lifts that are briefly described below.

  1. Hydraulic scissor lift
  2. Diesel scissor lift
  3. Electrical scissor lift
  4. Rough terrain scissor lifts
  5. Pneumatic scissor lifts

Hydraulic Scissor Lifts

Powered by either an electric motor or compressed air hydraulic scissor lifts can be utilised both inside and outside.

Hydraulic liquid is either pushed or drained from cylinder to cylinder allowing the scissor lift to raise or lower as necessary.

Hydraulic scissor lifts are recommended for operation in warehouses, on construction sites and infrastructure projects.

Diesel Scissor Lifts

Diesel powered scissor lifts are powered by traditional diesel engines.

They aren’t as environmentally friendly as their electric counterparts as they are noisy and emit dirty exhaust fumes when operating.

Diesel scissor lifts are generally fitted with larger platforms and are recommended to be operated on outdoor construction projects, well ventilated indoor spaces and where engine noise will not distract or disrupt important communication between employees.

Electric Scissor Lifts

Powered by electric batteries rather than a combustion engine electric scissor lifts are more environmentally friendly.

They are ideally suited for indoor operation due to a lack of exhaust emissions or loud noises when operating.

Electric scissor lifts are generally smaller, less bulky and have small narrower platforms than their diesel powered counterparts.

As they operate indoors units are often fitted with non-marking tyres to prevent floor damage during operations.

Rough Terrain Scissor Lifts

Rough terrain scissor lifts are a specialist EWP that offer increased power for operating in tough outdoor environments.

They are typically powered via combustion diesel, petrol or LPG engines to provide the necessary power for operating across rough terrain and lifting heavier payloads.

Rough terrain forklifts provide enhanced levels of traction and travel speed needed to travel around large construction sites in a stable manner.

Dingli Rough Terrain Scissor Lift

Pneumatic Scissor Lifts

Pneumatic scissor lifts are air powered with no electrical or hydraulics resulting in an incredibly clean and maintenance free lift.

They use air pressure to raise and lower the lift, this make them ideal for operations that want to be environmentally friendly and reduce their carbon footprint.

Advantages of Using Scissor Lifts

There are multiple benefits to using scissor lifts on construction and other projects.

Some of the advantages are discussed below.

Access Heights and Hard to Reach Areas

With lift heights up to 16m high scissor lifts provide workers with the ability to reach high up areas that would be otherwise inaccessible.

Workers can gain access too hard to reach areas to complete maintenance, repairs or cleaning.

Easy Operation

Scissor lift controls are simple and straight forward, operators can be trained in a relatively short-period of time.

Compact Size

Scissor lifts are the most compact type of elevating work platform.

Thanks to their compact size they can be utilised in tight and narrow spaces where access is restricted.

Wide Variety of Options

With the five main types of scissor lifts discussed earlier in this blog, there is a scissor lift option for all applications.

The wide variety of power plants, lift capacities and heights, different platform sizes and safety features offers the ultimate flexibility when choosing the correct scissor lift for a specific application.

Reduce Workplace Injuries

Scissor lifts offer safe and convenient method of lifting items to a desired height.

This greatly reduces the risk of workers suffering injuries particularly to their back whilst they manually lift objects.

Raising the worker up to the correct height so they can easily put away loads removes the risk of strains from horizontal or vertical plane lifting.

Scissor lifts can also reduce the likelihood of workers being afflicted by repetitive strain injury.

Dingli S06 E Scissor Lift 2

Adaptalift Group offer a wide variety of high quality scissor lifts from leading manufacturer Dingli.

For assistance in finding the right the scissor lift for your next project or to purchase a new lift contact our team of EWP experts on 13 22 54 or fill out a contact form and we will respond as soon as possible.

Reference List

  1. 2019. What Is An EWP?. [ebook] ELEVATING WORK PLATFORM ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA, p.1. Available at: [Accessed 3 December 2020].