Slab Scissor Lifts vs Rough Terrain Scissor Lifts – what’s the difference? When deciding on what type of scissor lift you need for the jobsite there are more details you must consider beyond just the platform height and capacity. You will also need to know what kind of power you will need to maneuver through the site and complete the repetitive tasks.

So how do you decide on what type of scissor lift best fits your application?

Slab Scissor Lifts

Slab scissor lifts are designed to operate on slab surfaces like concrete or level blacktop. They offer a significantly smaller footprint on the jobsite than that of a Rough Terrain Scissor or boom lift. There are a multitude of models such as SJ3219, SJ2632, GS3232, GS4047, etc. Even with the significant height options they are easily maneuverable through a standard double door or narrow aisles as you would see in some warehouses.

The model numbers are significant to the specifications of the lift but vary between makes. For SkyJack units the width of the unit in inches is represented in the first two numbers and the second two numbers represents the platform height in feet, i.e. SJ3219 has a width of 32 inches and a platform height of 19 feet. Whereas Genie and JLG model numbers are opposite, i.e. GS-4047 has a height of 40 feet and a width of 47 inches.

Typical applications for slab scissor lifts include HVAC installation, painting, drywall installation, electrical installation, as well as maintenance in places like schools, hopsitals, malls, etc.

Rough Terrain Scissor Lifts

Rough Terrain Scissor lifts possess high capacity, and spacious platforms. These specifications allow the operators to navigate efficiently through unpaved jobsites while carrying multiple workers, tools, and materials. Some scissor lifts get the RT designation just by having the rough terrain or lug tread tires while others have diesel/dual fuel engines, two- or four-wheel drive, or outriggers which significantly differentiates their capabilities on a jobsite.

This category is broken into two subcategories: mid-size and big deck rough terrain scissor lifts. Mid-size rough terrain scissors have a max platform height of around 40 feet and a platform capacity of around 1,500 pounds. Like the SkyJack SJ6832 RT, the most common applications for mid-size RT scissors are general contractors or building maintenance.

Big deck rough terrain scissor lifts on the other hand, such as the Genie GS-5390, offer 1,000-2,500 lb platform capacity, up to 53-ft platform height. They are also built with four-wheel drive and outriggers which gives them the ability to climb steep grades and level themselves on unlevel ground. Common applications include outdoor construction, welding pipes, exterior finishing and building maintenance.

Other Decision Factors

Other details you must consider when choosing the type of scissor would be where the unit will be used. For most indoor applications where noise level and emissions are important you would gear your pick toward the electric slab scissor lift. If the unit will be used outdoor where emissions are less important a RT scissor would be a better option.

Keep in mind though, not all rough terrain scissor lifts are diesel or dual fuel engines. There are models such as the SkyJack SJ6832 RT DC where the DC indicates Electric power. These models are proven to have successful performance on different types of terrain with the ability to be used emission free indoors.