Is There a Difference Between a Crane Truck and a Boom Truck?

05 December 2017

The overlap between crane trucks and boom trucks can be disorienting. A boom truck can even be a crane truck at times thanks to the versatile construction of the design. Think of it this way: A boom is comparable to the bones in your arm, even down to the articulating characteristics of your elbow. The difference enters the equation at the ‘wrist,’ the point where the working attachment is installed. In the case of a human arm, this termination point is a hand, a five-fingered versatile lifter that’s superior to anything industry can fabricate. Still, we’re getting away from the point of the example, which is that a boom truck can deliver several versatile forms. A crane truck, on the other hand, is just that: a crane with mobile aspirations. It lifts loads and conveys that load to another site, dropping the load or lifting it into its new location where it can be fixed in place.

Here are several key forms both of these heavy-duty mobile tools/vehicles take:

The Boom Truck Crane

A long boom and a driver’s cabin takes shape here, with the option for a secondary cabin that operates the boom and crane. Capable of driving on highways and work sites, additional extras include stability outriggers and a tertiary drive system to operate the hydraulics of the crane.

The Boom Truck with Person Basket

Typically constructed to carry a maximum of two working persons and their tools, the basket at the end of the boom is outfitted with precision-movement hydraulic levers. These controls, although sometimes mounted on the lower end of the truck, are responsible for lifting the boom and positioning the basket. Applications for this truck include street lighting maintenance, landscaping of tree branches, and working on utility poles.

Thus, the mounting of a boom on a truck is normally associated with lifting payloads, even though that payload may only be several workers in a specialized basket, and we can think of the boom as a human arm. But have we reached the end of the versatile nature of the boom truck? It’s true that crane trucks are defined by their name but the second label we’ve been detailing, boom truck, is harder to pin down. Certainly, this ambiguity can be seen as versatility, and we can even add to this flexible form, extending function beyond cranes and baskets by adding different attachments. Here’s one to consider, the addition of an auger when digging vertical or angled holes.

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