What Is a Boom Truck?

by Rob Wagner
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Tadano Cranes, Roofing Supply Group, Terex Waverly Operations

A boom truck serves multiple purposes by using a boom winch to recover or transport heavy items to inaccessible areas whether a ditch, hillside or to the top of a building. A boom winch mounted in the bed of a large truck can transport construction material and equipment to a site from streetside, while a boom truck equipped with a cherry picker can allow an arborist to access treetops.

The Vehicle

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A boom truck can range in size up to a Class 8 tractor-trailer rig with a bucket or aerial work platform moved by a hydraulic lifting mechanism mounted on the bed.

Cherry Picker

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Cherry pickers, or buckets, typically transport workers from the ground to high places such as treetops, utility poles, sides of buildings or for fire department rescue and firefighting.


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The boom is mounted either on the bed of a large truck or on a separate trailer, with larger booms requiring outriggers extended horizontally from the vehicle to stabilize and level the crane during operation.


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The control cluster to move the boom can be located in the cab, a panel on the side of the bed and in the boom itself.


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Lifting capacity on boom trucks depending on size range from 14.5 to 1,300 U.S. tons.

Typical Boom

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The typical 17-ton capacity boom truck has a three-section proportional boom, a two-speed hoist, 20-foot outriggers with 10-foot rear stabilizers and a 121-foot maximum reach.

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