What Is a Boom Truck?

by Rob Wagner

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

This Stinger BT 3063 with stabilizers and outriggers has a 113-foot reach.

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

Cherry pickers, or bucket booms, allow workers to reach great heights.

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.


This platform boom can be operated by remote from the cab of the truck.

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.


A cab-over-engine model boom truck.

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.


A 30-ton boom truck with sidemounted cab.

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

Typical Boom

Boom trucks come in various sizes and can be built to the specifications of buyers.

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.

About the Author

Rob Wagner is a journalist with over 35 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. His experience ranges from legal affairs reporting to covering the Middle East. He served stints as a newspaper and magazine editor in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Wagner attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has a degree in journalism.

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Photo Credits

  • Tadano Cranes, Roofing Supply Group, Terex Waverly Operations