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The Best Lifts for Painting (+ Rental Prices)

The Best Lifts for Painting (+ Rental Prices)

Mobile elevating work platforms, also known as lifts, offer a safer and more flexible way to paint at greater heights than ladders or scaffolding.

This post discusses the best types of lifts for painting a variety of indoor and outdoor structures, how much it costs to rent them, and the basics of how to use a lift for painting.

Explore All Aerial Lifts

Table of Contents

What Are the Different Types of Lifts?

The two most common lifts used for painting are scissor lifts and aerial lifts. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) categorizes these lifts differently and has unique safety requirements for each.

  • Scissor lifts: Considered a type of mobile scaffolding, scissor lifts only move workers vertically. The work platform is supported by crossed beams that move it straight up and down.
  • Aerial lifts:, Aerial lifts are vehicle-mounted devices used to elevate personnel. They include extendable and articulating boom platforms that can move workers both vertically and horizontally.

Lifts are useful when painting high or large surfaces that are beyond the reach of a ladder. They provide a stable aerial work platform with additional safety features, which makes them good for paint jobs that take a longer time.

5 Best Types of Lifts for Painting

The best types of lift for painting depend on a variety of factors, including working height, required lift capacity, and workspace characteristics. We explain the pros and cons of each type.

The 5 best lifts for painting

1. Electric Scissor Lift

Electric scissor lifts are ideal for indoor painting projects because they are quiet and don’t emit fumes. They can also be used on outdoor job sites with smooth terrain.

Scissor lifts have wide work platforms, making them a solid option for projects requiring several painters or a lot of equipment. With platform heights that typically range from 10 feet to 60 feet, electric scissor lifts are good for jobs like:

  • Interior painting on walls and ceilings (such as warehouses, factories, shopping malls, and large residential or commercial properties).
  • Exterior painting on single-story buildings, smaller structures, and signage.


  • Quiet electric motor that doesn’t emit fumes, making it perfect for indoor settings
  • Wide platform that fits multiple people, enabling several workers to paint at once
  • Fits through narrow doorways in buildings with its foldable frame


  • Has a platform that only goes up and down, preventing it from moving horizontally or reaching across to difficult-to-access areas
  • Needs smooth terrain to operate
  • Limited reach heights and lifting capacities can restrict the painting jobs it can handle

Lift rental costs vary by size and location, but BigRentz offers electric scissor lifts in the following price ranges:

  • Daily Rental: $106 to $264
  • Weekly Rental: $256 to $666
  • Monthly Rental: $440 to $1,413

2. Rough-Terrain Scissor Lift

A rough-terrain scissor lift works the same way as the electric one, but has four-wheel drive and rugged tires for uneven or rough terrain.

Rough-terrain scissor lifts also offer stronger stabilization systems and larger platforms to accommodate more people. Because they emit fumes and can be noisy, however, they work better for outdoor worksites.

With platform heights up to 60 feet, they are good for these types of projects:

  • Exterior building painting, especially on construction sites, or agricultural buildings, overpasses, and so on
  • Outdoor painting projects


  • Can be used outdoors
  • Offers 4WD and stability on uneven ground
  • Good for tasks with heavy-duty loads and multiple workers


  • Not suitable for use indoors
  • Usually more expensive to rent than electric scissor lifts
  • More limited reach heights than boom lifts

While scissor lift rental costs vary by size and location, you can find rough-terrain lifts at BigRentz in the following price ranges:

  • Daily Rental: $197 to $411
  • Weekly Rental: $454 to $998
  • Monthly Rental: $1,008 to $2,281

3. Articulating Boom Lift

Also known as “knuckle lifts,” articulating boom lifts have multi-jointed arms (booms) and usually 360-degree turntables. This gives them full circular rotation and “up-and-over” access, providing flexible movement and precise positioning.

With platform heights from 30 to 125 feet, articulating boom lifts are good for these types of projects:

  • Complex building exteriors, including recessed areas, overhangs, or irregular shapes
  • Indoor spaces with high ceilings and obstacles that need to be reached over


  • Can maneuver around obstacles and precisely position the platform near hard-to-reach areas
  • Offers greater reach height with a compact design that works even in confined spaces
  • Comes in both electric and diesel-powered models, permitting both indoor and outdoor use


  • Multiple joints means the controls may be more complex
  • The joints can also limit how far the lift can extend horizontally
  • Tends to cost more to rent than scissor lifts

You can find articulating boom lift rentals at BigRentz in the following price ranges (which vary by size and location):

  • Daily Rental: $250 to $1,459
  • Weekly Rental: $712 to $4,049
  • Monthly Rental: $1,724 to $9,975

4. Telescopic Boom Lift

Unlike the joints of an articulated boom lift, telescopic boom lifts have a straight extendable arm that doesn’t bend. This gives them exceptional reach that allows them to access high and distant areas.

With platform heights of 40 to 120 feet, telescopic booms are good for these specific projects:

  • Painting the upper floors or roofs of tall building exteriors
  • Bridges, infrastructure projects, stadiums, and arenas


  • Can span wider areas without moving the machine
  • Versatile and can be used on multiple surfaces
  • Comes in an electric option with solid tires for indoor use and a gas option with inflated tires for rough, outdoor terrain


  • Only extends horizontally, so less flexible than an articulated boom
  • Can fit only one to two people in the buckets, typically
  • Can be harder to maneuver in tight spots

BigRentz offers telescopic boom lift rental in the following price ranges (varies by size and location):

  • Daily Rental: $265 to $1,348
  • Weekly Rental: $724 to $3,542
  • Monthly Rental: $1,828 to $9,255

5. Single Man Lift

Also known as vertical mast lifts, single man lifts offer a compact and lightweight platform designed to lift one person at a time. Since they are lightweight and portable, they make a suitable replacement for a ladder. They are good for narrow areas, fragile work surfaces, and smaller jobs requiring less reach.

Single man lifts come in three common types:

  • Self-propelled: Compact and maneuverable, these drivable man lifts have a reach height of 15 to 20 feet. They are the smallest type of man lift, so you may use these for smaller, residential or business painting projects that require little reach.
  • Push-around: With a reach height of up to 30 feet, this type of man lift allows workers to reach greater heights in indoor spaces.
  • Atrium: Thanks to jib joints and the ability to rotate, atrium lifts make it easier to access hard-to-reach places. They also feature belted tracks that allow them to operate on more challenging terrain.

Man lifts are good for these specific types of projects:

  • Interior painting or exterior work at moderate heights
  • Residential use and personal projects


  • Compact and easy to set up
  • Cost-effective for personal projects


  • Can only lift one person at a time
  • Limited reach compared to other types of lifts

Man lifts are available at BigRentz in the following price ranges (exact prices vary by size and location):

  • Daily Rental: $53 to $124
  • Weekly Rental: $159 to $269
  • Monthly Rental: $411 to $610

Lift Rental Costs by Type and Duration

Rental prices for lifts depend on the type of lift, the size of the lift, how long you rent the machine, and your location. Here are average prices based on the type of lift.

Platform Height Daily Weekly Monthly
Electric Scissor Lift
19 ft (narrow) $106 $256 $440
26 ft (narrow) $134 $342 $618
26 ft (wide) $142 $344 $672
32 ft (narrow) $186 $449 $850
32 ft (wide) $176 $437 $901
40 ft (narrow) $252 $610 $1,413
40 ft (wide) $264 $666 $1,386
Rough Terrain Scissor Lift
26 ft $197 $454 $1,008
32 ft $216 $559 $1,140
40 ft $266 $737 $1,517
50 ft $411 $998 $2,281
Articulating Boom Lift
30 ft (electric, narrow) $250 $712 $1,727
34 ft (diesel) $250 $694 $1,818
34 ft (electric) 252 $682 $1,724
40 ft (electric) $294 $763 $1,826
40 ft (electric, narrow) $303 $759 $1,972
45 ft (diesel) $309 $719 $1,975
45 ft (electric) $311 $801 $1,843
60 ft (diesel) $398 $1,024 $2,629
80 ft (diesel) $714 $1,964 $4,045
125 ft (diesel) $1,459 $4,049 $9,975
Telescopic Boom Lift
40 ft (diesel) $256 $724 $1,828
60 ft (diesel) $368 $929 $2,471
80 ft (diesel) $656 $1,751 $3,961
120 ft (diesel) $1,348 $3,542 $9,255
Single Man Lift
15 ft (push) $53 $159 $411
20 ft (drivable) $136 $315 $533
20 ft (push) $99 $244 $504
24 ft (push) $92 $242 $522
30 ft (push) $124 $269 $610


Why You Should Consider a Lift Instead of a Ladder or Scaffolding

Using a lift instead of a ladder allows you to reach higher places with increased safety and stability because you have a platform to stand on. Lifts also offer more flexibility than ladders or scaffolding because you can control the placement of the platform while you work. Since you can fold up a lift, they can fit through many doorways and be used almost anywhere indoors or out.

Scissor lifts are required to have guardrails for safety. Boom lifts require personnel to wear harnesses attached to the lift, which can also prevent falls. Mobile lifts are towable or drivable, unlike scaffolding that needs to be rebuilt and moved in order to paint another part of the building. Finally, lifts come in a variety of types to suit your project and work site.

Benefits of using a lift for painting

How to Choose Which Lift to Rent

When choosing the right lift for your painting project, consider the following factors.

Lift Height, Platform Capacity and Reach

Key determinants of the right lift for you include how much vertical and horizontal reach your project requires and how many people (or materials) you need the platform to carry. So make these assessments:

  • Height: If you need to reach higher than 40 feet, choose a boom lift. If you’re doing interior painting for a residential home or small business, a scissor lift or man lift may be the right fit.
  • Platform and capacity: If you need to lift several people at a time (or lots of equipment), a scissor lift gives you the space and capacity you need, but you sacrifice height. On the other hand, if it’s just one person or a personal project, a single man lift may be sufficient.
  • Reach: If you just need to move the platform up and down, choose a scissor lift. If you need maximum reach, choose a telescopic boom lift. If you need the flexibility to paint hard-to-reach places, choose an articulating boom lift.

Work Area

Also consider the environment of your painting job. If you’re working outdoors on unstable terrain, you may need a rough-terrain scissor lift or a boom lift with 4WD. If you’re working indoors, choose an electric lift that won’t emit fumes. For lifts that require you to operate in (or move through) a tight space, choose a more compact machine like an articulating boom lift.

Cost and Duration of Rental

Before renting a painting lift, consider your budget and the length of time you will need to use the lift. Usually the larger the lift and capacity and the longer you rent, the higher the cost. However, you often get a discounted daily price by renting per week or per month. Finally, make sure to consider how the lift is powered and calculate fuel costs into your budget.

OSHA Regulations and Experience

If you need to rent a lift for painting, make sure that you know how to operate it safely.

OSHA mandates that only trained personnel should operate scissor lifts, but it doesn’t require operators to have certification. On the other hand, aerial lifts (such as boom lifts) require both training and certification to operate.

How to Use a Lift to Paint

When using a lift on your painting job, familiarize yourself with proper lift safety and operations guidelines, including the following:

How to use a lift to paint

1. Conduct Safety Inspections

Before operating the lift, make sure to conduct the following inspections:

  • The machine: Check that all equipment and components are in good working order. This can include looking at fluid levels, wheels and tires, steering and brakes, outriggers or stabilizers, and electrical and hydraulic systems. Also inspect safety devices and controls, including personal protective equipment (PPE), cable and wiring harnesses, missing or unreadable placards, and emergency controls and alarms.
  • The work area: Make sure the work area is free of hazards, including high winds, low ceilings, overhead wires, nearby workers, and debris, holes, or other obstructions on the ground.

2. Position and Stabilize the Machine

After checking the ground condition and terrain (including slopes, ditches, and bumps), position the lift where it will be stable. If the lift has stabilizers, deploy them and make sure they’re touching the ground and the lift is level. When positioning the machine, confirm that it can operate safely without colliding with power lines or other objects nearby.

3. Understand the Controls

Controls vary by lift type, so make sure to familiarize yourself with them prior to using a lift. Scissor lifts typically have controls on both the base and the platform to allow control from the ground and overhead. There is likely a joystick-type control that can be used in drive mode to move the lift and in lift mode to raise and lower the platform.

Because boom lifts have a bigger range of motion, they typically have more detailed controls. You can use the joystick to control the different directions of the arm and its height and reach.

4. Adhere to Capacity Limits and Implement Safety Measures

To avoid tip-overs, don’t exceed the weight limit of the machine. To prevent falls, ensure the machines have guardrails. If using a boom lift, use a harness or a restraining belt with a lanyard attached to the lift. When you need to move to another location, don’t drive the lift with workers in it.

Rent a Lift for Painting with BigRentz

Whether your project requires a 120-foot telescopic boom or a 15-foot single man lift, BigRentz has the equipment rentals to meet your needs. We offer well-maintained lifts that are safe to use, and we’ll make your job easier by taking care of hauling, drop-off, and pickup as well.

Explore All Aerial Lifts

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