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What is a Rough Terrain Scissor Lift?

What is a Rough Terrain Scissor Lift?

A rough terrain scissor lift is a versatile and reliable machine designed for working on uneven or challenging outdoor surfaces, including construction sites or those needing access to elevated locations on uneven ground. We will explore its features, benefits and how it differs from other forms of aerial work platforms in this comprehensive guide.

Explore All Rough Terrain Scissor Lifts

Definition and Overview

A rough terrain scissor lift, also referred to as an all-terrain scissor lift or 4×4 scissor lift, is an aerial work platform designed for providing stable and secure access to elevated work areas on uneven or sloping surfaces. These machines boast robust features like reinforced tires, a four-wheel drive drivetrain, positive traction control as well as tire pressure monitoring which allow this equipment to traverse challenging outdoor environments and complete tasks that other types of scissor lifts struggle with.

Types of Rough Terrain Scissor Lifts

There is an assortment of RT scissor lifts on the market today that cater specifically to various work environments and applications. They can generally be divided into two broad categories according to their power source: electric scissor lifts vs gasoline/diesel or dual-fuel scissor lifts.

Electric Scissor Lifts

Electric scissor lifts are powered by rechargeable batteries and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, with zero emissions or noise pollution produced. Ideal for tight spaces due to their compact size and maneuverability, electric scissor lifts generally offer working height ranges between 19-40 feet which makes them versatile in their application for various indoor tasks.

Gasoline, Diesel, and Dual-Fuel Scissor Lifts

Gasoline, diesel and dual-fuel scissor lifts are designed specifically for outdoor use in harsh terrain environments and provide more power and run time than their electric counterparts. Their full height range typically spans 26-60 feet while they also boast greater weight capacities compared to electric scissor lifts.

Key Features

All-terrain scissor lifts come equipped with numerous features designed to make them suitable for challenging outdoor environments.

Four-wheel drive (4WD)

RT scissor lifts feature four-wheel-drive systems to increase their positive traction control on uneven terrain and facilitate navigation of difficult environments.

Reinforced tires

These machines typically include high-performance tires capable to resist punctures while offering improved traction over uneven surfaces.


Many rough terrain scissor lifts come equipped with outriggers – extendable stabilizers that add additional support when using the lift – which make working on sloped or uneven ground more stable and secure including when the extension deck is used. This feature can prove especially valuable.


All-terrain scissor lifts can safely traverse slopes up to 40% gradeability, which allows them to safely traverse inclines and perform tasks over uneven surfaces.

Lift capacity

Electric machines often boast greater lift capacities, making them suitable for carrying multiple employees or heavy loads.


There are various advantages associated with using a rough terrain scissor lift in various applications.


All-terrain scissor lifts can be used in an assortment of settings, ranging from construction sites and maintenance jobs on uneven or sloped surfaces, all the way through to maintenance projects on irregular grounds.


These machines are created to offer a secure working platform even in adverse outdoor conditions.

Improved productivity

Transporting workers across difficult terrain to elevated work areas quickly and efficiently can significantly enhance job site productivity.


Rough terrain scissor lifts come equipped with numerous safety features, such as fall restraints, arrestors, and outriggers to reduce the risks of accidents and injuries.

Specialty Uses and Applications

All-terrain scissor lifts are well suited to perform various tasks and industries.


These machines are especially suited to construction sites where rough terrain or other challenging conditions exist.


All-terrain scissor lifts can be utilized to perform maintenance work on outdoor equipment and structures such as bridges, towers and buildings.


Lifts such as this one can be utilized for tree pruning and trimming tasks that necessitate reaching elevated areas, as well as landscape projects which necessitate accessing elevated spaces.

Mining and quarrying

Off-road scissor lifts are frequently employed in mining and quarrying operations to provide stable work platforms and access to elevated areas.

Events and entertainment

These lifts can be utilized for setting up stages, lighting systems and sound equipment at outdoor events and festivals.

Factors to Consider Before Renting or Purchasing

Before renting or purchasing a rough terrain scissor lift, several key points should be kept in mind.

Working height

Establish the maximum height necessary for your specific application.

Lift capacity

Consider how heavy materials and workers will be when choosing scissor lift models.

Terrain and environment

Examine the terrain and weather at your job site to decide whether a rough terrain scissor lift is your optimal solution.

Power source

Choose an electric, gasoline, diesel or dual fuel model depending on the nature and environment in which your work takes place.

Certification and training

Make sure that all operators possess the appropriate certification and training needed for the safe operation of a rough terrain scissor lift.

Safety Considerations and Operator Certification

Operating a rough terrain scissor lift can be extremely risky – particularly for novice operators without sufficient training and certification. To mitigate risks and ensure their safety, proper safety procedures and training must be implemented regarding OSHA-mandated compliance certification and training for operators of these machines.

Online certification programs such as those provided by AerialLiftCertification.com offer convenient and cost-effective means of receiving training and certification required to safely operate rough terrain scissor lifts. Participants in these courses can complete them within an hour – giving operators access to all the knowledge and expertise required for safe scissor lift operation.

Operating a Scissor Lift

To operate a scissor lift safely, follow these steps:

  1. Enter the platform using three points of contact for safety.
  2. Switch the machine into neutral and use the joystick to direct the lift up or down.
  3. To steer, use the switch on the joystick to move left or right.
  4. Always wear a safety harness and follow all safety procedures outlined in your training and certification program.

Costs and Rental Options

The cost of renting a rough terrain scissor lift varies depending on factors such as location, availability, and the desired vertical height. For example, a 26-foot platform height model may cost around $154 per day, $409 per week, or $1,008 per month, while a 50-foot machine can cost approximately $379 per day, $891 per week, or $2,187 per month.


Rough terrain scissor lifts are essential tools for industries requiring access to elevated work areas over uneven or challenging surfaces, providing numerous advantages including versatility, stability, and increased productivity. By understanding key features, benefits, and considerations related to these scissor lifts you can make an informed decision regarding which aerial work platform best meets your unique requirements.

Once you know the type of terrain you’ll be working on, you can rent the equipment that’s right for you online on our website. Renting can help save money when you need equipment without having to store it when you don’t.

Explore All Rough Terrain Scissor Lifts

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