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Electric or Hydraulic? Choose Your Crane Wisely

Crane Company: Iowa Mold Tooling

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Knowing your application needs
will help you select the appropriate crane.


When selecting a crane, knowing your current and future application needs will go a long way in determining which crane is right for you. Spec’ing for the appropriate crane, whether electric or hydraulic, will ensure productivity and help you avoid a headache later on down the line.

Entry-level Electric

“If your budget is small, your lifting needs are light and your duty cycle is intermittent, then go with an electric telescopic crane,” recommends Tom Wallace, sales manager at Iowa Mold Tooling Co. Inc. Customers with limited lifting applications will find the electric crane an economical option. “If you know you only need to lift something once a week or so, an electric crane will be a good fit and can help you save money,” says Wallace.


Electric crane units don’t require a pump, hydraulic reservoir or PTO, which lowers your costs. Additionally, they operate without the engine on, making them ideal for use in conditions when having your truck running is not suitable.


Of course, there are limitations associated with electric cranes, particularly in regards to size and operation. Typically, the cranes will be limited to around 6,000-lb gross lifting capacity due to the power of the electric motors. “I warn customers that saving money up front by buying an electric crane will leave them worse off in the long run if they end up using the crane every day,” says Wallace. “Daily use of an electric crane will reduce its lifecycle significantly, as it wasn’t made to withstand that kind of use.”

Heavy-Lifting Hydraulic

When your applications require extended operation periods and have higher lifting needs, consider a hydraulic crane. “Hydraulic cranes allow for more control of the crane, and are capable of handling continuous cycles,” says Wallace. “These cranes run faster, as well.”


For those who have frequent use needs and require more lift capacity than an electric crane is capable of, a hydraulic crane is a great choice. “If you’ve decided your common lifting needs exceed 6,000lbs., or that you will use the crane often, then I recommend a hydraulic telescopic crane,” advises Wallace. “The hydraulic telescopic crane has a wide range of lift and reach capabilities to meet most field service needs.”


The most common crane for service trucks, the hydraulic telescopic crane isn’t limited by duty cycle, making it ideal for applications that require frequent heavy-lifting.

With these considerations in mind, picking out your next crane will be a cinch. 


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