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5 Types Of Cranes

type of cranes


5 Types Of Cranes Used In Construction Projects


Cranes have been a staple in construction since the 6th century. While the first set of cranes operated through a simple pulley function, modern cranes are far more advanced. They feature various lifting, handling, and rigging attachments to carry heavy loads. Today, different types of cranes exist, and they remain indispensable in the construction industry.


1. Mobile Crane


As the name suggests, mobile cranes have better mobility than the average tower crane. They have more freedom of movement, whereas a tower crane is fixed in a single location. A heavy equipment operator can drive a mobile crane easily, as it’s mounted on a crawler or wheels. They can move the vehicle from one location to another with ease.

Mobile cranes may be smaller than the other cranes, but they pose many advantages. Due to their mobility, they can be easily transported, requiring little to no assembly and hoist loads in narrow and small spaces. Some mobile cranes are also powered hydraulically. Hydraulic mobile cranes can produce greater output and, therefore, a more powerful lifting force.

Many industries have found a use for mobile cranes, aside from construction. In HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning), a mobile crane can transfer air conditioning or condenser units to roofs. They can also dismount old HVAC equipment. Contractors can then install new equipment much faster and more safely.

Mobile cranes are also valuable for the petrochemical and agriculture industries. Workers can use the crane to transport oil boilers or storage tanks. Meanwhile, farmers use mobile cranes to conveniently lift heavy farm equipment and set them in another location.


2. Crawler Telescopic Crane


The telescopic crawler crane uses telescopic machinery with an extendable boom. It’s a multipurpose lifting machine that can move upwards and outwards.

With its track typed wheels, telescopic crawler cranes have excellent manoeuvrability in difficult terrains. This type of crane is available in different tons or lifting capacities.

With its versatility, a telescopic crawler crane is able to handle the load while the boom is being extended or retracted.

You can easily set up telescopic crawler cranes, saving you time and avoiding delays on your work site. You’ll need only a flatbed trailer to transport the crane. Once unloaded from the trailer, it’s ready for use in just under 10 minutes.


3. Lorry Crane

A lorry crane or a crane mounted on a lorry is another piece of equipment transporting heavy cargoes and loads. It consists mainly of the following components:

  • Boom (the long arm used to move or fix an object in place)
  • Jib
  • Hook
  • Truck
  • Outriggers
  • Counterweights
  • Steel cable

The boom is the most distinct feature of any crane. This tall, steel-reinforced arm raises or shifts the heavy load. The boom can lift as high as 22 metres depending on the machine’s limits. Lorry cranes are also available in varying carrying capacities — from 15 to 100 tonnes.

Like the mobile crane, the lorry crane is a handy piece of machinery. It gives better site accessibility and can be used on many terrains. Moreover, construction managers can worry less about delays.

Lorry cranes can load and unload materials quickly over short and long distances. They’re also more cost-effective than the average tower crane. Lorry cranes don’t need support pads or a foundation. Any trained operator can run the vehicle safely and with little-to-no issues.


4. Crawler Crane/Crawler Tower Crane

Considered the largest type of crane on this list, the crawler tower crane can lift objects weighing 2,500 tonnes. Crawler towers have lattice booms that enable it to lift heavier loads at higher heights and distances.

A lattice boom operates in much the same way as a regular boom. However, the difference is in the structure. Lattice booms feature strips of metal fastened and supported together. They have square or diamond-shaped frames in between, creating a repeating pattern. However, some crawler tower cranes use a telescopic boom (though they have limited lifting capacity).

As it’s the largest type of mobile crane, crawler tower cranes also need the most assembly. Here are the parts required to assemble a tower crane on-site:

  • Tracks
  • Lattice boom
  • Counterweights

Crawler cranes don’t require any outriggers. Instead, the crawler tower crane’s track provides enough stability. Due to their size, these cranes aren’t typically used for road works. They’re primarily used on construction sites.


5. Rough Terrain Crane

Rough terrain or RT-cranes are built for off-road surfaces. Contractors use these cranes in muddy, snowy, or humid environments, where a regular crane isn’t ideal.

Rough terrain cranes are mounted on large rubber wheels and not tracks. They also use a telescoping boom to carry and pick up to 90 tonnes. Compared to crawler tower cranes, RT cranes are more compact and can navigate tight spaces. Operators use them when a crawler may be applicable but with less carrying capacity and better navigability.

Like crawler tower cranes, RT cranes are not legal on the road. Instead, they have to be assembled on-site and need outriggers to stabilise the cab.



Different types of construction cranes exist. Contractors must understand each crane type to figure out which equipment works best. Some cranes (like mobile cranes and rough terrain cranes) are better suited for navigating smaller and narrower spaces. Meanwhile, other cranes aren’t built for the road. They need to be manually set up on the construction site itself.

Make sure you understand your operational requirements before renting a crane. Need more information? Our guys at Pollisum can help. We have a massive fleet of trucks, cranes, and marine equipment to help with your transport and logistics needs. Get in touch with us now and request a quote!


Frequently Asked Questions About The Types Of Cranes


Although the arm does most of the lifting in cranes, some cranes need better leverage and distance. This is where a jib is useful. They're built for smaller spaces and can do repeated overhead lifting.

A crawler is a mobile crane that runs through a crawler-type undercarriage. Its attachments and upper decks can make a full rotation. One can equip it with a telescopic, or lattice boom.

There may be various crane types, but here are some core components you'll find across these vehicles

  • Hook
  • Boom
  • Cab
  • Outriggers
  • Counterweights
  • Wheels or crawlers
  • Hoist
  • Jib
  • Cable
  • Sheaves