What is a Bucket Truck and What are they Used For?

bucket truck uses

A bucket truck is a utility vehicle with a man-carrying bucket at the end. At its core, the bucket keeps the workers safe so that they can comfortably use the tools as they work. Bucket trucks have long been used in sectors like:

  • Utility
  • Communication
  • Forestry
  • Signage
  • Construction

OSHA does not recommend the use of scaffoldings and ladders to perform off-ground jobs that can lead to accidents. And this explains the reason for their popularity.

Types of bucket trucks


The bucket moves beyond the center of the truck, which is useful in utility, construction, and forestry jobs.


They are also known as stick or squirt booms. Such trucks have no knuckles and can be extended telescopically. The biggest advantage is that you get greater horizontal reach. Telescopic buckets are useful where there’s a limited working area.


They have a unique ability to unfold on higher elevations – this reduces the tail swing on the opposite side. In addition to that, they limit the number of times the bucket has to be repositioned.


They are more restricted in their reach when the primary focus is the working height.


These units are designed to safeguard against electrocution, which is common when working around electrical cabling. These trucks feature materials like fiberglass that prevent the conduction of electricity.

Material handler buckets

They are designed to handle the moderate load without special rigging.

Track bucket trucks

They are a safe alternative when working in situations like uneven, rough, and swampy terrain. These units take into consideration things like ground pressure and traction.

What to consider when buying a bucket truck

Bucket trucks come in various combinations and variations. And the customization options can suit your specific applications. Here are a few things to consider when making your investment decision.


The capacity of a specific unit is determined by the tools, the number of occupants, and equipment used. You should know the tasks to perform and the capacity you need.

Working height

What is the highest level a worker can perform the job? Generally speaking, trucks come in three tiers – 50, 50-59, and over 50 feet. So, if you’ll be working in a 50 feet range, there’s no need for working with a truck that allows for 60 feet working height, which can be determined with a dielectric test for bucket trucks.

Tail swing

You know how far the elbow of the articulated boom can stick outside. If you’re working in an overcrowded area, the tail swing can pose a danger to other people or things.

Transmission system

For rough terrain jobs, you should go for a four-wheel-drive or automatic transmission. Likewise, you can choose a two-wheel-drive for lightweight applications.

Type of fuel

Bucket trucks can run on diesel or gasoline. Those with hydraulic lifts do the heavy job of construction work. If you want a unit that uses less fuel and minimizes the carbon footprint, you should go for a hybrid.

So, how do you determine the right one? You should think about:

  • The accessibility of the controls
  • How you plan to transport it
  • How high you need to work
  • The weight you intend to lift

What are bucket trucks used for?

The trucks can be used to complete activities like:

Forestry and tree care

When trees and plants get into the paths of power lines, they must be pruned to prevent obstructions. Some buckets are designed specifically for tree care and meet the needs of the largest infrastructure. The trucks enable tree management crews to safely access the foliage that cannot be reached by a ladder.

The best units for vegetation management feature industry-leading payload and horizontal reach. Also, they allow for plenty of customization to add specific value to forestry work. Such kind of feature makes the equipment appealing and the tedious task of tree management a breeze.

Those in the Overcenter line can handle rough terrain and can be customized to suit specific tasks. Even with the broadest of uplifts, you can be sure you’ll get the job done right the first time.

What are the benefits of a forestry bucket truck?

These units can allow the user to reach hard-to-access spots, not to mention, it improves safety. And because the boom can be used in different positions, it works well in open and closed areas.

Since the upper boom extends beyond the vertical extension, the articulation is beyond the regular utility trucks. Also, most forestry bucket trucks are dielectrically rated so they will protect you from the power lines. But this doesn’t mean that you should touch the power when trimming trees – the insulation comes in handy in case of accidental contact.


The construction industry has made great strides thanks to the use of boom trucks. A truck is ideal for construction projects that don’t require a larger tower crane. They can also maneuver in tight spaces thanks to brilliant engineering.

The versatility that comes with such units makes them practical than cranes. Some of the reasons that make a boom truck useful in a construction site include:

  • Elevation of heavy materials – it’s an easy solution if you’re doing brickwork or working with wood beams in multi-story buildings.
  • Material placement- a boom truck can help to lift slabs and other materials
  • Transporting materials – boom trucks are designed to transport materials from one place to another when secured on a flatbed.
  • Lifting workers to elevated heights – these units can perch workers while still grounded on the feet

Exterior painting

Painting a house can be a daunting task, especially if you like climbing tall ladders. The way to a perfect exterior painting job is using a bucket truck. With a 55” boom truck, you can do the job safely and perfectly.

But before you lift the truck, you must observe a few safety rules. Also, you should have enough ground to maneuver the bucket and create as much surface as you want. If you want to paint a different side of the house, you should ensure there’s enough clearance to move the bucket by raising the triggers.

On average, the bucket can accommodate two people. This feature allows the job to be efficient and fast.

Animal rescue

A truck can help to reach animals trapped in hard-to-reach areas. Maybe your favorite pet is stuck on the rooftop, or the area in question has extensive flooding. If an animal is 40 feet from the ground, this can be a tricky situation to access with the traditional ladder. There are a variety of bucket trucks to suit the working height.

Electric Utility and Telecom

Bucket trucks can help to maintain overhead communication networks. Since they are highly maneuverable, they are safe and guarantee fast completion of tasks.

The telecommunication bucket trucks can be used to install 5G antennas – some can weigh as much as 350 pounds. Besides that, the trucks come with greater material handling capability. Other reasons why the telecommunication industry use buckets are:

  • High uptime
  • High ROI
  • No mandatory tear-down
  • The units can last up to 20 years

When choosing a boom truck, you should consider the shelving systems and features that meet your needs. The fleet managers can also customize something that suits your needs. It’s worth mentioning that such a truck should be crafted with a high level of safety and attention to detail. And no matter the size of the lift, you should expect a level of safety and reliability.

The best unit guarantees less downtime. A reputable brand will come with features like:

  • Torque stripping – it allows the operator to perform tasks efficiently
  • Non-rub lift bearings – they are designed to last the aerial device and require little maintenance
  • Dual-pin retention – every pin on the aerial lift has a redundant pin-set, and the system can prove that.

When working on a high voltage set, the trucks are fully insulated. Some of the reasons why telecommunication companies use bucket trucks include:


Since most units come to about the waist height, you don’t have to worry that you’ll fall. Also, you can be sure that you won’t lose your tools.


When an electrician is standing on a solid surface, he can focus the attention on the task at hand. The technician will also save time when walking between poles thanks to the hydraulic system. Of course, when the job is done as quickly as possible, clients can get back to their normal routine.

A variety of applications

  • Can be used to change stadium lights
  • Relamping packing lots
  • Fixing storefront signs

Fruit picking

Picking fruits from tall branches can be a big hassle. While you still have the option of using scaffolds or ladders, you risk falling and getting hurt. Also, it can be an overwhelming task to move your ladder from one tree to another.

A boom truck can optimize fruit picking in orchids. It will not only provide safety but also eliminates damage to the nearby trees and trunks. There are many reasons why companies would prefer to use a bucket truck rather than a ladder. This is the easiest way of picking fruits.

Sign maintenance

A boom truck can be a secure platform for electricians who want to fix store signs. And because they provide a safe place to store their equipment, accidents can rarely happen. Since a majority of signs must be assessed through overhead means, the technicians can access safe-to-reach equipment and maintain them.

The trucks are designed to make the signs efficient at minimal maintenance cost. If you’re working on areas with high traffic, you should select a unit that can work on an area that is 8-feet wide. It also uses interlocks that prevent the bucket from rotating on either side of the machine.

There are also two working platforms with everything you need to work at a height. Others com with versatile options like:

  • Side-mounted buckets
  • Insulated booms
  • Fully hydraulic controls

Fire rescue

To improve the efficiency of firefighters, companies use bucket trucks in their operations. The hydraulic platform should adapt to the ground conditions. And no matter the condition of the firefighting lift, you can be sure the unit will save precious time. Since a building can be tall, the height for a boom truck can run as high as 30 meters.

To improve the effectiveness during the rescue operation, the enlarged surface is fully equipped. The best units have an enlarged surface with front and side openings. Another important aspect is the ergonomics – the bucket should be easy to maneuver around.

Window washing

The image you portray outside your office could mean the difference between one-time clients and repeat customers. If the windows look dusty, they say a lot about you. A bucket truck can be used to reach difficult to maintain areas.

Photography and film making

Photographers looking for an aerial lift can utilize trucks to capture different angles in their photography. Just imagine trying to capture an image during sunset on a flat surface as you enjoy the breathtaking view. Well, the picture will be eye-catching if you’re higher up, and the view will be much more appealing.

You’ll also get the best pictures if you’re taking the image of a large football team on a flat surface. Unlike drones or helicopters, a bucket lift will help you achieve high angles with minimal movement and this is what matters in Arial photography.

Production companies use bucket trucks to capture unique images when shooting a film. If your truck is well-maintained, the movement is smooth and clean. This means that videographers can get a smooth shot. Sometimes, you’ll see the directors use a bucket truck for better range.


If you want to hang your Christmas tree high, a truck can be a useful tool. You can also use it to hang decorations and ribbons – some can go 60 feet up in the air.

General guidelines when using bucket trucks

  • If you’re using the truck on a highway, you should lower the devices on top of the truck
  • When you use the triggers, the brakes must be well set while the pads should be positioned on a straight surface. And every time you use the bucket on an incline, you should place the wheel chooks in place.
  • You should not move the bucket when the track is elevated.

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