Buying Vs. Renting a Cherry Picker

A cherry picker, or aerial work platform, is a mobile alternative to stationary climbing equipment. Rather than setting up sections of scaffolding, workers position a cherry picker in the vicinity of the working area and use the hydraulic lift system to raise a bucket or working platform to the project location. Cherry pickers can improve efficiency on any job site where vertical working heights are required. Many companies choose to rent a cherry picker as needed, while others choose to invest in the purchase of aerial lift equipment. provides information on the benefits and disadvantages associated with renting or purchasing a cherry picker.

Choosing a Cherry Picker Brand

Cherry pickers are made by multiple manufacturers. Some of the widely known brand names in the cherry picker industry include JLG, Niftylift, Haulotte, Skyjack, and Genie. One brand may occasionally offer a new or improved feature which has not hit the remainder of the market yet; but overall, the brands tend to streamline the aerial working equipment to meet the needs of the consumer. The larger names in the industry have a proven track record, but that does not mean that the smaller—or newer—companies make a substandard product. You should choose the cherry picker that offers features suited to your company’s use of the equipment without focusing too strongly on the brand name.

Renting a Cherry Picker

There are many advantages to renting lift equipment. Weigh the pros and cons of renting a cherry picker against the pros and cons of purchasing a cherry picker before making your decision:

  • If your company uses lift equipment sporadically, the obvious benefit of renting is the ability to pay for the equipment only as you need it, saving you a significant amount of money over a purchase.
  • Additionally, you can tailor your cherry picker rental to the job you are working on now, rather than being limited to using the equipment you purchased—this can open your horizons to take on new and larger projects. When you rent equipment, you are protected when the cherry picker breaks down—the rental company arranges for a similar product to be delivered to your job site so production can continue.
  • You avoid the long-term costs of maintenance by renting a cherry picker instead of investing in a purchase. Cherry pickers need regular hydraulic, electrical, and engine maintenance—the fees associated with maintenance issues add up significantly over time. Rental companies address all maintenance needs regularly to avoid the problems that occur due to wear and tear.
  • By renting a cherry picker, you have access to updated equipment at all times. Rental companies consistently update their fleet so you are not subjected to using outdated equipment.

Cherry Picker Rental Prices

Rental prices for a cherry picker will vary based on the type of equipment you need. A smaller telescopic lift is going to rent for less than a large articulating boom. Your project location will also have an impact of the rental rate. Some areas of the country are going to have a more competitive market on equipment rentals. Average rental rates for a cherry picker start around $230 per day and extend upwards of $1000 per day.

The following chart gives an average of cherry picker rental prices based on size and type:

30’ Articulating Cherry Picker $301 $642 $1671
40’ Telescoping Cherry Picker $271 $636 $1652
40’ Articulating Cherry Picker $321 $653 $1698
60’ Telescoping Cherry Picker $432 $920 $2842
60’ Articulating Cherry Picker $504 $1128 $3301
80’ Telescoping Cherry Picker $676 $2204 $5306
80’ Articulating Cherry Picker $691 $2407 $5400

Buying a Cherry Picker

Purchasing a cherry picker is the right choice for some companies. The advantages add up when a company uses a cherry picker on such a consistent basis that the rental fees top the costs of owning, maintaining, repairing, transporting, and storing the equipment. Take a look at some facts to consider before purchasing a cherry picker:

  • Unlimited access to the cherry picker. When your company owns a cherry picker, you have the ability to use the equipment at any time. Monthly payment less than rental fees. Rental fees can add up if you are using equipment regularly. You may get a lower payment on an equipment loan, but consider the fees for hauling, storage and maintenance before you put this in the pros column.
  • You might see some tax advantages. Buying expensive equipment is typically a write-off and can reduce your tax liability. Talk to your tax advisor for more information.
  • Broken down machines cost money. If your cherry picker breaks down on a job site, you will have to find a way to haul it to an area to be serviced, pay a professional for the parts and labor associated with repair, and pay money to rent a machine for temporary use if you don’t want to miss your deadline.
  • You are limited to using the same machine on each project. Unless you have the capital to invest in multiple cherry pickers, you are going to be limited on the sites you can use your machine. You also do not have the ability to upgrade as often as a rental company without losing significant money in the process.

Cherry Picker Purchase Costs

The purchase price of a cherry picker can range from an average of $80,000 for a smaller telescoping lift to upwards of $250,000 for a large articulating cherry picker. Prices vary depending on the maximum working height, the motor with which it is equipped, and the types of optional features on the model you choose.

The costs associated with purchasing a cherry picker extend beyond the initial purchase price. Look at the whole picture by considering all connected costs of owning a cherry picker, and compare that number with money you can make from using the equipment. If the numbers do not add up, renting a cherry picker for each project is probably the best option for your company. keeps you up to date on cherry picker rental information so you can choose the best option for your company going forward.

Compare Prices On Cherry Picker Rentals