Quick Guide: Bucket Trucks

All - 33 Min read

February 20, 2024

Bucket trucks are essential vehicles for a variety of industries and job applications. Whether you're in electrical utilities, tree care, or material handling, these versatile machines are designed to make your work safer and more efficient.

In this quick guide, we'll delve into what bucket trucks are, their most important features, how they're used, popular models, and the merits of choosing new versus used bucket trucks, with a strong leaning towards used units.

What Are Bucket Trucks?

The bucket trucks, also known as aerial devices or cherry pickers, are specialized vehicles equipped with an extendable and articulating boom with a bucket or platform at the end. The bucket is used to raise and carry personnel to elevated work areas, providing them with safe and controlled access to perform tasks at various working heights.

Some material-handling bucket trucks also have side reach, allowing them to be even easier to manoeuvre than other aerial devices. These versatile machines are indispensable in several industries, where tasks require safe and efficient elevation of personnel and equipment.

Key Features of Bucket Trucks

Bucket trucks come with an array of features and capabilities that make them invaluable for various applications. Some of the most important features include:

  • Boom Reach: The extendable boom provides a wide range of working heights, allowing access to elevated sites, including power lines, treetops, and construction projects.

  • Bucket: The bucket or platform is where the operator or workers stand to perform tasks. It's equipped with controls for manoeuvring and positioning.

  • Versatility: Bucket trucks are designed to adapt to various tasks, from tree trimming and electrical work to material handling and construction.

  • Stability: These trucks are engineered for stability, with outriggers that can be deployed to ensure a secure work platform.

  • Telescopic Boom: Some models have telescopic booms, which offer additional reach and flexibility in a hard-to-reach location.

  • Material Handling: Some bucket trucks are equipped for material handling, with features like material handling jibs and winches to transport equipment and tools safely.

  • Non-Insulated Models: Non-insulated bucket trucks are available for applications where electrical insulation is not required, making them more budget-friendly.

  • Operator Safety: Safety features like safety harness anchor points, emergency lowering systems, and boom interlock systems ensure operator safety.

How Are Bucket Trucks Used?

The application of bucket trucks is widespread, and they are crucial to various industries:

  • Electrical Utilities: Electric utility trucks are indispensable for maintaining and repairing power lines. They allow electricians to reach high-voltage cables safely.

  • Tree Care: Arborists use bucket trucks for pruning and trimming trees. The versatility of these trucks is crucial for accessing difficult-to-reach branches on the job site.

  • Material Handling Bucket Trucks: Some bucket trucks are equipped with specialized material handling features, making them ideal for transporting heavy equipment and materials to elevated work sites.

  • Construction: In construction, bucket trucks are used for tasks such as building maintenance, painting, and working on scaffolding.

  • Telecommunications: These vehicles are employed to install and maintain telecom equipment on towers and utility poles.

  • Street Lighting: Municipalities use bucket trucks for installing and repairing streetlights and traffic signals.

Popular Bucket Truck Models

Altec AT40G

The Altec AT40G is a widely used bucket truck known for its reliability and performance. It features a 45-foot working height and a 300-pound bucket capacity, making it suitable for a range of tasks.

Versalift SST-37-EIH

The Versalift SST-37-EIH is a versatile bucket truck with a 42-foot working height. It comes with an extendable jib for material handling tasks and offers a 400-pound platform capacity.

Terex Hi-Ranger LT40

The Terex Hi-Ranger LT40 is a durable bucket truck with a 45-foot working height. It is known for its stability and reliability, making it a popular choice for electrical utility work.

New vs. Used Bucket Trucks for Sale

When it comes to looking for bucket trucks for sale, the choice between new and used vehicles can be crucial. While new units have their advantages, there are compelling reasons to consider used bucket trucks:

  1. Cost-Effective: Used bucket trucks are more budget-friendly, allowing businesses to acquire the equipment they need without a substantial upfront investment. This can be particularly beneficial for smaller companies and startups.

  2. Depreciation: New vehicles tend to depreciate rapidly in their first few years. Used bucket trucks have already gone through the steepest part of their depreciation curve, making them a more financially sound investment.

  3. Tested Reliability: Used bucket trucks have a track record that can help you assess their reliability. You can research their performance and identify any common issues before making a purchase.

  4. Immediate Availability: Used bucket trucks are readily available on the market, allowing you to acquire the equipment you need without waiting for a new vehicle to be manufactured.

  5. Customization: Many used bucket trucks come with additional equipment and modifications that can save you money on aftermarket additions.

  6. Warranties and Support: Some used bucket trucks may still have existing warranties, and you can often find service and support from the manufacturer or dealership.

It's important to note that when considering used bucket trucks, thoroughly inspect the equipment's condition, including the condition of the chassis, boom, hydraulic systems, and any associated components. Be sure to verify the vehicle for maintenance and repair history to ensure the safety and reliability of the unit.

Companies like Boom & Bucket can be a great way to purchase a used bucket truck from known brands, without having to pay an arm and a leg.


In conclusion, bucket trucks are versatile vehicles that play a vital role in a variety of industries, offering safe and efficient access to elevated work sites. The bucket truck has many key features, including boom reach, versatility, and safety measures, making them indispensable for tasks such as electrical utility line work, tree care, and material storage and handling.

While new bucket trucks have their advantages, used bucket trucks provide manufacturers with a cost-effective and reliable alternative. Their lower initial cost, proven reliability and capabilities, and immediate availability make them a compelling choice for businesses looking to expand their fleet or replace older equipment. When considering a used bucket truck, always conduct a thorough inspection and research the unit's history to ensure it meets your safety and operational requirements. With the right bucket truck, you can enhance productivity and safety in various industries, making it a valuable addition to your fleet.

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