Buying a Used Bucket Truck at Public Auction

Buying from used bucket truck auctions may seem somewhat bewildering at times because bucket truck models have been designed for dozens of unique needs and there are a wide variety of makes and models. Manufacturers have designed many configurations, offering you many choices to pick from. Now all you need to do is decide which design and specifications are best for your needs.

Things to Consider – Buying a Used Bucket Truck

In an effort to narrow down options and make an educated decision, consider some things buyers to focus on, when purchasing a used bucket truck (sometimes referred to as a cherry picker).

  • Engine – You have some choices; you can consider gasoline or diesel engines, and now even hybrid engines and compressed natural gas engines have entered the mix. The engine is a key factor because it determines the efficiency, operational costs, and temperature at which the vehicle can be used, as well as the overall cost of the vehicle. Now, more than ever, environmental and motor vehicle considerations affect equipment owners, so keep that in mind, too.  Diesel engines are initially more expensive than gasoline; however, they are also fuel-efficient, costing less to operate under most circumstances. It should be noted that when the equipment will be used in extremely cold climates a gasoline engine may be a better choice because gasoline is more resistant to freezing temperatures and operate across a wider range of environmental conditions.
  • Boom – There are two primary boom designs from which to choose: telescopic and articulated. The major difference between the two is that an articulated boom is more maneuverable because it has several articulating joints. This feature is advantageous when working around obstacles such as tree branches or overhead signs.  The telescopic boom “slides out” telescoping an inner boom outwards.  A combination articulating and telescopic boom offers the widest range of working positions.
  • Insulated vs. Non-Insulated – Choosing between an insulated and non-insulated bucket truck depends on how the equipment will be used. Basically, the insulated variety, with proper training and protocol, provides a measure of protection for the operator, in the event the equipment becomes energized. Unless the equipment will be exposed to electric lines, this feature may be unnecessary and could be an unnecessary expense.  Non-insulated booms are typically used in the telecommunications industry, working on phone and cable TV lines.
  • Material-Handling vs. Personnel Only – Material-handling bucket trucks are equipped with a short jib and a winch at the boom tip to allow operators to connect to and lift material from the ground, winching them up to the bucket to be installed on buildings, power poles, etc.  Material-handling bucket trucks allow additional lifting capacity at the bucket, to compensate for the weight of items being lifted.  A common use might be to use the jib and winch to lift a transformer and position it on a power pole.   Personnel units only have a bucket, with no jib or winch, and are intended to simply lift personnel up to the work area.  Material-handlers cost more, so if you don’t need that option and lifting capacity, go with a personnel unit.
  • Capacity – As an aerial work platform, bucket trucks (sometimes called cherry pickers) have a limited weight capacity. Overloading the platform could potentially damage the boom and cause the entire unit to tip over. When choosing the right capacity, consider whether the job can be carried out by one or two workers, since both single and two-person buckets can be purchased.  Also, knowing the weight of tools and materials required is important.  Many times workers will need a many pounds of capacity simply for the tools required to complete the aerial work. Consider the additional weight of the equipment needed on the platform and material-handling requirements, as well.
  • Working Height – One of the most important considerations is the working height of the platform, which determines the maximum height at which work can safely be conducted. Since height requirements vary from job to job, it is important that the bucket truck have an appropriate height.

Purchasing a used bucket truck from an equipment auction does not have to be confusing. Knowing what to focus on and which things to look for can help you make an informed decision. Download our Buyer’s Guide for helpful tips and answers to frequently asked questions. Have questions for us? Contact us and we will be glad to discuss your options.