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How Do I Know What Kind of Mobile Crane to Hire?

There are various mobile cranes for hire and selecting one all depends on what type of project work it is required for. Concord shares advice on what to know when hiring a mobile crane.

There are a range of mobile cranes to hire that differ in size and type and all have their individual specialised functions and features. We often get asked by our customers, “how do I know what kind of mobile crane to hire?” The answer is all dependent on the project requirements:

  • Is it the lifting of a piano?
  • Do you need assistance with erecting a tower section on a wind farm?
  • Or moving cargo off a ship?
  • Do you need to lift another crane?

So, one needs to first understand the project requirements, and then ensure that an experienced crane specialist completes a full spec on the project. Once the details are known, the company will know exactly which crane to provide – whether it’s manoeuvrability, low travel time to site or a crane that negotiates rough landscapes, there will be a crane suited for the project.

Let us take you through the main types of mobile cranes and provide some information on the uses and applications of each. We’ll then share some advice on how you should know which mobile crane company you should partner with.

Different Types of Mobile Cranes for Hire

Firstly, what is a mobile crane?

A mobile crane is a cable-controlled or hydraulic-powered boom that is mounted onto a truck or carrier that can be driven or moved around easily. These cranes generally operate a boom from the end of which a hook is suspended by sheaves and wire rope. Mobile cranes are designed to transport, lift or move any heavy objects from one place to another on almost any type of terrain. The crane is operated by an operator who sits in the cab that operates the crane. The crane operator will operate the crane with the assistance from a crane assistant to ensure safety.

 The best way to know which crane type you need, is to consider these questions before contacting the crane hire company:

  1. What do I need the crane to do i.e. what kind of load do I need to move?
  2. What does my site look like? Is it even, uneven or a mix of both?
  3. Is my site urbanised and does the crane need to be able to be agile and move easily?
  4. Will the crane need to travel far distances?
  5. Is the load I need to move abnormally heavy?

Before any work can commence, a team of crane specialists should conduct a site inspection in order to determine the following:

  • Load dimensions (LxWxH)
  • Load weight
  • Crane radius (weight x height)
  • Rigging equipment (if required)

Once the company has determined the dimensions and the weight of the load, the then determine the ‘’radius”  (the distance from the centre of the crane to the centre of the load) which then provides the capacity at which the crane can lift. For example, if a load is 3 tons in weight and we need to lift to a height of 28m, you would refer to crane load charts and technical experience and from there, determine the type of crane required. In this case, we would use a 60T mobile crane.

Other factors such as the weight of hook block and the rigging equipment are very important considerations.

Types of mobile cranes

There are a variety of cranes that can perform the lifting, carrying and moving of light to heavy loads. The cranes that we at Concord know a little more than most are the following: heavy lifting jobs and are able to carry and move large loads, namely:

  1. All-terrain cranes
  2. Rough terrain cranes
  3. Truck mount cranes
  4. Heavy lift cranes


All-Terrain Cranes

All terrain mobile cranes are built with the specific purpose of being able to manoeuvre over a variety of different terrains. They are hardy, robust pieces of machinery able to operate under some of the harshest conditions imaginable. They are often the first choice of mobile cranes for construction sites and are also used in many other sectors like mining and agriculture too. They can travel and manoeuvre easily and are able to access almost any site necessary. These cranes feature an all-terrain chassis which offers excellent mobility when travelling on open public roads and off-road, travelling at both low and high speeds.

When flexibility is a priority, these are the cranes to use. With powerful, long telescopic booms that can be easily extended to impressive heights and an offering of 2-axle to 9-axle models, these cranes can fulfil almost any project requirements.

Rough Terrain Cranes

Negotiating rough landscapes like a 4×4 vehicle, rough terrain cranes have a low travel speed but offer highly effective pick-and-carry features which are essential on most construction sites. Over-sized tyres, a short wheelbase, and crab steering all contribute to overall manoeuvrability.

These compact cranes offer great manoeuvrability and can work on almost any ground conditions – mountainous, marshy or flat. The rough terrain crane offers a safe and simple operation, even in constricted work areas as they are capable of navigating narrow spaces with their all-wheel steering. Their tough build quality and adaptability make them very popular.

Off-road capabilities, powerful and robust. These cranes are so dynamic in their application – from maintenance in mines and petrochemical plants to material handling and lifting materials in a construction yard, these cranes offer versatility.

Truck Cranes

Crane Trucks (also known as truck cranes) are similar to all terrain cranes except that they are designed as cranes which are mounted onto a truck body; making them more accessible on-road with the ability to travel longer distances, faster. Truck mounted cranes work just like most other mobile cranes in that a cantilevered arm or boom has the ability to lift and move heavy loads and be extended too.

Crane trucks are most often used for engineering purposes on construction sites, when the lifting of large objects and materials are needed. However, they are also used often in the importing and exporting of cargo, vehicles and other load-moving sectors which require the relocation or restructuring of heavy objects.

Heavy Lift Cranes

These sizeable cranes can perform some incredible lift capabilities. They are designed to be able to move extremely heavy or complex loads of 400 tons and above. They are often used during structure relocation or moving of abnormal loads too.

Where to hire a mobile crane?

There are various important factors that one must bear in mind, but you can read more on what we believe should be the ‘top 5 considerations for selecting a mobile crane hire company’ :

Competitive pricing is important, now more than ever

Without compromising on quality, a reputable crane hire company will offer your competitive prices and include in that the kind of service excellence you’re looking for. A reputable company will be willing to negotiate with you on each project, taking into account the complexities of each project and not adopting a one-size-fits-all approach.

Pre-hire and after-hire service is crucial

Pre-hire and after-hire service is key. A company that is worth investing in is one that will guide you through the process of understanding which mobile crane you need as well as offer you advice and guidance on how to get the best from your crane once it is already in action. Staff training and breakdown servicing as well as certified crane operators, are also excellent offerings to look for in the company you choose.

Trustworthy Reputation

A company you can trust is essential when it comes to construction and building. Most projects in this field are fraught with tight deadlines, high expectations and impeccably high standards and you want a hire company that can become a partner in your quest to get your project done accurately, safely, within budget and on time.

Concord Cranes is here to advise and support you as much as possible when it comes to cranes. Our specialists are experienced and can offer you the assistance you need to make informed decisions.

Call us now on 011 805 8071 or email us:

Cranes for LIFE.

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