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Cherry Pickers or Scaffolding for Working at Height


30 April 2024

When deciding between a cherry picker or scaffolding for your next project it’s important to consider a few factors such as time management, ease of access and the complexity of the task. The importance of those components will go a long way in determining the ideal option.

While scaffolding may offer the required height, its assembly isn’t ideal when considering lead time and accessibility. If your project requires mobility, short turnaround and accessing multiple areas a cherry picker is the best choice as it offers safety, comfort and the ability to undertake a variety of tasks.


What’s the difference?

In terms of an aerial work platform, there are many differences between scaffolding and cherry pickers. Even though they are both used to work at great heights, cherry pickers offer mobility that is useful if your project requires you to efficiently access various areas. They also provide improved reach with their ability to move vertically and horizontally.

Scaffolding can only provide you with vertical access but does have other benefits. If a job requires multiple people to work at great heights simultaneously, scaffolding is ideal. There are also factors such as uneven terrain where scaffolding is very useful.


Cherry pickers or scaffolding- how do you choose?

If you’re deciding between the two, a lot comes down to the specific requirements of the project. Therefore, it’s important to consider required training, project duration, cost considerations and whether you will require access to multiple areas.


1 - Consider what training you’ll need

It’s important to have proper training for whichever platform you use as safety is of the utmost importance when working at great heights. We offer training courses for operating MEWPs (Mobile Elevating Work Platforms) such as cherry pickers. It’s also important to go over the necessary guidance on scaffolding as the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) requires competent person training.

2 - How long will you need to hire it for?

The duration of a project is an important factor to consider as tasks that need to be finished promptly may require the mobility, accessibility and versatility provided by a cherry picker. Scaffolding requires erecting and disassembly, which can be time consuming along with intrusive.

3 - Will you need mobility? 

If access to height in a long-term project is the primary component, scaffolding is useful. However, it does not offer mobility as it requires disassembly and reassembly when relocated. Whereas cherry pickers are mobile and available in a range of different models which enhance their flexibility for various construction jobs.  

4 - Height and reach requirements

In areas where there are many obstacles, the versatility offered by cherry pickers is second to none. In terms of accessibility, the mobility offered by a cherry picker can access multiple areas in a shorter time than it takes to assemble and disassemble scaffolding. Long-term stationary projects are primarily where scaffolding can be advantageous.

5 - Cost considerations 

The nature of the task will ultimately be the deciding factor on which option is more cost-effective.  Scaffolding requires costs for setup and dismantling, which includes both labour and time. Cherry pickers are available in new and second-hand models including electric and diesel options, so the cherry picker you choose can also affect the price. The overall length of the project should primarily be considered when making a decision.  


GTAccess can expertly advise your next powered access platform

It can be overwhelming to decide whether a cherry picker or scaffolding is the ideal platform to complete your task. The nature of the work, the time it will take to complete it, the accessibility of the area you’re working on and overall safety need to be considered when making a decision.

At GTAccess, we’re here to make this process easy with our machine advisor questionnaire; by answering three simple questions we’ll be able to determine the ideal powered access platform for the job you’re looking to complete.

If you have any specific questions, you can directly reach out to our experienced team and receive expert guidance.