What is a Scissor Lift and what are rental prices in the San Francisco Bay Area?

In this blog post, we'll be covering the basics of scissor lifts and how much you can expect to pay for renting a scissor lift within the San Francisco Bay Area.

What is a Scissor Lift?

A scissor lift is a piece of construction equipment that belongs to a group of equipment called AWPs (aerial work platform).

What isolates the scissor lift from other equipment pieces in this category is the mechanism by which it is vertically lifted. A scissor lift makes use of a scissor mechanism (or pantogaph) to extend the platform vertically. This extension is accomplished by applying pressure to a set of support beams at the bottom of the platform. The source of this pressure can be hydraulic, pneumatic, or mechanical energy. This energy elongates the platform upward allowing construction workers to reach high altitude areas. The "X" crossbeam acts as a quick identifier of a scissor lift.


The scissor lift, like other AWPs, has a very common yet vital use. Its primary use is to lift personnel and needed tools to a necessary height. In addition to commonly being used in the construction industry it is utilized in the entertainment field for filming and lighting purposes.

The picture above illustrates a scissor lift in use on construction of the Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco. Other San Francisco projects where you'll see many scissor lifts in 2015 are the USCF Medical Center expansion or the Salesforce Tower construction sites.

Pricing Factors

The rental price paid for a scissor lift is primarily determined by the following factors:

  1. Size of the scissor lift used
  2. Type of scissor lift (examples are electric, diesel, gas)
  3. Location where you need the scissor lift.
  4. Specific rental companies have different pricing. See here for a guide of suppliers in San Francisco.
  5. The amount of time you would like to rent a scissor lift. A weekly rate is often cheaper than renting for 4 days!

Base Pricing

Each rental supplier will offer a base price, broken down by the daily rate, weekly, and monthly rate. In the San Francisco Bay Area, here is where you can expect to see scissor lift rates. The following pricing is based off searches for scissor lifts on Getable.com.

  • A 19' scissor lift can be rented for around $100/day , $300/week, or $900/month
  • A 25' scissor lift can be rented for around $120/day , $400/week, or $1000/month
  • A 40' scissor lift can be rented for around $150/day, $500/week, or $1200/month

The base rental prices in the San Francisco Bay area are commonly lower when compared to other major construction metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, or New York City.

Out-the-door pricing

While base pricing may be very straightforward, the additional fees that many rental suppliers charge can be a bit more confusing and double or triple your out-the-door price. These fees include:

  1. Taxes
  2. Delivery
  3. Environmental Fee
  4. Fuel Payment Fee
  5. Emissions Fee
  6. Rental Insurance
  7. Theft Protection
  8. Damage Protection
  9. Tire Protection

Given the amount of fees that can be tacked on to your order, it is imperative to ALWAYS ask for an email confirmation of the final amount you are paying. Different suppliers tack on different charges, so without an email confirmation, you are at risk of paying more than you initially bargained for.

Getable.com showcases full out-the-door pricing for many of the suppliers that we work with. When you see the Getable Partner symbol, you can rest assured that we're giving you the real total price that you'll be paying.

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