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Mobile vs Static: Deciding Which Type of Crane is Best for Your Project Needs 

February 2024

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In the world of construction, the choice of equipment can make or break a project. Among the most critical decisions is selecting the right type of crane, as it directly impacts the efficiency, safety, and cost-effectiveness of the operation. Two primary categories dominate the crane landscape: mobile and static cranes, each with its own set of advantages and ideal applications.

Whether you're constructing a high-rise building or working on a dynamic site with varying terrain, understanding the strengths and limitations of each crane type will help you make an informed decision that ensures the success of your construction project.

What is a Mobile Crane?

Mobile cranes, also known as portable cranes, are versatile lifting machines that can be easily transported to and within construction sites. Unlike static cranes, they are not fixed to one location and can move freely, making them ideal for projects requiring flexibility. Mobile cranes are equipped with wheels or tracks and can vary in size, capacity, and configuration.


  • Crawling Cranes: These cranes move on tracks and are suitable for projects with soft or uneven ground conditions.
  • Rough Terrain Cranes: Designed for off-road applications, these cranes have large, rugged tires and are ideal for construction sites with rough terrain.
  • Truck-Mounted Cranes: Mounted on a truck chassis, these cranes offer mobility and are used for short-term lifting tasks.
  • Carry-Deck Cranes: Compact and manoeuvrable, these cranes are used for lifting materials in confined spaces.


Mobile cranes offer several benefits, including:

  • Flexibility: They can easily move around the construction site and access hard-to-reach areas.
  • Speed: Mobile cranes can be quickly set up and relocated, reducing downtime.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Their versatility reduces the need for multiple specialised cranes.
  • Convenience: Many mobile cranes offer 'pick and carry' functions, allowing them to lift and transport loads without additional equipment.

When to Choose a Mobile Cran

Mobile cranes are ideal for projects that:

  • Require flexibility: For sites with changing lifting needs or multiple locations, mobile cranes can easily relocate.
  • Have short durations: For quick projects, the fast setup and dismantling of mobile cranes are advantageous.
  • Involve rough terrain: Mobile cranes designed for rough terrain can navigate and operate on uneven ground.
  • Need access to tight spaces: Compact mobile cranes can manoeuvre in confined areas where static cranes cannot.

What is a Static Crane?

Static cranes, also known as fixed cranes, are stationary lifting machines that are typically erected on-site and remain in one location for the duration of their use. They are often larger than mobile cranes and are capable of handling heavier loads and reaching greater heights.


  • Overhead Cranes: Used in industrial settings for moving heavy loads along a fixed horizontal path.
  • Tower Cranes: Commonly used in the construction of high-rise buildings, these cranes offer exceptional height and lifting capacity.
  • Self-Erecting Cranes: A type of tower crane that can be assembled and operated without additional machinery.
  • Level-Luffing Cranes: Ideal for precise load handling, these cranes can adjust the angle of their jib without changing the load's level.


  • High Lifting Capacity: They can handle very heavy loads, making them suitable for large-scale construction projects.
  • Stability: Once erected, static cranes offer superior stability for lifting operations.
  • Reach: They can reach impressive heights, which is essential for constructing tall buildings.
  • Efficiency: For projects with long durations, static cranes can be more efficient than repeatedly setting up and moving mobile cranes.

When to Choose a Static Crane

Static cranes are best suited for projects that require:

  • Long-term use: For projects that extend over several months or even years, static cranes are more economical and practical.
  • Heavy lifting: When the loads are exceptionally heavy, static cranes offer the necessary lifting capacity and stability.
  • Great heights: For constructing high-rise buildings or structures, static cranes can reach the required elevations.
  • Limited mobility: In situations where the crane's position does not need to change frequently, a static crane is more efficient.

Choosing Between Mobile vs Static Cranes

When deciding between mobile and static cranes, consider the following:

  • Project duration: For long-term projects, static cranes may be more cost-effective, while mobile cranes are better suited for shorter projects.
  • Lifting capacity: Determine the weight of the loads to be lifted. Static cranes generally have higher lifting capacities.
  • Height requirements: If the project involves reaching great heights, static cranes, especially tower cranes, are typically more suitable.
  • Site accessibility: Mobile cranes are ideal for sites with limited access or those requiring crane relocation.
  • Ground conditions: Assess the terrain to determine if a mobile crane with appropriate features (e.g., rough terrain capabilities) is needed.
  • Budget constraints: Consider the overall cost, including transportation, setup, and operation, when choosing between crane types.

Expert Crane Solutions for Every Project

Choosing the right crane for your construction project is a crucial decision that can significantly impact its success. Whether you opt for the flexibility and mobility of a mobile crane or the stability and lifting capacity of a static crane depends on various factors, including project duration, site conditions, and specific lifting requirements. It's essential to assess your project needs carefully and consider the advantages and limitations of each crane type to make an informed decision.

At Scope Cranes, we understand the importance of having the right equipment for your project. Our extensive range of mobile and static cranes ensures that we can provide the perfect solution for your unique requirements. With our expertise and commitment to safety and efficiency, you can trust Scope Cranes to support your project from start to finish. Contact us today to discuss your crane hire needs and let us help you decide which crane is best suited for your project.

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