Different Types of Cranes Used on Construction Sites

Different Types of Cranes Used on Construction Sites
Kitmondo 22 Oct 2018

Cranes are manufactured in numerous types of sizes and designs, however, they all share the same principal purpose: to lift and lower, to move and transport, and long story short, to make heavy construction work much easier. Having a crane on site means less work, less accidents, and less money spent. They enable heavy work to be done in seemingly impractical places, even in oceans or forests. That is why cranes have been the most important tools for large construction projects since their introduction to the industry by Greeks in the 6th century.

To pay tribute to cranes, let’s examine different types of cranes and their unique roles in construction work. Firstly, cranes can be grouped into two main categories. The first group is called static cranes; these cranes are bolted into the ground. They are used for handling the heaviest and largest objects due to their capacity and high levels of stability. The second category is mobile cranes. The biggest advantage of mobile cranes is that they are easy to move when necessary.

Other specialty cranes fall into the following 10 groups:

  1. Tower cranes
  2. Level luffing cranes
  3. Gantry cranes
  4. Telescopic cranes
  5. Truck mounted crane
  6. Floating cranes
  7. Crawler cranes
  8. Aerial cranes
  9. Loader cranes
  10. Railroad cranes

Tower cranes

Tower cranes are the most well-known and the most modern of all categories of cranes. They are fixed into the ground and balanced by ballast blocks, which are held at the end of the crane arms. They are mostly used during the construction of high buildings, such as skyscrapers. Tower cranes are the highest cranes in the world and have the highest capacity to handle heavy and large loads.

Level luffing cranes

Level luffing cranes are special types of cranes that allow the hooks to stay level while luffing. While the jib moves up and down, the arm moves away and back toward the base of the crane.. This feature allows the material to be loaded with great precision. They can be used for building ships or for other constructions that require exact precision.

Gantry cranes

Gantry cranes consist of two vertical frames that straddle the workload. They are mostly used in ports and open stockyards for repetitive work, such as moving materials. Their balanced and supportive structure makes them capable of moving extremely heavy industrial materials.

Telescopic cranes

Telescopic cranes belong to the mobile cranes category. They are designed for lifting loads onto high heights. Telescopic cranes are equipped with a number of tubes which are settled in next to each other. These tubes can be pulled out and make an elongated crane arm to lift the objects. Telescopic cranes are also called forklifts trucks, as their purposes are to lift objects such as brick pallets or frame trusses while constructing buildings. They are able to rotate up to 360 degrees for better performance. Because these cranes lift heavy objects, they are also equipped with outriggers for better stability.

Truck mounted crane

Truck mounted cranes provide great mobility when necessary. The crane is mounted onto the truck and allows for horizontal and vertical movements of materials. The most prominent characteristic of these cranes is their flexibility. Truck mounted cranes are designed to work in the poorest ground conditions. They are equipped with backup holders to secure their stability.

Floating cranes

Floating cranes are special boats with fixed cranes that are designed to manipulate heavy loads on water. They can be used in the construction of ports or bridges. They are also necessary when loading and unloading heavy loads.

Crawler cranes

Crawler cranes are basically cranes on caterpillar tracks. They are able to reach all types of grounds, even ones with very poor conditions such as forests. They are also used on unprepared sites with unstable grounds before starting to build new constructions. Their main characteristic is their high stability which is supported by their weight.

Aerial cranes

Aerial Cranes are also known as flying cranes or sky cranes. A special helicopter with a lifting mechanism is equipped with this crane and is able to transport heavy loads to the highest points. They are used on ground in unstable conditions when is not possible to reach the area with other equipment. Their capacity is very high; they are capable to lift heavy loads when building skyscrapers, setting up pools, or removing pieces of debris for rescue purposes after natural disasters.

Loader cranes

Also known as knuckle-boom cranes or articulating cranes, these cranes are attached to trailers. Their hydraulically powered arms have a simple purpose - to load and unload material and equipment of a wide range of weight onto and off of a trailer.

Railroad cranes

Railroad cranes have three basic purposes. Firstly, they help to build and maintain railways. Secondly, they handle freight. The last purpose is to help with accident recovery work. As they move directly on the railway, operators gain easier access to work around them.


The existence of these different types of cranes allows humans to fulfill very complex and complicated work such as constructing buildings, lifting heavy material, accident recovery work, and much more. Simply said, each type has its own special feature which is designed to lift and move heavy loads in a variety of conditions and environments.